Sunset Modern

I have long been envious of my friend Abbie’s outdoor pizza oven. I admire the frequency with which she entertains, using the pizza oven as a gathering spot for guests.  After all, it is food that creates a sense of community, that connects even the most polar opposite of personalities.  I somehow missed the “pizza oven boat” when along came the opportunity for me and Hubby …

A Chat with Ian Cauble, Master Sommelier

Attaining the coveted title of Master Sommelier is no easy task.  To be invited to sit for the exam, you must have already attained the certification of Advanced Sommelier, the third of four sommelier tiers, as established by the Court of Master Sommeliers.  The Master Sommelier Exam consists of three parts: theory, service, and blind tasting.  It is not necessary to pass all three at once (in …

Refugio Ranch

My roots in South Texas run deep.  My grandfather, Cyrus Lucas Heard, was born in 1898 in Refugio, Texas.  The Heard family came to Texas from Ireland in the late 1700’s and raised cattle on land obtained from original Spanish land grants.  In South Texas-ese, Refugio is pronounced Re-few-rio.  I wish I could tell you where they get the “r”, but honestly I haven’t a clue. …

Big Stone Gap Movie Premiere

I am taking the weekend to read Big Stone Gap before the big movie premiere on Tuesday, October, 6, right here in Scottsdale, AZ.  Big Stone Gap is a novel written by the hysterically funny and witty Adriana Trigiani, author of The Shoemaker’s Wife.  As a member of the Arizona Women’s Board, I would love to share with you the details of the event.  The Arizona …

The Arizona Inn

Stories of strong, pioneering women are fascinating to me, and during a recent stay in Tucson at the Arizona Inn, I was reminded that sometimes we don’t need to look far to find inspiration. The Arizona Inn has been family owned and operated for four generations, since its creation in 1930 by Isabella Greenway, Arizona’s first Congresswoman, entrepreneur and lifelong friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. The …

Saying Goodbye to Summer

Labor Day Weekend typically marks the end of summer even though it is still 104 degrees outside.  As I mentally prepare myself for the daily schlepping of the kids around town, I look back at five carefree days this summer in California when all of our children were at camp and our biggest worry was where to hike and where to eat.  The hills around Santa …

Tyler Florence’s Rocky Mountain High Fried Chicken

Why does it feel like most of the dishes prepared for audiences at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic involve poultry?  Maybe it is a dish to which everyone can relate?  You know when you are trying something new and exotic, like iguana or crocodile, you are invariably told, “It tastes like chicken!”.  At any rate, you may find Tyler Florence’s take on chicken to …

Hugh Acheson’s New Southern Cooking With a Modern Twist

Chef Hugh Acheson is a well-known cookbook author, restauranteur and Top Chef  judge with four restaurants in Georgia: Five & Ten (Athens), The National (Athens), Empire State South (Atlanta) and Florence (Savannah).  While his James Beard award-winning cookbooks (A New Turn in the South, Pick a Pickle) hone in on the flavors of the Southern U.S., it may surprise you to know that he was …

Mark Oldman – Wine for Spice Lovers

If it is a spirited discourse on wine you are seeking, then Mark Oldman’s class is the one for you.  Funny, smart and charming, Stanford educated Mark Oldman is a wine expert for Pottery Barn and wine columnist for the Food Network.  His two wine books, “Brave New World of Wine” and “Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine” are winners of the George Duboeuf Best Wine …

Tim Love’s How to Cook the Perfect Steak

This was my third year in a row to catch Tim Love’s class at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic…it is just so entertaining, I can’t help myself.  The subject matters are similar: “Rub Versus Marinade”, “Cast Iron Cooking”, to “How to Cook the Perfect Steak”.  However, I still find myself learning something new or revisiting something I once knew, along with absorbing some of his pearls …