Cooking and Chef Recipes

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie from Rod & Gun Club, Because the Divas Love You

Peanut Butter Pie

In a world of chichi food, nothing says "I love you" for Valentine's Day like a luscious homemade pie. We discovered this rich slice of peanut butter, chocolate chunks and fresh whipped cream on a fishing trip to the legendary Rod & Gun Club in Everglades City, Fla., where it's been a favorite for decades.

This homey recipe will carry your sweetheart right back to a childhood of candy bars and gooey goodness. Here's our version of this sweet pie for your sweetie pie.

Blissfully Brussels Sprouts from the Divas of Dish

Brussels sprouts divas

For those of us who suffered the childhood agony of boiled Brussels sprouts, it's time to rethink those itsy orbs.

Oh-so-thinly sliced, pan-seared and caramelized, Brussels sprouts are reborn. Tossed with pecorino Romano, plump golden raisins and a drizzle of sweet agave nectar, they're ready to wow even the most discerning foodie.

Delish with ham, roasted pork or a juicy leg of lamb, and, even better, this side is on the table in just 10 minutes.

All Better Chicken Soup With Chervil and Fresh Lemon Juice

Divas chicken soup

You could open a can, but nothing says "I love you" more eloquently than a fragrant bowl of homemade chicken soup. And with convenient off-the-shelf stocks and broths in your local grocery,

it's easy to nurture your sweeties with a soul-infused bowl of goodness.
For a quickie, no-hassle version of this soup, use a rotisserie chicken from the deli. Remove and discard the skin and fat and toss it right into the broth (the bones will add homemade flavor to canned broth).

Breathe in the love, banish a nasty cold, open hearts and sinuses.

Fluffy Cloud Cookies from the Divas of Dish

Fluffy Cloud Cookies

December is cookie time, and every year we look for a winner for our diva pal Julie's annual Cookie Party competition. That sublime sweet that will outshine all the others.

We think we found it at the Biltmore in beautiful Asheville, N.C., and with a little coaxing, we got Chef David Ryba from The Dining Room at the Inn on Biltmore to part with the recipe. You'll be on cloud nine after baking these Fluffy Cloud Cookies, a riff on traditional chocolate chip cookies with added lightness from cake flour.

Happy holidays from the divas!

Crunchy Pickled Red Onions with Orange, Chipotle and Tequila from the Divas of Dish

Onion Relish

Relish a relish with nary a cranberry. Crunchy pickled red onions bathed in a kicky Latin marinade of orange juice, smoky chipotles and a swig of tequila adds a bit of sass to even the most traditional holiday menus. And you won't believe how easy these complexly flavored beauties are to create.

Without the hassle and mess of canning, the marinade performs its magic in the fridge, working to draw some of the liquid from the onion, leaving it as crisp as a fresh apple. And you can pickle to your heart's content up to two months before you plan to serve the sweet/hot scarlet nibbles (or fill an extra jar or 10 as the perfect gift for the foodies on your holiday shopping list).

Serve alongside, oh, just about everything--a swanky buffet, the humble casserole, a platter of cheeses, or straight from the jar for a low-calorie late night indiscretion.

Creamy Swiss Chard Gratin from the Divas of Dish

Swiss Chard Gratin

Turkey day is upon us, and while divas stick with the basics like Aunt Glo's stuffing and Polly's pecan pie, we love adding a new twist to the holiday buffet. 'Tis the Florida season for greens to flourish, and Swiss chard is one of our favorites – a super-model beauty with rich, dark greens leaves and the rainbow of reds, purples, and yellows in its stalks and veins.

Swiss chard is nutritious and full of fiber, and for our holiday buffets, we want a touch of indulgence, so this side dish adds butter, cream and cheese. What's not to love?

White Beans Provencal

White beans  provencale

Straight from the can, it's hard to make the case for the humble bean. But add a bit of this, a lot of that, and suddenly an economical bean dish is a deliciously trendy one-pot wonder.

White Beans Provencal, with the flavor-rich base of a classic mirepoix (onion, celery and carrots), herbs of Provence, fresh rosemary, thyme, garlic and white wine, is the perfect side, main course, or fabulously healthy lunch. Serve with roasted lamb, meaty cuts of lemon-and-oregano-marinated swordfish, or simply with love.

Crispy Pepperoni White Tortizzas with Sliced 'Maters and Fresh Basil

Divas tortilla pizza

Lazy gals deserve great pizza too. So what if slaving over a flour-festooned counter makes you sink even further into the couch with a pillow over your head? Don't worry, we totally get it. And we're here with a deliciously clever answer to your doughy dilemma.

Hiding in your pantry, ready to perform any number of culinary tricks is the ubiquitous flour tortilla – a perfectly crisp, golden pizza crust, the ultra-thin sort for us (mostly) ultra-health-conscious gals.
Let the kids choose their favorite toppings and call it Tortizza Tuesday. You can direct from the couch with a perfectly chilled glass of wine.

Garlic Shrimp Aussie Style

Divas Garlic ShrimpPhoto: The Walt Disney Company

Fall is in the air, when the divas venture out of air-conditioning in search of Florida's fabulous food festivals. Our perennial top pick is the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Disney World, open daily through Nov. 10, where we happily sip and nosh our way around World Showcase at more than 25 international Marketplaces along the waterside. (And burn those calories with a mile-long walk around the park's lagoon.)

We adore the small bites, just enough for a taste or two. From escargot in France to crispy pork belly with black beans, tomato and cilantro in Brazil, and kimchi hotdogs in South Korea, we get our happy on as we sip a cocktail or wine with each little dish.

A favorite that's back this year is the Garlic Shrimp at the Australia Marketplace. Pair with a cool chardonnay or a pale ale, then traipse off in search of the next discovery – it's a delectable trip around the world without a passport.

Under the Tuscan Bun Ground Turkey, Chickpea and Spinach Burgers

Divas Tuscan bun

It's innate. The unchecked, primordial desire for a juicy, decadent burger, beckoning from the greasiest spoons to glam restaurants. An American addiction gone global, we yearn to make our habit a healthy one.

So consider this tasty morsel. The bold flavors of Tuscany, the healthful bennies of a Mediterranean diet: lean protein, fiber and antioxidants fashioned into a single patty--the Reader's Digest version of modern nutrition. Voila! A knockout burger with all the decadence of steamed broccoli, we can't get enough of this healthy stuff.