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Fall is a great time to start bringing back around some of my favorite cooking techniques including stewing and braising.  Stewing in fact is on the menu for tonight’s meal, a simple beef stew of super cheap chuck, toss in some onions, carrots and celery for a great weeknight meal that you can start before you even go to work.  How you ask?  The answer is that rarely used old crock pot you probably got as a wedding gift way back when…

Round Programmable Crock-Pot (5-qt.) by Rival

Check the link of above if you weren’t lucky enough to be the recipient of one in the past; it is a great tool for the weeknight meal warrior when properly used…

Check back later for an easy “no recipe – recipe” and photos from tonight’s meal!

Happy Halloween!



The first dinner of the summer season is down and in the books.  The dinner went pretty well, besides forgetting the main ingredient of the Salmon Bomb – the SALMON! however, we re-grouped, got the salmon and completed the dish and it came out great.  Everyone was fed well, and the service was fun and ran smooth.  I’m looking forward to the rest of the season – ps: after looking below, just go ahead and e-mail to book your own Family Meal as dates are being taken up fast!

BBQ Shrimp Eggs RollsBeef Rib DuoPork tenderloinSalmon Bomb w/ crispy rice noodle and pickled cucumber salad

As a college kid with his own business, I am always on the lookout for the MacGyver kitchen utensils, the shoestring budget tools that can get a job done with no frills for less bills.  This staple of every American refrigerator was cleverly introduced to me at a dinner party last night as a great medium for delivering vinaigrette’s (in this case balsamic and sugar as a glaze).  The genius in it of course is that I am a firm believer of mustard in almost all of my vinaigrette’s for use on salad, appetizers, even roast potatoes or a nice piece of grilled fish.  Plus, the unique top of new mustard bottles is the perfect size for a thin consistent stream.  Thanks Jud!


French's Mustard Bottle

Currently studying at Johnson & Wales University for a bachelors in Hospitality and Foodservice, I am lucky enough now to be in a wine tasting class, specifically studying for Level 2 Status of WSET or Wine & Spirt Education Trust.  One of the two components of this class is wine tasting, every Wednesday in fact, we taste approximately 6 wines, today, red wines old world vs. new of various varietals.  Now, anyone who has ever tasted wine, or is familiar with the vernacular know that the aromas and flavors are associated and described by other fruit, vegetal, etc. characteristics.  Wine, in all of its glory, can be straightforward and obvious to the palate (today the term was “Fruit-Bomb”), or the other extreme is a richly complex wine with many layers.  And yet in any case, the conundrum remains – how many fruits and vegetables have you honestly smelled and tasted?  Personally, I have not yet pondered the characteristics of lychee or charred oak to adequately associate them with the characteristics of wine.  And in the spectrum of things, I probably have not sufficiently smelled or tasted half of the required aromas and flavors I am supposed to be characterizing with.  This has led me, a college student actually studying this subject to ponder the daunting barriers that some of my peers must be facing…

Having that said, in the grand scheme of things, I could nearly care less about the ology in oenology.  From a lazy Saturday afternoon perspective, I really enjoy a round glass of Zin because that’s what I enjoy drinking for reasons not closely associated with the flavor characteristics – I just know it taste good to me. 

I see the amounts (and quality) of alcohol that my peers (approx. 22 and over) consume, and I can tell you that these kids are not getting the best bang for their buck.  Now the light is shining at the end of the tunnel, for beer at least.  Micro brews have been steadily creeping up in the market of young American drinkers, just take a look at the Facebook App where you can choose your 5 favorite beers.  These lists are surprisingly refreshing, and not just in a Pacifico sense: some of the beers listed are regional brews, hard to find in most parts of the country, for example, Anchor Steam or the brews coming out of Lagunitas to name a few.  I’ve even got a buddy whom along with his pop have started their own home brews which have been surprisingly approachable and yet rich and complex – its gotten a few of my buds hooked on this unique segment of really tasty beers!

So this begs the question: Why can’t we make this formula work for wine and get more young Americans to cork up to a glass of ruby red pinot?

Today is the beginning of a new day.  A new day for a lifelong project called Family Meal, a project that will explore our human nature by exploring our most basic human need: food.  So much is centered around food, and yet, we are just now learning as a society to pay more attention to it.  Now, food itself is much too broad a topic to cover, which is why Family Meal is broken down to 3, more or less organically thought of, categories: 1. Family Meal Workshop – where we learn to cook 2. Family Meals – sourcing, buying, preparing, serving and eating food, check here for recipes, seasonal menus, food sources etc. 3. Family Meal Members – a community of kids, cooks, hobbyists and people in need of a reminder of eat well = live well…

The project and processes are organic, ideas and concepts fluid, flexible and (at times) plentiful.  And while a basic vision can be seen, the way we get from A to B is unclear, so please, feel free to pitch in…

To my clients, customers and Family Meal Members:  Check out our Facebook page: search Family Meal with our “knife logo” for past events, pictures, recipes and more information.  For catering inquiries e-mail me directly at


Good food, good friends, great eats!