All Posts in Category: Inspiration

Michael Dellar’s Chopped Salad



Stephen and I love to travel to Napa, California when we can arrange to stay with his dearest friend of sixty-two years Michael Dellar and his beautiful wife, Lesyle. Yes, you read that correctly. Stephen and Michael have been friends since their first day of kindergarten in 1951. Michael owns several fantastic restaurant including One Market in San Francisco.

When Stephen and I visit The Dellars in Napa, great food and fabulous company are always on the agenda. And, of course, a little wine.

On our most recent evening in Napa, Michael served us chopped salad to begin our meal on their patio overlooking the incredible Napa Valley. I craved it so much on our return home that I just had to make it myself.

Michael Dellar’s Chopped Salad

In a large serving bowl, add organic greens and watercress, mince or dice really small pieces of broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, avocado, radish, green onion, or whatever your favorite ingredients are, but that particular combination is dynamite.


Michael’s directions: “Make a vinaigrette like a thin mayonnaise. Finely minced shallots, Dijon mustard, egg yolk, salt, pepper, Meyer lemon juice, a little balsamic, then whisk in the olive oil. A little water only if it gets too thick. It should be emulsified. Enjoy”.

To serve, toss all ingredients gently together with a light amount of the vinaigrette and then plate. Shave a little hard-boiled egg on top of each salad with a fine cheese grater for a tasty impressive finish.

Bon Appetit & Namaste!


* I know the picture is blurry but I love it so.

Old Hollywood Inspired Halibut with Puttanesca Sauce

1 can quality plum tomatoes such as organic Muir Glenn (28 ounces) or 2 14 ounce cans diced tomatoes with basil, oregano and garlic
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup oil-cured black olives, halved and pitted
or green olives if you prefer
2 tablespoons capers
3 tsp anchovy paste
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
4 halibut steaks (about 6 to 8 ounces each)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Drain tomatoes, reserving 1/2 cup liquid. Seed and coarsely chop tomatoes. If using diced tomatoes, use entire can, no chopping and seeding required. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and cook until aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes. Add onion, and cook, until transparent, about 5 minutes. Raise heat to medium high; add tomatoes, reserved liquid, olives, capers, anchovies, and rosemary, and cook, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.
Heat remaining oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season both sides of halibut steaks with salt and pepper. Cook steaks until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes on each side.
Reheat sauce until it simmers. Stir in parsley. Serve halibut with a little sauce on each steak. Top with fresh basil (optional). Serve with a nice bottle of wine, fresh warm baguette to dip in the puttanesca sauce and your favorite Frank Sinatra tunes.
*Adapted from and inspired by a traditional Martha Stewart Recipe

When I shared with Stephen what I would be making for dinner he said, “What? You’re cooking fish just for the Hal-i-but?” Yep. That sums my husbands humor. Oy!

*Stephen is a much better writer than comedian… and he has had quite an interesting life in Old Hollywood.

Bon Appetit & Namaste!


Inspired by Old Hollywood

I am slowly realizing that getting older is simply an invitation to do better and feel better, because we know better.

Another luxury of getting older is being able to set boundaries and declare who you want around you. When you surround yourself with like minded souls, those who want to inspire and be inspired in their lives, transformation happens. Big things get done.

My biggest source of inspiration is my husband and best friend, a man who has gone through the labor pains, and continues to go through the labor pains, of getting films out in the world that make us feel better about being human.

Watching Somewhere in Time, What Dreams May Come or films from The Spiritual Cinema Circle, is like sitting down to a feast of your favorite comfort foods with your most beloved family and friends…..but without the calories. You leave the table comforted, inspired, and feeling better about humanity.
Stephen is the man you experience in the Spiritual Cinema Circle discussions. He is charming, generous, well spoken, intelligent, uplifting, caring, sensitive and funny. He is also way too talkative and upbeat at 5 AM (even without his first cup of coffee), tells absurd “jokes” that aren’t even in the same zip code with funny, dances like a clown, can’t carry a tune, and often behaves like a twin brother to our son Carter. But no one is perfect and I adore him.

Stephen’s stories about growing up in Old Hollywood are “sitting on the edge of your chair” fun. Stephen Simon is a special soul who was planted into an incredible film family, so he could bring some of that Old Hollywood energy back to those of us who starve for simple, inspirational messages during complicated times.

Being married to my best friend Stephen is nutrient-dense and heart-healthy. So is the dish Halibut with Puttanesca Sauce. Halibut’s firm white meat and delicate sweet flavor make it a perfect pairing for a robust tomato puttanesca sauce that you can make with ingredients from your pantry.

Old Hollywood Inspired Halibut with Puttanesca Sauce feels like a dish that might be served in an intimate, family owned Italian joint formerly frequented by my husband’s unofficial godfather, Frank Sinatra.

La vita è deliziosa! Life is delicious! Especially when surrounded by family, friends and rich traditions!

Check out The Spiritual Cinema Circle at
Photo above of Stephen and his sister (movie critic) Susan Grangers’ mother Harriet Deutsch, dancing with Frank Sinatra.

Bon Appetit & Namaste!

Fire House Pot Roast Bolognese


0103_edf_pastameat_vert“This is that very rich beef sauce that will turn a plate of pasta into a bit of glory!”

I first had this delicious dinner in a farm house. The matriarch of the family cooked tirelessly and did this entire dish in one day. She would jump on her four-wheeler and head out to the gardens to pick tomatoes and herbs, charging back with wild abandon.

For years I made this recipe out of memory, although I always had a copied (laminated) version of the Fresh Tomato Sauce Sicilian on hand that the recipe uses. Problem was the chef and cookbook wasn’t copied so I couldn’t remember whom to credit or research.
It has been so long since I had this recipe on hand, but I remember the cookbook mentioning “this is that very rich beef sauce that will turn a plate of pasta into a bit of glory!” and that is exactly what I wanted the evening our firemen and their spouses came to our home for dinner.
Fire House Pot Roast Bolognese (My way)


2 to 3 pound boneless beef chuck.
3-tablespoon olive oil.
Salt and pepper to taste
Season the meat with salt (or salt free product such Mrs. Dash) and pepper to taste. Brown well in a suitable size pot (Dutch oven) in olive oil after browning add the following

1 cup dry red wine (I doubled because that’s how my math when it comes to wine.)
4 to 6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup water or beef broth

Simmer gently, covered, for 2 hours. Turn off heat and let sit for at least two hours. Make sure there is enough liquid to keep the pan from drying out and then keep covered without peeking. Allow the meat to cool in the liquid until its cool enough to handle. Shred the meat and place in a Dutch oven along with its cooking juices.

Add enough tomato sauce to cover shredded beef and one cup broth.

Simmer the shredded beef in the tomato sauce and broth for 45 minutes, stirring often.
Then add…

2/3 cup grated Parmesan
1-cup cream (milk, or other substitute for cream.)
Simmer 15 minutes more. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta. I love Papardelle or Tagliatelle but sometimes it is hard to find but Fettuccine works too.

Grab those you love and serve with hard rolls or fresh bread to lap up the sauce, a nice Salad, and perhaps a bottle of Italian wine.

Bon Appetit and Namaste!