It’s Taco Tuesday! Wait…what?

It’s Taco Tuesday! Wait…what?

I know what you’re thinking. What does bratwurst have to do with Cinco de Mayo? Well, mi amigos, once you experience the Mexican treatment this German dish gets, you’ll see why it popped into my head as the perfect cookout meal. In honor of Taco Tuesday, I thought I’d shake things up with a recipe that lets me do two things: 1) Use up the veggies in my crisper and 2) debut a recipe that is not exactly Mexican in nature, but a celebration of different world cuisines in one dish. Enjoying a German bratwurst, presented as a colorful Mexican taco, is a very CANVAS & CUISINE-Y Thing to do! I’m talking about my work in progress, a cookbook that my good friend, Sue Fazio inspired with her beautiful oil paintings of food markets around the world.

Our collaborative cookbook features many of Sue’s gorgeous renderings of the ingredients in this “taco” dish – like Napa cabbage, red bell peppers and other scrumptious produce splattered across canvases, depicting yumminess from Spain to Viet Nam. I hope you’ll join my Facebook group, Scrumptious Possibilities to learn more! Just comment here or in my social media feed, and I’ll send you an invite.

Keep in mind: if Mom loves a good brat, you might wanna save this grill marked dinner for Mother’s Day weekend. It’s fun to enjoy poolside!

Grilled Taco Dogs

Serves 4 to 8

30 Minute Cuisine

2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into quarters
1 large red onion, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
1 small head Napa cabbage, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher sat
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
8 (3-ounce) bratwurst, you can substitute with your favorite artisanal sausage or hot dog
8 flour tortillas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Lime wedges
Yellow mustard

Heat an outdoor grill (or grill pan) to medium high heat. Brush both sides of the peppers, onion and cabbage with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill the veggies until just beginning to char on the edges and soften in the center, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the veggies to a parchment lined baking sheet. Do not overcook. You don’t want mushy veggies on your dog! Drizzle the vinegar over the warm cabbage. This will simulate sauerkraut in the taco.

Cut the brats in half lengthwise and brush both sides with the remaining olive oil. Grill until the brats just begin to char, about 3 to 5 minutes. Lay the tortillas on the grill to warm, turning after just a couple of seconds.

Assemble the tacos by placing the tortilla onto a plate. Slice the onions and peppers into strips. Slice the cabbage into thin wedges. Lay one piece of brat onto the taco. Top with slices of vegetables. Sprinkle cilantro over the top and drizzle with a bit of lime juice. Squeeze a bit of mustard over the top and serve!

Special Mother’s Day Brunch Idea & Cookbook Offer!

Special Mother’s Day Brunch Idea & Cookbook Offer!

With Mother’s Day coming up, I perused my very best brunch recipes from my family style cookbook, SUNDAY BEST DISHES. Envisioning a breakfast fit for a queen, I ultimately chose (from so many delicious and syrupy possibilities) BANANAS FOSTER SKILLLET CAKES with…drumroll…cinnamon swirl syrup. This recipe was inspired by a New Orleans classic that features sautéed, caramelized bananas over melting ice cream.

This is a tribute to the original that gets better only if you travel to the Big Easy and eat at the Commanders Palace – home to perhaps the most famous brunch in America. But let’s let Mom sleep in today…The part she’ll love the best is using the extra syrup to dip sweet, crunchy bacon in. But bacon or no bacon, my guess is everyone in the family will want cinnamon swirl syrup – a SUNDAY BEST original – drizzled atop all their future pancakes.

Here’s how to prep the bacon for your Mother’s Day brunch:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Dredge bacon slices in brown sugar. Really pack that sugar onto the bacon. Place each strip onto a rack set into a baking sheet. Cook the bacon for 20 minutes or so, until it is browned and caramelized and yummy. Oh how happy are you!! Oh, by the way, Sunday Best Dishes is the perfect present for the Mom cook in your family. Order your copy from Amazon today and get special pricing.  I’ll send a personalized inscription for your Mom if you email me directly at, subject line: Sign my cookbook!

Bananas Foster Skillet Cakes

with Cinnamon Swirl Syrup


Banana Cream

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

¼ cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons dark molasses

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 whole banana, peeled and slice into rounds

Whisk together cream cheese, condensed milk, buttermilk, molasses and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat. Cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Add water to thin the syrup to desired consistency if necessary. Stir in the bananas and keep warm.


Skillet Cakes

1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon table salt

1 ½ cups buttermilk

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 large egg

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon canola oil, plus 1 tablespoon butter

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, maple syrup, egg and melted butter in a separate bowl. Stir wet ingredient into the dry ingredients.

Heat an electric griddle (or non-stick skillet) over medium heat. Melt together the canola oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Ladle the batter into the pan. Cook until the batter bubbles and the edges begin to crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the skillet cakes and cook on the second side until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove to a platter and keep warm in a 200° oven (or warming drawer). Repeat with the remaining batter using additional canola oil and butter as needed.


Cinnamon Syrup

¾ cup pure maple syrup

¼ cup sweetened condensed milk

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter

Whisk the syrup, condensed milk and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat until just combined, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and swirl in the butter. Keep warm.

Build the dish by layering a skillet cake topped with a spoonful of banana cream. Continue as high as you dare. Pour cinnamon syrup over the top. Slice into wedges and serve.







Woo-hoo! Watauga Farmers Market to Reopen May 5th!

Woo-hoo! Watauga Farmers Market to Reopen May 5th!

I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the summer time, where the farmers markets brighten up the road sides with in season produce, fresh flower bouquets, and vending stations offering all kinds of goodies. As a cookbook author, it’s a chance to run wilder than the azaleas in bloom– and my favorite place to do it is the Watauga Farmers Market in Boone, NC.

I always load up on beets, blueberries, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, collards, green peas, lettuces of all kinds, and loads of delicious strawberries this time of year.

My Kale Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese takes advantage of the freshest kale, sweetest strawberries and creamy artisanal cheese found in the market. There’s a cheese maker at the Watauga Farmer’s Market in the mountains of North Carolina that makes so many variations of goat cheese that it’s hard to choose. You can taste them all, if you are patient enough to wait your turn.

I also like to create super granola with the seeds and nuts I find at the market. Look for the super granola recipe at the bottom of this recipe. All kinds of possibilities lay in wait under those farmer’s market tents! See you around…

Kale Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese
& a Nutty Topper
Serves 4 to 6 as a side salad
30 Minute Cuisine

For Nutty Topper:
1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ cup roasted, salted and shelled pistachios
¼ cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
¼ cup roasted, and salted Pepitas

For Dressing:
½ large lemon juiced, about 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
½ cup olive oil

For Salad:
1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaves chopped, about 3 to 4 cups
1 pint fresh strawberries, stems removed and sliced, about 2 cups
4 to 5 medium radishes, sliced thin, about 1 cup
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled, about ½ cup

Melt the butter and brown sugar in a medium skillet pan over medium-high heat. Stir in the pistachios, sunflower seeds and pepitas. Cook until the nuts are just beginning to toast, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the nuts and seeds onto a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet to cool.

Place the lemon juice, mustard and honey in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Place the kale into a salad bowl and pour the dressing over the top. Let the salad sit on the counter at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes to allow the leaves to soften.

Add the strawberries, radishes and goat cheese to the salad bowl. Toss with the kale and dressing and sprinkle the nutty topper over the top.

To make super granola: Just place nuts and/or seeds into a bowl with 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, ½ cup dried fruit (like cranberries or blueberries), and a tablespoon of honey. Toss with a beaten egg white, a tablespoon of honey and a pinch of salt. Pour the granola mixture onto a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350°until the oats are golden and toasted, about 10 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container. Spoon granola over yogurt and berries for a fast and yummy breakfast starter!