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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.

Strip Steak Reverse Cook

Another recipe, using reverse cooking to create perfect steaks.

Giant Skillet

In my article Outdoor Cooking on Cast Iron, I mention some brands of 20" skillets. If you are interested in getting a real deal, authentic, collectible skillet, go to eBay and enter vintage cast iron lodge 20 skillet. They sell for around $250 including shipping. Bullet proof cookware that can be used for generations. 20" across not including the handles. get a good propane burner here Fantastic for parties!

Next Recipe - Ceviche

I have got the ceviche thing nailed. Only problem is that you will never like restaurant ceviche again!

Preparing Real Wasabi

The green stuff you get at a sushi restaurant is not wasabi. It is a fake and a fraud. Ever wonder how anybody came up with the idea of taking real delicate fish and adding a green paste to it that nearly blows your head off? They didn't. Real wasabi is very difficult to grow and is very expensive. You can get it here for $100/lb.

It is not nearly as "hot" as the fake stuff, and it has flavor and texture. The heat tends to stay in your mouth rather that rising into the sinuses and blowing off your head. The best way to prepare it is by using a sharkskin grater which is a grater made out of .... sharkskin. A microplane grater does not work well because it fails to release the flavor properly.

Check out the video here

Cooking for 180 people!

My daughter was recently married at your house in CT. I agreed to do some of the cooking; simple stuff like smoked boneless leg of lamb, ceviche, smoked salmon and hummus. That was when the invite list was small and cozy. Then the list grew to 180! When I presented this idea to friends and collegues the response was typically two parts. 1) "Your are kidding...right?" 2) "Are you crazy?" Correct answers were No and Yes.

Everything turned out really well but it was a learning process. We also had major dinners the week before and after. More lessons learned. Here are a few photos while I create some recipes and advice for anybody considering cooking for a large group

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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