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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.

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