Tuesday, October 06, 2009

If you haven't figured it out yet...

The Wayward Chef has moved! http://www.thewaywardchef.com

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Check out my latest post on Rogue Creamery!

After a long break, I'm back to blogging - this time about the thriving food scene in the Southern Oregon's Rogue Valley!

Check out my latest post on Rogue Creamery! Just click-on-over to my new blog at http://www.thewaywardchef.com/

And don't forget to update your rss feed to http://blog.thewaywardchef.com!

It's a work-in-progress, so bare with me while I work my way through learning WordPress...

~The Wayward Chef

For the love of cheese

There are a lot of adjustments and sacrifices a food “enthusiast” makes when bidding adieu to life in the big city. When I said goodbye to New York to jump on a yacht sailing down to the Caribbean, I also said goodbye to my favorite butcher, fishmonger, ethnic markets, gourmet stores and most difficult of all, the cheese counter at Murray’s Cheese in Greenwich Village. Granted, I traded those places for white sandy beaches, and bartering with Rasta’s over the price of breadfruit and mangoes, so who am I to complain? But, even in a tropical paradise, I pined for a good butcher and a respectable cheese counter.

So here I am, once again, “officially” bidding farewell to one world and jumping into another. I’ve turned down several offers aboard yachts, instead opting for life on land in a quiet, little community in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley. As I’ve made my home here over the past few months, there are adjustments and sacrifices too. No white sand beaches, I have yet to find a good butcher, and I have lamented for months the lack of a “real” cheese counter here as I’ve pawed through the pre-cut, shrink-wrapped wedges of pepper jack, brie and blue in the cheese section of my local food co-op. I've missed the experience of smelling, sampling and ordering – and that warm, fuzzy feeling knowing that each wedge was being cut fresh from a big wheel, just for me. But today, my luck changed. As I lamented the sorry state of those poor, cryogenically sealed delicacies a message comes across my iPhone, “Rogue Creamery has Burrata and fresh buffalo mozzerella!” Fresh Burrata? Reason enough play hooky from work and drive out to the creamery in Central Point. I’ve been meaning to check that place out…


I thought I was taking another step in my new world, in my new life, as I pushed through the doors of Rogue Creamery, but instead it was just like a taste of my old life again. There, behind a gorgeous cheese counter, with his cheese shirt and baseball cap, glasses pushed up on his nose, and a big, cheese-loving smile spread across his face, was my old friend, Tom Van Voorhees, the leading, ACS award winning cheesemonger in the US (and formerly of the aforementioned Murray’s Cheese, Fairway, and Tuller Premium Food). A basket of heirloom tomatoes and a sampling of Burrata, that amazing cream-filled Italian mozzerella, sat on a small tasting table in front of the cheese case. I’ve had Burrata before, but couldn’t help but sample it again. It was so fresh tasting, I asked Tom if it had just been flown in from Italy. “Nope, it’s handmade in Southern California by Gioia Cheese Company” What? No way, Burrata this good cannot be from the United States. I didn’t believe him. “It is”, Tom said, “and half its shelf life isn’t gone by the time we receive it here, like it would be with Burrata from Italy”. Oh my god, my prayers have been answered. Who needs New York City when you have Rogue Creamery?

I perused the cheese selection and am happy to report that not only does Rogue Creamery carry it’s full line of award winning blue cheeses, curds, and fresh-churned butter, but they also have probably one of the finest selections of American made, artisan cheeses I’ve ever seen (and tasted) – this side of the Mississippi. Edelweiss Emanthaler raw milk aged swiss and Pleasant Ridge Reserve, both from Wisconsin. Pholia Farms raw farmstead goat cheese from Rogue River; Cyrpus Grove; Tumalo Farms from Bend; “Up In Smoke” chevre from River’s Edge on the Oregon Coast. And, a few essential European cheeses, for good measure. “Yeah, we pretty much don’t carry any boring, mass-produced cheese” Tom told me, in his usual matter-of-fact manner, as he handed me a golden, crystal-flecked shard of a 4-year aged Gouda.

So, I traded my cheesemonger in New York for the Rasta’s in the Caribbean. But now, my little piece of New York is here. Perhaps my sacrifice is trading back the Rasta’s in the Caribbean for my cheesemonger. That’s a faire enough trade-off to me. And heaven knows - if I really need a dose of trustafarians Rastafarians, all I have to do is go for a walk through downtown Ashland. In the meantime, I’ll be sampling my way through Rogue Creamery and weighing whether the sacrifice is worth it…

Rogue Creamery
311 North Front Street
Central Point, Or 97502

Cheese shop hours:
M-F 9am to 5pm
Sat 9am to 6pm
Sun 11am to 5pm

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Cult of the Clay Pot

When people think of clay pot cooking, most often, they think of grandma’s ceramic casserole or crock-pot. But for those in the know, clay pot cooking invokes impassioned responses and cult-like zeal. “I found my first clay pot, a French triperie, [for cooking tripe], at a shop in New York City years ago. I didn’t even know what tripe was!” exclaimed iconic food writer, Paula Wolfert. The Sonoma, California resident and self-proclaimed clay pot “junkie” has been collecting clay pots from her travels around the world for over fifty years. “It’s a personal sickness” she confessed, “I have hundreds of clay pots”.

The history of clay pot cooking runs as rich and deep as civilization itself, from ancient times to present day and from Indonesia to Egypt. Even the United States has its own history with earthenware. ‘Boston’ Baked Beans, originally a native American dish, were cooked in earthen bean pots. Traditional micacious pots of the American Southwest Indians have a cult status all their own. But clay pot cooking is getting a renewed look as of late as chefs such as Deborah Madison and Richard Olney extol the virtues of these earthen wonders in their cookbooks. Steve Sando, founder of Rancho Gordo Heirloom Beans in Napa, readily admits to his obsession. He’ll use any one of his eighty-plus bean pots on a daily basis. Tom Wirt, of Clay Coyote, recently launched a line of clay cookware and believes that as people make more conscious food choices, they’ll want cookware with a conscience too. On a recent walk through Sonoma, Paula Wolfert quipped “of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world…” upon stumbling upon the new store, Bram. Bram, the Egyptian word for a clay pot, is dedicated entirely to clay pot cookware from around the world. The timing and location couldn’t be more auspicious as Wolfert’s latest cookbook, Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking, (Wiley, 2009), is due out this fall.

What fuels such an emphatic following? Enthusiasts claim that clay pots lend a taste of the earth to whatever is cooked in them; a “fingerprint” of the clay, Wolfert calls it. La Chamba, the jet-black earthenware from Columbia, is smoked in rice husks, imparting a smoky flavor into the pot’s contents. Mineral qualities are said to infuse into the dishes cooked in the clay pots from Egypt, Morocco and Mexico. Micacious clay pots are said to lend a “sweet” or “balanced” quality to whatever is cooked in them. As well, clay distributes heat evenly and then holds its temperature making it ideal for cooking low, and slow, and developing flavor; whereas, cast-iron or steel pots continue to heat up unless they’re moved away from their heat source. Enthusiasts often describe feeling an almost ‘primal connection’ to their food when they cook with clay. Although Wolfert is quick to dismiss the notion that clay pot cooking is anything more than a niche market for an impassioned group of cooks, some might beg to differ…

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The chef has moved!

I admit, I'm a slacker blogger! But, if you're really jonesing for me - you can read my latest article from The Crew Report on the Top 10 Kitchen Gadgets every chef needs! It's posted over at my new blog (which is still mid-rebuild)...

If you're a follower to my blog - you'll want to repoint your browser or reset your RSS feed to httpp://blog.thewaywardchef.com

And you can read my articles from The Crew Report here:

And, and, and... very soon, I'll be a regular food writer for their website www.YotCru.com


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

What’s next?

Since leaving the yachting world, I feel that my blog has been left adrift, without the wind to guide it. I just can’t write about what I cook and eat on a daily basis. Without the element of adventure, I'm feeling a bit lost. It’s not that I don’t have great fun in my kitchen - on the contrary - but there are a million blogs out there talking about what so-and-so has cooked up in their kitchen today… In yachting, everyday brought something different – like a massive storm, or the arrival of a famous guest just when all of my galley equipment decided to stop working, or the chance to shop in some crazy, local market. Some days were scary, some were frustrating, and many were insanely fun! But, I’ve grown accustomed to sleeping in my own bed at night, and not having nine roommates, and I don’t plan on returning to the yachting world again anytime soon. So, time to look for a new adventure, wouldn’t ya’ say?

I’ve been a complete recluse for the past four months writing a proposal and converting my Caribbean adventures into a book. The proposal writing process is a project in and of itself! It’s coming along – and I have a very persistent editor needling me and making sure that I don’t sit on it for yet another year and a half. But, it’s time to earn an income again and seek out some new inspiration! Some chefs find inspiration in manipulating food with machinery and chemicals, alla Grant Achatz or Hester Blumenthal; creating bubble gum flavored smoke, or peanut butter and jelly flavored spheres of indefinable ooze. That’s cool, but it’s never been what gets me excited when I’m playing in the kitchen. I draw a lot of inspiration from my environment - cooking on a yacht, perusing foreign markets, building a kitchen in a warehouse, or out in a vineyard, or even on a safari (which always sounded like grand fun to me and which I haven’t done – yet). I like the factor of unpredictability. It keeps me on my toes.

So where to next? That is the question…

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Simple pleasures

My Bottarga arrived! With the patience of a five-year-old on Christmas morning, I ripped the package right open. There, before me, was a gorgeous, soft, amber cake of salted, pressed mullet roe. It smelled divine, like the ocean: briny, slightly fishy, reminding me of salted anchovies. Never having eaten Bottarga before, this was not to be just another average day - this was an occasion!

In Sardinian cooking Bottarga is traditionally cooked in, or grated on top of, pasta. In Lebanon the Bottarga is sliced thin, drizzled with olive oil, garnished with a slice of garlic, and then eaten with soft triangles of pita bread. But, I decided to go with the Sardinian preparation – with fresh made pasta, of course.

I rolled, cut, and cooked about a half-pound of fresh linguine, minced a few cloves of garlic, a handful of parsley, and finely diced about two tablespoons of the Bottarga. Then, I poured a generous amount of good quality olive oil into my pan, added the garlic and about a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes and let that cook to infuse the oil. Once the aroma of garlic filled the kitchen, I added in the Bottarga and let it sizzle just long enough to release its flavor. My salivary glands were just beginning to get happy in anticipation. I added the cooked linguini and enough of the pasta cooking water to marry with the infused olive oil, tossing it well to create a light sauce. With its subtle, briny, oceany, and stinky funk, fresh grated Pecorino seemed like a winning choice to compliment the Bottarga.

Now, don't think me greedy. Although I could've been quite content keeping this little treasure to myself, I did invite a few girlfriends over for lunch...

I served the pasta alongside a crisp salad of raw artichokes, preserved meyer lemons, and Ricotta Salata.

Finally sitting to eat, I twisted the long tendrils of linguini around my fork, making sure each ribbon of pasta was sufficiently speckled with Bottarga. I took my first bite. Heaven. The Bottarga was much more subtle than I had imagined. It lent the perfect hint of briny-saltiness to the pasta, and melted in my mouth.

Lingering over the platter of pasta, working our way through a few bottles of vin gris, chatting about life, and gardening, and food, it was a perfect meal and a perfect day. Oh, and for dessert, we did what I would assume any proper Italian would. We tore apart big, crusty pieces of peasant bread and dragged them through the salty, Bottarga and garlic infused oil from the bottom of the pot and ate that too.

Mmmm, if life were only this sweet every day (I'd never fit into my pants again)...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Food For Thought

Every year, for the past 5 years, I've gotten this asinine idea in my head that I’m going to fast. How healthy of me, right? Last year, I tried fasting at a special “cleansing” resort in Thailand. Even surrounded by dozens of other fasters, I broke down after three days and gave into my desire for solid food. Why, I asked myself, would I come all the way to Thailand and not eat? Good question. And why, again, when I am in a beautiful location with a bounty of incredible produce and ingredients at my fingertips would I willingly choose to abstain from eating? I honestly don’t know. My nutritionist tells me that my hunger is a monster that I need to let die. But, I want food! Asking a chef not to eat is like a asking a racecar driver to slow down on the racetrack. Not possible.

I’ve tried distracting myself from thoughts of food. I fertilized and cultivated the patch in the backyard where my vegetable garden will soon be. But, vegetables = food. I go on walks: past my favorite coffee shop, past my favorite restaurant. I read books - about food. Even the Internet is not safe! Last night, I’d punched in my credit card number and clicked “purchase” before I even realized what I was doing. And now, as I slurp my way through veggie broths and green juices, easing myself back into the world of solid food, I eagerly await a shipment of Sardinian Bottarga di Muggine. I think I’m going to put this whole fasting notion to rest, once and for all. I sense a plate of Spaghetti alla Bottarga in my future…

Friday, April 24, 2009


The ground beneath me explodes as I rip a handful of weeds from the rich, dark soil. A lacy netting of roots clings for dear life to a giant dirt clod. I knock the extra dirt off on a nearby rock and throw the weed into my rapidly expanding weed pile. I’ve never gardened before today! In fact, I’ve killed almost every plant I’ve ever owned – which really consists of only about four. Ever. In my entire life. Last week I killed a pot of tulips given to me as a house-warming gift by my step-mom. I completely forgot to water them. Plants don’t like it when you forget to water them.

Fragrant purple lilacs drip from the bushes on my street; cherry and quince trees explode with pink puffs; the apple and peach orchards look like fields of popped corn – pass the butter! The farmers market stalls are filled with transplant seedlings for tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and baby lettuces. The first asparagus of the season has arrived at the local Co-op. It’s amazing being so close to so many local, yummy edibles. On the yachts, almost everything is imported. Too often, the produce is shipped thousands of miles across the ocean to wherever in the Caribbean, or Mexico, or elsewhere, the yachts are provisioning. It’s not always feasible or possible, when you’re responsible for feeding 18 people a day breakfast, lunch, dinner, and cocktails, to make it to the little farmers market on some tiny island to shop everyday. And, those special people that own those multi-million dollar yachts, or are paying thousands of dollars per day to charter one, don’t like to here the word ‘no’ when they request organic white peaches. In February. In the Caribbean. Uggg. But to be back on land again, hooray! It’s like e venerable, local feast at my fingertips! I love being so close to my food source again! I want to grow things, to eat, but nothing in my previous 30+ years of big city living and the past four years spent on the water has prepared me for the agrarian utopia I now live in. So, how do I begin?

I planted 4 pots of herbs today; mint, lemon balm (for tea), lemon thyme, and savory. My landlord is an arborist, so my house is hidden away in a little forest of beautiful trees and shrubs, which means that I don’t have much in the way of direct sunlight. But, I do have a small, sunny patch in my backyard, near the fence. So I’m thinking of putting a few tomato plants, maybe some sort of winter squash, like acorns, butternut or pumpkin and lots more herbs, maybe some lettuces; my very first edible garden. Let’s hope I don’t kill it!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The New "New" Thing

“Love-matches are made by people who are content, for a month of honey, to condemn themselves to a life of vinegar.” ~The Countess of Blessington, 1789-1849

I read recently that bartering, though it’s been around for centuries, is the new ‘new’ thing and with the economy falling out from underneath us, the online bartering community has exploded with new websites popping up everyday. Craigslist.org’s barter section has more than doubled in just the past year! My cooking skills have been a handy bartering tool in the past. I’ve gotten discounted dental work in exchange for catering a baby shower, some yoga lessons and even tax advice, but that was some time ago and I decided recently that it was time to put my bartering skills to work again.

I’ve been wanting to make vinegar for quite some time now but it’s not as simple as just leaving a bottle of wine out in the open air – just like making cheese is not simply leaving a carton of milk out on the counter for a month – wine needs the right bacteria to make a good tasting vinegar. Many of the articles that I had read on vinegar making suggested buying a vinegar ‘mother’ or starter (essentially a ‘live’ vinegar containing the right bacteria for a good flavor) from a beer brewing supplier, while others recommended starting with a live vinegar such as Bragg’s Live Apple Cider Vinegar and then adding water and juice and allowing time for the cultures to grow before building it up with wine or more juice. One article described a complicated arrangement of garden hoses and water buckets to let C02 out of the soon-to-be-vinegar, without letting any oxygen in, and then lots of mixing and toiling, while another involved making fruit juice from fresh fruit, converting that to alcohol and then to vinegar and so on. It seemed rather complicated for a process that has probably existed for over a thousand years and most likely did begin with someone forgetting to cork their wine vessel.

So, I decided to talk to a family friend who happens to be a wine importer. If anyone is going to know about vinegar, I imagine it would be someone in the wine business, right? Right. You can only imagine my delight when I found out he heads up a super-secret vinegar society on the west coast. A whole group of people who gather together to make and taste and talk about vinegar? Awesome. He lead me to the back of his store, where, in a dark recess, underneath the stairs was a very large, glass jug filled with a deep purple liquid. “That, my dear, is made from a 109-year old balsamic vinegar starter from Modena, Italy, brought to the United States by Benedictine Monks. The starter is kept in a monastery in a location that I cannot reveal. I can’t even tell you how I received it or the Monk who gave it to me could be excommunicated from the church by The Pope, himself!”. “Wow, a super-secret vinegar starter – so sought after that a monk risked his life to give you some?”. My mind raced. I could distract my little wine-importing-friend while someone else heisted the bottle for me. But that wouldn’t be very nice. I could ask to use the restroom and siphon some off of the top of the bottle. He probably wouldn’t notice. But that isn’t nice either, and karmic retribution is a bitch sometimes… Hmmm, “would you be willing to trade something for a little starter?” I appealed to his Italian heritage, “how about some jars of homemade mostarda and homemade blood-orange marmalade?”. “Ok”, he said. “Come back tomorrow, at midnight. The exchange must take place in complete secrecy. No one can know. And bring an empty wine bottle with a cork.” Hmmm, an empty wine bottle. Now where am I ever going to find one of those?

I ran home, looking over my shoulder to make sure there were no Priory of Sion followers after me - but this is Ashland, Oregon. I’m more worried about the Prius of Sion followers. A non-violent environmental fringe group dedicated to electric cars, green energy and tofurkey. So, I returned the next night, under the veil of darkness, with my jars of homemade condiments and an empty bottle in hand…

“Hold the funnel”, my friend told me, as he poured the giant jug into my little wine bottle. Glug-glug-glug. “Doesn’t that make you just dream of salad?”, he said, as the aroma of the tangy, jewel colored liquid filled the air. I corked up the bottle, slipped it inside my coat, waved goodbye and slid out the backdoor. Walking home, my eyes couldn’t help but watch the sidewalk, taking careful steps so as not to fall.

I poured half of the contents of the wine bottle into a 1 gallon glass jug and added a bottle of red wine, gave it a good shake to aerate it, as my friend told me to do, tied a piece of cheesecloth over the top and stuck it in the pantry where it will breath and grow and turn my wine into more yummy vinegar. Then, I slit an avocado in half, drizzled it with a little bit of the remaining vinegar and a sprinkle of Maldon Sea Salt, grabbed a spoon and had a little feast. My mouth watered. There was nothing offensive or obtrusive about the flavor. It was sharp, tangy and good.


And what's so wrong with a life of vinegar?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mostarda di Rogue Valley

The signs that spring has sprung are everywhere out here in Southern Oregon. The warm sun melts the frosting-like snow glazing the Syskiyous. Knock kneed calves suckle from their momma’s teets and wobble around the pastures as though they’re on stilts, baby lambs and kids graze on the fresh green grass, pregnant buds are ready to burst forth from the trees. But it’s March, a typically fickle month almost anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere and tomorrow it might just snow. But I know spring is just about here and before long the farmers markets will be bursting with the Rogue Valley’s bounty. And I can’t wait…

I’ve decided to stick around for a while. Jessie, my Caribbean cheese making friend, and I have moved into a great little house right in the heart of downtown Ashland. Our humble little abode is just a few blocks from the Ashland Food Co-op, farmers market and the food mecca that is downtown. And, since I’m not working 100-hours a week, I feel like I’m practically on vacation – and Jessie and I are getting into plenty of trouble in the kitchen.

As I write this, Jessie is patiently stirring a pot of whole milk, bringing it up to temperature for a batch of lemon-blood orange farmers cheese to pair with the homemade mostarda jam and blood orange marmalade that I just made today, and the loaf of rye bread that’ll be ready to bake off tomorrow. Jessie’s being a little mopey though, I think she’s disappointed that she didn’t get to milk the cows herself, but desperate times call for desperate measures and we were having a cheese making attack so we settled for an $8.00 per 1/2 gallon bottle of Straus Family Creamery Organic Whole Milk. If you have to buy pasteurized milk from the grocery store for home cheese making, Straus is definitely the way to go (but ouch, what a price tag!). She did find a source for raw cows milk, but it’s a ways from here – so we may go pick some up after hitting the Grants Pass farmers market this weekend. Jess has promised that we would make fresh mozzerella together. Life back on land has its adjustments…

Blood Orange Marmalade

Mostarda is a traditional condiment served with bollito misto (boiled meats) in Northern Italy. It’s made from several types of fresh or dried fruit that’s been almost candied in a combination of wine, mustard essence (sold at pharmacies in Italy, it’s so pungent it will literally burn your sinuses out if you smell it) and sugar. Sweet, pungent and spicy? sounds like chutney to me! What’s not to love? I’m not even sure when it was that I first tried mostarda, but I’ve been thinking about it for years now – and, oh, where would I be without Google?

I read several recipes for mostarda and decided to use Mario Battali's recipe for Mostarda di Cremona as my jumping off point. It is full of wonderful dried fruit; figs, apples, cherries, and apricots as well as prepared mustard and mustard seeds and lots of red wine. The recipe called for “prepared mustard”. Ever walk into a store and see a jar that just says “prepared mustard”? There are about 300 different mustards at my local Shop&Kart! So, I went for the Dijon, and a bottle of Nero D’avola wine. But the mostarda turned out too runny (which could have to do with the fact that I'm eagerly awaiting the moving truck from NYC with all of my cookbooks, cooking gadgets, etc. and don't even have a measuring cup at the moment) and I couldn’t imagine the dried fruit would really absorb all of the liquid it was sitting in. So I decided to cook the concoction down a bit, which made the sauce velvety and rich and softened the dried fruit, and then I added just a small amount of pectin.

Now that it’s jelled, it’s turned into a deep purple, deliciously winey jam with a nice, pungent bite from the mustard, lush and sweet from the chunks of dried fruit and a fresh bite here and there from the addition of a very under-ripe pear (as the original recipe specified). Ok, it's a break from tradition - but wow, is it ever good! The mostarda would be heaven with Jessie’s camembert or even one of the great blue’s she’s whipped up – except that I think I’ve eaten it all. Oops. I guess I’ll have to settle for the Finocchiona sausage from Salumi Salami in Seattle, and the fresh farmers curds we're making right now. I can’t wait to attempt a fresh fruit mostarda when the stone fruits start hitting the farm stands in the summer but I’ll have to find someone who can smuggle me the mustard essential oils from Italy. Mmmm, so many good things await…

Mostarda Jam di Rogue Valley
Adapted from Mostarda di Cremona by Mario Batali

Ingredients (this makes a big batch!)

8 dried mission figs, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 unripe pear, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup dried Turkish apricots, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup sundried cherries
1 cup dried apples, cut into 1/4 inch julienne
3 cups sugar
3 cups dry red wine
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup mustard seeds
1/2 packet of Pomona’s Universal Pectin combined with monocalcium phosphate (included in the pectin box) and water (per directions)


In a saucepan, heat sugar and wine together until boiling. Lower heat and stir in mustard and seeds and add figs, pear, apricots, cherries, apples and pectin. Simmer gently until dried fruit just begins to soften and is beginning to plump,10 to 15 minutes. Add vinegar. Test jell by chilling a spoon in the freezer then drip a small amount of jam onto the cold spoon – it should jell, and will continue to thicken as it cools. Carefully ladle into sterilized 8 oz. jars and close. Allow to sit out overnight, refrigerate the next day (or eat!).

Thursday, March 12, 2009


A student asked me the other day if I thought a food processor was a necessary item in the kitchen. Personally, I can’t live without my food processor, I use it all the time for shredding vegetables for coleslaw, grinding breadcrumbs from the heels of my loaves of bread, grating gruyere for mac’n’cheese. It’s an essential piece of equipment for a creamy, chicken liver and cognac pate or smoked salmon mousse. I guaranteed my student that come the holidays, she’ll be so happy to have a food-processor.

The question that proceeded was, why not use a blender? The answer to this might seem obvious if you’re comfortable in the kitchen and cook often, but as I begin teaching a second series of “Confident Cooking”, a 10-week course on kitchen basics, I realize that there are a lot of people out there that are totally new to the kitchen and it is a big step for them just to be cooking. The student that asked me the question has been on a very limited diet for 10-years due to some health concerns and this is the first time in a decade she’s enjoyed cooking and eating the way she wants. I have another student whose spouse past away 3-years ago and they’ve been using only a microwave ever since. So, it's interesting to me to find out what drove them into the kitchen and be able to help them with even just the basics. So, blender vs. food processor: first and foremost, a blender has a tall narrow jar meant for more liquid or moist ingredients (like fruit) to be able to move around. A blender, essentially, is meant for pureeing and it will puree much smoother than a food-processor ever will, whereas a food-processor has a wide bowl and can chop, grind and slice and can process dry and moist foods – but too much liquid and it’ll leak. So, they’re two different tools for several different jobs.

When choosing a food-processor, there are really only two companies worth considering and those are KitchenAid or Cuisinart. KitchenAid has a reputation for quality products, their food processors look like race cars compared to the utilitarian, boxy design of Cuisinart, circa 1962. But, I bought my Cuisinart long before the hot-rod red KitchenAid even hit the shelves, and I don’t plan on replacing it anytime soon. It’s minimalist and simple with just two buttons – Pulse/Stop and Go and I hate gadgets with too many buttons. Do you really know the difference between Frappe and Puree on your blender? The only other button that I whish mine had was one that read, “wash dishes”. Sometimes less is more. But I don’t like the feed tube on the Cuisinart. It’s poorly designed; there are two many small gaps and pockets for bits of things to get stuck. According to Consumer Reports, the KitchenAid scores slightly higher for it’s ability to puree, but I used my dad’s less-than-a-year-old KitchenAid recently and the handle fell apart (the plastic literally just fell right off and broke). Apparently it’s a problem that they are aware of and they’ll replace the bowl if you contact them. There are pro’s and con’s for both, and I probably won’t be buying another food-processor for at least a decade – but the KitchenAid does rate highest in Consumer Reports and Cooks Illustrated. So, if I did buy another, well, a hot-rod red food-processor would look nice with my granite countertops.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Curry: An Essay

"This curry was like a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony that I'd once heard - especially the last movement, with everything screaming and banging 'Joy.' It stunned, it made one fear great art. My father could say nothing after the meal." ~Anthony Burgess

Curry, it’s a simple word, yet varied and complex in meaning and richly seeded in history, with roots in India but widely eaten throughout Southeast Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, curry’s influence can be seen all around the world! The word “curry” is an Anglicized word from the Tamil* word “kari,” meaning ‘sauce’ (Tamil is an ancient Indian language that’s existed for almost 2 millennia!). In its most generic form, ‘curry’ usually refers to any Indian spiced, stewed dish made of meat, fish or vegetables. The spice blends that make up curry are known as ‘masala’, the most commonly known being the bright yellow Indian-inspired curry powder found in the supermarket, containing heavy amounts of turmeric and cumin. Another more commonly known masala is ‘Garam Masala’, a spice blend commonly used in Northern India, consisting of a mix of sweet spices including cinnamon, cardamom and coriander among other things; and ‘Masala Chai’, a blend of sweet spices usually combined with black tea to make Chai tea. The range of spice blends that make up true masala are as diverse and wide ranging as the Asian subcontinent itself, as masala recipes vary from family to family and are often passed down through generations! Pretty neat, huh?

Indian cooking is really regional and there are so many different styles. Northern Indian cuisine uses yogurt, cream, ghee*, and other dairy products in their cooking. The dishes include meat and poultry, are mildly spiced, and accompanied by pilafs and a variety of breads such as paratha*, naan* and chapatti*. Southern Indian cooking includes vegetarian and fish dishes, uses pungent spices and coconut milk and are most commonly served with rice or rice combined with lentils to make pancakes, fritters or breads such as dosas*, uttapams* and vadas*. Southern Indian cuisine also tends to have a soupier consistency compared to the thicker, creamier dishes of the North.

Religion also plays an integral part in the regional food of India, as the country is the birthplace of two of the worlds great religions, Hinduism and Buddhism. Around 80 percent of the population is Hindu, while Muslims are the largest religious minority. Other religious groups include Sikhs, Christians, Buddhist, Jains, Parsees and Jews. Many Hindus, Buddhists and Jainists are strict vegetarians, in accordance with the ideal that they should avoid harm, violence and suffering. Which, in turn, has led to a rich and abundant array of vegan and vegetarian dishes that play an integral part of Indian culture. The Mughal Empire introduced goat and lamb and brought the influences of Persian and Mediterranean cuisine to the Indian table.

Since ancient times and the very beginnings of commerce, the spice trade has been an important commercial activity and played an integral role in the spread of Indian spices and flavors throughout the Orient and the West. Spices were considered rare and precious products, treasured for the medicinal uses as well as for use in perfumes, dyes and cooking. The spice trade, originally, was made up of a series of interconnected trade routes across the Asian continent, connecting East, South and Western Asia with the Mediterranean world, Europe and Africa. But, as marine transportation and navigational tools advanced, starting in the 15th Century, European explorers traveled the world by ocean in search of new trading partners and goods; spices being among one of the most prized trading goods, next to silver and gold!

With the development of maritime transportation and expansion of trade routes, also came the proliferation of religion - further expanding the influences of the Indian kitchen; not just into the cuisines of West brought home by early Christian missionaries, but in the cuisines of South East Asia as Buddhism made its journey southward.

At the crossroads of the East-West sea routes, Thailand and Indonesia were easily influenced by the cuisine of many other countries. And with an abundant supply of fish and seafood, as well as fruits and vegetables, the people took what was best from India, China and the Middle East and infused it with their indigenous ingredients to create a cooking style totally their own. Curry spices were combined with kefir, galangal and lemongrass and beaten to a paste. Ghee and diary products were replaced with coconut oil and coconut milk.

Driven by increased trade routes, Arab traders slowly converted Indonesia from Hindu to Muslim, adding new flavors and aromas to an already rich culinary landscape. Kebabs, a Middle-Eastern dish of marinated meats threaded onto a stick, becoming satay, goat and lamb became their staple meats. Chinese merchants made their own contribution to the South East Asian melting pot bringing with them the wok, and stir-frying, noodles and soybeans. And as the Dutch waged war over the Spice Islands, they too brought flavors from home importing carrots, cauliflower, cabbage and string beans, potatoes and corn, adding to an already diverse and plentiful array of vegetables.

The advent of slavery into Africa further expanded the influences of the Indian kitchen as Dutch traders brought slaves from India and South East Asia to do domestic work as well as work the fields. The slaves brought with them the flavors of their homeland, which quickly infused with the indigenous ingredients of African cuisine and eventually developed into a cuisine all its own.
In the quest for closer and cheaper places to find and grow spices, Europeans brought African slaves to the Caribbean. The warm climate mimicked that of India and became an ideal place to grow spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg, cloves and ginger originally imported from Asia. With the abolishment of slavery, Europeans imported indentured workers from India, more cooking styles were introduced and a new cuisine was born, bred of the influences of the Anglo, African and Indian kitchens.

From curry-spiced chocolates to chai crème brulee, today, the far-reaching influences of India can hardly be missed. In the culinary capitals of London, Paris, New York and San Francisco, the world’s hottest chefs are quick to reach to the Indian pantry to add a taste of the exotic to even the most refined dishes. Though we may look at these embellishments as haute, modern and new, the pervasiveness of Indian spices in global cuisine is almost as old as cooking itself.

~ ~ ~

I’m really not sure at what point it was in my life that I became completely enthralled by curry. Was it as a child when my mom would make a thick, sweet and spicey yellow chicken curry served with bowls of chopped pineapple, shredded coconut, raisins and nuts to top it with? I’ve never seen curry served like that since, but it is one of my earliest happy food memories. Or was it when I first moved to New York City and my friend, Diane, took me for a gander down Curry Row on East 6th Street in the East Village where one could gorge themselves on curries, na’an and lassi’s at countless Christmas light adorned, tabla playing Indian restaurants for around $10? The going tale at the time was that all of the restaurants were actually serviced by one kitchen… Or was it the aromas of heaven that I smelled while interning at the upscale Indian restaurant, Devi? I’m not sure, but some of the best things in life are happy accidents and however it came about, I can now say that I am a loyal devotee of the Indian kitchen and its influences. I love the aroma of dozens of spices simmering together in a rich sauce; I savor the play of sweet, spicy and sour on my tongue, and the adore the fluffly, warm breads and crunchy papadams and chutneys.

In honor of my devotion to Annapurna, the Hindu goddess of food and cooking, I am holding a 3-day curry workshop at Alysson’s of Ashland in Ashland, Oregon! We’ll be exploring curries and how they’ve evolved from the Indian kitchen and spread all around the world.

February 28 – India
o Shrimp Vindaloo
o South Indian Lamb Curry
o Lemon Rice
o Lentil Dal with Fresh Ginger, Green Chiles and Cilantro
o Raita, Cilantro Chutney
o Mango Lassi

March 7 – Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand
o Kao Soi – Chiang Mai Style Curry Noodles with Vegetables
o Indonisian Chicken Rendang
o Malaysian Hot and Sour Fish Curry
o Sambal Asam – Malaysian Chile Sauce
o Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango

March 14 – South Africa and the Caribbean
o Cape Malay Fish Biryani
o South African Butter Chicken
o “Doubles” – Trinidad Street Food, Flat Breads filled with Curried Chickpeas and Topped with a variety of Chutneys and Pepper Sauce
o Fresh Mango Chutney
o Tamarind Chutney

Quick Curry Powder:

3 Tablespoons Coriander Seeds
1 1/2 Tablespoon Cumin Seeds
1 Teaspoon Chili Flakes
1 teaspoon Fenugreek
1 Tablepoon Ground Turmeric

In a small sauté pan toast coriander, cumin, fenugreek and chili flakes until aromatic and just beginning to toast – about 4 minutes. Pour contents of pan into a spice grinder and add tumeric. Grind into a fine powder. Store in a tightly seeled jar for up to 6 weeks (it will last longer, but it will begin to lose it’s flavor).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Got milk?

"How can you be expected to govern a country that has 246 kinds of cheese?" ~Charles de Gaulle

Firm but smooth, nutty with notes of rich butter fat, a touch of salt and a faint but sharp tinge of acidity – just enough to trigger the salivary glands and make my mouth water. God, and to think you can actually make this stuff in your own kitchen! I feel like Eve biting into the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden as I lick a yellow and blue-flecked smear from the tip of my finger. It’s so good, it must be wrong, or illegal, or something. “Help yourself, but the blue needs a little more time”, Jessie says to me as my eyes roll into the back of my head and I slip into a state of food euphoria.

After moving out to Ashland a few months ago and having her dreams dashed of pursuing an internship at Rogue Creamery due to a lack of a dairy science degree, Jess did what any self-respecting, dejected, depressed, food-loving girl would do, dug into a quart of Haagen Daz. She went to the local library and checked out a copy of Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carrol, ordered the cultures, starters, rennets and molds online, milked some goats at a local farm, and made some cheese. A goat blue, goat camembert and cow blue – to be exact. Now, this milking thing may be commonplace for all you country folk, but I’m from New York City and I’ve never milked anything except for, maybe, a hangover. Truth be told, if I were in Jessie’s shoes, I would’ve gone for the Haagen Daz and a chick flick to drown my sorrows – so I’m bowled over by her gusto!

Intrigued by the whole idea of cheese making, I’ve made a few in my day. But only fresh cheeses like queso fresco and fresh ricotta, and with only store bought milk. And though I’ve been curious to delve more into the world of home cheese making, I’ve always been under the false impression that to do anything beyond basic, fresh cheese one had to have access to a farmhouse, refitted with a sterile, stainless steel room full of lots of expensive laboratory equipment, set against the bucolic English country side, and with a cold, musty and ancient cellar dug into a nearby mountain, ala Neil’s Yard, for which to age the cheese. But as we cut through the white, bloomy, soft rind of the camembert, the area closest to the rind oozing and soft, the center chalky white, slightly firm but still creamy, I realize the err of my thinking. Jessie made all of these cheeses using basic, household kitchen equipment and the cheeses have been ripening just fine in a standard home refrigerator in her house, since early December.

From the moment she showed me her little cheese project, I was determined to stick around this neck-of-the-woods just so that I could taste the final result. The goat blue is firm, a pale, gold color, streaked with mold. It looks a lot like Cabrales, but much more mild in flavor. It’s young, that distinctive bluey tang hasn’t fully developed, but it’s well on its way. The cow blue is creamy, almost the texture of a brie, salty and mild, with pockets of blue-grey mold. But, the goat camembert is really the piece de resistance. What I’m most struck by though is not just the differences in the flavors of the different cheeses, but the differences between the store bought milk and the milk from the goats that Jessie milked herself. The cheese made from the fresh goats milk is so much more nuanced than the cheese made from the store bought milk. Though it’s mild, the flavors are complex, with layers of butterfat, grass and hay. The rich, velvety smooth and creamy texture round out it’s tart acidity. I’m totally, thoroughly impressed and amazed.

Jessie’s is on the hunt for some cows to milk and, in the meantime, has whipped up a batch of cow camembert (sadly, without me!), which won’t be ready for another month or so. So, I suppose this means I need to go apartment hunting so that I can make sure the cheese is ripening properly…

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Come on in, the water’s fine…

When some people are nervous, they get a frog in their throat, or a cat gets their tongue, or they get butterflies in their stomach.

Me, I get sea bass.

Yes, that’s right, a whole entire sea bass flopping around in my gut like a fish out of water! It’s very disconcerting, feeling its tail all the way up in my larynx as it flips and squirms. My heart flutters, my stomach twists in a knot. My palms get sweaty, I chew my bottom lip… Nary a dish have I served without a maelstrom of inner-chaos. And put me in front of a crowd, you know, for the ubiquitous thanking of the chef after a dinner party – and I just about want to curl up in a ball and die! So, when I’m asked to teach the first of a 10-class series at Alysson’s Kitchen in Bend, Oregon for 18 people on the foundations of cooking – well, I jump at the chance! Because what fun is life if it’s not just a little bit terrifying?

That sea bass is tossing and turning in my belly as I make the snowy, 3-hour drive to what is sure to be my untimely and utterly humiliating death. I arrive 20-minutes before the class begins - excellent, plenty of time to prepare. Mary and Krista, my assistants and life-savers this evening, have prepped all of the ingredients for the recipes and have the kitchen ready to go – fortunately, they know I’m running on a tight schedule. Mary, a real-estate agent who loves to cook, assists with the classes so that she can glean cooking knowledge and get paid at the same time. Wise, wise woman. Krista, a cute, sandy-blonde with pixy-like features runs the wine department at Alysson’s and also loves to cook, but with her waif-ish figure, I’m suspect to how much she likes to eat – that is, until I catch her smearing slices of baguette with thick swaths of triple crème brea! I quickly read through the course outline – brown stock, white stock, crème olga and French onion soup – easy enough.

I’m not here 10 minutes when the students begin to trickle in and as I look around, I wonder how I’m going to start the class. The room begins to fill, and, as is the story of my life, I feel as though I’m standing on a precipice, looking into the abyss, wondering what the hell I’m going to do. But I do what I usually do – and what I do best, that is, take a deep breath and dive in! Winding my way through the tables where the students have begun to gather and sit, I greet them each, one by one. I expected and older crowd and mostly women, but the group really runs the gamut - old and young, men and women. There are two mother/son pairs, a mother/daughter pair, 2 young women about to be betrothed that think cooking might be a handy skill to learn before they enter the world of domesticated bliss. A 14-year-old boy that just loves to cook. I crave a glass of wine to pacify the polyprionidae swimming in my gut – but that will have to wait.

As I learn more about my new students, my fear slowly begins to morph into excitement. I talk to everyone and learn why they’ve chosen to take the program. I ask them to rate themselves as cooks, 1 through 10. There are a few who sheepishly admit that they are –3, a couple of 7’s and 8’s, but most people rate themselves about mid-way at 5. Their scores will be re-evaluated at the end of 10 weeks. I quickly develop an affinity for these strangers as I learn more about them. I want to be able to answer their questions and help them become better cooks!

I talk them through brown stocks – roasting bones and vegetables to get a deeper, richer flavor, as we make a roasted beef stock and a roasted vegetable stock. Then we move onto the white stock – un-roasted chicken stock and vegetable stock. Krista and Mary have samples out of various dried bouillons, canned broths and pre-made demi-glaze. We pass the samples in little cups around the room for the class to taste and compare to the home-made version.

It’s funny to be thinking and dissecting something that has become such a motor skill to me. Stock, I make them all the time, without giving it any thought. I like to keep my cleaned mushroom trimmings in a bag in the freezer and when the bag is full, I dump them in a pot with some wine and water and make a mushroom stock. I keep shrimp, crab and lobster shells too, for the same purpose. Roasted chicken carcass, into a pot – duck and turkey too. “These recipes are a jumping off point”, I tell the class. “You don’t have to follow them exactly. Keep it simple, it doesn’t have to be a production – because whatever you make from scratch, even if it’s not perfect – is 100 times better than if it came from a can!”.

We breeze through the French Onion Soup and the Crème Olga – though I find the Crème Olga to be a bit bland and I discretely salt the hell out of it and try to jazz it up with more black pepper before it’s served. We talk about salt and the importance of seasoning and tasting as you go. I mention the cardinal rule of the kitchen, she who cooks, doesn’t have to clean! And I mention that there’ll be a pot-scrubbing class next week for all of the spouses that are absent tonight. I share a few stories of being browbeaten by French chefs and cooking on the high seas. By the end of the class, I’ve forgotten about the big fish that was doing laps in my belly only a few hours prior. I’m having fun! I get to tell stories and talk about food and cooking, unrestrained, for hours on end! Who knew?!

As it turns out, there’ll be another chef taking over the Bend classes, but as of Tuesday, I’ll be teaching the same 10-week course at Alysson’s Kitchen in Ashland, from now through March! Next week, I’ll be teaching a hands-on Italian cooking class, including pasta making – my favorite! And, well, there are a few other fun things in the works – but you’ll just have to keep reading to find out what they are!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

All roads lead to the kitchen...

“WRU?” (where are you)

The text popped up on my cell phone just as I de-boarded the plane at Medford airport in Southern Oregon, my dad and step-mom waiting for me inside with my winter coat and gloves. The text was from my friend, Jessie. We’d met at a bar in Turks and Caicos two years earlier and spent a week, with another friend, Tress, singing karaoke and soaking up the sun.

Ok, correction (Jessie is forcing me to write this): I sang karaoke – Tress and Jessie said it was the worst they’d ever heard and were afraid I’d get us all kicked off the island. Apparently my rendition of “Killing Me Softly” wasn’t quite Lauren Hill-y enough.

But I digress.

Jessie had been living in Colorado when we first met, then she worked in St. Thomas for a while before heading up to a farm in British Columbia to learn about organic farming. Ah yes, someone as wayward and with as much wanderlust as me. We’ve kept in touch by emailing each other every few months or so to get the stats on where each other might be.

“Just landed in S O, U?”, I replied. “NW, M2! Where?”

It’s funny how life is sometimes, giving you just what you need, when you need it. As luck would have it, Jessie is now living near Medford and only about 5 minutes from my parents’ house, of all places, working as an amateur cheesemaker, vegan baker and babycaretaker. It was a totally unexpected, but much appreciated surprise…

Through Jessie, I was invited for beer and pizza at the home of some newly made friends.
I drove out through the winding back roads of Ashland, twisting and turning through the frozen, silvery fields and cow pastures, past barns and horses, cows and sheep and down a bumpy, unpaved road. In a converted yellow barn, a welcoming group gathered around the stove. The house smelled grainy and yeasty and warm. Pots brewed away – one with the beginning of a Heffeweisen, another containing what would soon become Pale Ale.

I knew that I’d found the coolest people in town when “beer and pizza” night meant brewing our own beer and making the pizzas from scratch!

Grains were "sparged"

and "malted"

and "mashed"

and "hopped"

Everyone had a task. Along with the Weissen and the Pale Ale would also be a Double Bock and a Blonde.

We drank sparkling dandelion wine made last summer, hard cider and plumb wine made last fall and beer made just a few weeks ago.

Jessie brought a wheel of goat Camembert she had whipped up in her kitchen, which we ate with bread made from the grain used to make beer, homemade hummus and homemade pita bread. I made a chicken liver pate and a smoked salmon pate – which I, naively, served with some store bought bread – blasphemy!

Jeff and Michelle, our totally awesome hosts, had made pizza dough and there were bowls full of toppings.

And, eventually, there was beer.

Cooking with friends, making everything from scratch, being close to the source - I'd say it was healing, if it weren’t so gluttonous!

Smoked Salmon Pate

8 oz. Smoked Salmon (preferably “hot” smoked), skin removed and meat flaked
8 oz. Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 Teaspoon fresh Rosemary, finely minced
1 teaspoon fresh Thyme, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Juice of half a lemon

Place salmon, shallot and garlic in food processor and process until finely minced. Add remaining ingredients and process into a smooth paste. It's best refrigerated overnight so the flavors make merry together. I serve it with rye crisps and slices of dark Danish rye bread…

Monday, January 12, 2009

A really long nap...

Non omne quod nitet aurum est.
~Chaucer, 1380

I rally myself from bed before dawn and pull on my chefs jacket, my hair piled in a knot atop my head, I look in the mirror as my fingers work each mother-of-pearl button through its hole, past the blue embroidery spelling out my name in script on the left plaque, up to the blue piped edging of the Mao collar. I fold up the oversized cuffs, smooth the front of the jacket and as I look in the mirror I think about how hard I’ve worked to earn this jacket, to learn my trade, to become a chef. 10 years, I think to myself, 10, long years. A thought scratches at my brain; today, this jacket feels like a nun’s habit. I laugh. Who knew that when I’d signed on to this job I’d inadvertently be committing myself to what often times feels like a life of silence, servitude and celibacy? Who knew? I watch the dawn break over the rugged Mexican terrain and swallow back the lump in my throat as I warm up the ovens and turn on the light above the stove, for what I know will be the last meal that I will cook aboard the yacht.

Perhaps it was the fibrous, bitter, out of season asparagus; the rock hard, orange and green Roma tomatoes; spotty iceberg lettuce; mealy apples and limp, yellowing celery stacked against the walls at the grocery store that pushed me over the edge. Perhaps it was withdrawals from my addiction to artisan cheese, chewy baguettes and spicy baby arugula. Perhaps it was the monastic lifestyle, and living amongst a bunch of married couples and without even any boys to flirt with – and without the direct phone line to God or that guaranteed entry into Heaven that a true nun would’ve had. But whatever, the telltale signs of burnout have been lapping at my ankles for months now. My body’s been screaming that it’s too much. Too much stress, too little sleep. Just too much. And after losing my appetite for a solid month and spending half a day in Mexican hospital feeling as though a forest fire was raging in my belly – I’ve had to make probably one of the most agonizing decision I’ve ever had to make in my entire life – and that is, to leave the yacht. I know. I know. I feel like my heart has been carved out of my chest and served on a platter. I had meditated on a different outcome, prayed for a different outcome in fact, but, my stomach hath spoken and I dutifully must follow its orders. It is not an easy decision by any means.

I am tremendously grateful for all that Mrs. and Mr. X have done for me. I absolutely adore and admire them both. I want to be like them when I grow up. Not because of the big yacht, or the fab lifestyle. But rather, because they embrace life, because they jump in with childlike abandon and, as the people who know them know, they are genuine and they are rebels at heart – and to me, those are always admirable qualities. I also have the utmost respect for the crew and anyone willing to navigate the treacherous seas of crew management. I’m hard pressed to think of 10 people that I truly love and would want to eat, sleep, live, work and spend every waking moment with for months and months on end. No wonder pirates are always made out to be such unsavory characters – you’d be pretty cranky too if you lived aboard a damp, rickety boat with 20 or 30 others with poor bodily hygiene and a penchant for rum. It’s a wonder there hasn’t been more blood shed in the mega yacht industry!

My tenor in the yachting industry has been quite the adventure and has given me a lifetime of stories to tell. But alas, I need my own bed for which to spread the Sunday NY Times across, a home to walk around in my pajamas until noon, some earth to stick my hands in and a long morning run or I get pretty damn cranky. I’ve decided to take a sabbatical from the world of the gainfully employed, and what better timing! I’ll be trading in my chef’s knife for a pen, channeling my inner Hemingway and soothing my aching, overworked bones out in Key West for a while. But not first without a visit home and a chance to sit around and do absolutely nothing…

The blog will continue. This is not the end, but the beginning of a new adventure… And now, hey, I’ll actually have time to write!

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