Roasted Tomato and Fennel Soup


I like to make this dairy free, vegetarian soup when tomatoes are at their peak ripeness, end of summer. Look for large, meaty plum tomatoes, ideally. Caramelizing the tomato, fennel and shallot amplifies their sweetness, creating many layers of fantastic flavor. I like to serve this garnished with a slice of toasted baguette spread with creamy goat cheese

  • 2TBS + 1 Tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, peeled, trimmed and halved
  • 8 Large plum tomatoes, trimmed and halved
  • 1 Fennel Bulb, trimmed and cut into quarters, reserving the dark green leafy fronds, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, trimmed and chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Pre heat oven to 400°F
  2. Toss tomatoes, fennel and shallot with 2 TBS of oil and spread onto a non-stick sheet pan.  Place tomatoes cut side up.  Season liberally with salt and black pepper.
  3. Place pan in hot oven and cook for about 30 minutes, until vegetables start to sizzle and caramelize, looking browned.  Remove pan from oven.
  4.  While vegetables are cooking in the oven, heat remaining oil in a stock pot on medium heat. Sauté carrots sprinkled with 2 TBS of the reserved fennel fronds, stirring often for about 5 minutes until wilted and softened.
  5. Add the contents of the sheet pan, including all of the accumulated juices to the pot with the carrots. Add 4 cups of water, salt and pepper to taste to the pot.
  6. Simmer the pot on medium for 10 minutes, stirring often and taste for seasoning.
  7. Transfer contents of pot to a blender, carefully.   You may have to do this in 2 or 3 batches; blend all ingredients very well and transfer mixture to a clean pot. 
  8. Re-heat and serve immediately or allow to cool, refrigerating and serving the next day reheated.
Serves 6
Note:   Be extra careful when blending hot ingredients in a blender to allow some hot air to escape while blending ingredients, by slightly moving lid to a side position or removing the center plastic part of the lid and covering with a towel so the ingredients don’t splatter.  Neglecting this step can cause a hot explosion.

Black Bean Dip


Black beans make a dramatic, dark colored dip that pops with flavor from lime, jalapeno and cilantro.  Make this a day or two ahead of your party and bring to room temperature prior to serving

  • 2-15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled & chopped
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and diced finely
  • 1 small red pepper, seeded and diced finely
  • Minced, seeded Jalapeno pepper, to taste (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 TBS sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 2-3 TBS cold water


  1. Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan on medium high heat.  Sauté garlic, onion and pepper(s) with cumin, until translucent.
  2. Transfer sautéed vegetables to a food processor fitted with the steel blade along with black beans, lime juice, sherry vinegar and salt.  Process until smooth, tasting for seasoning.
  3. For a Summer, no cook version, add vegetables raw to beans before processing.
  4. Add water to thin and additional salt, if necessary.
  5. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle w/ oil and garnish with cilantro.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature, with tortilla chips and/or crudités as a dip.



Artichoke Bruschetta

Baguette slices lightly toasted with garlic and topped with pan seared artichoke hearts, olive oil and mint reminds me of a small dish I once had at a wine bar in Rome. This is the perfect last minute snack when friends drop by for a glass of wine.

Baguette slices lightly toasted with garlic and topped with pan seared artichoke hearts, olive oil and mint reminds me of a small dish I once had at a wine bar in Rome. This is the perfect last minute snack when friends drop by for a glass of wine.

  • 1 small baguette, sliced thinly into about ¾’’ slices
  • 4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, 1 chopped finely, 1 left whole
  • 1 can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained well
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbs fresh mint leaves, chopped finely
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmigiano cheese, grated on a rasp or microplane grater


  1. Spread drained artichokes on a clean kitchen towel and blot with paper towels to dry as thoroughly as possible.
  2. Heat a stainless steel sauté pan on medium heat with 2 tbs of olive oil until oil is hot and shimmering, but not smoking.
  3. Carefully place the artichokes in the hot pan and season with salt + pepper.  Allow artichokes to brown before turning, cooking until they are colored, brown + crisp looking. Add chopped garlic clove , stirring constantly so that garlic does not burn, but softens.  Allow artichoke mixture to cool.  When cool enough to touch, roughly chop the artichoke hearts on a cutting board and transfer to a bowl .
  4. Add half of cheese to chopped artichokes reserving balance for garnish and taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary and sprinkle with mint, reserving a small bit for garnish, stirring to combine.
  5. Place bread slices on a sheet pan lined with foil. Using a silicone brush, lightly brush bread with 1 tbs of olive oil. Toast bread slices until lightly browned and toasted or alternately, grill bread slices until golden brown with grill marks on the grill.
  6. Allow bread to cool until you can lift a slice without burning your fingers and then rub each slice of toasted bread with the peeled whole  garlic clove.
  7. Top each toast with a teaspoon of artichoke mixture, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with cheese and more mint.
  8. Serve immediately.  The artichoke mixture can be prepared earlier in the day and reserved covered on the counter top, assembling the toasts when ready to serve.


Makes approx 18 toasts