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Golden Door Cooks at Home: Favorite Recipes from the Celebrated Spa Hardcover – April 21, 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Golden Door, the Southern California luxury spa known for its inspired cuisine, marks its 50th anniversary with the publication of its first cookbook, bringing its flavorful, healthy dishes into the home. The spa advocates that good food is about feeling sated, nurtured and healthy, so its recipes center on lean proteins, whole grains and fresh vegetables, using natural whole foods. Most of the recipes included in this volume are new, although some have been on the spa's menu for decades, such as its famed Potassium Broth. Highlights include beer-steamed shrimp with avocado-citrus vinaigrette; red lentil veggie burger with garlicky yam fries and a spicy mango ketchup; and Maryland crab cakes with caramelized pineapple and roasted pepper remoulade. Lean meats and desserts also get ample attention, including crispy duck breast with cracked wheat, caramelized shallots and blackberry gastrique; and a warm flourless chocolate cake with Grand Marnier orange sauce. Nutritional information for each recipe is listed, and the basics section includes recipes for staples such as stocks, herb oil and caramelized onions. Offering a variety of appealing, healthful recipes with numerous sidebars on better living, this long overdue volume offers appetizing alternatives for everyday meals and everyday living. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Most of us won't be shelling out our dwindling greenbacks to spend a week at the Golden Door any time soon. Even when we were riding high, it was one of those deluxe destinations that always seemed a tad out of reach. But now the super-spa has decided to open its embossed golden doors to mere mortals and let us in on their renowned and revered culinary secrets. In Golden Door Cooks at Home, published to commemorate the spa's 50th birthday, Chef Dean Rucker shows us how to make his signature spa food, food that promises to leave you feeling 'sated, nurtured, and above all, healthy.' Using lean proteins, whole grains and fresh vegetables as his building blocks, real food, not stripped down 'replacement food,' Rucker turns out dish after dish with big, bold flavors. A spa secret he wholly recommends is 'the sensible use of the starter course'—try his Corn and Scallion Pancakes or Broccoli Basil Soup—so that you'll eat a smaller main course and be doubly happy. The vegetarian mains are marvelous, not to mention Walnut-Crusted Turkey Scaloppini, Teriyaki Black Cod and Moroccan Spice-Rubbed Lamb Loin. Take your taste buds on a virtual spa vacation."

"Dean Rucker offers many of my favorite Golden Door dishes–from the modern Coriander-Crusted Tuna on Wonton Chips to the warming Corn and Scallion Pancakes–allowing all cooks to savor a light, healthy, wholesome, appealing cuisine."
—Patricia Wells, author of Vegetable Harvest

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 edition (April 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307450791
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307450791
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.9 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #561,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent cookbook for anyone who is interested in creating an elegant, healthy menu or lifestyle. Dean's recipes are clearly explained and filled with wholesome, fresh ingredients. There are simple recipes (like preparing perfect vegetables) and more complicated ones, including healthful vegetarian, vegan, fish, seafood and meat selections. Because more and more people would prefer to be served foods that are both tasty and good for them, I have used this cookbook to prepare both lunch and dinner menus. Each time, my guests (both men and women) were delighted by the flavors and really pleased to learn that they could have a second helping without worry (especially the men!) The crab cakes on roasted pineapple with sauce remoulade is a huge success - filling, refined, and luxurious - you would never know that the sauce is made with silky tofu. Wow, so guilt free! If you have hungry guests, it's easy to add a soup or pasta course and still keep the menu very healthy. This book is also helpfully organized. A number of recipe selections include information for an entire course, and complete nutritional information on each one can be found in a table in the back of the book, so menu choices can be thoughtful and informed.

Another reason I like Golden Door Cooks at Home so much is that it is an inspirational guide into the Golden Door lifestyle, a window into the original Golden Door Spa founded 50 years ago by visionary Deborah Szekely. There are articles and images that motivate, inspire and, for those who have visited the Spa, invoke cherished, happy memories. I enjoy giving it as a gift as a way of sharing my wonderful experiences as a guest at the Golden Door.
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Format: Hardcover
I am usually disappointed by spa cookbooks which are often more trendy than practical. This one is a notable exception.

The recipes and menus are well planned to include a wondrous variety of fresh foods and whole grains. The few recipes that include unusual or pricey ingredients provide alternatives; e.g., olive for truffle oil. There are detailed nutritional values of each dish provided at the end of the cookbook. While portion sizes are relatively small. the ingredients impress as appetizing and adequately filling so as to be suitable for day-to-day meals. They are also special enough to impress company. There are various tips on healthful eating and cooking interspersed with the recipes. The chaptars are arranged from appetizer to dessert.

Almost all of the dishes are beautifuly photographed as full-page illustrations.

This large format, coffee-table styled book also includes pictures of the original Golden Door Spa in southern California. These photo and the description which accompany them are sufficient to convey the atmosphere of the spa without dominating. The reader is not left with the impression that the purpose of the book is to advertise the spa.

Chef Dean Rucker provides cooking classes for the Golden Door guests. As author, he carries forth this educational role as he describes the food preparation. Since the emphasis is upon using whole foods in a large variety, it would be fairly easy to vary the ingredients without significantly altering the nutritional values.

I was so impressed and inspired by this book that I read it through when it was first delivered!

This could serve as a Christmas present for a health-oriented friend who would like to learn how to prepare gourmet food which is also fresh,nutritious, and varied.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a great cookbook based on farmers market and well sought ingredients that with a little care even a person not well versed in cooking can try and be inspired by. I am using some of the recipes in here to cater to a high - brow clientele here in Los Angeles. The chef and the restaurant seems to embody basic health principles and carry integrity of ingredients and dietary ethos.

For example I agree with their statement "...For example I never use nonfat cheese because 1/2 ounce of real Parmesan is far tastier and more natural option than 1/2 cup of nonfat cheese that is full of stabilizers and additives and lacks flavor... The fact is that the distance between real food and these replacements is enormous."

Many inspiring photos. A fine choice in ingredients of high quality, and straightforward recipes that are not overly sophisticated or on the other hand too plain.

I love and highly recommend the roasted poblano, corn and potato soup (minus the dairy sour cream for my clients, instead I add a little bit of Amazake/Soy Milk) and the "flourless Choclate/Yam brownies". Industrious vegetarians or those with a knack for fermented soy, may want to substitute tempeh instead of the crab in the Maryland Crab Cakes- and I'm sure with a little modification it would be taste awesome... The other vegetarian/vegan recipe that looks great (I haven't tried yet is the vegetable stir fry with caramelized tofu and forbidden rice, the whole wheat chapatis, and the salad recipes. The poultry and lean meats section looks is very "classy" if you are into preferably pasture raised foods.

Finally for diabetics watching their insulin, those watching caloric intake and those monitoring their protein, fat, fiber, sodium and cholesterol intake (I don't really bother with such things) is shown at the end of the book.

After writing this and having the book on my lap I am getting very hungry.

Bon Appetit!
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