Daphne Oz is such a girl’s girl. We could dish with her for days on everything from throwing parties to making-under our favorite recipes, so it’s a good thing she’s written a book that will let us read her mind while she’s busy doing other things – say, hosting a hit ABC TV show. We were happy when, last April, our readers seemed to love Daphne as much as we do when she served as April Guest Editor. This year, Daphne is on tour talking to folks everywhere about her new book Relish: An Adventure in Food, Style, and Everyday Fun. She came up for air long enough to share a few thoughts with us about the inspiration behind her so-much-more-than-a cookbook and to make us drool over her favorite recipe from inside its pages. Here’s Daphne…
The Chalkboard Mag: Many of us aim to ‘do it all’, but we love that your new book helps us to reclaim focus on what matters: enjoying it all! Talk to us a little about the importance of that…
Daphne Oz: Exactly! The point is not only to be excited for the destination, but to enjoy the ride! “Having it all” means something totally different to every person – but having fun and making our lives more beautiful and fulfilling is something we all want.
The idea for this book came out of all the conversations I’d had with my friends in which we had talked about what we hoped our “real lives” would look like down the road in 20 or 30 years. In one way or another, we realized that we were all living “placeholder lives” in the meantime, waiting for the moment when we would suddenly have it all figured out. It dawned on me that living in the now, making the most of this moment, is where real life begins. If we don’t lay the solid groundwork today for a dream life that has all the elements we crave – delicious, healthy, indulgent food; a beautiful home that makes us comfortable; an easy wardrobe and beauty routine that lets us feel our best and show that to the world; a purposeful life and rewarding career; strong, supportive, loving relationships with family, friends & partners – we’re never going to wind up there. I wrote Relish because there wasn’t any book out there that could show me how to start living my “real life” right now with easy, practical tips and tricks I could put to use right away. And that’s exactly what I filled this book with!
TCM: What is your favorite tip from the book?
DO: Be a guest at your own party. Ahead of time, plan a fail-proof menu, set the scene with fuss-free tablescapes and ambiance, create the perfect playlist. But once the guests start to arrive, change into your party clothes, powder your nose, add a swipe of mascara and a little lipstick, and have fun! The most important element of throwing a great fête is to remember that your guests take their cues from you – so if you’re relaxed and having a wonderful time, chances are they will be, too.
Oh, and always store nuts, seeds and grains in the fridge so the oils don’t go rancid. But then again, all you fine Chalkboard readers probably know that already!
TCM: What would you say your mantra is right now? That phrase you keep coming back to and whispering under your breath?
DO: Don’t worry. If I have one regret in life, it’s all the time I spent worrying that I didn’t know the right answer. Then I realized that no one does, and that even the wrong choices lead us to the right destination one way or another – if we let ourselves learn from them. Plus, worrying never solved anything. Do something about the things you can and forget the rest. A simpler way of saying the same thing is: “Live in Love, Not Fear.”
And don’t be afraid of trying, jumping in, getting your hands dirty, and not being perfect right from the outset. Just because something takes effort doesn’t mean you’re bad at it. Everything worth doing is worth doing well. Anyone who make it look easy is just having fun doing it! That’s my goal.
TCM: That being said, what is your favorite way to regain sanity on a busy morning?
DO: I love to walk outside for 5 minutes – deeply breathe fresh air, walk fast, jump around. Or I’ll put on my headphones and have a little dance party at my desk. I always get the creative juices flowing again once I get my blood moving. Simply being sedentary for too long makes me feel totally inert and overwhelmed. A little Calvin Harris on my iPhone fixes everything.
TCM: We love that Relish is more than just a great cookbook; style plays a big role throughout its pages. What 3 words would you use to define your style?
DO: Structured. Feminine. Easy.
TCM: Lastly, can you share a favorite recipe from the book?
Cauliflower Grilled Cheese with Jalepeño Aioli
- 1 medium onion, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 small head of cauliflower, sliced into flat, 3/8-inch-thick pieces
- Sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper
- 2 slices whole-grain or favorite bread
- 2 ounces aged cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup baby arugula, washed and dried
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 1/4 to 1/2 medium jalapeño, minced (discard the seeds and ribs if you want less heat)
- Pinch of sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Add the onion and 1½ tablespoons of the oil to a medium sautée pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened and caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes. (You’ll have about ½ cup of onion.)
3. Gently toss the cauliflower pieces with the remaining 1½ tablespoons of oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and spread the cauliflower in a flat layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Use a rubber spatula to flip the cauliflower, then roast another 5 minutes, or until golden brown, watching carefully to make sure the pieces don’t burn.
4. Combine all the aioli ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Spread both slices of bread with aioli. Layer 1 slice with caramelized onions, roasted cauliflower, shredded cheese, and arugula. Top with the other slice of bread. Add the butter to the pan used to caramelize the onion (fewer dishes for you!), heat the pan over medium-low heat, and add the sandwich (the bread closest to the cheese layer should be on the bottom).
Cook the sandwich for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown and the cheese is melting, applying pressure to the top of the sandwich with your spatula or a weighted plate. Flip the sandwich and brown the other side, about 3 or 4 minutes. Slice the sandwich in half before serving.
Enjoy - and make sure to tell @daphneoz what you think!
- Win 'Relish'!
Daphne is giving away one copy of her new book to one Chalkboard reader! Leave your comments below and let us know one of your own tips for making favorite old recipes more healthy and nutritious. Good luck, readers!