By: judithdisalvo | April 11, 2018

The Cherry Blossom Festival takes place in Washington D.C. through April 15th. To celebrate, I thought I’d share with you my favorite, finger-licking fabulous Cherry BBQ sauce. Brownwood Farms has created this decadent sauce that is GMO free, gluten free, and made in the good ole USA. “Tart cherries” are first on the ingredient list which makes it pricey (I paid $9.99 for 20 oz). But those chunks of yummy cherries make it worth every penny. They make everything delicious. It is seriously amazing on salmon, sweet and savory. If you are grilling baby back ribs or pork chops, you may want to baste them with a less expensive brand and save the Cherry Sauce for your finishing touch! You can find Brownwood Farms Cherry BBQ Sauce at The Smoke House Market In Chesterfield, Missouri, or at Walmart or

A few years back, my husband and son won first place at the Wine Country Fest Father’s Day BBQ in Defiance, Missouri using this now not-so-top-secret Cherry Sauce!! Shhhhhhhhh.



Serves 1 - any  number


6 oz salmon filet per serving

Brownwood Farms Cherry BBQ Sauce



Wishbone Italian dressing

white wine

Dijon Mustard



If I have time, I marinate my salmon for a few hours in equal parts of Wishbone dressing and white wine.  Add 1 tbls. of Dijon mustard per filet.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place Salmon filet(s) in a glass baking dish with marinade (about a half inch – just enough to give the fish some moisture). Coat the top of each filet with Cherry BBQ Sauce. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until fish is done to your liking.

Judy Hennessey

By: judithdisalvo | June 16, 2017

My father wasn’t perfect but he was the perfect father for me. Carl DiSalvo was religious, conservative, and strict. I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup or date until I was 16-years-old. Little did he know, my unconventional, bohemian, fun-loving mom helped me circle those issues so I could avoid being a social Neanderthal in high school. I spent nights out on the weekends allot! I felt like Dad was trying to prepare me for the convent instead of the business he would one day want me to help run. He was also very generous and kind. He didn’t say “I love you” much but his actions spoke volumes.

After he served his country in WWII as a flight engineer, my dad began his career as a used car salesman, eventually partnered with the owner, then bought the entire dealership. He worked day and night to provide for me and my family. He taught me to be independent (kind of ironic since I thought he was grooming me to become a nun), to use my brain, and to navigate life with integrity and honesty. If you said something, you'd better mean it. It was those ethics that created his success and built DiSalvo Jeep/Chrysler into one of the most successful automobile dealerships in the country. Everyone knew you could trust Carl DiSalvo. And so could I. I miss him. He was always there for me even though most of the time I didn’t like what he had to say. Yet nine times out of ten, he was right. He was smart, generous, kind, and his wicked sense of humor continued to surprise even me, up to his last breath.

I’ve also been blessed with a remarkable father-in-law, Martin Hennessey, who is cut from the same cloth as my father. He too served in WWII and raised what seems to have been two families—starting out with 4 sons then followed by 5 girls—with his saint of a wife, Vestal, behind the great man. Family was first and with one so large he worked hard to build up a very successful heavy-equipment business, Hennessey Forrestal. As a young man, he cruised around, visiting his customers, handing out Dutchmaster cigars and Juicy Fruit gum. This strategic sales tactic made him extremely popular. His business and family flourished. He also carried lollipops which he gave to all of his children and later grandchildren, thus gaining the nickname that has stuck: Lollipops!

Vestal, Martin, Judith and Timothy Hennessey
Vestal, Martin, Judith and Timothy Hennessey

Lollipops mirrors my fathers love of the great outdoors. Both owned farms, got a kick out of driving their tractors, riding horses (okay, my dad sat in a jeep to explore the woods) and spending long summer days barbecueing for their kids and friends.

My dad never smoked but you can be sure Lollipops had a good cigar and a martini to add another layer of relaxation to those fun days spent in the country. Good times and good memories. Seventeen years ago, this generous, funny, and playful man impressed me when he pinched my behind and winked after my husband Timothy introduced me at a family party (in the city, no cigar but certainly a martini). I was not offended, in fact, I was flattered. He knew I understood that he liked me and he understood I would never mistake his playfulness as an insult. It is who he is, and continues to be, forever young and a man that likes to stir it up. He loves his family and friends. Lollipops has been so kind to me and my son. I am so very grateful to feel loved by not just one, but two fathers. J

Happy Father’s Day. Dads!!!!

By: Margaret | January 03, 2017

My mom led a dual life, half semi-traditional and the other half very avant-garde. Her story is worthy of a book, one I might just be spurred to write next. Maybe it will be called “June Babe,” the name her close friends called her when she was younger. It suited her, in her Levi jeans, smoking cigarettes she said she never inhaled—ha! She drove us to school everyday in her sporty AMC Javelin with the Pierre Cardin interior and I have got to tell you, it was a real trick getting out of the back seat of that car even when I was 10-years-old! Cool is one thing but there’s something to be said for comfort. Lucky for us back-seat passengers, she decided 4-wheel drive was more her speed. Her Jeep Liberty is still parked next to her house. Later in life, Mom was nicknamed “June Bug” by her caregivers because of her sweet disposition, polite and poised, and of course still wearing her jeans. She was always thankful for any and all kindness. 


June Bug turned 88 on December 12th and passed on to the next life exactly 2 weeks later, on December 26th.  Alzheimers took her away mentally some years ago and COPD contributed to her loss of memory. But she was “Mom” for 56 years and an inspiration to me most of my life. She pushed me to reach for my full potential as a woman and human being. I have mentioned in a previous post that Mom was completely responsible for me becoming a writer and authoring my novel, First Rodeo. She is and always will be a great woman, never forgotten. I’ll always remember her as the woman who taught me to face my fears, to love with my whole heart—even knowing it may get broken only to mend over time—and to always blaze my own trail. 

I love you mom! Cheers!

Judith Disalvo Hennessey

By: PenPower | November 10, 2016

Is Old Man Winter asleep at the wheel? You’d never guess that Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. The warm weather and James, the infamous Viking Gardener here at Ravens Ridge, have kept us in the green, growing beautiful organic lettuce, arugula, Kale, mustard greens and even tomatoes! Lucky for you, he will be at this season’s last Wine Country Market on Sunday, November 13th at the Trail Smokehouse.

This fun, stress free, open air shopping experience offers local food, crafts, artisans and gifts. You will find everything you need and then some for your Thanksgiving feast (minus a turkey) including green beans and sweet potatoes.

My good friend Trish Perkins will be there offering her incredible sauces, salsas and jams, perfect for party apps (pictured here with my favorite new chips), stocking stuffers, or hostess gifts. 

Before or after, don’t forget to check out the Trail Smokehouse, serving some pretty tasty BBQ and southern classic dishes. Their beautiful patio is the perfect spot to relax, listen to live music and sip on a beverage or an adult libation, beer, bourbon or wine.

Judith Hennessey

November 10, 2016

By: PenPower | September 15, 2016


On the eve of my birthday I think about my mom. I know that may sound odd but she IS the woman who gave birth to me. I also think of my roots. Mom’s ancestors were from Scotland, Ireland, and the United States. I’m told I am one eighth Indian. That probably explains my fascination with Native American culture. My father’s family tree extends directly south from my mother’s European ancestors to Sicily. His parents immigrated from the Comune di Siculiana in Sicily in the early 1900’s. I’ve always loved Italian food. And I have more recently discovered my soul is happiest living in the country, on a farm.

After visiting my grandparents’ home in Siculiana this past spring, a light bulb went off in my head. Sicily is all about agriculture. Farmers raise beef and lamb, grow fruit, vegetables, grains and grapes for extraordinary wine. It’s like one big giant Garden of Eden. And of course, with all those regional ingredients available (let’s not forget fresh fish) they are masters at preparing amazing, farm to table, delizioso cuisine. I have come to realize that the passion I feel for farming and food is literally in my DNA. It’s a gift and since it is my birthday I want to give a gift to my readers – my super secret recipe for Spaghetti Sauce.


Sicilian Red Gold Spaghetti Sauce: Serves 4-6

1/2 cup virgin olive oil (quality is very important -Badia a Coltibuono available Straub’s in St. Louis – have them ship it to you – it’s that good.)

1 cup chopped yellow onion

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

3 tsp organic sugar

3 tbls fresh chopped basil

2tbls fresh chopped Italian flat parsley

1 tsp dried organic oregano

1 and ½ tube of Amore all natural Tomato paste (this is double strength and equals 12oz)

28 oz chopped Roma and/or Juliet tomatoes  (if not in season use Pomi chopped tomatoes from Italy)

½ cup red wine (Italian if possible, robust and dry)

½ cup water

1 lb Italian sausage


Judith Hennessey


Brown sausage; drain, pat with paper towels to remove excess fat and set aside. Heat oil in large pot. Add onions and saute 5mins or until onion is translucent. Stir in salt, pepper, sugar, basil, parsley, oregano, tomato paste, tomatoes, wine, water and the browned sausage. Cover and simmer on very low heat for at least 2 hours (the longer the better- I find 3 hours is best), stirring frequently. Remove lid if you find the sauce is to thin for last half hour. For maximum flavor, refrigerate the sauce overnight and serve the next day. Freeze any any leftovers – my guess is there won’t be. In fact, I double the recipe every time so I CAN freeze the red gold.

 Sept. 2016

by Judith Hennessey