Do you have a small kitchen? Cook like a schooner chef

By Michaela Cavallaro
Extract from our January 2022 issue

Home cooks don’t have to worry about the kitchen swaying by the seaside – while working in front of paying customers, no less – but Chef Annie Mahle has gotten used to it on board the J. & E. Riggin. Mahle and her husband, Captain Jon Finger, operated the two-masted schooner at Rockland for 23 years, and she cooked three meals a day in the six-by-eight-foot galley throughout the sailing season. She became a flexible and improvised cook, figuring out how to store only the most needed utensils and how to make full use of each ingredient. In The Tiny Kitchen Cookbook: Big Flavors in a Small Space, she takes her lean, mean approach to what she calls “comfort food with a chic twist”.

Courtesy of Storey Publishing

Rightly, perhaps, for the largely party-free pandemic era, the book’s 50 recipes – from garlic shrimp to pumpkin-almond soup to chili-rubbed rib eye – are designed to serve two. Mahle and Finger’s daughters are now out of the house, and the couple have sold the Riggin to a former companion in 2020, so she took up the challenge of reducing. “There were a lot of times when, if I bought the same amount as usual, I ended up with leftover ingredients,” she says. Therefore, a whole section called “Use It Up”, dedicated to making the most of the surplus: clam broth incorporated in a lemon, cream and dill sauce; pomegranate molasses mixed with Greek yogurt, cilantro and lime; Pumpkin puree folded into pancakes. As for staying cool if things go wrong in the kitchen, Mahle is as stoic as any old salt. “Be cheerful and positive in the most authentic way possible,” she advises.

Roasted red peppers

Photograph by Kristin Teig


2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded

5 ounces of linguiça sausage (or similar smoked pork sausage)

4 ounces of feta cheese, sliced ​​into four pieces

6 golden (or red) cherry tomatoes, halved

2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil

pinch of kosher salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the pepper halves in a roasting pan or pie plate, cut side up. Fill the pepper halves with the sausage. Place a slice of feta on top of the sausage, followed by the tomato halves. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.
  3. Roast for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the peppers are tender and starting to brown around the edges.