Jul 152017
 

WORK IN PROGRESS

I ARRIVED

Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club

Now SEA Yah

I was so wishing to get to Bermuda during the America Cup challenge, I kept putting it out there; to various friends that were there and of course the universe. Word started to come back that the yacht I pinch-hit on as a Chef a year or so ago was down there, I should see if they may have room for me aboard. I kid you not, the next day I got an email from the Captain, Phil, replying to one of our first email strings from about a year ago asking if I could be in Bermuda on the 26th or 27th to help on the Dlivery back to Newport.  It didn’t take much to cover my bases, book a OW flt for a noon arrival in to BDA, for Mon. the 26th.

Crew Description & Drama

Phil’s phone went straight to voicemail when I called to say I was at the gate for the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club docks when sure enough, I noticed a swaggering silhouette to be that of my Captain’s. He offered to take my bag, I kept both. Within a moment he warned me of a great deal of drama going on. I’ll spare you the drama short of a few fun details like; the 27 year old spit fire blond with a ponytail nearly down to her waist pawns herself off as a yachting Chef had a fight with the owner’s wife the night before she was jumping ship for a wedding in S.Africa. They were both drunk.  The first mate, another young hotshot was kicked off earlier in the week, for drinking and sassing off at the owner which further pissed off the outgoing Chef because they had a thing for one another, the owner’s side kick friend for over thirty year, who the owner’s wife can’t stand now because he divorced her best friend, the new first mates late arrival whose seventy two year old, bearded, bobble headed, crooked frame, dungarees & torn commercial fishing T-shirt, proletariat looks also seemed to rub the hungover owner’s wife the wrong way.

I did my best to skirt the kerfuffles by being in a conversation with Phil in the cockpit over a Maker’s Mark with one cube as I began to learn the details of the trip, the players aboard and more about the drama. The crew would be the Owner who’s a never satisfied, demanding dickhead and his dumb-ass side kick friend who’s always dreamed of ‘bluewater sailing’ but fears of being seasick have deterred the venture but his current single, midlife crisis status, compounded with the fact that he’s so useless he can’t even make himself a bowl cereal or toast makes him a demanding dead weight and the perfect specimen for a control freak to create a monster out of. The Captain, Phil, with movie star looks, the perfect stand in for a Central Casting’s Captain: snow white hair & beard, sparkling blue eyes, a permanent smile. The skin on his forearms is so sun scorched it looks like blackened leather. He’s thin & wiry like a worm which is what the fire plug Napoleon complex owner calls him.  Phil owned and ran the Sandpiper, the legendary Jazz club in Maine adventures of which most of his fantastical stories are told about. He was an Air-force pilot and has done more than 60 deliveries of this route exactly, BermuDA to NewPorT. He’s a perfectly reasonable guy, highly regarded & his mate Bobby, who scared me initially because of his rough demeanor who in such a short time I came to love.  A 72 year old, native Rhode Islander, Navy veteran, he claims, “I don’t know those yachting folk, I’m not into yachting, I just do deliveries.” The stats for one of his trips is this:  37′ boat, 72 days at sea, Philippines to SEAttle. Bobby’s three day a week job is as the security guard at the Middletown dump which he likens it to being like Christmas for him.

Provisions

I could go on writing about these characters for days and I hope to at some point but I’ll stay the course and share some Sea Eats which is why I’m writing here but one more little bitch…it wasn’t until we’d shoved off from the fuel dock in Hamilton and we were underway motoring to St. Georges to clear out that I started to root around in the fridges. Oyy…what a nightmare. Sadie had been on board for nearly a month and provisioned for cocktail parties for an average of nine, daily. One whole fridge was transformed into a wine cooler, where I fished out two, four pound zip lock bags of the worst tasting chili ever, (which I was asked to try and doctor up) 5 pounds of boneless chicken breasts, 2 packets of smoked salmon, a zip lock bag of BBQ ribs the owner said also had a horrible taste to,  1 bag of left over strips of filet mignon and Oh, I kid you not, no less than 5 packages of bacon, two of which were opened and half used.  In another fridge were commercial size bottles of dill spears & jalapeno peppers? garlic dents in olive oil & mushrooms all floating in sodium benzonate & bisolfite liquid, Romaine lettuce, a few usable stalks of celery on a chipped away head I’m sure is there for her Bloody Mary’s, a head of cauliflower, a small plastic bag of shredded carrots, Brussels sprouts, which the owner told me if I cooked on board he’d throw me over – so why in the hell were they on board in the first place?   The bread cabinet had 4 or 6 English muffins, various bags of half loafs of sliced, whole wheat, sourdough, rye breads, hot-dog, hamburger rolls & some kind of white Italian roll and 4 unopened pacs of a half dozen bagels which prompted me to dig further in the ‘dairy’ fridge where I found 2 small tubs of creamed cheese – one prepared with capers, an unopened plain one & 2 packs of smoked salmon.  Needless to say, the boat was ill provisioned for a delivery

Tuesday morning was a three ring circus on board as everyone started to come to. The Chef trying to get her ‘hockey’ bag which couldn’t zipper off board.  Coffee being made, logistics to get the wife to the airport, return the moped, get gas but provisions – we should be fine really. I couldn’t have been more thrilled when the Captain told me we desperately needed paper towel and handed me the boat credit card. I couldn’t get out of the mess fast enough and get to a grocery story because all I wanted was to get me some Outerbridges Sherry Pepper Sauce . I walked to the grocery store with the only direction being, stay to the left, pass the AC bldg and you’ll find it. in Hamilton early Tuesday morning to get 4-6 rolls of & heavy cream which the Capt. likes on his cereal – maybe some greens & American cheese I was told as I was already walking down the dock.

SEA EATS

Here’s a couple of things I made on board, flat meat sandwiches, w/greens, relishes, mustards on various breads, hummus & crudite, a tomato, crouton & feta salad. I made a rice with haricot vert, asparagus, onion and bits of left over filet mignon and an arugula salad. Fried egg & bacon sandwiches, orange juice, carafes of very strong Starbucks French roast, my made up Chicken at Sea which every one liked except the Owner. Here’s a brief description of Chx at Sea: cooked off medium diced boneless chicken breast, in a court-boullion  onion, celery, shredded carrots. I threw 2 diced granny smith apples in I noticed on a basket in one of the salons. I let this cook down and simmer for nearly an hour then added half a bag of egg noodles & another 2 cups of water to the mix and served over rice. Phil would have loved it if we had his Rolands chutney, but now – non on board. He ate a full bowl. Bobby loved and so did dead weight Frank. The owner said he doesn’t eat chicken or certainly wasn’t in the mood for that so I should make my way into the deep freezer and give him an inventory of all that’s in there.

AyAy sir…in order to get into the deep freezer the cushions from one of the galley banquets needed to be removed, the top which weighs at least 10 pounds is removed my pulling on two lines at diagonal ends of the top. Low & behold here was a mother load of meat. I pulled out a 7.5# packet of boneless NY strips, 4-5 #s of ground beef, and a pork loin. I took all this out & threw the horrible chili in there & 3 packs of bacon.

So after whipping up the Chicken at Sea dish I was back at the stove thawing out the ground beef & I made a bolognese after digging around in the salon storage area where I found 1 12 oz can of stewed tomatoes, 2 nice packets of gemelli pasta but not a can of marinara on board. Sadie’s bloody mary mix was a good substitute. This & dark chocolate loud cake with blue berries shut him up

All I really want to share here is the tuna tartare I got to make for my friends

 

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Jan 112017
 

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Why it took a small, handled, brown paper bag hanging from the doorknob of my apartment, filled with an over sized lemon, a pack of Twizzlers & a few pieces of my mail that must have gotten mixed up with an anonymous neighbor to finally make the one recipe I’ve been thinking about since I  splurged and bought myself a signed copy of Mary Ann Caws’ The Modern Artists Cookbook after hearing her speak at 192 Books, around my birthday last year.

It was the last weekday of 2016, Friday the 30th, and all I wanted to do was whip up one of my favorite eats: a nice pot of my Ocean State clam chowder and to try to make this Tom Wesselman’s Lemon Sponge Pudding recipe I had seared in the back of my mind. The recipe caught my eye & peaked my wonder for a number of reasons, 1. The recipe calls for 4 ingredients 2. They’re basic staples 3. Certainly economical to make and 4. I knew it would be crack easy to make.

I started by making the soup then I made the pudding while the soup simmered gently on a back burner in my hand-me-down copper pot.  A can of Iggy’s chopped clams w/it’s home-style label of a smiling clam sporting a floppy chef’s toque on a background of a primary color blue sustained my summer joy long enough when I opened my pantry cupboard.  A can of Iggy’s clams is a staple [ingredient] for me so in no time at all I had an abridged version of my Ocean State clam chowder cooking. Here’s how: medium diced new potatoes, fennel vs celery for me, a medium diced onion and the can of the chopped clams. Oh a few bay leaves is always nice. Season to taste with S& P or of course Salt of D Earth. I did not add any extra water so this batch was quite ‘stewy’ – on the thick side but oh sO good.

While of my chowder cooked off I started to make the Lemon Sponge Pudding.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

1. Whip egg whites, set aside

2. Cream 1 C of sugar w/1 Ts of butter, mix in the 2 yolks, Add 2Ts of flour,  1 C of milk and the juice of 1 lemon. Mix well to dissolve all the sugar. I did this with a hand mixer

4. Fold the egg whites into this ‘batter’.

Spoon into a medium soufflé dish & cooked off in a bain-de-mare = water bath for 25 minutes in the 350 degree oven.  lemonspongpudding1

On my Saturday morning walk with RhODy I decided I should throw an end of Hanukkah party since I’d barely lit my menorah yet. I sent out a lovely little invite post on facebook which a handful of friends found amusing but not a lot of takers except for my friends visiting from Newport, RI & their friends.  I made traditional style, Austrian Latkes, which I was thoroughly underwhelmed with, a batch of my Spirited High Holiday apple sauce and OH another delectable topping and all time favorite of mine, my secret, special cranberry sauce and a lot of red wine.

After my inspirational walk with RhODy I took my visiting luminary friend to, you guessed, it, The Whitney, a quick stroll on The Highline, then to Chelsea Market where I picked up a few dozen East coast oysters, also for my Hanukkah party. With shopping done, we jumped into Cull & Pistol for a quick G&T, a Sancerre, a half dozen oysters, where I turned my friend on to Wiley Point (oysters and a few bites: blistered shishito peppers, brandade crostini & Old Bay fries.img_7162

The apple sauce was great. I started it with splash of white wine then tossed my hanDy infuser into the mix packed with some rosemary and I also made my most Dlectable cranberry sauce.

I hope I’ve inspired you to get into the kitchen. Turn up the flame. Hit it!

RealiD cooking at it’s best

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