Potato Leek and Fennel Soup with Cider Vin and Hard Boiled Egg

I make soup in the shower. It’s not weird, just necessary, and I’m sure many of you can relate. When you’re out of time, you make time. And when you need soup, you make soup. A few chopped vegetables, in this case, leeks, onion, and fennel, in a pot of chicken stock with a few small potatoes, a hop in the shower, and you are toweling-off to lunch made. Here’s how.

Potato Leek and Fennel Soup with Cider Vin and Hard Boiled Egg

Ingredients — Soup for One with Leftovers

1 Leek, split lengthwise and soaked/rinsed of sand and dirt

1/2 White Onion

1/2 Fennel Bulb

2 Fennel Fronds, from the top of the fennel bulb

3 Small Potatoes, Fingerling is what I used but any potato chopped to small will suffice

2 Cups of Chicken Broth, store bought is fine

1 Tbs Cider Vinegar

1 Hard Boiled Egg, optional, but really great with the soup

Note— This recipe works best with a two-quart heavy bottomed pot with a lid. A lid is necessary.

Another Note— Using half a fennel bulb and onion sounds wasteful. I tossed the fennel into an arugula salad with parmesan. Don’t waste it. The onion can be used for anything. Or, if feeling brave, add the whole onion and whole fennel bulb, and make your own recipe.

Method and Timing

Thinly slice the leek (mostly the lighter parts), onion and fennel and add to a small pot of chicken stock. Add small potatoes, or potato chunks, and season with salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning. Add the fennel fronds and turn the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid, careful to leave the lid ajar. Heat your shower and get in. In California, we are in a drought so showers here are short and quick, but you won’t say anything if I take a few extra minutes, will you. I approximate my shower and dressing time to be about 15-20 minutes depending upon how late I am writing blogs. Check your soup when you get out. It may have spit on your stovetop, but no big deal, wipe off your stove and give the soup a stir adding a tablespoon of cider vinegar. Taste for seasoning, again, and ladle into a jar, or something with a tight lid, to get it to where you are going. Slice the hard boiled egg and lace the slices atop the soup and put a lid on it. Now, get to work.






Black-Eyed Peas for a Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

So many of you requested this recipe after posting it on Instagram, January 1st, 2017, I decided to make a quick recipe for you. Having made it in the moment, without any notation of measurements, I can only guide you in what I remember to have done. What I can tell you is that I omitted the smokey ham hock (j’adore) for a healthier version for my clients. The addition of spinach was only because I didn’t buy collards (j’ad0re again!). When I can go healthy I do, and there is rarely the sense that something is missing. In fact, they, and I, prefer the approach on many levels. Check it out and keep me posted. Feed back is awesome.

Please Pardon typos as I am running to work soon!



Let’s go…

Black-Eyed Peas and Spinach with Smokey Paprika


4 cups of fresh black-eyed peas (ask your produce person) OR 1 16 oz bag of dried beans

1 tsp Baking Soda

Spinach Leaves cleaned and washed ( I used a half a box of washed baby spinach)

4 Cups of homemade chicken stock (store bought will work fine)

1 large White Onion dices

2 large Garlic Cloves sliced, crushed or chopped, you decide

2 Tbs Olive oil

1 Tbs Smoked Paprika

Kosher Salt and fresh cracked Black Pepper

At the stovetop…

If you have fresh beans cook them in fresh water with 1 teaspoon of baking SODA until just barely tender, but not falling apart. Low to medium heat, about 10-15 minutes.

If you have dried beans you must hot-soak them (beans covered in water, bring to a boil, rest one hour, strain). OR soak over night, and strain. The goal is to reconstitute the bean (bring it back to life) and remove some of its gasses. 

Next, soaked beans are covered with fresh, cold water and brought to a boil with baking soda, and cooked until tender. I believe this should take about 30-45 minutes. Keep an eye them, as the goal is to make them tender, not falling apart.

Sautee the onion and garlic in a large heavy bottomed pot with the olive oil until translucent (a few minutes) and season with paprika, salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock, the beans and the spinach and on low heat for about 15 minutes, until the beans are tender, and golden from the paprika, and the spinach is dark and silky. Season with salt and pepper and your done! Also, very good with some tabasco or hot sauce!


Oh, and a little jam session by Dave Sparrow, Tommy from Crash and Chris Duskin… Happy New Year, indeed!


Peppered Beef Tenderloin

What say you to a piece of beef and mustard?

William Shakespeare

Oh, Shakespeare and his rhetorical questions… I say:

Spend a small fortune and make Peppered Beef Tenderloin!

Peppered Beef Tenderloin may seem far too simple to require a recipe, but it does. In fact, it requires hand-crushed Tellicherry peppercorns, well-balanced seasoning, a well-timed rest, and paper-thin slices to get the beauty out of this pricey, tender cut of beef… Trust me.


1 pound Prime Beef Tenderloin

2 Tbs Whole Tellicherry Peppercorns

2 Tbs Kosher Salt

2 Glugs Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1 Sheet Parchment Paper

1 Small, Heavy Bottomed Pot or Skillet

1 Baking Sheet

Sturdy Cutting Board

Sharp Knife

Let’s go

First, Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Next, get comfortable with your butcher. Explain that you are looking for a one pound roast; a center-cut of Prime Beef Tenderloin (you must purchase Prime). Tell them you are roasting it and need even-cooking throughout the loin. Request a clean “peeled” loin, with all fat and silver skin removed (unless you plan to do it yourself). Don’t forget to smile. Butchers love a smile and rarely get one… (you’re welcome, guys!).

Tellicherry are unique for one reason only– they are the largest of the peppercorns. And being that the larger peppercorns are fewer than the smaller peppercorns, they are prized for their availability. They work great for a hand-crushed preparation like this, because they crush beautifully. You can buy them at Costco. 

How To Crush Peppercorns

Make a small handful of dried peppercorns, about two tablespoons, and carefully lay them flat and close together on a clean cutting board.

With the bottom of a small heavy skillet or pot, apply pressure to the peppercorns, trying not to lose any. This step can be difficult but DO NOT GIVE UP! This, after all, is the fun part. And the very reason it tastes sublime. No substitutions! Sorry for yelling…

Continue to apply force and slowly push the pan away from you, crushing the pepper. You will hear and feel small bursts of pepper. Keep it up. You will find your groove. Crush until they are beautifully uneven, colorful and fragrant.

Combine the crushed pepper and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Line your baking tray with parchment.

Rub the olive oil all over the tenderloin.

Spread the salt and pepper mixture on the cutting board.

Roll the tenderloin in the salt and pepper mixture being sure to coat it evenly.

One pound Beef Tenderloin and whole, deboned Turkey Breast ready for the oven…

Place the tenderloin on the parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

The beef should spring back when squeezed. Depending on your oven, it could need an additional 2-5 minutes– set your timer! In other words, utilize your smart phone timer and pay close attention.

Let him rest… until room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Slice paper-thin and serve as charcuterie with accoutrements of pickles, mustards, horseradish, olives, relishes, whatever turns you on.

Charcuterie spread…

Or, sliced thin and laced over arugula dressed with lemon, olive oil, crunchy salt and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.

Persimmon Silver Dollar Protein Pancakes 


What the hell is a Protein Pancake???



For the record I am a real chef. A trained chef trained to make pancakes with flour, eggs and milk, like everyone else. However, as of late, I have been brainwashed by the Beverly Hills society I cook for. Alright, an exaggeration, but I have found myself adopting some of their trends, such as judging juice bars (who cares???) And more importantly, making Protein Pancakes. As much as grading juice bars does not matter, what matters to me are the weird and wonderful trends that make sense in my kitchen and, to be frank, shrink midsection muffin-tops. Shall we begin?

Protein Pancakes are so ubiquitous, if ubiquitous can even be so, that if you go on Pinterest this very moment, you can scroll through hundreds of variations for ten minutes. That’s the level of popularity they are having. And the current favorite in Beverly Hills is the Banana Protein Pancake. Every tweenager in the #BH is begging their housekeeper and chef to save the ripe bananas for them. The uglier, the better. In fact, I have been stockpiling bananas and organic farm fresh eggs for the past six months. Low on calories and high on protein and nutrients they are perfect for post-workout breakfast. Here are the three ingredients in what I will now refer to as the Beverly Hills Banana Protein Pancake:

  1. 1 Very Ripe Banana
  2. 1 Egg
  3. 1/4 Cup Rolled Oats

At first, I ignored the recipe when it showed up in my Vita- Prep blender (and in my sink) at the estate where I am the chef. Busy with work, I had been wondering what the after-school kids were up to in the other kitchen, when they brought me a plateful of weirdly shaped pancakes. I was stunned.

No flour? I questioned.

NO FLOUR, they replied.

No Sugar? I asked.

UH, NO! They replied.

SO WHAT IS THIS??? I demanded.

Only three ingredients, they shouted. I almost lost my balance.

OK. Show me. Make me this madness…

And they did, flipping pancakes and talking at high RPMs about calories per serving; what healthy fats to spray in the non-stick skillet before measuring out each pancake; all this,  wearing the most exclusive pilates wear. And me– looking down at my own beautifully pressed chef coat, thinking, it’s not too shabby, but…

… later, as I began to plot my own mission back to gorgeousness and pilate pants, I knew this pancake would be on my breakfast menu. Already, the staff (housekeepers) are trading their versions in the staff lounge. In fact, it was a housekeeper’s version that began the Protein Pancake Marathon that was to become my life… Just two ingredients:

  1. 1 Very Ripe Banana
  2. 1 Egg

Over the past couple of months, many of you have witnessed my many versions of this pancake on my Instagram feed @Stovetopped. Double Banana with Toasted Walnuts; the Butternut Squash and Toasted almonds; the more delicate Banana Crepe filled with Fresh Raspberries… I can’t believe I haven’t tired of it. It’s very good, in all its incarnations. Just this morning I was inspired again by some very ripe persimmons a friend had given me; that’s when the Silver Dollar Pancakes came to mind. It’s Thanksgiving week and the color and seasonality of it all made me think of making something special, such as a crispy edged tower of Persimmon Silver Dollars with the faint taste of cinnamon and nutmeg. A nutritious and delicious tower to start your day. I only wish I had had one more persimmon to slice on top; or had pomegranate seeds to shower over it. But quite honestly, they are good just as they are.

Ingredients for one or two personal stacks

  1. 1 Ripe (soft) Persimmon
  2. 1 Egg
  3. Pinch of Cinnamon
  4. Pinch of Nutmeg
  5. Pinch of Kosher Salt
  6. 1 TBS Coconut Oil
  7. Big Non-Stick Skillet

 Here we go!

All you need is one very ripe persimmon: trimmed, skinned and chopped, as seen here. Any type of ripe persimmon will suffice. This guy is a Cinnamon Variety, from the Hachiya family. Barely sweet, persimmons must be showcased and not overshadowed by bold flavors and bold textures because they are mild in flavor and can be unidentifiable. They are best in baked goods. And since they are an autumnal fruit, they pair really well with cinnamon and nutmeg… I added a pinch of each in this recipe.

In a hot non-stick skillet, heat a tablespoon of coconut oil and carefully glaze the plan with the fat, sure to cover the entire surface. Pour small portions of the batter into the hot fat and let them be. One to two minutes on low to medium heat should create a nice shape and color.

These pancakes pictured below are ready to be flipped. The edges are browned and the egg is set. Flip gently and cook another minute or less.

Crispy edges peeking out…
A lousy picture I captured from My Story on Instagram shows considerable rise!

Et Voila! Stack them high and dress with freshly sliced persimmon, or any syrup, although the entire point of this cake is its low glycemic value and healthy nutrition and protein.

A final note: the Beverly Hills Banana Protein Pancake method is the same. Make a giant cake and flip it; the recipe has more oomph than these delicate dollars. Enjoy!

I think they are perfect naked.