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‘Tis the Season for Holiday Baking!

Holiday baking is such a fun way to really celebrate the season. It’s the time of year where there indulging in your favorite treats seems a bit less sinful. As they say, sharing is caring, and I really thing there is no better treat to share than homemade holiday cookies.

My family’s traditional Christmas Cookies are made from a basic sugar cookie dough, cut into fun shapes, and decorated with a really simple yet delicate icing and sugar sprinkles. While I adore cookies in all shapes and sizes, this recipe is the one that is especially pertinent this time of year.

This week, to help with some of your baking business, I’m going to share a few of my favorite recipes and tips for deliciously care free holiday treats. All of the following cookie recipes are what we call ‘ice box dough’. This term means the dough should be refrigerated prior to baking, as opposed to ‘drop cookies’ in which the dough is simply spooned straight after mixing, and dropped onto the cookie sheet to bake immediately.

Christmas Sugar Cookies


  • 1 c. butter, cubed and softened
  • 1 ½ c. powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 2 ½ c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • ½ c. powdered sugar (1 each for icing)
  • 1-2 tsp. water
  • food coloring

For Cookies

  • Using a mixer, cream together butter and sugar.
  • Add egg, vanilla and almond extract, and combine thoroughly
  • Sift together flour baking soda and cream of tartar, and then add to the mixing bowl. Mix well until dough forms.
  • Cover dough with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to just under 1/4 inch thick, and cut into shapes with cookie cutters.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes. Allow to cool, and decorate away!

For Icing

  • Stir 1-2 tsp. cold water into ½ c. powdered sugar, a few drops at a time, until icing thickly coats the back of a spoon. Stir in a drop of food coloring at a time, a little goes a long way.

Chef’s tip:After you cut the dough into cookie shapes, place them onto a baking sheet about 1 inch apart on all sides, and put the whole tray into the freezer for about 10 minutes. This should help the cookies keep their shape while cooking, so the butter doesn’t melt & spread so quickly, giving the flour more time to cook and gelatinize (aka- hold their shape).


Chocolate Dipped Almond Biscuit Cookies

  • ¾ c. butter, softened
  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract1
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 3 c. AP flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • ¼ c. crushed almonds
  • 1 c. dark chocolate chips
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter & sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs, vanilla and almond extracts. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add dry ingredients into creamed mixture until fully incorporated. Finally, fold in crushed almonds until evenly dispersed throughout the dough. Transfer the dough to a large piece of wax or parchment paper, roll into a 1 1/2 inch thick dough log, wrap in the paper, and twist off the ends like a sausage. Refrigerate for 1 hour prior to baking.
  • Slice the cold dough log into slices just under 1/2 inch thick. Place 1 inch apart on lined baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Bake at 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven, and allow to cool.
  • Place chocolate chips into a heat-proof glass bowl. Heat in microwave in 30 second increments until melted, stirring in between. Dip cookies in chocolate as desired, and allow to cool on wax paper lined trays.

Chef’s tip:Make ahead! Wrap the cookie logs tightly in saran wrap, or seal into zip top freezer bags, and freeze until you’re ready to use. Remove dough from the freezer and allow to sit out on the counter for 10-15 minutes before cutting. Run hot water over a knife to warm the blade, and use the hot knife to slice through the dough. Reduce the heat in the oven to 375 degrees F, and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges.


Maple Cinnamon Shortbreads

  • 1 c. butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ c. maple syrup
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ salt
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar, vanilla, and maple syrup.
  • Add flour, cinnamon, and salt, and continue to mix until cookie dough starts to come together. If dough texture is too crumbly, you can add more butter 1 Tbs. at a time.
  • Gather dough into a ball, and transfer to a piece parchment paper on the counter. Roll the dough inside the parchment paper into a log approximately 2 inches in diameter, and twist the ends to seal shut. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
  • Slice dough log into ¼ inch pieces. Place slices on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 365 degrees F for 10-12 minutes until edges are just slightly browned.
  • Remove shortbreads from baking sheets and allow to cool.

Chef’s tip:Make into ice cream sandwiches! Once the cookies are completely cook, place a scoop of ice cream in-between 2 cookies, and gently squeeze together. Wipe around the edges of the cookie sandwich to clean up any errant ice cream, place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper, and allow to freeze at least 1 hour. Roll the ice cream edge of the sandwich into mini chocolate chips, sprinkles or crushed cookies for fun flavor boost.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from my Kitchen to yours!



Shiso Fresh is brought to you by Chef Jessica Roy of Shiso Kitchen in Boston, MA. Follow along on Social Media Via @shisofresh and @shisokitchen


How to Prep & Cut Celery Root


Instructions below, from left to right.

  1. Trim the top and bottom 1/4 inch off of the celery root, and place it on a flat side.
  2. Shave down and around the bulb to remove the peel. Think: peeling a pineapple!
  3. Cut celery root in half, and lay each half on the flat side.
  4. Slice each celeriac half into slices.
  5. Cut the slices into strips.
  6. Dice the strips into cubes. – Now you’re ready to cook!



Brighten up winter with Creamy Celeriac Bacon and Leek Chowder

Have you ever wandered around the produce section of the grocery store, seen some strange, often ugly looking items and wondered “what the heck is that?”? Celeriac often one of these items that people notice, and immediately skip over because of its brown, bulbous, awkward appearance.

Celeriac, AKA Celery Root, is like the cousin of celery. It’s not an actual root, but rather a tuber (a thick, underground stem, like potatoes), and tastes like a super pumped up version of celery with a teensy hint of fennel. Celeriac boasts some great health benefits as it’s loaded with Vitamin K and phosphorous which helps with cardiovascular health and bone strength. So, we’ve established that Celeriac sounds interesting and has delicious potential, but what do we do with it?

First off, peel the celeriac by trimming off the top and bottom to create stabilizing flat sides. Then, remove the peel by shaving down and around the bulb with a knife (like peeling a pineapple!). If you have a super sharp heavy duty veggie peeler, that will work as well. Now that the celery root is peeled, you can continue to prep it any way you choose. It can be used almost any way you’d prepare a potato- roasted with herbs, baked scalloped with cheese, fried into chips, but today I’ve created a creamy chowder recipe that utilizes Celeriac 2 ways. Since the bulb itself is usually pretty large, celery root produces a large yield making it perfect in this soup as part pureed thickener, and part diced chowder chunks.

Chef’s note: You will need a blender or immersion stick blender for this recipe.

Creamy Celery Root, Leek & Bacon Chowder


  • 4 oz. smoked bacon, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
  • 3 oz. brown mushrooms, cleaned & diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1, 1 lb. bulb celery root, peeled & diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1, 1/2 lb. leek, cleaned & thinly sliced – reserve 1/4 c. bright green sliced tops, for garnish
  • 2 yellow potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika, more as needed for garnish
  • 4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • olive oil, as needed
  1. Place a soup pot over medium-high heat. When the pot is warm, add the bacon and cook about 5-7 minutes until the fat is rendered (melted), and edges are browned. Remove the bacon pieces from the pan, leaving the bacon fat to use as cooking oil.
  2. Add the mushrooms to the hot bacon fat, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned – about 8-10 minutes. Season with a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Remove the mushrooms from the pot and set aside with the cooked bacon pieces.
  3. If the pot is dry, add 1-2 Tbs. olive oil just to coat the bottom. Add the diced celeriac, sliced leeks, smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and pinch of ground black pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until celeriac and leeks are lightly browned and fragrant- about 5-7 minutes. Remove half of the cooked celeriac and leeks from the pot, and set aside with the cooked bacon and mushrooms.
  4. Pour 4 cups chick stock into the pot with the remaining half of the cooked celeriac and leeks, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes until celeriac is fork tender. Puree with an immersion blender right in the pot, or transfer to a blender, and blend until smooth. If using a blender, pour the pureed soup back into the cooking pot.
  5. Stir in 1 cup heavy cream, and season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Add the cooked bacon, mushrooms, celeriac & leeks, and the diced potatoes into the pot, and bring the soup to a simmer over medium-low heat. Allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through and fork tender.
  6. Serve chowder topped with the reserved bright green fresh sliced leek tops, and a light pinch of smoked paprika.

Optional: Sautee the reserved 1/4 c. sliced leek tops in 1 Tbs. olive oil until tender and lightly browned. Serve as garnish on top of chowder.



Crispy Baked Chicken Fingers with Chipotle Ranch Dip

I’m a multi-tasker, and therefore I love when recipes are super versatile to suit any situation. This week, I wanted to come up with delicious option that could work on both the Super Bowl snack table as well as on weeknight dinner plates. (Side note celebration: we’re going to the Super Bowl, baby! Let’s Goooooooo!)

Since (almost) everyone loves a good crispy chicken finger, but (almost) no one loves a smelly kitchen of old frying oil and the sticky residue that clings to every surface post-fry, baking is the way to go. It can be tricky to actually get a nice crunch in the oven, but there are a few key steps to ensure juicy moist chicken, lightly encased in browned,  crispy breading.

First, it’s important to maximize flavor and tenderness in the actual chicken meat before cooking. Soak the chicken strips in milk, or buttermilk, seasoned liberally with salt & pepper, and grated garlic. The natural acidity and enzymes in the milk tenderizes the chicken, and also acts as a flavor enhancing marinade. I usually allow the pieces to soak for at least 45 minutes prior to cooking.

Next, let’s talk about the standard breading procedure. This is taught in culinary schools worldwide, but is probably not thoroughly explained along the path to home cooking success. The rule to remember is: F.E.B.- Flour, Eggwash, Breading. Set up a work station using deep, flat bottomed dishes lined up along the counter in that order. Start by patting the chicken pieces dry so that the flour can stick to the surface of the meat. The egg then adheres to the four layer, and the breading attaches to the egg. Season each station, to ensure flavor in every layer. Another secret is to add a little cornstarch and baking powder into the flour. The cornstarch helps wick away extra moisture (no sogginess here!), and the baking powder causes a slight chemical reaction for added crispiness.

Next to the breading station, place a wire rack on a baking sheet. This is where your prepped chicken strips will land. Baking the chicken strips elevated on a wire rack allows the air to circulate around each piece, cooking them evenly for that crisp result.  If you do not have a wire rack, you can bake them on parchment paper, but there might be a little moisture trapped on the underside, which can cause some sog.

For the dipping sauce, I’m going spicy with the addition of some chipotle in adobo. It’s basically just smoked jalapeños in a sauce full of seasonings. Chipotle is really spicy, and I find that I rarely use a whole can in one shot. My tip: divide the whole can into 4 portions, and seal into zip top bags. Freeze, and use as needed. If you’d like to skip the spice here, no problem. If you’re using buttermilk to marinate your chicken, you can set aside a few Tablespoons (non raw chicken tainted, of course)  to stir into the ranch sauce.

Crispy Baked Chicken Strips with Chipotle Ranch Dip

Ingredients for chicken:

  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into uniform strips
  • 2 c. milk or buttermilk
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. corn starch
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 c. plain bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • finely ground Kosher salt & black pepper, as needed
  • non stick pan spray
  1. Place the chicken breast strips into a zip top bag along with milk, grated garlic, 1 tsp. kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Seal the bag, and allow to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes. Then, remove the chicken strips from the bag and place them into a baking dish or pan lined with paper towels. Pat the chicken strips dry, and discard the milk marinade.
  2. Set up the breading station using 3 flat bottomed, high sided dishes. To the first dish, combine flour, corn starch, baking powder, and 1 tsp. kosher salt. To the second dish, add 3 lightly beaten eggs. To the third dish, add the bread crumbs, onion powder, paprika, 1 tsp. kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper, and mix well. Set a wire rack each into 2 baking sheet pans. Spray the racks with light coating of nonstick spray.
  3. Bread the chicken strips by first coating each piece in flour, shaking off the excess, then dipping into the beaten egg, allowing any excess to drip off, and finally coating in the bread crumb mixture, again shaking off any excess. Arrange the breaded chicken pieces onto the prepped wire rack sheet trays, allowing 1/2 inch of space between each piece.
  4. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes, until breading is browned and chicken is cooked through, rotating the pans half-way through cooking. Allow to rest and cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with Chipotle Ranch Dipping Sauce.

Chipotle Ranch Dipping Sauce


  • 2/3 c. sour cream
  • 1/3 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. dried chives
  • 1-2 Tbs. chipotle in adobo
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. finely ground black pepper

Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl until fully combined. Allow to sit for the flavors to meld for 15 minutes prior to serving.




Warm up with zesty Chicken Fajita Soup

Every January we press the ‘reset’ button and look to healthy fresh starts, and getting organized. Such was the case this week as I was searching for inspiration to write a recipe, and so I figured I’d lean in clean out my fridge, freezer, pantry, and play my own at-home game of ‘Chopped’.  Looking to my previous real-life experiences on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen helped prepare me for the challenge (insert Rocky theme here for background ambiance) as I set a timer to really get things going.

With 30 minutes on the clock*, I took stock of potential ingredients and saw that I had in the fridge: green bell pepper, portobello mushroom caps, a jar of pickled jalapeños, some brown bananas, and a few leftover limes. From the freezer came: chicken breasts, chicken stock, and a bag of diced onions that I usually keep on hand for when I’m feeling a little lazy (tip: when you’re chopping 1 onion, you might as well just chop 3, and freeze the extra for later days). Looking to the pantry, I found garlic and some aging tortillas. The wheels turned, and immediately i said ‘no’ to the banana, for this recipe, and made a mental note to make banana bread later. The rest would be turned into Chicken Fajita Soup. (*30 minute timer was to assess the situation, prep ingredients, and get the whole thing going. The soup takes a little longer to simmer and finish.)

To get the big time flavor of a skillet of sizzling fajita accoutrements, the first step to this soup is to saute and season each of the base ingredients providing bold flavor for a rich result in each and every bite. Since you can’t really have fajitas without tortillas, I decided to turn these into seasoned baked chips or strips to top the soup. Finishing each dish with a sprinkling of pickled jalapeños sealed the deal, though I really wished I’d had some sour cream and scallions on hand to top it off for a refreshing kick. I’ll leave that choice up to you- black beans, and shredded cheese also make for great additions to this soup.

Chicken Fajita Soup with Baked Tortilla Crisps

For soup:

  • 4 c. chicken stock
  • 1.5-2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced to 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 large portobello mushroom caps, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • vegetable or canola oil, as needed
  • 3 limes, for juice & garnish
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • smoked paprika, as needed
  • kosher salt & finely ground black pepper as needed
  • jarred sliced pickled jalapeños, for garnish
  • baked tortilla crisps (recipe below), for garnish
  1. Place the diced chicken pieces into a zip top bag, and add: juice of 1 lime, 2 Tbs. oil, 1 tsp. kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika, and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Press out the air, and seal the bag shut. Gently squeeze the bag, working the ingredients around until combined. Allow to rest & marinate for 20 minutes.
  2. In a large dutch oven, or heavy bottomed soup pot heat 2 Tbs. oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms to the pot and give a good stir to coat, and then spread in an even later across the bottom of the pot. Leave the mushrooms along and allow them to cook for 5 minutes. Give a good stir again, add 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until mushrooms are browned.
  3. To the browned mushrooms, add the diced onion, garlic, bell pepper, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1/4 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, and pinch of black pepper. Give a good stir to incorporate all ingredients, and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes over medium-high heat until fragrant and the edges of onion and pepper are lightly browned.
  4. Add the marinated diced chicken to the pot, and stir to coat in the mushrooms, peppers and onions. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, until the chicken has just started to turn white on the outside. Season with additional pinch of salt & pepper.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add the chicken stock to the pot, covering all ingredients. Add the juice from 1 lime, and stir to ensure all ingredients are mixed and nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pan. If stock does not cover all of the ingredients, add 1 cup of water to cover along with a pinch of salt to season. Simmer the soup over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.
  6. Serve a generous portion of soup along with a heaping pile of baked tortilla crisps, sprinkling of sliced pickled jalapeños, and wedge of lime.

For tortilla crisps:

  • 4,  8″ flour tortillas
  • 2 Tbs. veggie or canola oil
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • pinch of kosher salt & ground black pepper
  • wedge of lime
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the tortillas into strips about 1/4 inch wide by 2 inches long.
  2. In a mixing bowl, Toss the tortilla strips along with oil, chili powder, salt and pepper until all the strips are coated. Transfer the seasoned strips to a baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until browned and crisp. Squeeze a wedge of lime juice over top of the crisps before serving.



How To Cut and Prep Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is definitely in the top 10 of my app time favorite ingredients. It’s super healthy, very versatile, and has a tasty texture to boot. However, S.S. can be quite pesky to deal with, especially considering some of the time consuming methods for just getting the squash itself cooked and tender enough to loosen and access those ‘spaghetti’ tendrils.

Here’s a quick video How-To with some time saving tips for Spaghetti Squash prep perfection in under 15 minutes!




#Cook4ACause at Shiso Kitchen! Hurricane Irma Disaster Relief


Our Friends affected by Hurricane Irma need our help.

Shiso Kitchen is hosting a night of food and fun  on 9/13/17 at 7PM to benefit the Feeding South Florida disaster relief effort.

Tickets are $45 each, and all ticket sale proceeds will be donated to the FSF.

Space is limited, so RESERVATIONS are REQUIRED. E-mail: to sign up.

COOK 4 A CAUSE (#cook4acause)

Munch and mingle with us! The evening will be hosted by Food Network chef Jess Roy as she demonstrates how to make fresh Paperdalle Pasta with Home Made Red Sauce, Garlicky Shrimp Scampi Skewers, and Fresh Greens with White Balsamic Vinaigrette. Join in on the fun and make your own pasta, mingle with friends, and get in on the cooking action!

Bring your own wine or beer, and get ready to Cook 4 A Cause to support the disaster relief effort for those affected by Hurricane Irma.


Adventures in Israel

I recently took a trip to Israel, where I wandered the streets of Tel Aviv in search of deliciousness around every corner. From the small stalls in bustling downtown neighborhoods, to the large luxurious restaurants tucked next to the shorefront boardwalk, the flavors of Israel do not disappoint.

Hummus, fresh pita, zaatar served with onion wedges for dipping!



the daily central market place is colorful, fresh and bustling with activity as shoppers stock up for a day of cooking.


fresh pomegranate juice!
On the hunt for spices!

Not to mention, this place is uber rich in history as well as a mecca of active outdoor adventure enthusiasts. The Mediterranean coastline is appointed with beautiful beaches complete with outdoor ‘gyms’ (think: Venice Beach), pools, and an expansive boardwalk for runners, cyclists, and those just looking for a picturesque stroll. With the waters sprinkled with surfers, paddle boarders, kayakers and seaports of all kinds – this place is an outdoor sports paradise.



Of course I had to get a piece the adventure-ing on the sparkling Mediterranean Sea
History in action on the streets of Jerusalem


Say it with me now, ‘Shakshouka!’. That’s SHACK-SHOO-KA, and its as much fun to eat as it is to say. I’ve been meaning to write this recipe for a couple of months now, as it was inspired by a recent trip to Israel, where I fell in love with this rich eastern Mediterranean side dish. Shaksouka is a saucy dish made of slow simmering tomatoes, peppers, garlic and spices finished with eggs poached right in the skillet atop it all. Served with fresh pita, the whole experience is to be enjoyed by ripping off a piece of the warmed bread, dipping it into the creamy egg yolk and swirling it all around the rest of the sauce before taking that coveted bite.

For this recipe, I’ve used a small 8-inch cast iron skillet, but a 9 or 10 inch pan will do just fine. If you don’t have cast iron, use a heavy saute pan of a similar size. While fire roasting the red pepper yourself makes for an extra flavorful sauce, picking up a jar of roasted red peppers will do just fine if you don’t have the time. Also, I’m using canned diced tomatoes here, but if you are lucky to be in possession of some juicy sweet summer garden tomatoes, feel free to dice them up and use them- about 3 medium sized tomatoes should do the trick. Wondering what else to serve with your Shakshouka? Spiced chicken kabobs, cous cous salad, and creamy hummus round out an entire Mediterranean feast!


  • 1 red bell pepper OR 1/2 c. diced roasted red pepper from a jar
  • 1, 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. all spice
  • 2 tsp. dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • fresh mint leaves
  • pita bread or chips, for serving
  1. To roast the red pepper: Trim the stem down to the base. Place the pepper directly onto an open flame on a gas stove or grill, and allow it to char and blacken on all sides. Put the pepper into a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap for about 5 minutes. Using paper towels, clean the charred skin from the pepper completely. Remove the stem and seeds, and dice the pepper into small 1/4 inch pieces.
  2. Heat a cast iron skilled over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil, minced shallots and garlic, along with the cumin and all spice. Stir to coat, and allow the shallots, garlic and spices to gently sizzle until fragrant and tender- about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Pour the entire can of diced tomatoes, and juice, into the pan along with the shallots and garlic. Add the roasted red pepper, and brown sugar along with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and pinch of ground black pepper. Give a good stir, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, and allow to simmer gently for 30 minutes. Taste the sauce, and season with additional salt and pepper as desired.
  4. Using a spoon, make 3 small wells in the sauce. Crack 1 egg into each of the wells, and then cover the entire pan with foil. Increase the heat to medium, and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes until the egg whites are set, and yolks are still runny.
  5. Remove the pan from heat, and sprinkle freshly torn mint leaves over the top of the Shakshouka. Serve the whole skillet on the table along with fresh pita or pita chips.




How to Cook a Whole Fish- Roast Bronzino with Blood Orange and Chives

You’re out on the town for a luxurious dinner date, and after perusing the menu you settle on the whole roast white fish, because that is something you could never make at home, right? Wrong! Many people are intimidated by working with a whole fish, but the reality is, roasting or grilling the fish whole is possibly the easiest method. With just a few simple steps, you’ll be on your way to an impressive (and healthy!) restaurant style meal at home.

There are a few key factors to look for when shopping for fish. When when choosing a whole fish, the eyes should always be clear, under side of gills bright red or pink in color, and flesh firm and springy to the touch- never mushy. Fresh fish should never smell ‘fishy’ or off-putting, it should have a briny scent like the sea. For this recipe, we are looking for a smallish meaty white fish like Branzino (European Sea Bass), snapper, or sea bream. When in doubt, ask the fish monger (the guy / lady behind the fish counter who knows all), for what the best recommendation would be.

To make for easy preparation, it is really important to request that the fish be scaled (scales are inedible, and go everywhere!), and eviscerated (fancy word for ‘gutted’). They will also trim away any sharp fins, and remove the head and tip of the tail, if you prefer.

When you get your cleaned fish home, be sure to rinse the whole fish under cool water and pat it dry inside and out with a paper towel before seasoning and cooking. The serving size for this recipe is one ¾ lb – 1 lb. fish per person.


Whole Roasted Branzino with Blood Orange and Chives

Serves 2

  • 2, ¾-1lb whole Branzino, or other similar white fish, cleaned and scales removed
  • 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 blood orange, sliced
  • 1 bunch whole fresh chives
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced paper thin

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the kosher salt, paprika, and a heft pinch of ground black pepper into a small prep bowl, and mix together with a fork.

2. Rinse the fish under cool water, and pat completely dry with a paper towel. Lay the fish onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush with olive oil all over the outside of the fish, and inside the body cavites. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture all over the fish, both inside and outside. Gently place a few slices of orange inside the cavities of the fish, along with the garlic and 8-10 fresh chive sprigs each.

3. Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven on a centered rack. Roast for 16 minutes, gently flipping the fish over halfway through cooking (8 minutes each side). If desired, finish cooking the fish under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to crisp the skin. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with any remaining slices of blood orange, and freshly chopped chives.