Come cook along with trained chef, wine educator, and author Stephen Reiss
Coming up with ideas on what to cook can be tough, so I am here to help. Glance at the examples, peruse the articles, and allow yourself to be inspired. Consider this a starting point on a culinary adventure.
I have three loves in my life. The first is my wife of more than three decades, Famed Photographer Janet Engelhard, who's photos make this site possible. The second two are married to each other. Food and wine.
I was apprenticing as a chef when I was distracted by the world of wine. Wine and food switched places as vocation and advocation for most of my career. I regularly would cook for friends and clients, but it wouldn't be until I retired from wine that I would be paid to cook again.
I am often asked what my specialty is. After 300 plus seven course wine dinners, without ever repeating a menu, I can safely reply that my specialty is coming up with new ideas. I don't know how I do it, so I can't really help you there, but I can certainly share some of those ideas with you.
While each example has tips, tricks and a walk through, these are missing the fine details of traditional recipes. Instead these are big picture ideas that can help get you started on creating the perfect dinner party, or just something new for dinner.
For those that want or need a detailed recipe, start here, and then look it up. The Internet has many, many recipes, once you know what you want to cook, and how.
What you see is what we eat. Don’t be fooled by the photographs on so many food sites. The pictures are carefully composed to make them look perfect, often with inedible helpers like shellac and glue! Every single dish you see here was served and enjoyed, seconds after it sat for the close up.
For many Americans in particular, the names of the most famous French dishes will always ring in our heads with the unmistakably high pitched voice of the late Julia Child. “Boeuf Bourguignon” she would say to her audience, and it brought to mind sitting at a tiny sidewalk table in a quaint Parisian bistro. Few associated it with the much more mundane “Beef Stew.”
That we first eat with our eyes is an old adage that is easy to follow, but while our noses and mouths follow our gaze, few consider just how important our ears are to fine dining.
“That sounds wonderful, my mouth is already watering” your guests may comment, when you read them a menu full of exotic dishes, at least once you tell them what they are. How exotic the dish itself is may not matter if the name is cool enough.