The mission was this. Make nine great dinners for a big group, but create menues simple enough so that I could get a morning’s worth of work in (ie justify 10 days in Key West) and not freak out at 4 pm. One of the first issues is what to cook food in, the vessels. So a valuable tool was the above Lexan tub which I borrowed from my friendly neighborhood restaurant, Fire (thanks Doug!); the immersion circulator was a huge help (I need to do a post on what lessons from this device that apply to home kitchens without one). I also had two huge pots for boiling green vegetables.  After making sure I’d have the right tools, I planned the main proteins, a few of which I either made in advance or ordered. Read On »

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It requires a certain amount of stress to cook for a lot of people. Otherwise you won’t get it done. Too much work, and therefore too much focus and efficiency to both get everything done and also enjoy yourself. You’ve got to like this very peculiar kind of stress.  Or like the release that inevitably follows. And it’s not the same kind of release as it is for the guy who, when asked why he’s banging his head against the wall, responds, “Because it feels so good when I stop.”  But it’s close. You’ve just got to have that kind of love-the-pressure, love-the-release to cook for a lot of people night after night. If you do, you can make a good and happy living as a cook and maybe chef-restaurateur. Me, I really only liked Read On »

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Race week in Key West is a massive boondoggle for me.  I wake, look out at the water, drink coffee, write until noon, personal writing, then head to the house where I cook for 12 to 16 people every night. I straighten the kitchen, throw away a few forgotten red plastic cups with limes floating in them, make a list, do some shopping, prep what can be done ahead (make some sauces, or a stock, pick and blanch green veg).  Then I go back to my room at The Galleon, condos right on the docks, and have some coffee and write and re-write some more. The boys return from being on the water and I put in earphones and listen to music and keep working till six, then head to the house and start dinner. Read On »

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Working in the morning and cooking in the afternoon, and no time to post! Been having fun cooking nightly for a houseload of hungry sailors on a generous budget. Last night was steak and lobster and smashed potatoes and salad. Cooking mussels tonight, then wahoo (never cooked before, it will be interesting), saffron rice cooked in lobster stock (that I made this afternoon), asparagus, salad, and grilled baguettes.  As they are true to the sailing culture, the crew go in for liquid desserts which makes it easy for the cook! I also brought the Polyscience immersion circulator, it came in handy for the surf and turf last night. We worked together to get the lobsters all done expediently. I killed them first, Doug Moose separated the bodies and dropped them in the 140 degree F Read On »

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