Tag Archives: Learn how to cook

spicy sausage pasta

4 Dec


Picking out a tree and decorating it may be my favorite thing about the holidays. Brian and I planned to get our tree this past Sunday, but unfortunately, our plan got derailed by the rain. The first Christmas Brian and I spent together we named our tree Bert and we’ve done so ever since. This year he will be named Bert 3! Every year we also photograph ourselves with Bert in front of our house. We really need to get more friends, huh? Since we didn’t want to shoot this epic photo with Bert in the rain, we postponed our tree day for another weekend. Sadly, it will have to be December 15th because we will be out-of-town next weekend looking at wedding venues. If you couldn’t tell from my wedding inspiration post, I’m looking for a barn. A rustic and elegant barn, if you will. I swear, a barn can be both rustic and elegant. I’m not sure that I’ve convinced Brian’s mother of this fact just yet, but fingers crossed I will. As you can probably imagine there aren’t a huge number of barns in the Los Angeles area, so we are driving up north to San Luis Obispo to look at a few.  Wow, I just went on a whole wedding tangent and I didn’t even mean to. Sorry about that, back to the tree and the rain. So, after we scrapped the tree idea, we decided that the rain called for cooking a new recipe together and drinking a great bottle of red wine that was given to us by our friend Chris, as an engagement gift. Thanks Chris!

Pasta + red wine + rain + your love = a fabulous Sunday night.

Kate & Brian’s spicy sausage pasta…enjoy!

Serves: 4-6


3 lb heirloom tomatoes, cut into small dice, juice reserved
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (optional)
2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 1/2 to 3 tsp red pepper flakes
15 large fresh basil leaves
1 lb rigatoni (we used gluten free pasta!)
4 spicy Italian sausages


Combine the diced tomatoes, tomato juice, oil, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes (use 1 1/2 teaspoons if you don’t like spicy and up to 3 teaspoons if you do) in a large nonreactive bowl. Stir gently to coat well, and let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours before serving.

Sautee sausages until cooked

When the tomatoes are ready, tear the basil leaves into bite-sized pieces and stir into the tomato mixture. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and cook according to the package directions. (If the tomatoes have not let off a lot of juice, reserve 1/2 cup/120 ml of the pasta cooking water before draining.)

Toss the pasta with the reserved pasta cooking water (as needed) and parsley and stir to mix. Add the tomato mixture, and stir to combine.Taste and season with salt and additional pepper flakes, as desired.

Then EAT!


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20 Mar


What I am about to share with you is hands down the MOST delicious dessert I have ever been in contact with. I dream of this cake. I lurve this cake. I have a sneaking suspicion that what makes this cake so special is the fact you put orange juice in it! That and the pounds of sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon you pour into the batter (just turn your head when adding all the good stuff and you can pretend you didn’t know). My Aunt Michelle first introduced it to me 8 months ago when she served it for dessert at her house. For this, I owe her my first-born. Kidding. I’m not really going to give her my first-born for a cake, but I did think about it.

My aunt Michelle is the most generous, loving and kind person I know.  She is the bed-rock in our family. She has always shown up when her family has needed her and I’m not sure how we would survive without her. She spent months back east (away from her life ) taking care of her sister Debbie (my aunt) when she was dying. She did the same when my Grandfather Tilly was ill and needed her. I don’t know how she does it. She is constantly teaching me what it means to be selfless.

I still feel bad about the time she came to pick me up at kindergarten and I looked at her with a major attitude and said, “I don’t take kindly to strangers”. I totally knew who she was and to this day still don’t know why I said that to her! She did not deserve such treatment!

On top of all her lovely qualities as a human being, she can also bake! Sadly, I didn’t learn this until I started 365 til 30 because  I wasn’t that concerned with who could cook or bake unless their name was Whole Foods. I have been surprised to learn that I have a lot of good cooks in my life!

Since eating this cake, for the first time I’ve hounded Michelle to invite me over so she could teach me how to make it and I finally succeeded! Even Brian, who is not a cake kinda guy, loved it. I brought a huge batch home but trashed it the next morning when I realized where it was headed for me- having cake for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert is never a good idea. I had to be stopped.

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6 cups of peeled thinly sliced granny smith apples (about 3 large apples)/ 1 1/2 cups, plus 5 tablespoons of granulated sugar divided/ 4 teaspoons of cinnamon/ 3 cups of all-purpose flour/ 1 tablespoon of baking powder/ 1/2 teaspoon of salt/ 4 eggs/ 1/2 cup of light brown sugar/ 1 cup of vegetable oil/ 1/2 cup of orange juice/ 2 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 and grease, sugar and flour a ten inch bundt pan/ combine apple slices with 5 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon set aside/ combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside/ beat eggs with remaining sugar and brown sugar, add vegetable oil, orange juice and vanilla extract and beat well/ gradually blend in flour mixture and mix well/ Pour one-third of the mixture into pan and top with half the apple slices/ pour in batter and top with the rest of the apple slices/ top with remaining batter. make sure all the apple slices are covered/ bake 55 to 60 minutes until the top turns golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean/ let it cool ten minutes


29 Feb


Teacher : My lovely friend Taline

Dish: Mexican Feast

Location: Taline’s Casa

When I started 365 til 30 I thought learning how to cook was going to be the most challenging goal to accomplish this year but boy, was I wrong because I am really starting to LOVE cooking. This is coming from a woman who couldn’t scramble eggs 7 months ago (true story). I also thought that the tango was going to be my easiest goal to master and boy, was I wrong again because, simply put, the tango and I have issues.

My last cooking lesson was such a treat! Learning how to make a Mexican Feast from one of my best girlfriends proved to be a hysterical, fun and delicious experience….so what it took us 3 hours, a bottle of champagne and ski goggles to finish cooking the meal!!! On the menu : roasted pepper salsa, guacamole, skirt steak, refried beans and queso fundito with chorizo. Queso fundito with chorizo literally translates into melted cheese with spicy sausage…I mean, how can you go wrong with that??

The minute I arrived at Taline’s house she handed me that special pink apron with ruffles you see in the picture above and asked me if I was ready to cook. In that moment, I knew she meant business and I decided not to put up a fight about the pink apron. She then proceeded to tell me that she was teaching five dishes. In that moment, I knew that I shouldn’t have come hungry because it was going to be a while before my belly was seeing that Mexican food. Then she told me that she had done a menu test run the night before with her mother (who is from Mexico) to make sure she was on her game and in that moment I knew the wait was going to be worth it.

It was a hysterical three hours spent in the kitchen that culminated in us wearing ski goggles to cut the onions. We both happen to be terribly sensitive to those little bastards so Taline came up with the idea of cutting them with ski goggles on. Brilliant, huh??? I mean truly brilliant. Bravo Taline…bravo. She also happens to be the most gracious teacher…even sending me this text after I left-

“It was so nice having you over and you cooked quite the feast tonight with the coolest calm…you are super zen in the kitchen. xoxo”

She let me take all the credit but I could not have done it without her!

When we finally sat down to eat our Mexican feast, I wasn’t even sure I was hungry anymore. That was until I took my first bite of queso fundido with chorizo and almost died- it tasted like heaven.

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Recipe’s coming!


13 Dec


How do I know it’s officially winter? Because it’s finally chili time!! My step father Irv would not teach me his damn chili recipe until it was cold outside and I have had to practice patience. As you can imagine, I was pretty excited when I got the call that it was chili time! I am a fan of chili and a bigger fan of Irv’s chili. What can I say the man knows how to cook. The first dish Irv taught me for 365 til 30 was his chicken teriyaki and it is still one of my go-to meals. He’s a very good teacher and I think I have made some progress in the kitchen since our last lesson. There were no accidents this time and I did not pour rice all over the kitchen! I also think Irv is starting to trust me a bit more in the kitchen. He confidently handed me a sharp knife to cut the onions with all by myself and as pathetic as this may sound, I have never felt so proud. I can truly say I don’t feel panicky in the kitchen anymore. I wouldn’t say I am bursting with confidence…I’m just saying I don’t break out in cold sweats anymore.

 Below is Irv’s fab chili recipe and a few very bad pictures from the evening (Note to self: when pictures are being taken put a little makeup on)

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1 onion

3 cloves of garlic

1 pound of grassfead beef

1 pound of ground turkey

I can of pinto beans

1 can of black beans

1 can of kidney beans

Chili powder to taste

Chili sauce to taste

1 can of peeled tomatoes




Tabasco sauce


Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in large pot / add roughly chopped onion and a pinch of salt / cook onion until transparent / add 3 cloves of minced garlic / saute on medium / add 1 pound of beef and 1 pound of turkey / add chili powder / sprinkle in ground cumin, salt and pepper / saute until meat cooks a bit / add 1 can of peeled tomatoes / add chili sauce / add beans last so they don’t get mushy /simmer on low for 1 hour



1 Nov


My friend Rachel and I recently spent an afternoon cooking together. On the menu… Healthy Falafels! I loved the idea of making a middle eastern meal considering I’m a huge fan of hummus and will take any excuse to incorporate it into a meal. We spent the morning shopping for our ingredients at the local farmer’s market  and I have to admit that I was completely surprised by the fact that 1. We bought almost all the ingredients there and 2. It only cost us 10 dollars! I can’t get over how much we bought for 10 bucks. Seems completely crazy to me but then again I was the girl who bought every meal from The Whole Foods prepared section before starting 365 til 30…so maybe this is normal? Anyways, not only is this recipe cheap but it’s easy to make, healthy and delicious. Oh and I totally recommend eating it outside on a lovely fall day with red wine and one of your favorite people.

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(All photos by One Part Gypsy)

Falafel ingredients:
2 cans chickpeas
large handful fresh parsley
1/2 red onion
2 eggs
1 T tumeric
1 T cumin
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together in large bowl

Make falafel mix into patties and place in pan on medium heat (with a little oil)

Salad ingredients:
mixed greens
small handful fresh mint
1.5 cups cherry tomatoes
1 cucumber

Dressing ingredients:

2 T hummus
1 T tahini
drizzle EVOO
fresh squeezed lemon


18 Jul


I am on my way to becoming a brilliant cook! At the moment this version of myself lives only in my mind but that’s the first step! My food related goals for the year include

learn how to cook beautiful meals

master a peach pie

host dinner parties

and feed the ones I love.

I have always envied people who weren’t afraid of the kitchen and could whip up a meal. Spending the afternoon cooking sounds so relaxing and lovely. So I am going to stop replaying the “I’m a bad cook” story in my head and create a new and improved version of myself. Also, considering I am 355 days away from turning 30 I think it’s about time I stepped foot in the kitchen. I have avoided it too long. I can’t eat dinner at whole foods the rest of my life! Not to mention I think Brian is getting a tad tired of being the one who prepares our meals while I sip wine and watch.

How am I going to learn to cook you may ask? I have decided to enlist the help of my family and friends. So if any of YOU have a famous dish you make and would like to teach me how to prepare it, I would be delighted to learn!


*”Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”

Harriet Van Horne