Cooking and Chef Recipes

Creamy Dreamy Broccoli Crowns

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We could go and on and on about holiday side dishes. How they accessorize and complement a big juicy bird, or succulent, smoky ham, provide the excitement and wonder of presenting something deliciously unexpected – or dress an old holiday fave in some new and fabulous way. 

This easy dish calls for super food broccoli, lightly steamed to retain a bit of crunch and glorious green hue, then anointed with a reduction of heavy cream and Dijon mustard. Just two everyday ingredients turn your thoughts on broccoli upside-down. We’re topping it off with caramelized garlic and a squeeze of Meyer lemon. Serve it up on a large platter with room for several second helpings: a new buffet beauty queen has been crowned.

Peanut Butter Cups from the Divas of Dish

Divas Peanut butter cups

‘Tis the season of sugar and spice, and the divas, who behave most of the year, can’t resist making (and tasting) sweets for holiday gift giving. However, that doesn’t mean the oven needs to be turned on, or hours need to be spent creating delicate iced cookies. 

We prefer a little dark chocolate, and nothing marries better with chocolate than salty peanut butter. And these little beauties are just the right size for a bite or two – no over indulging unless you can’t eat just one. 

Happy holidays and best wishes for a happy, healthy 2014 from the divas!    

Heirloom Tomatoes and Bread Salad

Tomato salad

With the change of the seasons, Floridians get one of the best gifts from the garden: beautiful, juicy tomatoes with a taste of sunshine in each delicious bite. 

If anyone tells you that good tomatoes don’t grow in Florida, prove them wrong with this easy salad that the divas make weekly in the winter after we visit Swank Specialty Produce at the Palm Beach Greenmarket. Swank heirloom tomatoes are grown hydroponically, a rainbow of beautiful colors with tender skin and a rich burst of flavor and a touch of sweetness.  

Just say no to anything but Florida-grown for the winter months. 

Our Hero, Pesto-Turkey Meatball and Flatbread Sammies

pesto turkey meatball 2 copy

Flat bread, meet meatballs.  Ground turkey breast, oft maligned for its tendency to be dry, makes a fabulous meatball when spiked with Italian basil pesto. Moist and flavorful, the pesto adds only good fats, pairing beautifully with the flavor of the turkey. 

Here's what we're thinking: A healthy makeover of the meatball hero (you know the one, drenched in red sauce, smothered in mozzarella). Instead? Whole grain flatbread spread with a creamy Greek yogurt sauce, pesto turkey meatballs, topped with a sauce of pan-seared grape tomatoes, fresh garlic and crushed red pepper. A messy over-the-sink indulgence devoid of guilt. 

One Pot Wondrous Perfect Thighs

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Nestled in a smoky, intoxicating sauce, these glamorous thighs strike a pose, finding beauty in a bowl. Raise your spirits (and a spoon) to a delightful one-pot-wonder, perfect for a crisp fall evening.

It's all about the sauce that pulls flavors from the Mediterranean and Mother India, a heady mix of tomatoes, stone ground mustard, cumin and wine, with just a hint of s hot Madras curry. 

On the side, brown basmati rice is simply tossed with pine nuts, raisins and sweet baby peas. Or nix the rice and break bread. Who could go wrong with crusty cuts of baguette to mop up the delicious sauce?

Simple Lobster Stew from the Divas of Dish (and Neil Connolly)

Lobster Stew

This indulgent lobster stew is a decadent bowl of yum, a recipe shared with us years ago by the late, great Chef Neil Connolly who once upon a time was the private chef for the Kennedy family back in their oceanside glory days.  

The splash of sherry packs intense flavor because it's fortified with a little more alcohol than table wine, giving the stew its rich sweetness and depth. Choose a decent quality, such as Amontillado or Oloroso, so you can sip while you stir.

With cream, sweet sherry and succulent lobster meat, we've been dreaming of another bowl. Here's how to make this wonder in minutes.

Entirely Reasonable From-Scratch Pizza Pie

entirely reasonable pizza copy

Something new to try: a from-scratch pizza crust and no-cook sauce. 

We'll admit we tend to run from the peevishness of dough-making. All that waiting, rising, kneading, proofing. But we stumbled across an entirely reasonable recipe for pizza dough that’s opened a whole new world of culinary gratification.  

Topping it off is an insanely easy pizza sauce that involves just a smallish bowl, whisk, and a few hours for flavors to marry. The thick, slightly sweet sauce is also fabulous on pasta or anywhere else you desire a drizzle. Purists can keep the pizza simple with mozzarella and fresh basil, or flirt with our latest Italian crush: smoky provolone, Genoa salami and crisp/sweet caramelized onions. Now that's amore!

Garlic Shrimp from the Divas of Dish

Divas Garlic Shrimp

The divas are big fans of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, this year Sept. 27-Nov. 11 at Disney World. The most fun is to show up just as World Showcase opens at 11 a.m., then stroll and nosh your way around the lagoon – play hooky on a weekday, that’s when crowds are lightest. You can taste little bites at more than 25 marketplaces with food from Scotland to Singapore, Brazil to Belgium. (There’s wine, beer and cocktails too if you wish to indulge.)

Here’s a super-easy recipe from the Australia marketplace for the 2013 line-up, and we love it because you can use wild Florida shrimp, plus sun-dried tomatoes and garlic give it extra oomph. Add a little pasta or rice, and you’ve got dinner.  The Disney wine guys recommend pairing with a French Bordeaux Blanc, but any cool white will do.   

Continue on to recipe...

Creamy Calabacitas Tacos with Handcrafted Corn Tortillas

calabacitas tacos

Steamed or sautéed fresh veggies are pure perfection, but consider a tasty taco filled with crisp-tender grilled veggies with a creamy reduction of chipotle adobo sauce. Calabacitas, a traditional Southwestern mix of peppers, corn, onion and zucchini make a savory veggie taco – and with handcrafted corn tortillas, the dish dazzles.

Make the leap and buy a tortilla press (you can find a lightweight model for around $5). They slip easily into any kitchen drawer and will give you the best results. Fresh "masa," the Spanish word for dough, is optimal. If you live near a Latin market that makes fresh tortillas, you can probably purchase fresh masa. If not, buy masa harina which is made from dried masa. Press on!

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

Divas Brussels Sprout Salad

You love ‘em or you hate ‘em – Brussels sprouts, those tiny little cabbage heads that we tend to mask with copious amounts of butter, brown sugar, bacon . . . or roast until crispy with lots of olive oil, salt and pepper. 

One of the healthiest veggies at the produce stand, they have the power to lower cholesterol and are packed with vitamin antioxidants.  And they’re loaded with fiber – 4 grams in every cup. We got lazy and just came up with this delightfully crunchy salad that’s stripped down to its basics: paper-thin slices of raw sprouts, a splash of fresh lemon and a drizzle of olive oil. A handful of toasted walnuts and a little fresh Parmesan add just the right amount of pep without a calorie overload.   

A mandoline slicer is the niftiest kitchen tool – you can pick up an inexpensive version at any kitchen store. If you’re using a knife, just remember, keep the slices paper thin.   

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