It’s winter, which means citrus season approaches, one of the few bright spots in the otherwise endless gray of a Cleveland winter. Donna brought home some oranges with beautiful deep, deep orange-colored flesh. I’d needed them for a duck recipe I was developing. I asked her to get more next time, planning a Screwdriver post and a celebration of citrus. She returned with thick-skinned, stupid old navels, probably from last year. “Sorry,” she said. “That was all they had.” But she did pick up some tangerines because she thought they looked cool. Aha! I’d made a vodka–tangerine juice before and loved it. A helpful check on Twitter found no proper name for this very sunny elixir. It is sunny—sunny in the mouth. It made Donna smile and say, “Mmmmm! It feels healthy!” So, to brighten Read On »

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As Key West race week winds down, and the pork is slow cooking in the oven for my favorite East Carolina barbecue as the centerpiece for the last of our nine nights here, I’m suggesting a good sipping rum in honor of the sailors I cook for, rum being the ubiquitous choice amongst the crew. And also because we, or I anyway, rarely think of drinking a good rum with ice. Jeff Haase, above, a carpenter and project manager not far from me in Ohio, who crewed on the lovely little J70, insisted I try his favorite rum, Pyrat. He’s something of a pirate spirit, always good company, and I agreed and found it to be a great pleasure. This rum has more complexity and depth than I rarely think of rum having. Rum is Read On »

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It’s race week here in Key West, but my thoughts are with Donna in chilly Cleveland. It’s winter when I most crave bitters in a cocktail. Happily a suggestion on Twitter brought up a new cocktail for me, the Bitter Elder, and before I departed for southern climes, we gave it a go. The cocktail, which balances the bitterness of Campari with the sweet elderberry flavors of the liqueur, makes for a splendid libation, especially for those in the cold grays of the north. I salute you from the southernmost and wish you a happy Friday Cocktail Hour. The Bitter Elder 1.5 ounces gin 0.5 ounces Campari 0.5 ounces St. Germain 0.5 ounces lemon juice Twist of lemon Stir the liquids with ice in a shaker and pour into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a Read On »

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Every year in about September I start thinking about what cookies I want to bake for Michael’s blog. Its starts off as a long list and then gets cut down, so a variety of cookies are presented, ranging from classics to new formulations. This year I wanted to share two new recipes: a Cardamom Ginger Coconut cookie, inspired by my love of Indian food, and a gluten-free Linzer cookie. After spending time with a teammate who is gluten intolerant I decided to make a cookie just for her. The cardamom ginger coconut cookie has a soft spot in my heart because it marries the incredible base dough of my chocolate chips cookies and Indian cuisine. This cookie warms you with aromatics, cardamom and coriander. You get extra warmth from the minced crystalized ginger. There may Read On »

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The Major Award/Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman Last year, Claudia Young created this truffle-infused cocktail for The Velvet Tango Room, Paulius Nasvytis’s well-known Cleveland bar. It’s today’s choice for the Friday Cocktail Hour because it is the very embodiment of the holidays: rich, fragrant, expensive, delicious. I loved milk punch when a friend introduced me to that simple concoction—bourbon, milk and sugar. This is a milk punch times ten—a decadent but simple combo of Scotch, truffled honey, and half-and-half. This Cleveland original (first posted here), was named by a Clevelander for a movie filmed here, a movie about Christmas. What more appropriate drink could there be as Christmas approaches for today’s Hour? The Major Award To serve 1: 1.5 ounces Oban (or other single-malt whiskey) 1 ounce truffle honey syrup made with a 1:1 water Read On »

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