Parents, you know how hard it is to get the entire family seated in the same room, at the same time, to enjoy a “real” meal together.  The 9 year old boy just wants to play xbox.  15 year old girls just want to text.  Frankly, you’re too tired to get it all done, so you give up before you even begin.

Last week I invented  the family themed dinner party.  It was Mexican night.  We had fish tacos (we made a cheese quesadilla for the 9 year old), beans and rice, homemade guacamole, fancy frozen drinks and we found a Spanish mix on Pandora.  It worked.  30 minutes of togetherness.

The next week, Italian.  I found this fantastic recipe from Bon Appetit.  It is super easy and looks like something you would get at a fine dining restaurant.  I served it with pasta, white bean salad, and kale chips.  We rolled out white craft paper on the table, added a few crayons, put the kids drinks in wine glasses and Pavarotti on Pandora (the boy hated the music).

“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.”
― Samuel Pepys, The Diary of Samuel Pepys    

Salmon with fennel and blood oranges

Printable Version


  • 1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 blood orange, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 1 Meyer or regular lemon, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 1 red Fresno chile or jalapeño, with seeds, thinly sliced
  • 4 sprigs dill, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 2-lb. skinless salmon fillet, preferably center-cut
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • Sea salt


  • Preheat oven to 275°. Toss fennel, orange slices, lemon slices, chile, and 4 dill sprigs in a shallow 3-qt. baking dish; season with kosher salt and pepper. Season salmon with kosher salt and place on top of fennel mixture. Pour oil over.
  • Roast until salmon is just cooked through (the tip of a knife will slide through easily and flesh will be slightly opaque), 30–40 minutes for medium-rare.
  • Transfer salmon to a platter, breaking it into large pieces as you go. Spoon fennel mixture and oil from baking dish over; discard dill sprigs. Season with sea salt and pepper and top with fresh dill sprigs.
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How do you get everyone together to share a meal?

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