Cooking From My Books: Pumpkin Ravioli With Sage Brown Butter

While the weather is still summery here in California, that hasn’t stopped the stores from stocking everything Pumpkin. Seriously, Today at Trader Joe’s I saw pumpkin soup crackers (???) and pumpkin spice tortilla chips. What?
So this week I’m jumping on a the pumpkin bandwagon with a recipe that was featured in Walk On The Wild Side (those who have read it will remember that this was one of the possible dishes for Brady and Molly to cook during their appearance on Simply Delicious with Reggie Caldwell). In the book, Brady and Molly make the actual pasta dough from scratch, but really, who has time for that? This is a simplified approach using pre-made pasta or wonton wrappers stuffed with a delicious pumpkin filling.


1 1/2 pounds store-bought fresh pasta sheets or one package fresh wonton wrappers (if you use wonton wrappers, eliminate cutting the pasta into squares)
1 (2 1⁄2-lb.) sugar pumpkin, seeds removed and cut into chunks*
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
6 amaretti, or Italian almond cookies, crushed into crumbs
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tbsp. honey
1 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. butter
18 fresh sage leaves, chopped, plus more to garnish

*If roasting and pureeing the pumpkin is above your pay grade feel free to use 1 1/2 cups pre-made pumpkin puree. Just make sure not to use pumpkin pie filling!


Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pumpkin chunks on a lightly oiled baking sheet until tender, 30–45 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside for about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin. Transfer pumpkin pulp to a mixing bowl, mash with a fork, then beat in egg yolks and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add red pepper, amaretti, cinnamon, 2 tbsp. of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, honey, wine, and salt and cook for 3–4 minutes. Mix in pumpkin, cook for 2 minutes, then transfer to a food processor or blender and purée until smooth. Return pumpkin mixture to the same pan, cover, and keep warm over low heat.
For the sage brown butter: Heat butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add sage and cook until butter is golden brown. Remove from heat.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Carefully slip pasta squares into pot and cook until they rise to the surface. Use a large skimmer to remove pasta from the water. Drain well, then lay 1 square on each of 6 plates, spoon pumpkin filling onto squares, and cover with remaining pasta squares. Drizzle sage butter over each square, sprinkle with remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano, and garnish with fresh sage leaves if you like.

  • September 28, 2016

Cooking From My Books: Roast Chicken With Artichoke Hearts

Today’s recipe appeared in Walk On The Wild Side (book 3 of my Big Timber, Montana series) and is also one of my own personal favorites to make at home for my two hungry boys. It couldn’t be simpler – chicken parts and jarred artichoke hearts are tossed together on a sheet pan and roasted in the oven. It’s quick to put together and – bonus – requires minimal cleanup, making it a perfect weeknight meal.
And of course, it’s delicious!

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (such as thighs, breasts, and drumsticks; about 3 pounds total)
2cups marinated artichoke hearts, drained (about 12 ounces)
5tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper


Heat oven to 450° F. Toss the chicken, artichoke hearts, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, skin-side up, on the top rack until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part (avoiding the bone) registers 165° F, 30 to 35 minutes.

  • September 21, 2016

Cooking From My Books: Bison Chili

Fall is here and with it a bit of a nip in the air (even here in California). Or as a close friend calls it, “football weather.” And what better dish to whip up for a tailgate than a big batch of chili? This recipe, from Blame It On Your Heart, is a family favorite passed down by Adele and served in her cafe. It changes things up a bit by using bison meat instead of beef. Not only is it delicious, since the bison is leaner, this dish is extra healthy. Enjoy!



1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 pound lean ground bison
1 can crushed tomatoes (28-ounce), with their juices
2 cups water
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons Mexican chili powder
1 teaspoon flour
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 can black beans (15.5-ounce), drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans (15.5-ounce), drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn kernels


Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the cumin and coriander and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the ground bison; raise the heat to high and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink. Stir in the tomatoes, water, Mexican chili powder, flour, brown sugar and oregano and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, partially covered, stirring from time to time, for 30 minutes. Stir in the beans and corn and continue cooking, partially covered, 20 minutes longer, until the chili has thickened and heat through. Season with salt and pepper, top with favorite toppings, and serve.

  • September 14, 2016

Cooking From My Books: Four Cheese Panini

What’s better than a classic grilled cheese? A souped up version with not one but four cheeses served on a delicious ciabatta roll. Brady McManus created this dish for Adele’s Cafe in Blame It On Your Heart, the first book in my Big Timber series. Serve it with a steaming cup of creamy tomato soup!


1/2 cup shredded fresh mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)
1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese (4 ounces)
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (1 ounce)
1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese (3 ounces)
4 ciabatta rolls, halved lengthwise, or 8 slices firm white sandwich bread
8 arugula leaves


In a small bowl, combine the cheeses. Spread the cheese on the bottoms of the ciabatta rolls, top with 2 arugula leaves and close the panini.
Set a large cast-iron skillet or griddle over moderately high heat. Arrange the panini in the skillet and weight them down with a smaller pan. Cook the panini until the outside is crisp and the cheese is melted, 3 minutes per side. Cut the panini in half and serve at once.

  • September 7, 2016

Cooking From My Books: Filet Mignon With Gorgonzola Madeira Sauce

This week I’m featuring a delicious recipe from well, Delicious :). While filet mignon is one of the priciest cuts you can buy, compared to other cuts, it doesn’t have the “beefiest” flavor. Because of its comparatively milder taste, it benefits greatly from the rich, creamy flavor of the gorgonzola madeira sauce. Serve this at a dinner party and your guests are sure to be impressed!

4 (6-ounce) filet mignon steaks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons shallot, finely chopped
1⁄2 cup madeira wine
1⁄2 cup beef stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season the steaks with salt and pepper. Depending on the thickness of the steaks, cook for 3-5 minutes per side for medium rare. Let steaks rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
While the steaks cook, heat the butter to medium-high in a small saute pan.
Add the shallots and cook until soft.
Add the Madeira wine and deglaze the pan. Lower to simmer and let the wine reduce by half.
Add the beef stock and reduce by half.
Just before serving, increase heat to medium-high and add the heavy cream and Gorgonzola. Whisk until smooth. Serve on top of filet.


  • August 24, 2016

Cooking From My Books: Barbecue Beef Brisket Sandwich with Onion Rings

I’m going out for barbecue tonight so I decided to spread the love. This week’s recipe is another one of Brady’s from Walk On The Wild Side. This is a hearty, messy sandwich that will satisfy all the meat lovers in your life. Serve it with a side of crispy tempura onion rings, and prepare for the best food coma ever.


Barbecue Beef Brisket Sandwiches

1 (5 to 6-pound) beef brisket, point cut
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup ketchup
2/3 cup cider vinegar, plus more for seasoning
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon mustard powder
3 tablespoons bourbon, plus more for seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
10 potato rolls, for serving

1. Adjust the oven racks to fit a large Dutch oven; preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Rub the brisket with the paprika, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the brisket and sear well on all sides, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the ketchup, vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, mustard powder, bourbon, Worcestershire, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 cup water. Pour the barbecue sauce over the brisket.
3. Cover the Dutch oven; transfer to the oven and cook, undisturbed, until the meat is tender, 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Transfer the brisket to a large bowl. Meanwhile, skim excess fat from the sauce in the Dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium heat on the stovetop. Boil until the sauce is thickened (you should have about 2 cups sauce), about 10 minutes. Season with more vinegar, bourbon, and salt, if desired.
4. Pull the meat apart into large chunks and stir into about two-thirds of the sauce. Sandwich the meat on the potato rolls. Serve with extra sauce on the side.

Tempura Onion Rings

Oil, for frying
2 large sweet onions, cut into 1/2-inch thick rings, thin skins removed
1 1/2 cups rice flour, plus more, for dredging
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 egg yolk
1 cup beer (use enough until you get pancake batter consistency)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large Dutch oven or fryer with oil and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Sift dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Crack the egg yolk into a separate bowl and break it up with a fork. Add this to the well in the middle of the flour and slowly pour in the beer as you whisk. Gradually make wider circles with the whisk to incorporate the dry ingredients from the edges – this will minimize the chance of lumps. Continue until all the dry ingredients are mixed and the batter is of a smooth consistency.
Take the onion rings and remove the thin membrane found between the layers; (otherwise the batter won’t stick as well). In a large dish add some rice flour, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Coat each ring in the flour. Dip in the batter and fry in hot oil in batches until golden. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.

  • August 10, 2016

Cooking From My Books: Salmon With Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Salmon season is officially in full swing, so this week I’m posting a recipe from my first book, Delicious. While in the book it’s prepared by Reggie, this is actually a favorite of our family and is the only way my 9 year old will eat fish. In this preparation, the sauce is really the star of the show, while the salmon is grilled with just a little salt and pepper. Now heat up your grill and enjoy!

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 pounds salmon (I prefer wild coho, sockeye, or king)

To make the sauce, combine the first 6 ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat. Don’t let the sauce come to a boil; the goal is to heat everything though but not to caramelize the ingredients.
To make the salmon, heat your grill to medium high heat
Coat the salmon with oil and season the salmon with salt and pepper.
Place fillets on the grill, skin side down to start, for about 5-6 minutes per side. Adjust the time based on the thickness of the fish and your desired doneness (I personally like my salmon on the rarer side). When the fish is nearly done, spoon some of the sauce over the skinless side and give it a quick sear. Serve the rest of the sauce on the side.

  • August 4, 2016

Cooking From My Books: Danny’s Angel Hair Pasta With Fresh Tomato Sauce

Happy summer everyone! As we approach the end of July, this summer’s crop of tomatoes is starting to ripen. I don’t know about you, but garden fresh tomatoes rock my world. So this week I’m featuring a recipe from Unleashed, the third book in my Gemini Men series, where the tomatoes are the stars. Our hero Danny Taggart likes to relieve his stress in the kitchen. In this dish, he features beautiful ripe tomatoes and fragrant basil. Enjoy!



1 small garlic clove
3 lb tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb dried capellini (angel-hair pasta)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Accompaniments: finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling (optional)


Mince garlic and mash to a paste with a pinch of salt using a large heavy knife.
Core and coarsely chop two thirds of tomatoes. Halve remaining tomatoes crosswise, then rub cut sides of tomatoes against large holes of a box grater set in a large bowl, reserving pulp and discarding skin. Toss pulp with chopped tomatoes, garlic paste, lemon juice, salt, sugar (if using), and pepper. Let stand until ready to use, at least 10 minutes.
While tomatoes stand, cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until al dente, about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately add to tomato mixture, tossing to combine. Sprinkle with basil.

  • July 27, 2016

Cooking From My Books: Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus Spears

This week’s recipe features one of my all time favorite ingredients, Prosciutto! I’ve been known to eat it plain by the slice, but this appetizer, featured in Blame It On Your Heart, provides a slightly more elegant preparation. Enjoy!


30 medium-thin asparagus stalks
4 ounces peppered Boursin cheese, softened
1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto
1/4 cup honey mustard

Trim the asparagus stalks so that the spears are 5 inches long. In a deep skillet bring 1 1/2 inches salted water to a boil and cook the asparagus until they are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. In a colander drain the asparagus and rinse under cold water. Drain the asparagus well on paper towels.
In a bowl mash the Boursin with a fork until it is smooth. Cut 1 slice of prosciutto lengthwise into 1-inch strips and spread each strip with about 1/2 teaspoon Boursin. Spread about 1/4 teaspoon mustard over the Boursin and wrap each strip in a spiral around an asparagus spear, trimming any excess. Make more hors d’oeuvres with the remaining prosciutto, Boursin, mustard, and asparagus spears in the same manner.

  • July 20, 2016

Cooking From My Books: Arugula Salad With Beets and Goat Cheese

I’m back! After spending the last two weeks ingesting copious amounts of bacon and beef, it’s time to lighten up. So this week I’m featuring a salad that Brady created to spice up the menu of Adele’s Cafe. Enjoy!arugula-beet-saladarugula-beet-salad

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons shallots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 medium beets, cooked and quartered
6 cups fresh arugula
1/2 cup pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled

Line a baking sheet with foil. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Whisk the vinegar, shallots, and honey in a medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with salt and pepper. Toss the beets in a small bowl with enough dressing to coat. Place the beets on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the beets are slightly caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Set aside and cool.
Toss the arugula, pecans, and cranberries in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper. Mound the salad atop 4 plates. Arrange the beets around the salad. Sprinkle with the goat cheese, and serve.

  • July 6, 2016