You’re Gonna Eat That!? Adventures with Food, Family, and Friends


This is my new book, published last month.  It is filled with stories, poems, and recipes–healthy food for vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, and meat eaters with photos and detailed instructions. Currently, it can be purchased at Burrowing Owl bookstores in Canyon and Amarillo, Texas, and online at http://www.dreamcatcherbooks.com, Angel editions.

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Una Bella Famiglia


Yesterday evening, I felt honored to cook dinner for this wonderful family from the mountains of  Italy.  Lisa, the daughter, has been living with friends as an exchange student.  Lisa had been to my house several times with her host parents and ridden Rosie.  This week her parents, grandparents on her mother’s side, and her younger brother came to see her high school graduation Friday evening.  Last night they all came to my house.  Lisa speaks fluent English, her parents and grandfather some, but her grandmother very little.  They do understand Spanish so I spoke Spanish to her grandmother, some Spanish to everyone else, some English, and, of course, everyone spoke bits and pieces of Italian or all Italian.

Grandfather Corrado smiled and laughed and hugged.  When he was younger, he was ranked fifth in the world in cross country skiing.  He spent much of his life, more than thirty years, in Germany making and selling ice cream.  We did have ice cream for dessert–vanilla with Chambord on top.

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Corrado drinking sangiovese from a local winery, BarZ, with Jeannette, the host mom of Lisa. Later, we had another bottle of sangiovese from a different winery, DiVine Wine.

 

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They explained they drink wine every day so they felt right at home at my house.  Lisa, in the Abercrombe T-shirt with her dad, Benedetto, next to her.  And yes, that is Corrado smiling down there on the end.

 

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Benedetto in the white shirt claimed that the sangiovese here seemed stronger than at home.  Claudia, Lisa’s Mom appears to be explaining something, but I do not recall what.  Grandmother Angelina is on her right and younger brother Antonio at the far right edge.  Everyone seems enthralled.  Benedetto is an architect.

 

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From left to right, Lisa, Benedetto, me, and Claudia.  They felt right at home with my dog Isabella; she has an Italian name.

 

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Everyone agreed to eat dinner on the patio–and you were thinking all we planned to do is drink wine.  The menu:  brisket, roasted vegetables (red and purple potatoes, brussel sprouts, Anaheim peppers, carrots, onions roasted with lots of olive oil, basil, oregano, and herbes de Provence), green salad and bread with chunks of garlic in it.

 

 

There is nothing better than eating and relaxing with friends and family.  And what a beautiful family!!  Laughter, hugs.  How could one not enjoy all the hugs and kisses on both cheeks.

 

 

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They had ridden horses in Palo Duro Canyon and hiked there earlier in the day, attended several graduation parties, and played volleyball.  Antonio seemed very tired.  He is 13.

 

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Richard, the host dad, relaxes in the bar stool while his daughter takes photos with his camera.  A deer eventually showed up across the canyon.

This lovely Italian family lives way in the north of Italy in Cortina d’Ampezzo.  Claudia explained they work seven days a week during the seven month tourist season–it is skiing country, and then they like to travel.  This evening as I write this they have headed to New York City by minivan via St. Louis and Falling Waters–Corrado really wants to see this Frank Lloyd Wright house.  I feel so honored to have met them.  Una bella famiglia–a beautiful family.

Spicy Brisket for a Crowd


Originally, I had no intention of posting this.  I was simply making an easy dinner for ten guests on a hot summer day.  However, I received so many compliments that I decided to post it even though I took no pictures.  The only time I ever cook brisket occurs when quite a few people are coming over and I do not want much to do just before the food is served.  There is another rather odd reason I like to cook brisket in the summer:  I can use my electric roaster and plug it into the outlet on the patio and not heat up the house.  Since I do not particularly like barbecue, I try to do something different.

1 4-5 lb. brisket, trimmed of fat

1 large purple onion, coarsely chopped

Cumin, enough to completely cover the top of the brisket when sprinkled over it

2-3 Tbls. mild Mexican chili seasoning

1-2 tsp. coriander, ground  (optional)

Brown sugar

1 bottle cheap, dry, red wine

1 15 0z. can chopped, salt free tomatoes

4-5 jalapeño peppers (optional)

Place the brisket in a roaster fat side down and pour in the red wine to a depth of 1 1/2 inches.  Cover the top with the cumin and chili seasoning.  Evenly scatter the chopped onions over the top.  Bake at 325 for 2 hours.  Turn the brisket over so that the fat side is up.  Bake another 1-2 hours.  Turn the temperature down to 275 and turn over again so the the fat side is down.  Cover the top of the brisket with the tomatoes.  Sprinkle two small handfuls of brown sugar evenly over the top of the tomatoes.  If using the coriander, sprinkle it over the brown sugar.  Check to make sure the broth is not becoming too dry and add extra wine as needed. Bake another 1-2 hours.  If using the jalapeños, cut into halves and deseed. Add them about one hour before serving.  Usually, I cook brisket 6-7 hours.  I do not want it to become too dry, but I do want the broth to cook down so that it creates a natural sauce for the meat without using any thickening.  Just before serving, slice the brisket into pieces and stir around so the sauce covers all the pieces of meat.  I like to use the jalapeños this way because it does not increase the “heat” for those who do not like hot food, but there are tasty tidbit of hot for those who do.  Enjoy!