Golden Gazpacho with Crab and Avocado Toast


Soup and toast is such a comforting combination, it’s good to keep an all-weather repertoire in rotation. Since summer in Los Angeles is not the best time nor place to be simmering hot liquids over the stove, I simply blend and strain seasonal produce for a quick and energizing meal. Bold and beautiful Lemon Boy tomatoes from Munak farms, peppers, purple basil and shallots with sherry vinegar for my bright and refreshing gazpacho. Crack open a storebought crab leg or poach your own and stud a piece of grilled bread along with avocado chunks for texture play and extra suppin’ suppin’.

Gazpacho hold so well, even better the next day. It’s great to take on a picnic in an insulated thermos or jar on ice packs.Alyssa-003


Lemon Boy Gazpacho

Makes 2 quarts

7-10 Lemon Boy tomatoes

2 shallots

1 yellow or orange bell pepper

2 garlic cloves

Basil (4 large leaves)

1/4 cup sherry vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1 large cucumber, peeled

1/2 cup diced bread (better if its stale)

2 T sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

*Purple pepper and basil and oil garnish

Seed and chop bell pepper.

Put pepper along with the rest of the ingredients into blender. Blend on high for about a minute. Pass through fine sieve. Chill soup and serve.


Alyssa-026 Alyssa-031

Do Me A Fava

Fava2Now is the window of super tender fava beans! Enjoy them in the pods whole so you don’t have to throw the spongy outsides and shells away. Fava3

Schaner Farms at The Santa Monica Farmers Market had amazing favas so I had to pick up a pound along with some green garlic. Green garlic is young garlic that hasn’t fully formed into paper bulb. It has a fresher grassy taste rather than the burn and bite of mature garlic. Both are great, but this dish with the green garlic just screams Spring.Fava4This recipe is inspired by Two Fat Ladies, my first culinary idols, who trailed all over the UK in a motorcycle and sidecar. The recipe was for Egyptian Broad Beans, stewed whole favas (aka broad beans.) I’ve also been on a food podcast kick and have really been enjoying Tyler Florence’s “In The Test Kitchen” and he had a great tip to grill the favas to blanch them, instead of boiling them. I mashed up the two to create this great recipe and served it over farro, an Italian wheat grain.Fava5

Lemony Grilled Fava Beans


1/4 cup olive oil plus extra for drizzling

1 pound fava beans, top and side string removed

2 green garlic, white base and light colored part of stalk ( or 3-4 cloves mature garlic) minced

2 ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced in 8ths

1 onion, diced

2 tsp cumin

2tsp coriander

1 tsp fennel

Juice of one lemon

Zest of one lemon

1 bunch dill

1/2 cup hot water

Optional: Greek Yogurt

Cooked Farro, other grain of your choice or pita bread, to serve


Drizzle cleaned favas lightly in olive oil.

Heat a grill pan until just smoking.

Grill until marked, flip and repeat until all favas are grilled. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and set aside.

In a large round skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil and add onion until softened

Add green garlic, cumin, coriander, fennel and pepper until toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Add grilled favas, tomatoes, lemon juice, water and half of the dill. Cover and cook on low for 25 minutes, or until favas are tender.

Serve on grain topped with yogurt (if using) the remaining fresh dill and lemon zest.Fava6

The lemon and dill brighten up the earthy beans, and the ripe Shady Lady tomatoes from Wong Farms give a lovely sweetness as well as a touch of acidity. Take a nice trip to the market this weekend and make this exotic and simple recipe.Fava7

My Guide To The Santa Monica Farmers Market

“I have [corporate grocery store] down the street, it’s so much easier.” (But I want to eat healthier)

“I don’t know what’s good.”

“I don’t know what to get.”

It can be overwhelming for the everyday person to shop but after a few years of coming to the market, I’ve come up with a guide to help you out, no matter what market you go to.

Every Wednesday (and Saturday) the Santa Monica Farmers Market is poppin’ with the best available produce coming from San Diego to Tehachapi to Dinuba.  No crafts, no food vendors, just the best fruits, veg, cheese, nuts, milk, meat, fish, bread and honey. Well, there’s the “treat ya’ self, don’t cheat ya’ self” rastafarian who sells herbal body care, but that’s it. One thing for sure, this is THE chef’s market that every farm-to-table restaurant in town sources from. But hey if you need to pet a goat and listen to a band, by all means check out the many other wonderful markets in Los Angeles.

A dear friend and talented photographer Jacqueline Verdugo joined me one Wednesday to capture the vibes.DSC_9297 copy

Reasons To Shop At The Farmer’s Market

-Stickin’ It To The Man

Being outside in the ocean air supporting local family farms and nourishing myself with non-GMO pesticide-free ingredients is the most pleasurable way to flip the bird at large agribusiness, gas-ripened fruit, fluorescent lighting and the wanna-be DJs (sorry, Whole Foods) of large grocery stores. I’d gladly sit in my car at 8am on the 10W freeway or brave Hollywood on a Sunday because it still beats the 1500 miles mass-produced veg travels to a supermarket. I get to catch up on the phone with my family in France and food podcasts!


Have you tried speckled raddichio? Pinkerton avocados? Seascape strawberries? Ichilium blue garlic? The market provides varieties of fruit and veg that you’ve never seen or tasted. It opens up your world and the normal supermarket specimens will lose their luster. Blessing and a curse.

-Flavor Flavor Flavor

You can cook anything with enough fat, salt and sugar and make it taste good. With superior products, you can enjoy them simply and revel in their natural flavor. 


Not only do you have access to wonderful produce, but you have access to top chefs and the farmers who grow what you’re making! Curious about the spiky green? Ask! And you will be met with several ways to prepare it at home. The farmers are trying to sell their product and keep you coming back. They do not want their hard work rotting in the corner of your fridge. Plus all the chefs you go gaga over on Instagram are there to gawk at. Maybe that’s just me.

-Save Money

If you frequent organic farm-to-table restaurants, chances are they are sourcing from your local market. And selling it back to you at 3-4 times the price. Why spend $14 dollars on a simple salad you can make for a fraction of the cost?  Spend money on more complicated preparations, get inspired and still feed yourself  at home!

DSC_9305 copyRegier tangerines and mandarins are always jammin’ in the winter! My favorite are the Murcott. In summer, their peaches and nectarines are unparalleled.  DSC_9197 copyJJ’s Lone Daughter Ranch citrus and avocados always make their way into my bag. They grow dozens of varieties of each and have opened my eyes to the various flavor profiles of these magnificent California fruits. ps. I have “lamb” written on my hand because I had bought some shanks at Jimenez Farms and they were keeping it in their cooler for me. Heaven forbid I forget!DSC_9287 copyMaggie’s Farm RUNS the greens game. Their salad blends have micro greens, herbs, bitter greens, baby greens, edible flowers, everything you could ever want.  And they continue to expand their selection.DSC_9258 copyMy boo, Peter Schaner of Schaner Farms. Every restaurant in LA is in love with his eggs, squash, citrus, avocados, pomegranates, herbs, tomatoes and so much more… an impressive selection! I’ve had the pleasure of helping out at the stand and he always takes good care of his staff and customers. Hug your farmer!DSC_9268 copyGloria’s has amazing artichokes, cauliflower, peppers, and strawberries that stay sweet all year round!DSC_9240 copyWindrose Farm is an organic, biodynamic farm that carries a seasonal artistic palette of produce. Their varieties of garlic and they smoked garlic have changed my life. I had no idea how different they could be. Colorful Mexican blankets perk up the produce and make a food stylist like myself just gush. I grabbed a monster beet with a ton of greens!DSC_9204 copy

Stinging nettles at Coleman Family Farm, OUCH!!! I adore the Colemans, a multi-generational operation out of Carpinteria. They have as many jokes as they do lettuces! Their tropical fruits like guava, pineapple guava, sapote and cherimoya spare me from my longing of island destinations.

If you’re making your first trip out, the vastness of the market can be a bit overwhelming. Here’s a helpful list to keep it simple.


Your organic ingredients will only last about a week so buy accordingly to your household. Start off with one bunch/handful/pack/bag and see how you use it.


Organic certification is just an expensive stamp. Taste, taste, taste. Do you like it? Does it look good? Get it. Ask the farmer about their methods. Do they spray? Do you care? Some of my favorite farms would rather save the money on certification to support their actual growing of the food. Like any relationship, you develop communication and trust. At the very least, the stand should have somewhere posted “We Grow What We Sell.” 


I bring a basket for eggs, ripe avocados, anything soft. One bag for greens, and another for hard veg like beets, squash, onion. Consider a sherpa or wagon for large purchases.


Two ways to approach this. One is to pick a recipe (like this awesome salad) and shop as much as you can from  the market, supplementing from elsewhere. Or begin with this simple list and adjust to your taste and budget. 


Cooking Green (Chard, Kale, Mustard, Spinach, Beet (yes, the tops!)

Salad Green (Kale, Spinach (double whammies!) Romaine,  Micros, Little Gems)




Fruit  Just pick a couple; 2 apples, a pack of berries. If you over purchase, roast or saute in butter for an oatmeal topping or bake in a tart.

You Could Get At Your Local Supermarket But Awwww They Look So Much Prettier Here





Oy My Bag Is Getting Heavy But OoOooOoH So Pretttyyyy

Seasonal Vegetables: Beets, Flowering Greens, Celery Root, Tomatoes, whatever catches your fancy.



DSC_9248 copy

Ciao from the market, stay tuned to see what I do with my purchases!

Have extra from the market and don’t know what to do with it? You can always email me at and I’ll help you out!

Blood Orange Cinnamon Tart


Begin with this album on blast:


It’s been a solid 5 weeks of blood oranges and this will be the first time I make a recipe with it. I jump from Schaner Farms and JJs Lone Daughter Farms with no rhyme or reason. They are both amazing growers of citrus. There’s a raspberry flavored tang to the blood orange that makes my Mediterranean blood. The anthocyanins in blood orange, which are what give it their red coloring, are also antioxidants that combat fat in the liver. With foie gras back in business here in California, bring on the blood orange!

When I buy a bag of blood oranges from the market, they don’t make it past the quartered and munched mode. I can’t help but snack on raw or roasted slices. If you follow me on Instagram, you know my favorite way to have them is with cinnamon.

So why not make a cinnamon crust tart with a blood orange curd?



BloodOrange4  BloodOrange3BloodOrange5

First, let’s candy some blood orange slices


Adapted from Epicurious

I love a 1:1:1 ratio recipe!


1 Cup Water

1 Cup Sugar

1 Blood Orange


Bring water and sugar to boil in a heavy large skillet, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Thinly slice blood orange (you can substitute a regular orange); add to skillet, arranging in a single layer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and barely simmer until the white pith of the orange becomes translucent, turning the slices occasionally, about 40 minutes. Allow the orange slices to cool in the syrup, turning occasionally. Arrange the slices atop the tart and drizzle with some of the syrup just before serving.

Then get crusty!
Adapted from Martha Stewart
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for fingers and measuring cup 
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces 
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Pulse flour, butter, sugar, and salt only until moist crumbs form.
  2. Transfer dough to a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom; with floured fingers, press evenly into bottom and up side of pan.
  3. With a floured dry-measuring cup, press edge of dough firmly against side of pan, pushing down with opposite thumb to level top of crust flush with rim.
  4. Freeze until firm, 10 to 15 minutes; prick all over with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees.until golden, pressing with a spoon if it puffs up, 25 to 30 minutes; cool completely.
While that’s baking, make your curd!
Adapted from Food In Jars
Blood Orange Curd
Yield: makes approximately 3 Cups
  • 5-6 blood oranges (3/4C of strained juice)
  • 9 egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, cut into cubes


  1. Remove the zest from the oranges with a Microplane and set it aside. Juice the oranges and measure out a generous 1/2 cup of the juice. Taste it and add a splash of lemon juice if you feel it needs a little extra pucker.
  2. Pour an inch of water into a medium saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  3. Whisk together the juice, zest, egg yolks, and sugar in a heatproof bowl that will sit comfortably over the simmering saucepan.
  4. Place the bowl over the saucepan. Switch to a spoon or silicone spatula and start stirring. Keep stirring until the curd thickens, coats the back of the spoon, and starts to cling to the sides of the pan between stirring. If the eggs look like they’re starting to scramble instead of thicken, pull the bowl off the saucepan and turn the heat down.
  5. When the curd has thickened sufficiently, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter.
  6. Position a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and push the curd through. This removes the zest and any bits of scrambled egg (no matter how careful you are, you always end up with a few).
  7. Scrape the finished curd into a jar and let it cool. Once it’s down to room temperature, put a lid on the jar and pop it in the fridge.


This curd keeps for 10-14 days in the fridge. If you want to keep it longer, divide it into smaller jars and freeze them.


Alayna’s Beauty Talk with Rice And Beans LA and Savour This Kitchen

Another amazing 90 minutes with Alayna Zwick on her show, Alayna’s Beauty Talk. This time I got to anchor the show with her and bring two of my farmers market gal pals, Kristy Baltezore, owner of Rice and Beans LA, and organic bulk grain supplier and Marlene Burnstein, chef and co-owner of Savour This Kitchen, a catering company and line of food products.

These two ladies are powerhouses, hustling food entrepreneurs and thoughtful nurturers. They are committed to finding the best, locally sourced and organic ingredients and providing them to the public in an approachable way. I met Kristy at The Hollywood Farmers Market. I rarely go up the Spice Alley, a narrow corridor between the food stands and craft stands. The spices are in full open air oxidizing with every second and other packaged goods that I’d rather not spend my cash on. However, one day, on a hunch I decided to make a round. There was an array of buckets with lentils, couscous, sushi rice, black beans, white beans… All US or Canada grown and organic. I asked her where she had been my whole life?!? I had just gotten over purchasing bulk grains at Whole Foods, not knowing how long they had been standing around and overpaying for sealed up packaged organic grains. Her product is so fresh it even cooks faster! She is such a gem, a homecooks dream. 00bc6771f1fba2db3cffe233ec409a7e


I met Marlene via Instagram and Artisanal LA. She is always hustling making her fresh sauces from scratch. I started seeing her at the markets and loved chatting with her. She has an amazing aesthetic and her styling is as fresh as her product. I don’t usually buy prepackaged anything but hers is the only one I would make a concession for. I love her Pistachio Pesto!

Please make it a point to support these girls, whether buying from Kristy’s stand at one of the many LA farmers markets or purchasing a sauce or spice blend from Marlene. They are all to die for and go so well together.

7b4da6303c4e714f05b9b2e44f5c7055 418c7b45c7adb3b0370f73588c82f1d0

Farm-to-table w/ A Side of Factory: Beet Green Smoked Grilled Cheese and Harissa Miso

A snack should represent you in your moment. An edible version of your outer and inner state made with on-hand ingredients to fuel you until your next meal.

It was a cool day for Los Angeles, read: 63F, not blustery by any means, but just enough to make me put socks and a beanie on indoors. Feyonce had just left for the week and I was a bit blue. I needed something warm, not hearty, but still comforting. The fridge situation included a Windrose Chiogga beet I purchased last Wednesday at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Its tender tops begged to be braised in orange zest and olive oil. The tinted rind of a Drake Family Farms smoked goat mozzarella  was finna holler a the seed-flecked Lodge Bread boule. Grilled cheese was in the cards!GrillChz3

I wanted a soup to go with my fancy schmancy market grilled cheese, but I was feeling maaaaaad lazy and I needed to move along so I could get to some work. Hit the pantry for a tube of Harissa and a packet on organic instant miso, because what’s more North African and Japanese than that? I know, instant anything seems so anti-Suppin’, but instant miso is just freeze-dried miso with tofu and scallion. It’s great if you travel often for work. I’d rather drink an organic soup than be forced to eat weak-ass catering and craft services! The box in my pantry was leftover from my last trip, I make a killer homemade version, don’t trip. Add the tiniest 1/8 tsp squirt of harissa to the instant miso then. add 8 oz. hot water. Stir until combined.GrillChz5

Another packaged good that I adore is Kewpie Mayo. Spread it on the outside of bread for even, crispy toasting. I’m serious.


Beet greens are so deliciously tender like swiss chard but without the thick ass stem. The beet that came attached to the greens was prepared earlier thinly shaved with segmented cara cara orange. I saved the intoxicating zest for infusing the greens. I don’t know what it is about orange and beets that has me feeling’ some type of way.

GrillChz4Spicy, soothing, crispy and a solid effort to eat more leafy greens. This is my moment.

Beet Greens with Orange Zest

*make the whole bunch as use the rest for a green side, frittatas, grain bowls, and pasta salads.

One bunch beet greens, washed thoroughly

1-2 cloves garlic, chopped

pinch red chili flakes

1×3″ strip of orange zest

1/4 cup olive oil

In a large deep skillet over medium heat, slowly heat olive oil, garlic, chili flakes and orange zest. When the garlic become fragrant, add the beet greens and toss until fully coated with oil. Cover with lid or sheet pan and cook over low until tender, 20 minutes. Uncover and remove from heat.

Smoked Mozzarella Grilled Cheese

Round Up

2 slices thick country bread

3 oz smoked mozzarella, or mix with fontina for even milder flavor

6-8 sautéed beet greens

2 tsp kewpie mayo

Grill pan

Foil Wrapped Brick


Heavy Weight

*ps. It’s just leftovers, bread and cheese. Make it work for you. *

Do Dat Shit Do Dat Shit

Divide the cheese on each slice of bread. Evenly distribute the greens on one side and cover with the other slice. Thinly spread the mayo on the top side of bread. Place mayo side down on a hot grill pan. Weigh down with the brick or weight until golden brown. Remove the weight, spread the rest of the mayo on top slice and flip. Cover top with weight until golden brown. Serve up.

Tisanoreica Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Chicken

Finally! A low-carb pasta I can actually eat!

Tisanoreica, a herbal concoction-based weight loss program had a slew of lovely dining events in Los Angeles and I was graciously invited to attend. I had tried many wheat-alternative pastas before and always was left disappointed texturally.

At a quaint Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills, we sat down beautiful pesto and seafood preparations and though one could definitely make the distinction that this was not a wheat-based pasta, it was indeed delicious. I love the toothsome structure of the pasta and how well it holds sauces.


Here is an easy recipe using their fusilli and artichoke sauce.

Mediterranean Fusilli w/Carciofi Sughi and Grilled Chicken

Serves 2


1-2 chicken breasts

2 tsp dijon mustard

1T olive oil

1/2 lemon juice

1/4 cup parsley

1 T pistachios

zest of 1/2 lemon

100g Tisanoreica Fusilli

1 packet Carciofi Sughi (or 100g of pureed artichoke hearts with a splash of olive oil)

1/3 cup Kalamata Olives, pitted

1/4 of a preserved lemon, thinly sliced

salt and pepper



Toss chicken with mustard, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Finely chop parsley and pistachios. Stir in lemon zest and enough olive oil until a thick paste forms. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Grill or roast chicken breast at 400F for 30-40 minutes, or until well done. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Prepare pasta according to package; toss with sughi, olives and preserved lemon.

Top fusilli with chicken slices and pesto.


Suppin’ Good on LA TALK LIVE!

Check the chit chat on all things food, fashion and skin care below!

What an awesome opportunity to join up with my girls Adina Diaz (Your Skincare Guru) and Dechel McKillian (Galerie LA) on the airwaves for Alayna’s Beauty Hour. Alayna Zwick is an OG makeup artist entrepreneur who’s version of retirement involves her being a walking coach and radio host. This glowing 60 something-year-old does not stop! She graciously invited some of us younger gals to share  our passion and experience with starting our own businesses in our desired fields.

I love working with Adina and Dechel; you may remember our video for a food/skincare/fashionable approach to a no stress PMS. We’ll be continuing our holistic approach to self-care so stay tuned!

Banana Toffee Panettone Pudding


Panettone is a thrice risen sweet bread, originating from 15th century Italy and traditionally eaten during Christmas and New Years. A light, fluffy, eggy, buttery loaf perfumed with saffron and dried fruits, the American store-bought version still pales in comparison to the traditional and homemade varieties. We just never seem to get it right…

So what better way to jazz up a bland loaf then to soak in cream and drown it in sticky banana toffee sauce?

This is a great after-holiday brunch recipe, sure to please and sweeten up anyone’s hangover. Add a side of grass-fed organic bacon and you’re set!

Banana Toffee Panettone Pudding

(adapted from Antony Worrall Thompson)

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup dark muscovado sugar (brown sugar is fine)
4 large bananas, peeled and cut into pieces
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1 pound panettone, ripped into chunks or cut into thick slices

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Melt the butter in a pan with the honey and muscovado sugar. Let it bubble for 5 minutes. Add the banana pieces and cook for 5 minutes more until softened. In a bowl, mix together the milk and cream. Dip panettone in the milk and cream. Arrange half of them in a 1 quart ovenproof dish, then pour over half the banana mixture. Repeat with the remaining panettone and banana mixture. Bake for 25 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling. Leave to rest in a low oven until ready to serve.

Be extra indulgent and add a blob of whipped cream!





Cream of Celery Root Soup with Balsamic Radicchio and Pomegranate Persimmon Salsa


Just because it’s cold and dreary outside, doesn’t mean you can’t eat vibrant food with fresh pops of color. This creamy soup is earthy, rich and warm, layered with bitter raddichio. Bright juicy pomegranate, sweet persimmon and fresh herbs cut right through to cleanse the palate. Make it an after school special with cheesy toast!

Cube and roast half of one large or one small celery root, one russet or 2 smaller potatoes, one large carrot, and one onion, (large dice) in a generous drizzle of olive oil seasoned with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and Italian seasoning (thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, basil). 375F until fork tender, around 45 minutes.

Prepare and strain or heat up 4-6 cups of vegetable broth.
Dump roasted vegetables in a 4qt. pot or blender. Add half of the broth and whiz away. If using a blender, please cover top with a towel and make sure broth is not too hot. Keep adding stock ladle by ladle as the blended soup gets thicker to thin it out to desired consistency.
Strain through a mesh sieve with a wooden spoon for a smoother, velvety texture.
Add 4 T butter and 2 T cream. Keep warm.
Balsamic Raddichio
Saute cored and sliced raddichio in olive oil over medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. When wilted, add 2 tsp balsamic vinegar to glaze.
Pomegranate Persimmon Salsa
Chop 1 ripe Fuyu persimmon into small 1/4″ cubes, add equal amount of pomegranate kernels, toss with a tsp olive oil, and chopped mint and parsley to taste.
Ladle soup, make a bed of balsamic raddichio and carefully place salsa in the center.