Hello to everyone and thank you for checking out Custom Catering, Private Chef, and Homemade Goods.  I am Chef Brian, founder of our business and author of this blog.  I plan to use this blog as a food discussion tool.  On my website you will find links to our catering and other services, but here I will talk about food in general.  I may discuss something I recently cooked at home or something that I recently ate a night out or on a recent vacation.  I would really like to use this blog as a way to get people interested in food and cooking in general.


You could think of this blog as an open forum, a place to talk food.  Any food or food related subject can be fodder for conversation.  I love to talk about food, talk about how to cook food, and also talk about how to consume food.  I would like to hear what you have to say when I post a link I like or ask a certain culinary question.  Feel free to comment on any of my posts.  I welcome the interaction.


I also am interested in helping anyone who may be interested with culinary questions of their own.  I have gathered an extensive knowledge of food and cooking over the years and want to share that knowledge with you.  Ask me anything about food, no matter how simple or complex it may be, and I will try to answer to the best of my abilities.  If I do not have the answer I will consult one of my colleagues and we will get down to the bottom of it.


Lastly, let me hear your stories.  Tell me if you used one of my tips or suggestions and if it turned out.  Let me help you, and please help me, create a one of a kind, personal food experience.


Chef Brian



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4 responses to “Welcome

  1. Rebecca

    My question for chef Brian is what is your preferred ingredient to use as a thickener in soups? My son has allergies to wheat and so I am looking for an alternative to wheat flour. Also, any tips on thickening or gravy making

  2. There a number of options that are gluten free for thickening soup as well as sauces or gravies, or even pies. If I am making a pureed soup, I like to add a few peeled starchy potatoes while it is cooking, and when it it pureed, it will help thicken the liquid without any added flour. You can also use cooked beans (navy, pinto, black, etc.) in the same way as potatoes. This works especially well if you are making a bean soup. Potatoes have a more neutral taste and can be used in a wider variety of soups. If you are making a broth type soup, you can thicken it with cornstarch, potato starch, arrowroot, or tapioca starch. Each of these work in the same way. Mix them 50/50 with water, add to the hot soup while stirring and bring to a boil. If you would like the soup thicker, add more of you starch/water mix. For thickening sauces or gravy, use any of these in the same manner. It usually takes about 1 tablespoon of starch to thicken 1 cup of liquid. Use that as a rough guideline when thickening sauces or gravy. These methods will also create a sauce, soup, or gravy with a clearer appearance than flour. I personally like to use arrowroot because it keeps its thickening power even after repeated heating/cooling. Cornstarch tends to break down with prolonged or repeated heating. With any new cooking method, ingredient, or technique the best way to see how it works is trial and error. Write down or remember how you did something before, and change or improve upon it. Cooking is a science, and through repeated experimentation and observation will lead you to the best results.

    Chef Brian

  3. Merri

    What is the best way to mask the strong taste of brussel sprouts? Not a real fan of them, but I know they are good for you.

    • I used to hate Brussels sprouts too. Especially when they are boiled too long. They are closely related to cabbage, which too has a strong taste/odor when cooked for too long. In order to mitigate the strong taste, I like to slice my Brussels sprouts into 1/8 in. thick slices and cook them in rendered bacon fat along with some sliced shallots or onion or garlic. Saute them them until they are tender, season with salt and pepper, and then add in the bacon from which the fat was rendered. I like them every time I make them like this. I made them for a family holiday recently because my mother in law said she hates them. I sliced them thinly and made them as described above. Everyone talked about how good they were, and then after she had eaten them and was going to have more, I told here they were Brussels sprouts. She could not believe it.

      Chef Brian

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