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.



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.




Follow Jess on ‘The Road to What Matters’

Follow Jess’s culinary journey on The Road to What Matters- a culinary road trip from LA to San Francisco in partnership with Volvo, as she interviews Chefs, Winemakers and Industry Insiders along the way. Watch Here!




Sweet & Spicy Tomato Jam

Wondering what to do with all those beautiful extra garden tomatoes? Skip the typical marinara sauce or plain ole’ canning, and whip up some deliciously Sweet & Spicy Tomato Jam.

This jam goes great as a sauce for grilled chicken or white fish, and is especially nice with scallops. Serve with a soft cheese, like brie, for a scrumptious party appetizer. Need a quick pick me up? Swirl a spoonful into some plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.

This is not your mama’s jam recipe. First of all, its got quite a hot kick to it. If you aren’t a fan of too much spice, then you’ll definitely want to tone down the crushed red pepper flakes. For a more mild jam, go for ¼ — ½ tsp. of flakes. Those who can’t resist the heat will want to stick with the suggested 1 Tbs. Secondly, I decided to skip the Pectin (used for thickening and stabilizing many jams and jellies). Pectin occurs naturally in some fruits like apples, berries, and citrus peels, but is most commonly seen in powdered form for jam making. When combined with sugar, and quickly brought to high heat it creates that desirable jelly-like thickened texture, and helps with stabilization. While it does shorten cooking time substantially, it requires almost double the sugar. In this recipe, I used an apple for it’s pectin properties as well as to round out the tomato flavor. Just make sure to check on your jam and stir it every few minutes to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pan, and this au natural method works wonderfully.

Sweet & Spicy Tomato Jam

Yields 4-5 cups

  • 4 lbs. ripe tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, mashed & pasted w/ salt
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored & diced
  • 2 c. sugar
  • ¼ c. confectioner’s sugar
  • ¼ – 1 Tbs. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. water or leftover strained tomato juice

1. Peel and core the tomatoes & remove the seeds. Dip in a bowl of cool water to remove any remaining seeds. Strain the liquid and set aside to use in place of water for the jam.

2. Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan over moderate heat. Allow to simmer for 1.5 – 2 hours, until reduced by half  and texture is thick and syrupy. Be sure to stir the mixture every few minutes, especially when reduced, to avoid burning the bottom of the pan.

3. Carefully pour the jam to sterilized jars for canning if desired, or transfer to another container and allow to cool fully before serving.




Arabian Days: Dubai Adventure

I recently took a trip to the Middle East to explore the glittering city of Dubai where I strolled the streets of the old town and new searching for all things delicious. My adventure led me to the world famed Spice Souk where ambitious salesmen stood outside tiny family storefronts beckoning customers to come inside and select from a huge array of exotic fragrant spices.

The sands of the Arabian desert were calling my name and so therefore an off-roading dune excursion and jaunt to a tradational Arabic BBQ were necessary. Huge fire pit grills were filled with chicken, lamb and fish. The scent of heavily spiced meat wafted through the air inciting a hungry desire that I didn’t even know was possible.

After a quick camel ride (had to!), I washed down heaping portions of shwarma, tandori chicken, hummus, chickpea and lentil salads, baba ganoush and baklava with crisp Red Horse lager.

Many a mezze platter has been shared overlooking the shimmering Persian Gulf. Typical in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Diets, a Mezze platter is served to the table before the meal to be shared. Usually consisting of various spreads, cheeses, roasted veggies and small bites, our afternoon Mezze consisted of garlic hummus, baba ganoush, tabbouleh salad, roasted pepper spread, Arabic pickle platter and fresh and fried pita for dipping.

I couldn’t leave Dubai without a dip in the warm, crystal waters of the Persian Gulf. Until next time, I’ll be dreaming of Arabian days.

heart, shiso.

New England Clam Dig and Beach Grill

Summertime in New England revolves around trips to the beach, and nothing beats a good old fashion clam-bake… EXCEPT digging your own clams… and fresh grilling them 50 feet from the water. Recently, a great family friend reminded me of this classic surfside activity, and show me some of his secrets to what he promised would be the most delicious clams I’ve ever had. No seasoning required. None, whatsoever except for what nature bestowed upon these succulent little creatures. Yep, he was right.

Before heading out for your own clam digging adventure, be sure to check the local fishing regulations, and acquire the necessary permit or LOA (letter of authorization). Additionally, check the reports for a healthy bacteria count. Then, grab a bucket and you’re good to go! Here are some excellent tips for digging for the most flavorful regional catch.

Once you’ve got your daily catch (rinse them in a little fresh water first), just throw them straight on a hot grill. When the shells open wide enough for you to see the entire clam, and you can see the juice inside sizzling, they are done! Easy as that, and it only takes a few minutes. The salty ocean water and natural clam juice serve as a yummy broth. Open the shell, detach clam, the remove the beard and slurp the clam and broth all in one bite. New England beach cuisine at its finest!

These little guys are just opening up.. another couple of minutes to deliciousness!

Done! Eat.

In the Land of Cheese… Amsterdam!

As usual, the first thing I think about when planning my exploration of a new city is ‘I have to find the best place for  (insert local specialty here)’. So goes the routine on my trip to Amsterdam. In the land of tulips and Heineken, lies the Dutch famed specialty: cheese. Cheese! Glorious, wonderful, sweet, smoky, spicy, salty, savory, cheese! Kaas, as the term goes in the Netherlands, is a staple at breakfast and lunch, with Gouda leading the charge.

Promptly upon check-in at our hotel, I asked our lovely concierge where we could find the best cheese shop. He recommended a place called De Kaaskamer which is located in the vibrant shopping district of De Negen Straatjes, or ‘The Nine Streets’. It’s an easy walk a few blocks south of the Anne Frank house. De Kaaskamer prides itself on its hugely vast selection of ultra fine cheeses. They carry a cheeses not just from Holland, but imported from all over Europe. Some of the tastiest though, in my opinion, are from some of the regional cheeses that De Kaaskamer keeps in stock due to its partnership with several local farmers. Don’t be afraid to ask the cheese monger for a sample of his favorites, or for recommendations on what to bring home!

After sampling an exorbitant amount of cheeses of all varieties, I settled on several blocks that promised to push my carry-on bag just over the size limit to checked-bag territory. Among the picks were a local sheep’s milk Gouda (hard cheese with a salty, flakey crunch), cow’s milk Gouda with truffle crust, Zeekraal sheep’s cheese (creamy and smooth) with truffle flakes, and a Rypenaer hard cheese from pasturized cow’s milk (slightly sweet).

The shop also carries a great selection of wine and accouterments (salads, sides, pickled veggies etc.) for your cheese board, or picnic lunch. They will shrink wrap or vacuum seal any thing you request, and they also will ship anywhere in the world! Personally, I just couldn’t bear to part with my cheese, so I sacrificed some clothes shopping instead. If you aren’t planning an adventure to Amsterdam anytime soon, you’re in luck because they also have an online store. You can create your own package, or choose from their variety pack favorites!

De Kaaskamer

Runstraat 7

1016 GJ Amsterdam, Netherlands

tel. + 31 20 62 33 483

How to Throw a Summer Outdoor Dinner Party, Part 2: The Tablescape (& Video)

Studio 5 Video Segment

Now that the recipes are prepped, and ready to go, it’s time to build your beautiful outdoor dinner tablescape. The first step, and your best bet for super simple (and cheap!) decor, is to check around your home for your favorite serving items, vases, accessories, fabric / fabric remnants etc. Together, with some simple DIY projects (below) you can have a creative shabby chic tablescape in no time.

Get inspired by what you find, and pick a color palate. My theme came from the various pretty pink rose bushes in the yard, and from the fresh berries in the cobbler! Bonus: I had these vibrant teal blue linen napkins in my stash, and they were the perfect tie in for a pop of color.

Have a look outside around your neighborhood for some flowers and greenery that you can clip and use to adorn the table. A little bit of something fresh & lovely is key for any table. Once you’ve got a nice collection of some of your favorite accessory items, its time to put it all together.

A tip for assembling a beautiful table is to remember that layers create hierarchy. Table cloth (or not..), table runner and placemats create a nice base, and then you build up from there. Don’t be afraid to use a little height!

Watch the video here!

Learn the tricks of the table!


On to the projects….

Twine Vases: Save some jars from your favorite spaghetti sauce, olives, jam… you get the idea. Remove the labels and glue, and wash. Using a thick ball of twine, and a glue gun, press the end of twine into a dollop of hot glue somewhere around the center of the jar. Bring the twine up to the jar’s neck, and start to tightly wrap the twine around the jar. Add a spot of glue every so often, and work your way down. When you reach the bottom of the jar, finish with about an inch long line of glue. Cut the twine, and seal down any fray with a final touch of the glue.


Fabric Placemats: Cut sheets of cardboard into rectangles approximately 15″ x 9″. If you can’t get exact size pieces, that is OK. Using sturdy packing tape, you can affix 2 pieces together to create the size. Just make sure the tape is tight, and the cardboard pieces are both firm. Next, lay the cardboard onto a piece of fabric about about 2″ larger all around (17″ x 11″). Wrap the cardboard like a present, and hot glue the fabric down (make sure you make smooth, tight seams so that there are no loose gaps and bumps on the front of your placemat!).


Jar Lanterns: More jars! Save them up ahead of time… Wrap a piece of wire around the mouth of the jar, twist tightly and fashion a little wire handle. Pop in little LED candles, and hang from any place in the yard. WARNING: do not use real flame candles for hanging lanterns.


‘Chalkboard’ Placecards: For these you will need, cardstock, matte black spray paint, scissors and tape. Cut place cards into whatever size you like. I made these 3″x 5″ folded. Next, create a stencil for the outside border. The easiest option is to just cut a rectangle to the size of your place card and cut out an inside rectangle 0.5″- 1″ shorter, (ie: 2″x4″). This way, you will have a nice white boarder around the side of the card. Tape the stencil to the front of the card, and spray paint away. Allow to dry, and remove the stencil.

Back to the Beginning: Hapa Sushi in Boulder, CO

There really is ‘No Place Like Home’, and I owe it all to Hapa Sushi Grill in Boulder, CO. Hapa is my culinary home; the place where I got my start, learned lessons in life and fish, and created my second family through sushi. The name ‘Hapa’ is derived from a Hawaiian word that refers to the ‘harmonious blend of Asian and American cultures.’ Fusion at it’s finest, Hapa serves up non-traditional sushi along with old favorites in a modern setting with a fun vibe. Have a seat at the sushi bar in any of Hapa’s four locations, and strike up a conversation with your new best friend — the sushi chef. At Hapa, you’re in good hands.

Green Eggs and Ham, Statue of Liberty Roll

The Man, The Myth, The one who gave me a chance. Thanks Ken! I owe you one a ton.

Hapa’s selection of sake and specialty cocktails is bar none. Try the famous ‘G-Spot’: Raspberry infused sake, raspberry vodka and ginger ale. Hit up their Happy Hour (twice a daily!, varies upon location), for an unbeatable deals on the best bites in town.

Banana Bread Pudding. MMMMMMMM.

Hapa’s Signature Dessert: Banana Bread Pudding. Note:  be careful if it’s your Birthday, and you’re at Hapa. The sassy chefs will serve this up with a special surprise…

On the Web:

Boulder (Pearl Street): 1117 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO   (303)473-4730
Boulder (The Hill): 1220 Pennsylvania Ave., Boulder, CO  (303) 447-9883
Denver (Cherry Creek): 2780 East 2nd Avenue  Denver, CO (303) 322-9554
Denver (Landmark at Greenwood Village): 5380 Greenwood Plaza Blvd #101
Greenwood Vlg, CO (303) 267-8744