Pasta a la Norma-Runners World Oct 2010


Runners World magazine has turned out to be a great source for great recipes. These are courtesy of  Italian restaurant legend Joe Bastianich, who is also a marathoner.

The Pomodoro Sauce is so easy and so good I plan on keeping it on hand for last minute meals. I think the trick is to use San Marzano's which taste better than regular canned tomatoes. But regular will work too. Jim went back for seconds, which rarely happens even when he really likes something. He likes his meat but was left satisfied with his vegan dinner(he skipped the cheese).

I made the sauce a few days ahead of time. I didn't use rigatoni. I used whole grain fusilli. And my oregano is Turkish not Sicilian.

Pomodoro Sauce
Pomodoro (or tomato) sauce is the base for all of Chef Joe Bastianich's pasta dishes featured in these pages. Use a full batch of pomodoro for each recipe.

1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 16-ounce cans of peeled, whole Italian plum tomatoes, such as San Marzano
1 teaspoon Sicilian oregano (optional)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste) Today's food marathon begins with what
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium. Add garlic and saute until golden brown, about three minutes. While garlic browns, pour tomatoes into a bowl. Squeeze with your hands to break them up. Add tomatoes and their juice to the saucepan. Add oregano (if using), salt, and pepper. Simmer on low for 45 minutes. Add a little water if needed to keep sauce from becoming too thick (it should be bright red; if it turns brick red, it's too thick). To make oreganata, simmer sauce with sprigs of fresh oregano. Make arrabiata by adding red pepper flakes to taste. Makes six one-cup servings.

FAT: 9 G

Rigatoni a la Norma
"The very best eggplant is like filet mignon," says Bastianich. Here it's lightly fried "and incredibly tender and flavorful."

Pomodoro sauce
1 medium eggplant, peeled, then cut into one-inch cubes Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons flour
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 pound rigatoni
6 tablespoons ricotta cheese

Boil a pot of salted water. Heat pomodoro in a saucepan. Sprinkle eggplant with salt. Place on paper towels to drain for 10 minutes, then dust with flour. In a saute pan on medium, saute one garlic clove in 1 1/2 tablespoons oil until golden. Add half the eggplant; saute until brown on the outside but tender inside. Place on paper towels to drain excess oil. Repeat with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and remaining garlic and eggplant. In the same pan, saute onion in last tablespoon of oil until tender (seven minutes). Add to pomodoro sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Add pasta to boiling water. Two minutes before pasta is cooked, remove from water and add with the eggplant to the pomodoro sauce (with some pasta water if needed to keep the sauce liquid). Cook until pasta is tender. Divide into six servings. Top each with a tablespoon of ricotta.

FAT: 21 G

Halibut with Zucchini Salsa Verde


This was quick and healthy. It's similar to a tomatillo salsa.  We really enjoyed it. I will say the recipe makes a lot of salsa so unless you want to eat it with chips you should at least halve the recipe. 

Instead of broiling the fish we put it on the grill to give it more flavor.

Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit, Aug 2010 HERE.

The Guadalajara Burger with Tequila Spiked Salsa


This is one of our favorite "fancy burger" recipes courtesy of Cooking Light. The burger is nice and spicy and the salsa is also excellent with tortilla chips. It's also quick to assemble.

I didn't use ground round. instead I used ground grass fed chuck which had a higher fat content as I do not like a dry burger(who does?). I also grind my own meat so I have no fear of eating a medium rare burger.

Recipe HERE

South African Springbok Kebabs with Monkey Gland Sauce


Now before you wonder what I've been smoking, let me say there is no Springbok or monkey in this recipe. It's not like I can get that easily in Phoenix.  I got this recipe from Steven Raichlen's Planet Barbecue!: 309 Recipes, 60 CountriesPlanet. Which is one of my new favorite cookbooks.

The original recipe does call for springbok but the only place in town that would have ordered it for me is too far away. Raichlen suggests veal or pork so I went with the pork. But seeing as the springbok kinda looks like a deer, maybe venison would work too.

Monkey Gland Sauce is just a traditional South African sweet and hot sauce. Probably named for shock value.

This was really good. I suggest making the sauce ahead of time so all you have to do is thread your kebabs and prepare your sides before dinner time. I also have quite a bit of sauce left over so you may want to halve it.

Another tip is to use dry vermouth whenever a recipe calls for dry white wine. It has the same effect and is much cheaper. Also a bottle will last longer as it doesn't have to be used right up after opening.

I paid about $4.00 for Noilly Prat at BevMo. It is the brand that was highly recommended.

Recipe for South African Springbok Kebabs with Monkey Gland Sauce  HERE

Best #%$& cinnamon rolls in the WORLD!


I have never made cinnamon rolls before but love them. But with a cinnamon roll hating boyfriend it seemed like I would be the only one eating them. So when my supper club did brunch I seized the opportunity. Based on reviews, Alton Brown's Overnight Cinnamon Roll recipe was the one to try.

This recipe seems a lot more intimidating than it is. I hate rolling dough because I suck at it but I pulled up the youtube video of Alton Brown making these rolls and moved right along with him.When I pulled them out of the oven cinnamon hater said they smelled awesome and said he's like to try one.

These tasted amazing! The dough was light and the filling was the perfect mix of cinnamon and brown sugar. I used Penzey's Vietnamese Cinnamon and did not adjust the measurements. They were a huge hit at the brunch and I manged to save one for Jim. His verdict? He liked it. A lot! But when he talked about other rolls he's had he did say they were soggy and unappealing. So now he's a fan.

Recipe HERE

Barbecued Chicken Hash


I'd like to thank Bob for bringing this recipe to my attention. I like to use my large cast iron skillet and "one pot" meals are awesome so this was right up my alley. It's also very easy once you get the vegetables chopped. I used a red bell instead of green. I also poached some boneless skinless chicken breast but you could also buy a rotisserie chicken and shred it to save some time. I think other vegetables like corn and zucchini would work in this dish.

Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light HERE

Summer Squash & White Bean Sauté


I love a healthy vegetable packed recipe that makes great leftovers. This was easy to prepare and made an excellent lunch the next day. I served it over whole grain pasta but any grain would work. Next time I'm going to use farro.  

Summer Squash & White Bean Sauté  

From EatingWell:  July/August 2008

Bountiful summer vegetables—zucchini, summer squash, fresh tomatoes—are quickly sautéed with protein-rich white beans and topped with Parmesan for a hearty dish. This sauté is endlessly versatile and works well with eggplant, peppers or corn. Double it and toss the leftovers with bowtie pasta for lunch the next day. Serve with: Brown rice or bulgur.

4 servings, about 1 1/4 cups each | Active Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 15- or 19-ounce can cannellini or great northern beans, rinsed
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add zucchini, summer squash, oregano, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring once, until the vegetables are tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in beans, tomatoes and vinegar; increase heat to medium and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in Parmesan.


Per serving : 195 Calories; 6 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 4 g Mono; 5 mg Cholesterol; 25 g Carbohydrates; 11 g Protein; 8 g Fiber; 600 mg Sodium; 726 mg Potassium
1 Carbohydrate Serving

Potatoes with Sea Vegetables


Jim isn't always the most adventurous eater so I "neglected" to tell him I was making potatoes with seaweed. After he had a bite and said they were good I did tell him and he hesitated and continued to devour them. He did say the wakame was a bit chewy but overall it was a hit.

I thought it was really good and this was my first non-sushi seaweed experience. We had it with grilled chicken and a green salad. Since I now have seaweed and potatoes in the pantry I'll be making it again soon. Sea vegetables are a very rich source of vitamins A, E and iodine.

The recipe is from the January 2010 issue of Sunset Magazine

Potatoes with Sea Vegetables

Time: 25 minutes

Yield:  Serves 4 to 6

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 2-in. chunks
About 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 ounce dried wakame pieces, broken into roughly 2-in. chunks, or wakame flakes*
1 white or yellow onion, quartered and cut into 1/4-in. slices
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ounce dried dulse*, torn into small pieces

1. Put potatoes in a medium pot and add just enough water to cover, plus a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, covered; add wakame, reduce heat to low, and simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Drain, saving about 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

2. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, sauté onion in oil over medium-high heat until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and dulse; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes more. Add potatoes and heat for a few minutes, stirring gently to combine. Pour in some cooking liquid to moisten if you like. Season with salt to taste.

*Find wakame at Whole Foods Markets or Japanese markets; dulse is available at Whole Foods (both are types of dried seaweed). Or order them from Ocean Harvest Sea Vegetable Company ( or 707/937-1923) in Mendocino, California.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

CALORIES 207 (29% from fat); FAT 6.9g (sat 1g); CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CARBOHYDRATE 32g; SODIUM 322mg; PROTEIN 4.9g; FIBER 5.7g

Sunset, JANUARY 2010

Shrimp, Mango, and Avocado Salad with Sweet Chili-Ginger Vinaigrette


This was billed as a 15 minute salad on the cover of BA magazine. Mine took a bit longer as I only had raw shrimp on hand but it was still pretty quick.

It was good but the dressing was a bit on the sweet side for my taste. I did like the mango, shrimp, avocado combo in a hot summer day.  I'll try it again with a different dressing.

Recipe HERE