Salmon with Fennel Tomato Pasta

My husband and I love to have this meal for a date night-in–something about it just feels so decadent.  Of course, any big bowl of pasta makes me happy, but this recipe is a favorite, topped with salmon and full of veggies and…anchovies.  Okay, I know some of you may cringe at the thought of popping open a can of anchovies, but I promise they are amazing!!!  They melt right into the sauce and add just the right amount of salty, savory flavor–the perfect thing to stand up to sweet fennel and acidic tomatoes.  Give it a try, and I know you’ll love it as much as we do!



-1 lb salmon, cut into 4 pieces

-1/4 c. canola oil

-2 Tbsp lemon juice

-1 tsp salt

-2 cloves minced garlic

Add all of the ingredients into a Ziploc bag, toss around a little so the marinade coats all of the salmon, and place in the fridge for as little as 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

Fennel and Tomato Pasta

-1 package of gluten free pasta

-salt to taste

-1 tin of anchovies

-2 Tbsp olive oil

-3 cloves minced garlic

-1/2 bulb of fennel, fronds included

-1/2 can diced tomatoes

-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

-1/2 tsp sugar

-1 lemon, juice and zest

-1/2 c. toasted bread crumbs

Prepare your pasta according to the instructions on the box–just make sure the water tastes like the sea–every chef says this, so obviously I want to as well!  Basically you just want the water to be very salty.  This is the only time the pasta can really get flavored, so don’t skimp! Then set it aside.

For the salmon, heat a pan over medium heat.  Remove the salmon from the marinade and put them straight into the pan.  The canola oil from the marinade replaces any extra oil you would normally add to the pan.  Let the salmon cook for about 6 minutes on both sides, this may vary depending on the thickness of your salmon.  Set aside.


Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the anchovies and the olive oil.  Next add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute.  Use your spoon to break up the anchovies as they cook.

Thinly slice the fennel bulb–a mandolin works great here but is not necessary.  Chop the fennel fronds and set them aside for garnish.  Add the sliced fennel to your pan and let it cook until caramelized, about 10 minutes.  Next add a little salt to taste, red pepper flakes, sugar, and tomatoes, juice included.  Allow this mixture to reduce slightly, about 5 minutes.  Drain your pasta and add it to the pan with the juice of the lemon.


For the breadcrumbs, I like to keep the ends of my gluten free bread in the freezer.  Then I just blitz them up and toast them in a pan with a little olive oil.  Once they’re nice and toasty, combine them with the zest of the lemon and a little salt and pepper.


To serve, plate the pasta, top it with the breadcrumb mixture, next the salmon, and finally the fennel fronds.  Enjoy!




Oh January!  The air is crisp and haunted with daunting thoughts of New Year’s resolutions.  I am all for pulling out my yoga mat, and of course we’re always looking to eat a little healthier, but at what cost!  My goal this year is to make healthy food that I’ll actually want to eat!  Flavorful food that you will look forward to cooking and eating is the key to sticking with any diet, and this cioppino really hits the spot.  This warm Italian seafood stew is full of seafood, veggies, and a little wine, so it’s pretty much the best thing you’ll ever eat.  I’m not exaggerating when I say this is one of the best things I’ve ever made.



-3 Tbsp olive oil

-5 cloves garlic, chopped

-1 yellow onion, sliced thin

-1 fennel bulb, chopped

-1/2 tsp salt

-1 tsp crushed red pepper

-1 1/2 c white wine

-2 28oz cans whole peeled tomatoes

-7 c fish stock

-1 lb mussels

-1 lb shrimp, shelled

-1 lb cod (or other firm white fish), cut into 1-2 inch pieces

-Tarragon, chopped fennel fronds, and lemon wedges to garnish

Add the olive oil, garlic, onion, fennel, salt, and red pepper to a large stock pot over medium heat.  Allow these to soften and lightly brown, about 12-15 minutes.  Add the wine and tomatoes, slightly crushing the tomatoes with your spoon.  Let this all simmer away for about 20 minutes.  Next add the fish stock and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.  It can be a little tricky to find fish stock (I actually ended up making mine), but if you can’t find it, just use vegetable stock instead.  Now it’s time for the seafood!  Add the mussels first and cover the pot.  Let this cook for about 5 minutes and then add the shrimp and cod.  These should really just take about 5 minutes more to finish cooking.  Absolutely feel free to use different seafood (clams, scallops, halibut, etc.) depending on what you like and what is fresh in your area.   When you’re picking out your seafood, check out what’s fresh, but don’t forget about the frozen section too for all types of fish and even mussels!  Finally just garnish with fennel fronds and tarragon plus a squeeze of lemon and serve with crusty bread for dipping.  Enjoy!

Step 1.  Chop and caramelize veggies.

Step 2.  Add tomatoes and wine and let simmer.

Step 3.  Add fish stock and simmer.


Step 4.  Add seafood and cook through.


Step 5.  Garnish and enjoy!



You Say Tomato, I Say Pie

Tomato, tomatoe…Tomato Pie! Tomato Pie is one of my very favorite summer dishes. It’s my go to as soon as I can get my hands on good summer tomatoes. I’m yet to find great ones in Nashville; these tomatoes came up from a friend’s garden in Mississippi with my parents. I have loved putting them to good use! 

Tomato Pie


1 store bought pie crust

3 large summer tomatoes (I used 2 large, 2 small)

1 Vidalla onion

2 cloves of garlic

Fresh Basil

1/2 c.  Mozzarella, grated

1/2 c. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated

1/4 c. Mayonnaise

Several dashes of Tabassco

2 tsp. salt (to get water out of tomatoes)

Freshly ground black pepper


Slice the tomatoes, place around a colander and cover with salt to remove water.

Prepare topping. Combine 3/4 of the cheese, all of the mayonnaise, Tabassco, 1/2 of your  basil and black pepper in a small bowl.

Place pie crust in pie plate, and pierce it with a fork. Bake pie crust for 10 minutes at 400. 

While pie crust is baking, sautée onion until softened and add garlic.

After 10 minutes, you will begin to layer your pie. Add tomatoes first then top with your sautéed mixture and the remaining 1/4 of your cheddar and mozzarella combination. Add another layer of tomatoes then add basil and freshly cracked black pepper, finish with your prepared topping.

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. After 20 minutes add aluminum foil around the edges of your pie so the crust does not burn.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Top with remaining fresh basil.

Serve and enjoy! 

Pro Tips for the Perfect BLT

Once summer hits, the only thing I ever want to eat is a BLT.  Honestly I probably eat three a week from May to August and never regret it.  Because of my years of experience, I’ve developed a few pro tips for this seemingly simple sandwich that will truly elevate it to a whole new level!


-Cook your bacon on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes depending on if your a crispy or a chewy bacon fan.  You can flip it once if you really want to.  I first learned this method while working as a line cook and have never looked back.  There are so many reasons to do it this way, but here are just a few:  more even cooking, no splatters to clean up, zero time spent babysitting.

-Continuing that line of thought, invest in decent bacon.  You don’t have to go all out here, but a thicker cut of bacon will really make all the difference to your BLT.

-Buy an heirloom tomato.  During the summer time, these are readily available at any and all farmers markets, but you can also pick them up (at a much higher cost) at most grocery stores.

-And sandwich that tomato between the lettuce and the bacon to avoid soggy bread. Don’t let soggy bread happen to you.

-Make mayonnaise from scratch.  Really.  You can do this, I promise!  And once you add lemon zest and garlic and basil, you can call it aioli, and all of your friends will be totally impressed by your culinary skills.  Also, you’ll want to eat it on everything, because it’s incredible.


Basil Aioli

-1 egg yolk

-juice and zest of 1 lemon

-1/4 tsp dried mustard (1/2 tsp regular yellow mustard can be substituted)

-1 tsp white vinegar

-1 pinch salt

-1 pinch white sugar

-1 cup canola oil

-1 garlic clove, minced

-1/2 cup basil, minced

-salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the egg yolk, juice of HALF of the lemon, white vinegar, mustard, salt, and sugar until well combined.  Next you’re going to start adding the canola oil, drop by drop while continuously whisking.  The easiest way to do this is to have the canola oil in something with a spout, like a measuring cup.  You should see an emulsion forming, as the mixture should be turning thicker and lightening in color.  Once you are down to half a cup of oil, stop and add the juice of the other half of lemon.  Whisk to combine and keep adding your oil.  You can go a little faster this time, pouring it in a thin stream, still whisking away.  Once all of your oil is added, it’s time to add your lemon zest, minced garlic, basil, salt, and pepper.  Taste, taste, taste. *Using these same steps this can be made in a Vitamix or Ninja as well.

One thing I always find interesting, is that often the flavors don’t pop right away.  It’s important to remember to add a bit more salt or lemon to pull your seasoning out of the aioli and really brighten it up–you’ll know when you have it just right, and trust me, you’ll love it!









Tuesday’s Table – Healthy Greek Plate

Greek food is a favorite to many people, but you don’t just have to go out to eat it.  So many of those flavors you love can be easily replicated at home, like this Greek chicken plate.  It’s full of vegetables and is delicious served over rice, piled on top of a salad, or tucked inside of a pita.

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Healthy Greek Plate

serves two


-1 chicken breast

-juice of 1 lemon

-2 garlic cloves, minced

-2 Tbsp olive oil

-salt and pepper


-2 small green bell peppers, rough chopped

-1/2 red onion, rough chopped

-1/2 tsp sumac*

-several plum tomatoes, quartered

1/2 cucumber, chopped


-juice of 1 lemon

-2 Tbsp olive oil

-1 pinch sumac

-salt and pepper

-Serve with rice

photo 1

Combine all of the ingredients for the chicken in a Ziploc bag and allow this to marinade overnight or at least 4 hours.  When you’re ready to eat, heat a pan over medium heat and add your chicken.  Then (and this is my favorite trick) lay a piece of aluminum foil lightly over the top of the pan.  This will help the chicken cook much faster while still letting it brown nicely.  Once it is browned on one side, flip it to the next and let it continue cooking with the aluminum foil in place until it’s cooked through.  The whole process will take about 12 minutes.

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During this time chop your vegetables and set them aside.  The cucumbers and tomatoes will be used raw, but once the chicken is removed from the pan, add your red onion and bell peppers.  Don’t move them around too much so that they will get slightly charred.  After cooking for about 5 minutes (or until just tender) add your sumac and a pinch of salt and remove from the pan.

Finally combine all of the ingredients for the dressing and assemble your plates however you would like!   Enjoy!

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*Sumac is a spice traditionally used in Greek food and has a nice tart flavor.  If you can’t find it, use your favorite Greek spice blend!

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