Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On the Fly Buffalo Tacos - serves 4

These past 2 weeks have been absolutely insane!  And, it's only going to get busier.  The once and not too long ago saying I heard only a couple of weeks ago of, "Mom, I'm bored", seem like a distant memory.  We have hit the ground running and there are no water stands in sight for a quick, refreshing drink.  (Unless you count the glass of wine at 5pm but I can't "chug" like I used to.)  Women have always been known to multi-task but I never thought I could button skirts with my toes, clean the toilet, cook food and scoop cat poop at the same time.  I think they should bring back that show we watched in the 80's called "That's Incredible" with Cathy Lee Crosby and Fran Tarkenton and put us moms on the show.  I mean seriously.  Then, there's the book, now a movie with Sarah Jessica Parker called, "I Don't See How She Does It".  I wish I overheard my husband saying that to someone, anyone, everyday.  Well, that's going to happen like me being in the movie so why not fix something for dinner that has them possibly thinking it?  It's a start and, my wine glass is raised to all of you moms doing (and wishing) the same thing.  Bottoms up!


1 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound lean ground buffalo (lean ground beef can be used but I swear this is better!)
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground red pepper
2 cups water
8 corn tortillas or taco shells
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup iceberg lettuce (I used arugula)
1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese
Avocado, sour cream, hot sauce all optional


Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic and buffalo; cook 5 minutes or until meat is done, stirring to crumble.  Add tomato paste and next 4 ingredients (through pepper); stir well to combine.  Stir in 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until thick.

Warm tortillas/taco shells according to package.  Fill with meat and assorted toppings and you're good to go!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Linguini with Two Cheese Sauce - serves 4

Well, summer may still be here but school has begun.  My son ventured to his first day of junior high this morning and with weepy eyes, I let him go.  He made his way across the street with not boys, but with a group of very cute girls, all parading their way to a new chapter in lives.  And my son, looking sportier than ever, with a huge "look at me" smile on his face as he escorted the ladies to their first day of junior high.  I was told by a dear friend that I can cry all I want, just stay in car for goodness sakes. I did get out, but along with other moms, we just watched our first-borns walk away.  Although I still have my daughter at home, who starts school on Wednesday, I'm saddened.  My how they grow....  As I was preparing the two of us lunch today, I told her that I'm going to miss my lunches with her and her brother.  It may just be 10 minutes, but I'm going to miss those 10 minutes.  Before you know it, there won't be 10 minutes left.  So, I am reminded of my camp, once again, when I got to share a quick lunch eating pasta, right out of the pot.  Slurping and sucking pasta with cheese is classic kid memories.  Get your 10 minutes in while you can.....

  • 8 ounces uncooked linguine
  • 1 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; keep warm.
  • 2. While pasta cooks, combine milk, 2 teaspoons basil, salt, and pepper in a bowl; stir milk mixture with a whisk.
  • 3. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add flour to pan, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk mixture; cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and add 1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano and mascarpone cheese to milk mixture. Add cheese mixture to pasta; toss to combine. Sprinkle with remaining 4 teaspoons basil and remaining 1/2 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bolognese with Cousins.... serves 4 with leftovers

I've been talking about my cooking camp and the recipes that came with it.  I'm going to take a "side-step" and talk about my trip to California this past week.  I don't get here often, and when I do, I stay with my cousin Kelley, her husband Joe and their 4 girls, Aly, Andie, Georgia and Jackie.  I can't even begin to tell you how much fun we have together.  Not only does the weather put a nice bow on the top, but it's a week of severe fun and laughter.  Kelley has been that "big sister" I never had.  Ever since we spent summers together as kids in Colorado, taking cruises with our beloved Nana, have I grown to look up to her.  She makes me laugh, accepts me for who I am and is always there to listen to my deepest desires and secrets.  I can't imagine my life or summers, for that matter, without her.  I've visited sunny California since college and I can't stop going.  So, with this trip, and as we've aged with our own kids, it's a homecoming of sorts.  Yes, I did cook all but 2 meals during our 7 day stay, but to be honest, it has brought us even closer.  Her kids are blossoming into beautiful young girls and watching them interact with mine makes me reflect to those summers as tots to teenagers.  And, come to find out, they love kale and roasted vegetables.  Kelley is the the final touch in my life of recipes.  Without her, my life would be just bland.  Thanks for a wonderful week.... I truly love you with everything I am. (Despite Andie wearing her "Giants World Series Champions t-shirt as I serve her dinner.)


Olive oil
3/4 cup carrots, finely diced
3/4 cup celery, finely diced
3/4 cup onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4oz pancetta, diced
1 oz dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup water, diced (reserve water)
1 pd ground chuck
1 pd ground veal
1 pd ground pork
28 oz whole or diced tomatoes, with juice
1/2 cup white zifandel
1/2 cup reserved mushroom water
6oz tomato paste


Add olive oil (enough to cover pan) to large soup pot over medium heat.  Add vegetables and saute until almost burnt, about 15-20 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Add pancetta and saute an additional 5 minutes.  Add veal, beef and pork and with wooden spoon, break up meat until almost "minced".  Cook until browned, continuing to break up.  Add porcini, stirring to incorporate.  Add 1/2 cup reserved mushroom water, 1/2 wine and tomatoes.  Again, break up to a "mince".  Bring to a soft boil and reduce, about 10-15  minutes.  Add tomato paste and stir to incorporate.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce thickens.  Add to your favorite pasta.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gazpacho - serves 4

Day two of my cooking camp the kids and I re-visited our trip to the Farmers Market.  Not only did we peruse through the sheds, we stopped and visited with my sweet friend, Anna, who I've mentioned before in this blog.  She's a passionate farmer who doesn't shy away from the importance of buying local as well as teaching kids that they are our future when it comes to sustainable farming.  She even talked about bees to which she stressed that if we (the kids) don't start taking care of what their peers have done a good job of destroying, will be gone.  Not a good thing for Planet Earth.  She then concocted a treasure of a salad using only vegetables and fruits that she grew herself, had her husband chop up and used only a little salt for taste. 

The kids were served with makeshift plates and were amazed at how little it takes to prepare something so simple.  And, they liked it.  So, shall be a batch of gazpacho.  Summer in a glass or bowl and a toast to the Anna's of the world who work hard to provide us with such and to the kids that will hopefully fill her big shoes.

  • 4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 large red bell peppers, cored and quartered
  • 2 large yellow bell peppers, cored and quartered
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 large white onion, cut into 1/2-inch slabs
  • 2 ears of corn, husked
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • Light a grill. Thread the garlic cloves onto a skewer. Lightly brush the garlic, bell peppers, zucchini, onion and corn with the vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables over moderately high heat, turning frequently, until lightly charred and crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic and let steam for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, remove the garlic cloves from the skewers, peel them and transfer to a large bowl. Using a large serrated knife, cut the charred corn kernels into the bowl. Peel the peppers and add them to the bowl along with the zucchini, onion, cumin, crushed red pepper, tomato juice, orange juice, lemon juice and vinegar.
  • Working in batches, puree the vegetable mixture in a blender or food processor. Pour the gazpacho into a clean bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
  • Just before serving, stir the cilantro into the gazpacho. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the cucumber and serve.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Open Faced Plum Sandwiches with Proscuitto -serves 4

I had the wonderful experience of teaching a cooking camp the last two weeks, two different groups, all different in the their own special way.  I had experienced cooks (at least to their standards), I had the "I'll try anything you make/put in front of me" cooks and I had the "that's an oven?" kind of cooks.  All of them, by my standards, deserved a grand toque by the time the camp was complete.  You see, I took on the challenge of teaching kids how to prepare a 4 course meal for their parents as well as, proper table setting, manners and restaurant etiquette.  We nearly lost two fingers, which I thought was a rather low number, 1 burn (shouldn't scar) and enough spills that could have led to a complete meal in itself.  My newly purchased Roomba (the robotic vacuum) was kept at bay as it picked up endless amounts of spillage from these budding chefs.  All in all, if I can get 2 dozen kids to think outside the fast food box, we might, just might, have more "at home" chefs in the kitchens of the future.  Our first course was a "not your typical kids appetizer",  as very well it should be.


  • /4 cup fig preserves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup (3 ounces) soft goat cheese
  • 4 (2-ounce) slices country wheat bread, halved diagonally then toasted
  • 1 cup loosely packed arugula
  • 2 ripe plums, cut into thin wedges
  • 3 ounces very thin slices prosciutto
  • 1. Combine first 3 ingredients, stirring with a whisk; set aside.
  • 2. Spread 3/4 ounce cheese evenly over each bread slice; divide arugula, plum wedges, and prosciutto evenly over sandwiches. Drizzle each sandwich with about 1 tablespoon fig preserves mixture.