Cooking and Chef Recipes

Deliciously Detoxifying Veggie Broth

delish detox brothThe post-holiday purge is upon us. From cookies to cocktails, mashed 'taters and more, the zippers aren't zipping.  

But before you drag out the celery sticks, consider a gentle, cleansing broth to detoxify. Think of this savory "tea" as a warm and soothing bath for your digestive track. Comprised of organic veggies, filtered water and shoyu (naturally brewed soy sauce), the broth is a delicious, nutrient-dense snack to enjoy between meals. It rids the body of excess acidity while boosting immunity and supporting healthy weight loss. 

Daikon or Japanese white radish, is a natural diuretic that gently flushes excess water weight. Nothing radical here, just blessed, beautiful relief. 

Drink the broth for 7 days to detox, or add it to your growing list of better habits to sip throughout 2013. (Click More to see the recipe...)

Caramelized Cauliflower with Roasted Tahini Sauce and Crispy Browned Onions

caramelized cauliflower copyGorgeous is the gooey-glazed ham, the juicy, golden bird—but, for some, the sides have all the glam. Call us crazy, but we love the little tidbits: chutneys, relishes, ooey-cheesy casseroles and veggies dressed in their holiday best. 

Cauliflower, long resigned to boiling water or the steamer, is beyond amazing when roasted at high temperatures, blasted really, so that the edges caramelize and its natural sweetness is intensified. Drizzled with the edgy nuttiness of roasted tahini (think peanut butter comprised of sesame seeds rather than peanuts), balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and golden sautéed garlic, let’s just say there are no words, dear readers, no words at all. 

You could rip off the apron and stop right there, but we top it all off with a golden crown of pan-crisped onions. At once crunchy, sweet, saucy and savory, vegan and veggie pals may flee the buffet, platter in hand, to celebrate this plant-based perfection. 

Chocolate Mint Cookie Bars a Holiday Treat from the Divas of Dish

Chocolate mint cookie barHoliday sweets are a diva’s obligation. They just are. However, it’s our quest each year to find easy cookies that don’t need oven time – sweets that we can toss together in a bowl and come out looking like we spent all day in a hot kitchen (while we actually were getting a pedi).   

Victory! This mint bar is like a taste of December with a sprinkling of crushed candy canes atop dark chocolate with a mellow mint filling, just like our favorite mint patty candy bar. A chocolate crust officially makes it a cookie.   

Hide in the back of the fridge until ready to serve. Wishing you sweet holidays! 

Gingerly Carrot Soup

gingerly carrot soup copyGive thanks for the humble carrot, the crunchy, colorful superhero of the produce aisle. Oft ignored by our current fascination for all things “mini” or “heirloom,” the common carrot doesn’t begrudge its gift for teamwork:  humbly frozen for all eternity with peas (think mid-century-chic TV dinners), or elegantly sautéed with onions and celery for a French mirepoix. Today we celebrate the carrot’s ability to stand alone.

Carrot-ginger soup is the perfect starter for a holiday meal, or as an entrée with grilled cheese sammies or lightly dressed greens. It’s rich and buttery with nary a pat, while subtle notes of ginger and turmeric provide a bit of zip. And with each delectable, golden-orange slurp, you’re choosing glowing skin and younger eyes, while fighting both cancer and heart disease. Spoons, anyone?

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

Divas pancakes‘Tis the season for all things pumpkin, from pumpkin spice designer coffee to pumpkin ravioli and pumpkin pie. When we really want to indulge (and have time for a nap), these moist pumpkin pie pancakes are a hearty way to start the day.  Or a perfect ending for “brinner” (breakfast for dinner).

With a schmear of real butter and a drizzle of honest maple syrup, you can skip the bacon and eggs, pour a glass of cold milk and dig in to a taste of autumn. 

Chicken Quesadilla Stack from the Divas of Dish

Divas quesadilla stackerFall is time for fast food – not the drive-through variety, but something you can whip up fast to feed a busy family running to soccer and football practice.  The divas look for minimum prep and maximum flavor, and this easy stack does the trick. It’s our take on tortillas, and a great way to use leftover or store-bought chicken. Make it even easier and just top with your favorite salsa. 

This one is a kid-pleaser (you might want to omit the jalapeños), or serve thin slices for an impromptu Friday night party with a pitcher of margaritas. Of course you can change it and make it your own by adding whatever to the layers: refried beans, grilled veggies, crunchy onion slices. With a simple salad, it’s dinner.  

Collard Chips from Divas of Dish

Diva chipsThe divas can hardly wait for fall’s cool temperatures after a summer of blasting heat fried our back yard gardens.  The only veggie that thrived with full sun and afternoon storms was hearty collards, which we love cooked to within an inch of life and swimming in bacon.

But we needed a light, crispy twist for this prolific Southern favorite. So we stripped down to the basics – olive oil, salt and pepper – and ended up with totally addictive, lo-cal chips that are packed with fiber. The crunch of coarse salt and cracked pepper make a beautiful garnish for any dish, but we prefer them right out of the oven. Be careful not to overcook, the leaves can get bitter. 

And no one can eat just one. 

Diva Stracciatella

stracciatella copyWe choose soup weather: the right to bare arms within roomy, forgiving sweaters, the beckoning of early twilight (and early cocktails), crisp, cool air and the singular joy of spooning the soup you love best. 

You could open a can, but why? It’s true that some soups demand unreasonable amounts of effort and (pesky) delayed gratification, yet others are so ridiculously easy, you just might permanently demote the can opener to back-of-the-drawer status.  

Stracciatella, loosely translated to mean “little rags,” is the Italian version of egg drop soup. A delicious, comforting broth swirled with eggs, fresh spinach and hearty Romano cheese, on the table and in your bowl in 10 minutes flat. We promise. 

For extra protein and nutritional bona fides, we’ve added supple cuts of extra-firm tofu. Five simple ingredients that will have you lifting your spoons to the fall season—and your newly unleashed soup genius.

Ceviche with Tomatillo-Jalapeno Sauce

Halibut Ceviche with Green Tomotillo Salsa and Plantain Chips 042712 copyIn the smoldering heat of August, leave your oven off, chop this main dish early in the day, then sip with a crisp sauvignon blanc or a bottle of bubbly – hey, who says, supper can’t be fun? 

Refreshing ceviche “cooks” the fish in tangy, lemon, lime and orange juices, and this version pairs the fish with buttery avocado, sweet tomatoes and a kicky tomatillo-jalapeno sauce, a creative combo from Chef Andrew Sutton at Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disneyland. (We were happy he would part with the recipe, so we had to share this fresh, healthy dish.)

Make sure you start with the freshest, cleanest seafood – make sure it smells like the ocean when you buy it.  If you can’t find halibut and yellowtail, ask your fishmonger for recommendations. 

Icy, Spicy Cuke and Peanut Salad

cuke and peanutWe adore them dripping with vinegar and coarse salt, or between two soft slices of bread spread with mayo. It just wouldn’t be summer without crisp, juicy cucumbers. In shimmering shades of the palest green, they quench our thirst, adorn our salads and, as a natural diuretic, slim our shapely thighs.

But the sweltering Florida sun is not the only heat warming these long and lovely melons. Fiery cayenne pepper, minced Serrano chili and a sizzling Indian tadka provide a flavorful push from the cucumber’s southern comfort zone. Along for the ride, a generous squeeze of tangy lemon and crunchy salted peanuts create a bit of mischief of their own.
Make this salad in 10 teensy minutes as you grill some fish, or toss with plain Greek yogurt for a cooling raita to mound on wholegrain pitas. Cool, delicious, hot.