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My father used to say, “Chuck doesn’t do anything in halves.” He was right: sometimes its a virtue and sometimes a curse. He and my mother taught me to cook, sometimes using cookbooks, like Julia Child's, but more frequently just winging it. This site is a roller coaster ride of recipes, articles, ingredients and anything else that involves cooking and presenting food. There is something here for everybody from beginners to experts.

Last Minute Party, with 16 guests, Oh My!

My wife called me at work to let me know that a dinner party had quickly developed for about 16 people, at our house in 2 hours! That gave me about 45min after getting home to produce something. No problem. We had 1/2 a beef tenderloin left from xmas dinner and a salmon fillet. Beef bourguignon and smoked salmon. My daughter Carrie went to work on some pasta dough, While her husband Clayton cut up the fillet. Mushrooms, onion and bacon were tossed into a skillet to brown. The salmon was coated with 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup generic meat rub. Ideally the salmon would have been brined. Oh well. Into the smoker at 275 degrees and the temperature probe set to alarm when the salmon got to 125. At the last minute I decided to make Hollandaise sauce for the salmon. Everything came together without any issues. Great fun!

This is where it is nice to have some go-to recipes that you can pull off without worry. Smoked salmon is always a crowd pleaser and really, really easy. The beef bourguignon recipe sets out the work flow to get it done quickly. My dad taught me to make Hollandaise quickly using a blender when I was about 10. The noodles take a little practice.

Xmas Dinner - Beef Borguignon

Didn't get too exotic this. Beef Burgundy or Beef Bourguignon. Classically this is beef chunks slow cooked with red wine, typically Pinot Noir. Basically beef stew. We had fillet available, and the idea of slow cooking it didn't make much sense. Instead we deconstructed the dish a bit to make a super rich sauce, delicious home made noodles, and cubes of fillet, browned and cooked to med rare. And we only had about an hour to pull it off! And no recipe! Not as hectic as the popular TV show Chopped, but a challenge.

Basically, we:
1. Pan seared the fillet pieces in clarified butter to get some good browning and flavor
2. Made a sauce with mushrooms, bacon, onion and pinot Noir.
3. Made basic noodles with flour, egg, salt, olive oil
4. Threw in some broccoli
5. Made a secondary sauce with garlic, cream, and blue cheese.

The key is to have a few cooking concepts, flexibility, and an ability to season/fix a sauce

Olive oil !!!!!!

Just received 3 samples from the producer in Greece. After last years disaster harvest, we have been hoping for better conditions. The first round of tasting is done and the oil is spectacular! All samples have a huge bouquet of olives and fresh cut grass; just crystal clear without any hint off smells. They all have a peppery finish peppery finish.
Planning to purchase around 110 gal.

Semi-traditional Thanksgiving!

Dumpling trio 1) Turkey breast, liver, gizzard, fresh ginger, creme fraiche 2) Stuffing 3) Yam, carmelized onion, fresh rosemary and port, served with traditional gravy

Thanksgiving themed Ramen. Traditional Dash broth made with seaweed and bonito shavings. Secondary soy based broth (Tare) pork, mirin, soy sauce, ginger, rice vinegar, grilled baby octopus, home made ramen noodles, soft soy marinated egg, dark fried stuffing. smoked turkey, Smoked pork belly, turkey skin cracklings

Olive Oil !!!!!!

Looks like the harvest is going to be good this year. The results from the chemical analysis is excellent. The oil is from Greece, as it was in 2018. Last years harvest was not good enough so I did not purchase any. Big disappointment. I am getting samples within a few weeks to taste. If the quality is up to snuff, I will be purchasing 110gal. Probably won't be here until January.

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Cooking Temps

Chicken breast 165

Chicken thigh 170 or more

Pork med well 145

Pork med 140

Rack of lamb med rare 131

Beef very rare 125

Beef rare 130

Beef med rare 135

Duck Breast 126

Salmon med 118

Disclaimer: USDA stds dictate much higher temps. To be super safe, cook everything until it is dry and crunchy