I love fresh citrus and always keep lemons, limes, and oranges on hand; they come in handy for spritzing up quickly grilled meats, seafoods, and vegetables, especially when followed up by a quick drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
When I want to kick it up, I like to add hardwood chips or chunks to the grill; it adds bold smoky flavors. The most common woods are hickory and mesquite, but you can find alder, apple, cherry and, my personal favorite, pecan.
I try to teach my son about sanitation, especially when handling foods like chicken that could be dangerous. I remind him to wash his hands all the time. When my son cooks with me, he stands on a step stool so he can reach the stove. I teach him about safety and fire.
Cleanliness is very important. If you let kids make a total mess in the kitchen and then leave, you're not really teaching them anything.
If you don't follow your dream, who will?
Life just doesn't hand you things. You have to get out there and make things happen. that's the exciting part.
I'm working harder than ever now, and I'm putting on my pants the same as I always have. I just get up every day and try to do a little better than the day before, and that is to run a great restaurant with great food, great wine, and great service. That's my philosophy.
I make some of my best recipes with a simple homemade stock. Keep shrimp shells stored in a plastic bag in the freezer. When you have almost a gallon-bag full, you can make a stock in 30 minutes that you can use in soups and sauces. You can then freeze the stock in ice-cube trays.
When I cook with my son, I might chop vegetables and have fun with different shapes. Cooking is a way to teach kids about other things, like reading or math with all of the weights and measures. There are so many things that are part of cooking that are also very educational.
If you think big, then it's going to be big.
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