Love & Money

Truckee, California 2009

My husband was the most generous person I have ever met. When we first began dating, I asked him to join some friends for my birthday. My girlfriends made the reservation in the city, and we all showed up with our dates.

When the bill came, my friends pulled out their wallets, but my husband insisted on picking up the tab. The bill was $1,200.00, he did this sort of thing all the time.

After we got married, a check could not hit the table without him picking it up. But, on the reverse side money rolled in from all directions and soon, as a couple, we had more money than we knew what to do with.

I began to expect this, and understood how money flowed both in and out of our hands. One day, after Paris was born, we went to the jewelry store, I had Paris in my arms. My husband bought me a 5 carat princess cut diamond in a hand carved diamond platinum band.

He would buy cases of good wine to share with friends, and when we bought our Tahoe house we loaded it up with the neighborhood, friends, and tons of kids.

When the bottom fell out of the stock market and commercial construction imploded, we spent more time at home, ordered pizza on Friday nights, and had BBQ’s and camp outs in our backyard.

When we first moved to Moraga, I would be approached in the grocery store, by older women, collectively, they would tell me to enjoy every moment. I would think to myself, “they must have amnesia.”  I was so exhausted by my newborn and two year old, it was hard to enjoy anything.

However, I heard this so often that I believed it had merit, and I made a conscious decision to savor sitting in the stuffed cow and pig chairs with my toddlers watching Disney Princess movies, among the other activities of a busy mother.

The only thing that ever really mattered was that we had each other. And now we don’t.  We only have our memories, and the ring, that now sits in the bank.

Love and blessings to all.

Surviving Fathers Day 

Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, St. Helena

My daughters were very nonchalant about Fathers Day, and I realized it was probably my own sadness on the many Fathers Days that followed the death of my own father, that made me dread this holiday for them. 

In church, there was just one moment when the eyes of my daughter filled with tears, and she asked if we could leave, and even though it was the middle of the service, I stood up, and we all filed out. 

From there, we headed to Napa with friends, and sat in the private tasting room at Darrioush Winery, then had an early dinner at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, where the food is beautiful and fresh farm-to-table. The restaurant is in a converted barn, and everything they serve is grown and raised by them. 

Siena and I started with the roasted beet salad with chimichurri and goat cheese. She said it was the best salad she had ever had, then she said the exact same thing about her entree. And it truly was delicious. 

After this, we got an iced coffee and walked through the gardens, and then on our way out of town, we stopped at A&W for floats and hot fudge sundaes.

With the exception of the missing fathers, the day could not have been more perfect, making me very aware of my many blessings.

As we were leaving, my daughter looked at me and said, “I could see you living here.”

And I totally could. 

I have to have my farmhouse, somewhere. 

Love and Blessings. 

Comfort Food

Comfort Food

Pasta, Prosciutto and Peas

I’ve saved the best for last.  This is one of my most cherished recipes, and I make it over and over again for my kids and friends.  I had this for the first time at Tre Vigne in St. Helena when I was 24 years old and on my first trip to the Napa Valley.

Michael Chiarello, now a very famous chef, vintner, TV host and sustainable farmer with his own restaurant, Bottega in Yountville, was the chef.  I still love this restaurant and had lunch there on my birthday this year (December, 2015).

Back then this entrée cost only $8, and we had lunch on the beautiful Tra Vigne patio.  I was with my sister, Sandra Sheehan and my Auntie Deborah. It was a hot summer day and there is nowhere on earth more pleasant than the Napa Valley in the heart of the wine country in the summer. What bliss. I returned many times and I always ordered this dish until it was taken off the menu a few years ago, but I highly recommend the Maltagliati Verde (herb infused pasta with slow cooked lamb) which we had on my last visit.

After the kids were born, I couldn’t make it to Tra Vigne as often, so I taught myself how to make Michael’s recipe at home, and my kids love it too. It’s perfect in a pinch when you find yourself with 12 unexpected and very hungry kids for dinner (double the recipe below), add a salad and some crunchy bread.

As for Michael Chiarello, he can still be found at the stove and was gracious enough to join us (on the patio of course) one afternoon at his restaurant Bottega for lunch.  He will forever remain one of my favorite chefs and inspirations.

Thank you Michael Chiarello!

Ingredients

▪ 1 lb of pasta

▪ 2 tablespoons of olive oil

▪ ½ lb chopped prosciutto, pancetta or bacon (shown)

▪ 2 cloves of garlic, chopped

▪ 1 cup of peas, fresh or frozen

▪ ½ stick of unsalted butter

▪ ½ cup of heavy whipping cream

▪ Parmesan cheese, as needed

Preparation

Boil the pasta, as per the package directions, and then begin making the sauce.

Heat a large sauce pan or dutch oven to medium heat.  Once hot, add the olive oil, then the chopped prosciutto and garlic. Brown lightly.  When the pasta is done, drain and add it to the ham and garlic mixture.  Then, add the butter and cream and reduce heat to low. Stir gently until the ingredients are well combined.  Add the cream, fresh grated parmesan cheese, stir well and reduce for 5 minutes.  Serve immediately in a warm bowls with freshly grated Parmesan.

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Truckee Truckee Truckee

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Marty’s Egg Sandwich

Marty’s Diner, Truckee, California

On a recent visit to Truckee, California located in the Tahoe basin we decided to take the teens to breakfast.  We had hit all of the obvious places many times since buying our cabin in 2007.  Truckee has more restaurants per capita featured on the Food Network than any other city in the world.  Many of them serving breakfast.  On this occasion we decided to try something new.  A quick query on the Internet brought up Marty’s.  I called to make sure they were still serving Eggs Benedict for my niece Sophie and we packed up the kids and headed over to Marty’s around noon.

This is Marty!

This is Marty!

Marty’s is located on the main street in Truckee near the train station.   We waited a few minutes and were seated in a cozy booth.  Everything on the menu looked scrumptious as did all of the food on the oversized plates being served to nearby diners.  I have a condition in restaurants called Food Envy.  No matter what I order I want the food of the person next to me or across from me or even at the next table.  I suffer from Food Ordering Remorse as well, so being that lunch and breakfast were both being served, I naturally could not decide even between breakfast and lunch.  The waitress inflicted more confusion and ordering chaos by telling me that the burgers and the Eggs Benedict were both over the top amazing.  Luckily, my lovely daughter offered to share the burger and the Eggs Benedict with me.  This is the reason some of us have children.

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Marty’s Burger

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Eggs Benedict

These photos DO NOT do the food justice.  The burger was perfectly done and tasted of every grass fed excellent organic ingredient available today.  The eggs were perfect.  The crusty delicious hash brown and the delicate lettuce which tasted like it was just plucked out of the garden were an exquisite addition to this time honored dish.  The waitress even suggested I sop up some of the lush and lemony hollandaise sauce with the leaves.  Who knew this would be so good?

Our lovely wait staff were attentive and willing to supply lots of extra plates and listen patiently to the special instructions pertaining to what the teens would allow to touch what on the plate and so on.

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Sophie being like the rest of our family decided against the Eggs Benedict we came for, and ordered this amazing Hoagie sandwich and was thrilled with her choice.

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Sophie

Even though I was completely stuffed I couldn’t resist a few bites of the house made potato salad that came with our burger (my teen would not allow it or the avocado to be on the plate with the burger), so they put it in this cute little crock.

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Potato Salad

Truckee is one of those resort towns where the food is unbelievably good because the locals support only the best during the off season.  There are so many wonderful things to do in Tahoe, but a trip to Marty’s should be close to the top of the list.

10115 Donner Pass Rd
Truckee, CA 96161
(530) 550-8208

If you go, please message me or comment to let me know your thoughts.