The new version of our Ratio app is now available, with a thrilling new feature. You can create your own custom ratios. For instance, while the 5-to-3 flour-to-water ratio, or 60% water, is the standard baker’s percentage for bread, many prefer a wetter dough, as high as 86% for the no-knead doughs. Now you can create and save your own ratios. You can devise your own specific recipes and save them to your recipe library. And of course the app still functions as an all-purpose recipe calculator for 32 fundamental preparations. Simply type in the amount of one ingredient and the app automatically tabulates the amounts of all the ingredients. Scale recipes up or down as needed. Want pancakes but have only one egg? Type that in to tabulate the correct amount of flour and 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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A post-dinner reenactment of the crime now known as the “Rack of Lamb with Lettuce-Butter Sauce” debacle. Photo by iPhone. For the past several years my cousin Rob has brought me and his band of merry sailors to race in the Key West Regatta. I cook dinner for about 20 every night—sailors, spouses, itinerant friends, and other marauders who haunt the waterfront by day. What I do, basically, is what one cook or another at restaurants throughout the country has to do daily: Feed the staff with what’s on hand. Happily, I don’t have to then work the line all night, and then clean my station, and then store the leftover food. As if by magic, a half hour after dinner, someone has made the kitchen spotless. But it did get me thinking about family 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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I’m headed south today for my annual boondoggle, cooking for my cousin and his sailing crew at the annual regatta there, ten days reserved solely for personal writing, reading, and cooking (and occasional carousing—the boys are pretty persuasive in the post-dinner hours). Dinner for twenty every night, and this year a new baby girl has been welcomed to the sailing family. Dinners will certainly feature some of  the beloved standbys—Carolina BBQ, steaks, lobster. Many requested duck confit (I buy them from D’Artagnan; they’re fabulous and easy on the cook). I usually do a huge shopping run the first day and start with six or seven chickens, breaking them down first thing so that I have stock, schmaltz, cracklins to flavor the food all week, and chicken for grilling (jerked last year). Though a cold front is moving Read On »

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