Key-Sunset-Cocktail

(Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman) In one week I’ll be in quirky, decadent Key West on my annual boondoggle cooking for my cousin, Rob, and the crew of Spaceman Spiff. Yesterday afternoon I spent an hour gathering pots and pans, two big cutting boards, a giant cast iron skillet, Lexan tub and circulator, flat-edged wood spoons, side towels, knives, all of which are loaded onto the boat trailer that’s now on the road south. My iPhone says it’s 77 degrees and sunny. Here in Cleveland it’s 18 degrees. Yesterday when I woke it was -2. Tomorrow’s high here will be 16 degrees. Needless to say I am not disappointed that I’ll spend nine afternoons cooking for the sailing droogs, with mornings poolside to get some writing work done. And looking forward so much I intend to Read On »

Share
Hoping-John-lead

  Happy New Year’s Eve day! Every first of the new year I make a big pot of hoppin’ john—and re-post this recipe—black-eyed peas and some kind of cured pork, yes for good luck, but mainly because black-eyed peas are an underappreciated treasure. Nutritious and earthy and economical and deeply satisfying as frigid weather pushes down on us and we look out at the horizon of winter with no May in sight. David Tanis wrote a good piece on black-eyed peas in the Times and their ancient history. He adds greens (symbol of cash) and suggests serving with cornbread (symbol of gold). But I like it humble, without hope or fear: bacon is the cured pork, tomatoes and onions for flavor, and beans beans beans. Wishing all a healthy and fruitful new year.   Hoppin’ John 1 Read On »

Share
Paddlefish-@1020

  My dear friend Annie LaGravanese sent us a whopping big tin of paddlefish caviar (from Paramount Caviar). Paddlefish are native to the Mississippi basin and offer great roe. Caviar and hen eggs go great together. Throw in a little fat and something crunchy and you have a great bite. It’s definitely a luxury item, but at this time of year when we do a lot of entertaining, it’s worth it (especially when you have a friend like Ann!). And this pie goes a long way. It made a great hors d’oeuvre on Christmas Eve for a family of twelve. We then brought it to a friend’s dinner party three days later where it did the same, accompanied by some generous champagne from one of the guests (the preferred accompanying beverage). And yesterday, Donna and I Read On »

Share
Scamper-Juice

    Holiday parties call for punch so I’m reposting the post and recipe from my friend Crashy and her Scamper Juice (pictured above with citrus ice ring, photo by donna). But there are all kinds of fun punches out there. Here are a few links with other ideas. One of my faves is the milk punch, which my pal Blake introduced me to the perfect sunday morning hangover cure which of course lead to mondays hangover (back in the eighties, no longer an option thank god.) Herewith a variety of punches and the venerable Scamper Juice. Rum Punch Punch, from the NYTimes Festive Punch Recipes from The Independent Milk Punch is Coming Back Shandy Punch from Heidi Swanson’s 101Cookbooks.com Best punch bars in the USA Holiday punch was out of fashion even in Charles Read On »

Share
Carri's-Yule-Log

  Carri Thurman has been a friend since she traveled from her home in Homer, Alaska, to visit her fellow Homerian, Daniel Coyle, an author and journalist who’d moved to Cleveland with his Cleveland-born wife—bless you, Dan! (His last book, The Talent Code, is a fascinating look at how talent is developed.) Carri runs Two Sisters Bakery in Homer, and she offers here some fabulous confections for the holidays, right up our alley—proving once again that chocolate, like life, is better with bacon. Thanks for sharing, Carri, and for all the helpful step-by-step pix! —MR   by Carri Thurman “Winter is not a season, it is an occupation.”—Sinclair Lewis Does it get dark there? It’s a question we get a lot this far north. And Yes, Dorothy, it does get dark. Quite dark. Here in the South Central region Read On »

Share