Rach's pal, Daisy Martinez, celebrates her boys' homecoming with a meal of family favorites
Home Again dinner

Having my kids home all at once is a luxury these days. My sons are almost always away at school or traveling, so I'm usually just cooking for my husband and daughter. When everyone gets together, I re-create their favorite dishes from home and family vacations. The food makes for great conversation, reminding us of meals we've shared in Spain, Peru, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. With a few substitutions, I have all the ingredients I need to make conch seviche, like the dish we ate on the beach in Celestun, Mexico; a spin on Cuban sandwiches we've enjoyed in New York City; and a chocolate cake that brings back memories of Oaxaca.


Tips + How-tos

how to cut a grapefruit

How to Segment a Grapefruit
 1. Cut off the top and bottom of the grapefruit so it will stand flat on a cutting board.
 2. Run a sharp knife from top to bottom around the grapefruit, removing the peel and white pith.
 3. Run the knife flush along the membranes to loosen each segment.

All in the Family
 Put your kids to work -- they'll pick up practical life skills, plus you can spend quality time with them while you're cooking.

Support the Troops
 Let kids take a recipe from start to finish, and help when they need you—it'll encourage confidence in their cooking skills.

Mix it up
 Pick age-appropriate tasks: I assign my older boys jobs that involve fire, knives or heavy roasting pans; my daughter, Angela, washes and spins salad greens and pours drinks.

Finish Strong
 Involve kids in those last-minute jobs that bring the meal together. Erik takes buns out of the oven while David removes the cake from the pan, Marc drains the seviche and Angela dresses the salad.