Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013!

Happy New Year!

My resolution this year is to continue on this culinary journey that I started several years ago. I want to cook and share healthy fabulous food. What more can I ask for?

To ring in the new year, I'm having friends over for dinner and preparing a yummy meal of Curried Butternut Squash Soup garnished with crab and cilantro, Chili Rubbed Pork Tenderloin (sous vide) over stone ground grits, and roasted baby broccoli. My hubby is going to open up his wine cellar (Quilceda Creek, Saxum, and more!). Recipes and pictures are sure to follow.

Wishing you a wonderful and delicious 2013! Cheers!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sweet Potato Turkey Chili

Happy Holidays Divas!

Can you believe the holidays are just around the corner?

I can't.

This year simply flew by. I've been deeply bogged down, finishing my new book so I can move it to the next stage and share it with my agent. That task accomplished, now my sites are trained on the domestic front and all that has been neglected. My massive laundry pile being culprit number one. And all the other million things that have to be accomplished before we fly out on Saturday. We'll be spending a week up in the Blue Ridge Mountains with my family. Can't wait!

But in the meantime, here's one of my favorite winter recipes for Sweet Potato Turkey Chili.  I made this for a dinner party the day after Thanksgiving in Des Moines, and it was a big hit. This recipe uses lean ground turkey, but if you have leftover turkey from a holiday meal, you can add it at the end of cooking instead of browning at the beginning. It's full of spices and great winter flavors. It's also super healthy—packed with protein and nutrients. Garnish the chili however you'd like (a list of options is below).

Have a great (and most importantly delicious) holiday—and as you're preparing meals, don't forget to check out my recipe archive. There are a ton of great recipe ideas perfect for this holiday season.

Just click here to browse the DOMESTIC DIVAS RECIPE ARCHIVE

Sweet Potato Turkey Chili

Serves 4-6 people
Cooking time: about 40 minutes
Dairy-free; gluten-free


1 pound lean ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed
3 cups chicken stock
1 medium sweet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces

for garnishing (optional):
cilantro, sliced scallions, sliced radishes, brown rice or quinoa, tortilla chips


1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add the turkey and saute, until cooked through (about five minutes). Add the onion and bell pepper and saute until softened and translucent, about 5 more minutes.

2. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, cocoa powder, and cinnamon. Stir into mixture and cook for another minute, until the spices become fragrant. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, beans, and sweet potatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes have softened.

4. Uncover and cook over medium heat for about ten more minutes to thicken the chili if desired. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

5. To serve, ladle a generous helping of chili into a bowl. Garnish as desired (see above for garnish ideas—I love serving chili with brown rice, quinoa, or cornbread).  Enjoy!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cherry Almond Roasted Cauliflower

Rainy Los Angeles endures...

...but I kind of enjoy it. This is our version of winter, I suppose, and I shouldn't complain. Only the Adorable Monster's fluff does not do so well in the rain. No dog park runs for him lately. He's currently snoozing on the sofa, the first of many naps he'll take today.

My day consists of revising. I'm hard at work wrapping up my new novel for my agent. Doing my final polish pass. I'd love to finish it before the holiday, so I'm hunkered down working a ton.

But I am still cooking—a girl has to eat, right?

Here's a delicious recipe for cauliflower, quietly one of the most versatile vegetables. In this case, I roast it in the oven, then toss it with curry powder, lemon juice, dried cherries, and slivered almonds. The resulting dish is spicy, a little sour, sweet, rich, and crunchy—all at the same time.

How can you say no to that?

While it works great as a side dish, it's substantial enough to be stand alone too.

Cherry Almond Roasted Cauliflower

Serves about two people
Cooking time: about 30 minutes
Vegan; gluten-free


1 head of cauliflower, cut into smaller florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons curry powder
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup roasted slivered almonds
chopped cilantro for garnishing (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until tender and slightly browned.

3. Remove from the the oven and toss right away with the curry powder and lemon juice. Check seasoning for salt and pepper, adding more if needed. To serve, toss the cauliflower with the almonds and cherries and garnish with the cilantro. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Product Review: BlueStar Cookware & Ranges

For the serious home chef, there's nothing more important than a high quality set of cookware.

That's why when BlueStar offered to send me an 8 piece cookware set, I jumped at the chance. BlueStar makes handcrafted, restaurant-quality ranges and cookware for the home chef. Their cookware features a thin layer of aluminum wrapped in two layers of profession grade stainless steel—this means that it conducts heat quickly and disperses it evenly.

Both are essential for cooking.

Over the last week, I took the cookware out for a spin—and it more than delivers. Handmade in Pennsylvania, the cookware looks great. It also heated quickly and evenly, the two most important factors in my opinion. I made everything from a tofu and vegetable stir fry, to a rice pilaf with golden raisins and slivered almonds, to my egg and greens scrambles in the morning.

What's more, it can go in the oven and tolerate temperatures up to 500 degrees (another huge plus in my opinion, as I often like to go from the stovetop to the oven with my dishes).

I'm excited to have these pans as a new addition to my kitchen. I'm sure you will see them in my photographs going forward.

In addition to their cookware, BlueStar is known for their professional quality ranges for the residential market. I haven't had a chance to try them out myself, but here's a video of NYC Chef Marcus Samuelsson cooking with one. They come in a gorgeous variety of colors, and I will definitely investigate them when I finally get to design my own kitchen. One Day. Sigh. I can always dream, can't I?

Here's a little bit more about their ranges:
For the best range available, chefs and home cooks alike turn to BlueStar. Our restaurant-quality stoves are designed to perform at standards chefs expect and are also tailored perfectly to you. By combining our open burner system with our signature "blue star" patterned flame, our 22,000 BTU burners create an intense heat - perfect for rapid boil, high heat sear or the perfect saute. You'll also have access to a nearly infinite amount of configuration options and 190 standard color options so you can show off your personal style in a handcrafted range that will set your kitchen apart.
For more information, here are some links:

BlueStar Best Range Top

BlueStar Best Stove Top

BlueStar Best Stove

Disclaimer: While I did not receive compensation for this review, the company did send me free products to sample. However, the opinions expressed herein are my own.