Meet Gaby Dalkin, cookbook author, recipe developer and blogger behind What’s Gaby Cooking, where she chronicles the best healthy (and sometimes decadent!) dishes to come out of her kitchen. Here, we ask Gaby all about her avocado obsession, her entertaining style, and how she’s using her new Open Kitchen cookware. Read on to get to know her, and try a recipe she created just for Open Kitchen!
Tell us about your background and how you got into food writing and blogging.
Before going to culinary school I was probably one of the pickiest eaters on the west coast. I grew up eating grilled cheese and buttered noodles like it was my JOB! After becoming a bit more adventurous in college, I went on to culinary school, which opened up so many doors!! (I mean, mushrooms! I can’t even believe I went 23 years without eating them!) During culinary school and pastry school, I got a job as a private chef for some pretty fabulous celebs in Los Angeles and started What’s Gaby Cooking at the same time. After private cheffing for a few years, I left that world to go full time with What’s Gaby Cooking.
Since then I’ve continued to grow What’s Gaby Cooking along with publishing my first cookbook, working as a contributing editor to Better Homes and Gardens, doing recipe development and photography for some amazing brands and exploring the world of culinary travel!
I’m currently super obsessed with my Cheddar Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole. They make for a perfect weeknight meal but also can be served at a weekend BBQ, and you could jazz them up with any number of extra toppings!
What’s the most popular one?
Slutty Brownies. A layer of cookie dough, chocolate sandwich cookies and then another layer of cookie dough on top. It all gets baked and melds together and it’s pretty epic. And insanely sweet! One little bite is enough to satisfy any sweet tooth.
You’re hosting a dinner party tomorrow night. What would you serve?
I’m super into family-style dining, so I’d make a whole roasted salmon with a cucumber yogurt sauce and an herbed quinoa pilaf. I’d probably throw in a fresh farmers’ market salad, too! And of course there would be appetizers involving avocado in some way shape or form! I’d top it all off with a spiked lemonade!!
What ingredient(s) do you look forward to the most every year?
Cherries! I can’t WAIT for cherry season and I buy obscene amounts of them at the farmers market and eat them for every meal of the day. There’s really nothing better than a perfect cherry!
Oh, I’ve been obsessed with avocados since I was a kid! Growing up in Arizona meant that I was exposed to some seriously amazing Mexican food, and it was all served with a side of guacamole. My obsession has only grown since then.
What do you eat when you’re alone?
Chips and salsa. It’s my weakness and I could go through a bag of chips in minutes if allowed! If I’m feeling extra jazzy, I make nachos!
Who’s your ideal dinner guest?
My friends! Especially when they bring a bottle of sparkling wine!
What’s on your dinner playlist?
I’m currently obsessed with anything M83, Little Comets, Lumineers and Miner!
What’s the first food blog you look at every day, besides your own?
Shutterbean!! I love Tracy and all of her recipes and stories about her life!
What are you cooking tonight?
Carrot Cake That counts as dinner, right?
Tell us about using the Open Kitchen cookware. What were you inspired to create?
I LOVE everything about the Open Kitchen line. It’s not only gorgeous but also easy to use and fun to display! I can’t pick a favorite piece because I’ve been using all of it all the time!
Spring Pea Farro Salad
For the farro:
1 cup shelled english peas
1 bunch asparagus, cut into small coins
1 cup farro
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bunch pea tendrils, cut into 2 inch pieces
Kosher salt to taste
1/2 cup crumbled feta
For the lemon vinaigrette:
1 lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, add the peas and asparagus and blanch for 60 seconds. Drain the water and immediately submerge the peas and asparagus in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain them from the ice water and set aside.
In the same pot, cook the farro according to the package directions. Once fully cooked, remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes to cool.
In a cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the pea tendrils and sauté for 2-3 minutes until slightly wilted. Season with salt and remove from heat.
Toss together the pea tendrils, cooked farro and the peas and asparagus. Add the crumbled feta.
Meanwhile, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette and then drizzle over the farro mixture. Serve immediately. This can be served cold, at room temperature or slightly warm.