Blogs > Cooking from Scratch

Chef Stacy believes that cooking from scratch and using the best ingredients are the secrets to preparing delicious and memorable meals. She has created dozens of classes for the home chef and teaches students how to master culinary techniques and recipes in just one session. Read on to see what she's dishing up for The Oakland Press today....

Friday, January 14, 2011

Around the Dinner Table

Every week, I have dinner with my parents. We almost always go to the same restaurant at the same time. Sometimes my grandma joins us, which is very special, and we spend a couple hours talking about what we've been doing, good news, challenges, and, of course, my bulldogs.

Sharing food with friends and family can be one of life's greatest indulgences. Even if it's nothing fancy, even if it's not served piping hot, or with linen napkins at a properly set table, the act of eating together brings people together in a very intimate and special way. I love to invite friends over for a simple supper of soup & warm bread, or just a spread of appetizers and charcuterie items for a casual but delicious get-together. The nice thing about apps and charcuterie is that several of the items can be picked up at the store and require no preparation except to put them in a bowl and arrange them on a platter (olives, marcona almonds, dried fruits, cheeses, salami, cured ham, etc.).

It has been a relief to me to see that the food scene is trending towards casual, but with expertly prepared dishes. Two weeks ago, on a research expedition to Chicago, I was able to visit several restaurants which were packed from wall-to-wall with people hungry for comfort and a twist on familiarity. From The Purple Pig, to the Publican, it was clear to see that ingredients once considered humble are now considered the foods of the gods. Certainly, the quality and imagination behind the preparation of the dishes at these up-and-coming eateries is an essential part of their success, but their relaxed, but quietly sophisticated atmosphere cannot be disregarded. The approachable and casual energy of these spaces fosters open and enthusiastic conversation amongst friends and family, which is the most delicious thing of all.


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