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

By: PenPower | June 29, 2016

With the heat hovering at 100 degrees, I don’t know about you, but my usual burger has taken a back seat to lighter fair, greener things and edibles that don’t sit in my stomach (or thighs) like a lead balloon. It would be a great time to go on a diet – IF it was cool enough to walk or do something outside that burned a few calories (other than dragging around watering hoses). Or there is the indoor gym, but who has the energy or wants to get into that metal oven called a car to get there? Swimming seems to be an option but not for this Cosmopolitan Cowgirl – not a country club in sight and no cement pond out here at the farm.


But there are lots of beautiful leafy greens in the garden and I’d like to share a few of my favorite salad recipes. This spinach salad is a hit and a perfect side for any 4th of July BBQ!

RR Spinach Salad

Serves 6-8

10 oz organic spinach

3 hardboiled farm fresh eggs - sliced

3 strips of fried bacon (gluten free preferred) - crumbled

8 sliced raw mushrooms- sliced thin

4 thin slices of red onion (paper thin – add more or less to taste)

ground pepper to taste

Combine in one large bowl. Or, if you have the time and the group is small enough – divide onto individual salad plates so each serving gets an equal amount of each ingredient.


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/8 cup good olive oil

Tbsp Dijon mustard

Pour ingredients into a glass jar and shake vigorously. The ratio is 2 parts balsamic to 1 part olive oil – so if you like a heavier dressed salad add proportionately. Pour on salad just before serving.

Happy Fourth of July!

Judith Hennessey, July 2016