Tag Archives: Chef

Joie de Vivre sauce for your recipe repertoire….

The following recipe is a combination of pistou & Sauce aux herbes ( a french  green sauce.) I love the combination of the anchovy , capers and herbs with a hint of garlic. Anchovies are to Mediterranean cuisine as fish sauce is to Asian cuisine.. Your not quite sure why the sauce is so unique and delicious as you taste it but you know it is special.

I call it Joie De Vivre because it adds so much sparkle to a dish.

I love the process of using a mortar and pestle for this sauce. ….each ingredient  releases such a wonderful aroma as you add it to the bowl and mash. Consider buying one if it is not one of your kitchen tools already.

The pleasure of cooking is not just in the eating, but also in the preparation. Planting a few herbs and harvesting them from your own garden, going to a farmers market and chatting with the farmers. Lots of chatting.. I don’t have the nickname Chatty Cathy for nothing! 


You will need:

2 cloves of garlic

1 TBSP. of salt cured large capers. I love the CENTO Brand

3  small anchovy fillets

If salt cured rinse them slightly and pat dry.

If oil cured remove them from the oil and let them drain slightly.


2 Tbsp. fresh tarragon leaves, no stem

2 Tbsp. Italian flat leaf parsley leaves, no stem

2 Tbsp.  baby arugula leaves,

2 hard boiled egg yolks

! TBSP. olive oil

1 fresh lemon for juice

coarse ground black pepper

Put the garlic in the mortar bowl and crush with the pestle

add the capers and pound until they become a paste.

add the anchovies and pound well.

add the herbs and pound until well mixed.

the sauce will not be completely smooth but you may have pounded out any frustration you have had for the day…..Cooking is so good for the soul!


add the egg yolks, oil and lemon juice, one at a time and pound to combine between each ingredient.

Add a good pinch of coarsely ground black pepper. Store in a glass Mason jar up to one week.


Slather on a whole chicken before roasting or  use it on sauteed vegetables right before you remove them from the heat .

Spread this sauce on baguette and sprinkle with great  shredded Parmesan, broil quickly and you have the best crostini in the Universe!



If you have some free time and want to explore French food at its roots then you must read “Simple French Food“by Richard Olney.



It was written in 1974 and the text & recipes express so eloquently what chefs are doing right now in their commercial and home kitchens…….Getting back to locally sourced food , simply prepared with the best product available and shared with family & friends.

In France this is termed Gueuleton… translated to……. “a meal among friends made of many dishes and  washed down with great quantities of better than average wine with much conversation, gaiety and laughter.”

I think that is going to be the name of my new food venture…

That is the best kind of day♥ 




Are you ready for some Whole30?

Okay so now you know I am a football mom!

I am hoping that while I was away this weekend you have cleaned out your cluttered pantries and decided to follow along. If your not sure yet you have a few more days to get ready. A couple ideas about starting the plan. Unlike what many people are doing on paleo, do not modify the plan to fit your old lifestyle. I say this because people keep trying to keep their old habits with a new eating plan.. that does not work. You will not see results if you start baking with Almond flour instead of wheat flour.. The solution is to clean your digestion with whole foods. I have a client who started eating paleo and gained weight. She started baking snacks( with healthy ingredients now, nothing refined or white) but it was too many empty calories. Sugar is still sugar! It  comes in so many forms that it takes extra effort to chase it down and get rid of it..think of sugar as kitchen termites, almost invisible but capable of lots of damage!

The pantry list is really great that the book provides and I bought most of it. I have really enjoyed using all of it in a variety of different ways. Even a seasoned chef like me can learn new  kitchen tricks!

I am a Whole foods junkie because they have so many of the products I trust in one place. So go shop and tomorrow I will write about the good fats we are going to eat ♥


MY husband and son, after Scotty was drafted by the New York Jets!

Day 30 on the Whole30 ..Spring Cleaning Truth.

I am on the last day of The Whole30 food plan but it is not the last day for me. This professional chef and celebration artist is a believer!

I have to say that in the past I have been very protective of my profession and very skeptical of any so called “diet” that limited any food to anybody. I have always preached “moderation” not “elimination”but that is part of the change I am embracing. I have clients that eat every trend going: raw, vegan,paleo, Whole30, vegetarian and the list goes on… with many variations.

I have to say that most culinary training does not include in depth nutritional training. I am constantly educating myself; usually in the form of trial and error ( or in this case success) on myself. Today is about success and new beginnings which I think is appropriate on Ash Wednesday.

Whether you are religious or not Lent has always been a time of renewal.

40 days to challenge yourself to start something better in your life. There are always so many reasons not to start. Find just one reason to start.

I think that the number one reason people give themselves is that they do not cook so I am going to help with that if you follow along. I am thinking today that if you can buy or borrow the book “It Starts With Food” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig start there.. Before you do anything else , read it….. from cover to cover.

When I teach my cooking classes the first thing I teach is to read the recipe before you try to produce it. I know this sounds basic( I can hear your sarcasm right now) but how many times have you raced to the store to buy something you forgot for a recipe you want to make?

If you want to be successful you have to prep the right way.

Our chef mantra..prep prep prep and then prep some more!

I believe that in the next 40 days you could read this book, prep for the plan and finish it in time for Easter Sunday! I know it is difficult and I know there will be people you love who will tell you that you are crazy.. It has been happening to me for the last 30 days. That’s why I decided to start and finish it myself…

my promise to  you is that I will follow along with you for the next 40 days with my easy, delicious recipes that I have created to keep myself inspired along my journey.

1. Read

2. Prep

3. clear the clutter from your pantry and refrigerator

4. read labels, you will notice all of the hidden junk in food you thought was good for you.

5. thirty days later you will have some significant change in your life…….. actually it will be many changes♥

One that I have had that is so exciting for me is that for the first time in 10 years my ears are almost clear. I have had all kinds of tests and treatments to clear my ear canals but nothing has worked.. as a result I can be a very loud talker…this makes me smile because I am constantly being told how loud I am, Good  thing though. I never need a microphone when I speak to people. All kidding aside, I am so amazed and grateful. some times the pain in my ears was unbearable but now that is almost ancient history!

Let me know that you are following along and let’s help each other. 

today’s tidbit: If you think you can’t do this whole plan after you have read it in its entirety then just pick one place to start.. a biggie would be to clear all processed food from your life.. period! 

Have a Delicious Day……. I am on my way to my garden to shop for lunch ♦


Organic grapefruit sections, blueberries, bananas & strawberries sprinkled with unsweetened coconut flakes. 





26 days into The Whole30 .

The book cover to “It Starts With Food” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig,  tells you that your life will change in unexpected ways… and it does.


This was my breakfast today…… a delicious and unexpected mix of Romenesco, fresh homemade Pico de Gallo and Pasture raised, poached eggs. 26 days ago it would have included cheese and tortillas. Not now. I heard about this book from my friend and professional model Danika @danikabrysha. I heard about it from two professional athletes that I feed. I started making changes to their food plans and decided if I was going to cook it for others then I better try it for myself. All I can say is wow!

I am a professional chef right? and I have lived by the motto “never trust a skinny chef” for years. Suited me fine since I have probably gained and lost the same 40 pounds for the last 25 years. When you are cooking everyday for people’s celebrations it is easy to get lost in cheese paradise. What celebration dinner does not include the best wine, cheese, organic vegetables and heirloom raised meats and not  let’s forget a great slice, or loaf, of artisan bread. …and they should, just not everyday, which is easy to forget when you cook all day, everyday for work.

My journey with a healthy body began three years ago when I started my Ashtanga Yoga practice. About the same time I was dedicated to the farm to table movement which I had always been a part of. I was raised with a large garden and chickens that were free range, best eggs ever! When I was a young Chef my heroes were all of the slow food pioneers. Alice Waters, Jeremiah Towers, even Julia, my heroine. being a Northern California girl had its perks in the food world. San Francisco had a great food culture in the late eighties that is thriving today in 2014 in So Cal and beyond.

But lets get back to food, I think the real celebration starts with our attitude towards it. This book, The Whole 30, made me rethink my habits, which truly were not bad. I don’t eat much processed food, I use only organic vegetables form local farms or we grow our own in our garden at home. I only buy my meat from small farms who raise their animals the right way …in pastures, lovingly, no hormones no antibiotics. My cheese come from the best local farms, so does my  honey. My family and clients have always been fed this way, whether in my restaurant, catering or my home. so why change? Well for one thing I was carry around extra belly weight which is really unhealthy and I figured if I could attack that then it was a good thing. No more baggy chef pants and jackets to cover it up, time to get rid of it for good. Yoga clothes tell the whole story, right?

Long story short I started their eating plan 26 days ago and now I feel like I can talk about it from experience to my family, friends, clients and well really… to whoever has interest. I am not called Chatty Cathy for nothing! This is not about dieting, it is about eating whole foods for 30 days and thinking about it as you go along, Falling in love with the seasons and what they produce and introducing yourself to the small passionate farmers and growers in your community. More to come in the following days with recipes and thoughts!!

a place to share recipes and wisdom gathered from my 18 years as a professional chef and celebration artist.