What a great weekend for everyone still working, giving you more time to relax and do some outdoor cooking.

For all of you who are retired, it is usually a great time to spend with family or maybe just remembering about the days you worked to earn income to support and raise your family.

Whatever your reason, everyone seems to have some recipe they cook or grill that has become a tradition in their homes. Food has a way of always being an important part of family traditions.

Not a big surprise for a chef, we know that we can create memories with foods for all seasons, and we get our satisfaction from seeing others enjoy what we create. That’s what is going on in most homes.

The sharing of food is very personal. You try to prepare food that looks and taste great to share with people you care about. Then you wait to see their reaction when they eat it. They smile and comment how good it is and that fills your heart.

The reason the food is always great is because you have probably been making it for years and know exactly how to prepare it and others have already tested it in the past. That what we chefs call a standard recipe, a winner every time or you wouldn’t serve it. So, for special occasions, don’t experiment with foods you have not made several times for family and friends.

I would also suggest finding out what people like and dislike. For example, my wife loves marinated octopus, but most people would say, “aaahhh, maybe not.” Octopus actually has a mild seafood flavor when you add olive oil, oregano and lemon.

So, know your friends and stay with your winners. They are probably looking forward to what you are making since they are not first-time guests. But winners are always winners when it comes to food even with first timers. Have a great Labor Day weekend. Here is one of my winners.

Slow Braised Beef Short Ribs


5 pounds (3-inch, thick cut) bone-in beef short ribs

2 cups red wine, merlot or dry red wine

1 large red onion, medium diced

2 carrots, peeled and medium dice

2 ribs celery, medium dice

3 cloves garlic

3 quarts chicken or beef stock

3 bay leaves

1 cup all-purpose flour


Season the ribs liberally with salt and ground pepper. In a bowl, add ribs and flour and mix well. Place all ribs into a braising or deep roasting pan. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, wine, bay leaf and stock.

Cover the pan with parchment paper or foil and place in the oven for 3-5 hours at 360 degrees until meat is very tender. Remove from oven and allow the ribs to rest 20 minutes before removing the bones. Skim any fat from the sauce. Remove vegetables from the pan and set aside. Pour hot sauce over ribs and vegetables to serve.

Costa Magoulas is dean of the Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality and Culinary Management at Daytona State College. Contact him at (386) 506-3578 or costa_magoulas@daytonastate.edu.

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