Foolproof Lemon + Fennel Branzino

 
 
 
 

RECIPE

I know cooking a whole fish can be intimidating, but it's the cheapest and simplest way to acquire the best fish in town. You can look at a fish and instantly tell how fresh it is when it's whole and the skin and bones will help flavor the fish without having to put in any extra work. Yes, you do have to watch out for bones, but we're all adults here and we can chew our food. But if you are feeling squeemish about deboning, you can click here to watch this quick little video.

[SERVES 2]

Ingredients:

  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds

  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/4th cup olive oil

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1 tablespoon chives, chopped

  • 1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds

  • 1 handful of parsley

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed with skins removed

  • 2 green onions, chopped into 4 equal sized pieces

  • 1 - 1 pound branzino, scaled, cleaned and gutted (this is something the fishmonger at your market can do… if they sell whole fish, they have a fishmonger)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your broiler, if you don’t have a broiler you can turn the oven on as high as it’ll go

  2. Heat a dry small pan over low heat and quickly toast your fennel and cumin seeds

  3. Gently move the seeds around the pan until they’re aromatic, but not discolored or darkened (about 3 minutes)

  4. Transfer the seeds into a small mixing bowl (or cup) and add the salt, olive oil, lemon zest, honey, red pepper flakes and chives

  5. Wash and dry the fish so it’s clean and ready for cooking

  6. Rub the oil mixture all over the exterior of the fish and also inside the fish so it’s evenly distributed

  7. Slide the lemon rounds, parsley, garlic and green onions into belly of the fish

  8. Broil for 5 minutes on one side and flip to broil for 5 minutes on the other

  9. If you are concerned that it isn’t cooked through use a meat thermometer and check to make sure it’s 145 degrees. The meat should be opaque, moist and firm. If it looks translucent at all, give it another minute under the broiler.

Millennial Beet Hummus

 
 
 

RECIPE

Once I started making this dish I started noticing all the places that hummus could and should be... on a sandwich, served with sliced veggies, thrown on top of a salad, served beneath roasted white fish,  eaten on a cracker.

Hummus makes almost anything more delicious, especially when it's pink and will make any dish look 1000% more fancy.

My only recommendation here is that you use GOOD tahini. A mediocre - bad tahini will really ruin your hummus. My preferred variety is SOOM, but JOYVA is good too!

[SERVES 8]

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • ½ teaspoon coriander

  • ⅓ cup lemon juice

  • ⅔ cup tahini

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 8 ounces cooked beets (available pre-cooked in the produce section)

  • 2 cans of chickpeas, strained and rinsed

  • 3 ice cubes

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • Black or white sesame seeds to top

  • 1 tablespoon assorted herbs, chopped (I like dill and parsley)

Directions:

  1. In a food processor combine the garlic, coriander, lemon juice, tahini and salt

  2. Pulse until the garlic is minced in the lemon juice tahini mixture

  3. Add in the beets and chickpeas and pulse again into an almost smooth paste

  4. Toss in the ice cubes and let the blades run until you’re pretty sure there are no more visible ice chunks

  5. Slowly pour in the olive oil with the blades running until the oil is gone and the mixture is finally creamy and smooth

  6. Top with black and white sesame seeds and dill and parsley to serve

Brunch's Best Friend: A Seasonal Frittata

 

RECIPE

There are a few things that are crucial to making an epic frittata...

  1. Sauté your vegetables before adding the eggs (helps remove excess liquid and build flavor)

  2. Whisk your eggs before adding them into the pan (aerates and helps keep the frittata fluffy)

  3. Cook your eggs low and slow (because no one wants tough bubblegum textured eggs)

  4. Slow the cooking process of the eggs by adding fat (milk, sour cream, or butter) in 2 stages

The frittata you are about to make incorporates all 4 principles, resulting in what could be your favorite frittata of all time. Great thing is, you don't need these veggies, herbs or cheeses, you can use whatever you have lying around.

This recipe proudly features some of my favorite OXO products including their garlic press, salad spinner, mixing bowls, frying pan and whisk.

Also, it goes without saying that a frittata is the very best egg dish to serve your buds for brunch. It’s easy to make for lots of people, it’s beautiful and you don’t have to eat it right away in order for it to be great. I recently served it to a group of my lady friends for a fun blogger brunch and it was a HUGE hit. Of course, it can’t be served alone for brunch so I also prepped some rosemary smashed potatoes and my horseradish and arugula salad. If you want to see some pics from the brunch, scroll to the bottom!

[SERVES 6]

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • ½ yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 small butternut squash, with skin removed and diced into ½ inch cubes

  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 bunch of chard, washed and cut with stems separated from leaves

  • 10 eggs

  • ½ cup whole milk

  • ¾ cups mozzarella (or any cheese you have on hand), shredded

  • 2 ounces goat cheese (plus a little extra for the top of the frittata)

  • 1 tablespoon of parsley, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

  2. Heat half of the olive oil in a 9 inch-ish pan over a medium flame

  3. Saute onion, butternut squash and a big pinch of salt, for 5 minutes until the onion becomes translucent

  4. Add in the garlic (followed by a touch more salt) and stir

  5. Thinly slice the stems of the chard and add those into the mix

  6. Once the butternut squash is soft (about 8 minutes or so) chop up the chard leaves and add those in with another big pinch of salt

  7. Remove all the veggies from the pan and set them aside in a mixing bowl

  8. Whisk the eggs with the remaining salt and half of the milk

  9. Pour the rest of the olive oil into the pan and reduce heat to low

  10. Add in the eggs and constantly move them around until they begin to set

  11. When they set they will begin to look a tiny bit like a very lose cottage cheese

  12. At this stage add in the rest of the milk, all of your veggies and cheese

  13. Mix it well to evenly distribute the cheese and veggies

  14. Use a spatula to smooth out the top, as if you were smoothing frosting onto the top of a cake

  15. Move the pan to the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until the center is set and there is some caramelization happening around the outside of the frittata

  16. Let the frittata sit for a few minutes, as it will continue to firm up

  17. Carefully lie a plate upside down on top of the pan and use oven mitts to invert the frittata onto the plate

  18. Top with goat cheese, sea salt and anything else you’ve got lying around

  19. You can also eat the frittata right out of the pan if you’re nervous about flipping it

A special thanks to Dazante Wines, Splendid, Whole Foods Market & West Elm Los Angeles for making our bunch dreams come true.

 

Three Fancy Toasts

RECIPE

I have a problem, personally, with it being OK to go out and purchase a $15 slice of toast. I'm not saying I never do it, but I'm saying I think it's a problem. I'm an enormous fan of the artisanal bread movement, but when they'll sell you one slice of toast with some avocado on it for the same price, or even more frequently, a higher price than the entire loaf, that seems excessive . Toast is SUCH an easy and fun thing to make at home, and when it's done well it's impressive (as you've seen) and extremely comforting. I hope you'll try these three recipes and find the joy in sharing a meal at home and having people feast on your fancy toast!

PLEASE NOTE - I think it's best to try each of these toasts on different days, no need to stress, try em out when you feel like it and find your favorite!

[EACH TOAST SERVES 4-6]

Cinnamon Crunch Toast: "SF STYLE"

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons room temperature salted butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4-6 thick slices of bread
  • sea salt

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pan over a medium heat
  2. Beat together the butter, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla
  3. Spread a 1/4th inch layer of butter mixture onto one side of the toast
  4. Place the buttered side down onto the pan and cook for 3 minutes until a crust begins to form and it’s golden brown with some caramelized areas
  5. Flip and lightly toast the 2nd side for minute or so
  6. If the toast isn’t as crispy as you want when you take it out of the pan fear not!  It can take a few minutes to really crisp up once it’s removed from the pan
  7. Sprinkle with sea salt (and if you like a touch more cinnamon and sugar)

Avocado Toast: "LA STYLE"

Ingredients:

  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (heaping if you like it spicy)
  • ½ teaspoon chives, thinly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil + extra olive oil for making the toast
  • Zest from ½ lemon
  • 4 thick slices of bread
  • 2 ripe avocados, with pit and skin removed
  • Sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. In a small mixing bowl (or mug) combine the red pepper flakes, chives, 1 tablespoon olive oil and lemon zest
  2. Pour a very thin layer of olive oil into your pan over a medium heat (about a teaspoon)
  3. Toast bread for about 2 minutes on each side until they’re crispy and just a little bit golden
  4. Throw your avocado into a mixing bowl and use the back of a fork to smash them
  5. Smash until their aren’t any chunks larger than a 1/2 inch (if you’re concerned at all about browning toss in a good squeeze  of lemon juice from the lemon that you zested earlier)
  6. Layer 1/4th of a cup of avocado onto each toast, followed by a nice spoonful of the olive oil mixture and a generous sprinkling of sea salt

Everything Bagel Toast: "NY STYLE"

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces block cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons of chives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of red onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 thick slices of bread
  • 2 teaspoons capers (divided evenly between toasts)
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, sliced into thin ribbons (using a mandoline or a veggie peeler)
  • Everything Bagel Seasoning (from Trader Joes)
  • Sea salt

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese, chives and red onion
  2. Pour a very thin layer of olive oil into your pan over a medium heat (about a teaspoon)
  3. Toast bread for about 3 minutes on each side until they’re crispy and just a little bit golden
  4. Give the toasts a few minutes to cool off, otherwise the cream cheese will run
  5. Spread 2 (ish) tablespoons of cream cheese onto each toast
  6. Toss a few capers onto each toast, followed by a few ribbons of cucumber
  7. Top each toast with a generous sprinkling of everything bagel seasoning and sea salt