Claire Thomas wears many hats atop her shiny red mane. As a top food blogger, she writes and photographs recipes and posts for her awesome blog The Kitchy Kitchen, hosts the addictive TV show on ABC “Food For Thought With Claire Thomas” by Litton Entertainment, which is in its second season and on the side directs and food styles commercials for some of the nation’s top food brands. In short, there’s nothing this lovely LA native can’t do. So, we were thrilled to stop by her impeccable working kitchen to see her in action—from producing a post on her favorite quick recipe (Pan Con Tomate With Egg, below) to her go-to cake for a vintage-inspired party to her tips to balancing it all, it’s clear that this tastemaker is at the top of her game!
What’s your daily diet: After the holidays, I’ve been trying to be “kind of good” rather than “totally guilty.” To start my day off, I’ve been making a delicious green smoothie with kale, frozen banana, green apple, parsley, and almond/coconut milk. It’s super filling and a great way to get my greens in right away. Otherwise, I’m usually eating what I’m testing for my blog or show for lunch, and then going out or eating left overs for dinner. This week I’m testing recipes for a month-long series on breakfast sandwiches, so I made (and shortly after devoured) a Pan con Tomate Open Faced Sandwich. Essentially it’s toasted sourdough bread with a fresh tomato puree flavored with garlic, oregano, and chili flakes, and then topped with a sunny-side up egg and sprinkled with smoked paprika and chives. It took five minutes to make and was perfect gooey, crunchy, slightly spicy brunch heaven.
Entertaining go-to: Cheese boards are my jam, literally. I always have way too much homemade jam leftover in my fridge, and I love including them with a cheese board. I usually pick 3 favorite cheeses, slice up some baguette, add some finnocchiona (a fennel studded salami), and call it a day. My girlfriends and I can enjoy a cheese board with wine before dinner, or just make a meal of it while on the couch watching a movie.
Dinner on a busy night: I love Thai food, and if you have the ingredients on hand, it can be a fast, light way to whip up dinner. I particularly love making chicken larb with lettuce cups (basically minced chicken with Thai flavors) and tom yum soup. So delicious and simple.
Quick breakfast: The smoothie I mentioned above is a great easy breakfast, but if you have more than 5 minutes to spare, I love making baked eggs. They take about 10 minutes to put together and are a great way to use up leftovers. One of my favorite versions uses chopped up asparagus, grated parm, and some breadcrumbs for crunch.
Changes in diet if you’re gearing up for a big event or vacation: For me it’s a matter of cutting out the bad stuff. I’m able to more or less maintain by watching my portion size, and I do this by sharing every meal. I love splitting dishes because then I can order or enjoy twice as much, and get a bite of a rich dish without having to commit to eating the whole thing. So if I’m going to be in a bathing suit or body-con dress, I cut out alcohol, fried food, and bread. I drink juices as snacks (Pressed Juicery Citrus 4 and the Alkalizer are my favorites) so I’m not tempted by chips or cookies, and white knuckle it the rest of the time.
Usual workout: I have been so so bad about this lately, but usually I walk a lot and do Pilates a few times a week. I’m always standing, slightly hunched over, cooking in the kitchen, editing on the computer, or shooting, so at the very least I stretch my mid and lower back out every day.
Necessary indulgence: This is going to sound goofy, but fresh flowers, fancy sweatpants, and typefaces. I love having garden roses or Australian desert flowers around the house; they add such a great scent and pop of color. Fancy sweatpants are a must because I’m in the kitchen all day, so I want to be comfortable, but if I venture outside to run an errand I can’t look totally embarrassing. James Perse sweatpants are light, so comfy, and actually look kind of chic paired with some heels and a blazer. One of my favorite parts of posting on my blog is finding the perfect typeface to pair with a dish, and I have a couple hundred that I’m constantly adding to.
Favorite recipe: This is such an impossible question to answer (there’s too many!), so I’ll choose “Favorite Recipe from the past month.” It would have to be either Asian Broccoli Slaw or Aunt Tina’s Crackle Cake. The slaw is light, filled with Asian flavors like miso and sesame seeds, and very addicting. I can kill several heads of broccoli eating it this way. Aunt Tina’s Crackle Cake is just so epic, so ridiculous, I have to include it. It’s my aunt’s variation on a vintage sponge cake, layered with whipped cream and coated in coffee crackle (imagine the inside of a Violet Crumble or honey comb). It’s the ultimate showstopper for any event, and my whole family looks forward to a slice any time a birthday rolls around.
Favorite cookbook: This is such a hard question as I am a cookbook fiend. I collect vintage cookbooks (most of them bought at Bonnie Slotnick’s in Greenwich Village) and have some modern favorites I always turn to. Recently, I’ve been getting in touch with my Aussie roots, so I’d have to say Maggie Beer’s “Maggie’s Harvest” is just wonderful. The book is filled with beautiful seasonal recipes, and the author is based out of the Barossa Valley, which is like the Napa of Australia and very close to my family’s hometown. Another favorite would be “A Platter of Figs” by David Tanis. Both of these books highlight simple, ingredient-driven cooking, which is the heart of what I love to do too.
Kitchen gadget: Gadget insinuates non-essential but totally fun or helpful, so I’d have to go with an immersion blender. I hate ladling soups into the blender, it’s such a mess and requires extra cleaning, so any time I can bust out my immersion blender, I’m a happy camper!
Pantry essential: Sriracha! I love having it on hand to add a little bit of spice.
Ingredient that makes everything taste better: Since I just answered sriracha, I’ll try to think of something else. I feel like saying salt is a bit pretentious, but it’s true. Utilizing salt properly will make your dishes sing. Everything should be well seasoned.
Your dream meal: The shortlist for most badass meal would be either Ko in NYC or Noma in Copenhagen. Both just seem out of control awesome. If I could host a little dinner party at one of those, I’d invite: Amy and David Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, Mark Kurlansky, Anthony Bourdain, and Nigella Lawson. How amazing would the dinner party banter be? I’m pretty sure I’d just awkwardly hoard the bread basket and eavesdrop on the amazing conversation, but even that would be enough to let me die happy.
Pan Con Tomate With An Egg On Top by Claire Thomas
- Tomato spread:
1/2 lb fresh tomato, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove
Pinch chili flake
- Additional ingredients:
2 slices sourdough, toasted
2 eggs, fried
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Combine all of the tomato-spread ingredients into a food processor and puree together. Meanwhile, in a greased pan over medium heat, fry your eggs to your desired temperature. Spread the puree onto the toasted sourdough, top with the egg, and finish with chives and sprinkling of paprika. Enjoy!