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Golden Door Cooks at Home

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Written by foodie pam   
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
List of viewable recipes from "Golden Door Cooks at Home" by Dean Rucker and Marah Stets

Golden Door Cooks at Home: Favorite Recipes from the Celebrated Spa by Dean Rucker and Marah Stets (Clarkson Potter, 2009) is a 2010 IACP Cookbook awards finalist in the Health and Special Diet category AND a 2010 James Beard book awards finalist in the Healthy Focus category. For a list of all the finalists check out the Project Foodie IACP Finalists' Guide and James Beard Finalists' Guide.

Win a copy of Golden Door! - details

ImageDo we really have to choose between food that is delicious and food that is good for us? 

A lot of times it certainly seems that way, especially restaurant food with rich sauces and lots of butter, but good tasting food can be good for us.  Dean Rucker makes that obvious In Golden Door Cooks at Home. 

Rucker is the chef at the Golden Door Spa, he cooks seasonally from the Spa's gardens and he focuses on food that is healthful while making sure it tastes good.  In Golden Door Cooks at Home, Rucker celebrates the spa's 50th anniversary by sharing his recipes, along with some that have been part of the spa's cuisine since it began.

I can see myself cooking from Golden Door a lot in the future. My picks for recipes to try are too numerous to list, but some of the stand-outs include Celery Root and Fuji Apple Slaw, Baked Falafel and Moroccan Spice-Rubbed Lamb Loin.

When it came to one to share, however, I simply could not resist these English muffins.  Not only have I've been trying out several different English muffin recipes lately, but the mere thought of a 'healthy focus' cookbook with a recipe for a bread product absolutely makes me smile.  As Dean says in the headnote, homemade English muffins are far superior to store bought - not to mention that these have the additional healthful bonus of being made with whole wheat flour.  Add in the luscious egg and I simply couldn't resist having these for breakfast.

Of course saying I couldn't resist something may seem an odd phrase for a health focused cookbook but then again this 'health' book is packed with flavor…

Win a copy of Golden Door Cooks at Home! - details

Whole Wheat English Muffins

From Golden Door Cooks at Home: Favorite Recipes from the Celebrated Spa by Dean Rucker and Marah Stets (Clarkson Potter, 2009).

Commercially prepared whole wheat English muffins often have the texture and flavor of cardboard. Making your own is really fun, and the results are wonderful nutty flavor and nubby texture. 

Makes 18 muffins

  • 1 package active dry yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1-2/3 cups 2% low-fat milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal, or as needed
  • Olive oil spray

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the yeast, sugar, and water. Stir to combine and let stand until the yeast has dissolved and is foamy, about 5 minutes. (Note: if mixture is not foamy it means the yeast is not active; throw it away and start over with a new yeast packet.)

Add the milk, olive oil, vinegar, and egg to the yeast mixture and mix on low speed until well blended. With the mixer running, add the salt along with 2-1/2 cups of the whole wheat flour. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 4 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and add the remaining 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour and the all-purpose flour. Increase the speed to medium and mix until well blended, about 2 minutes. The mixture will be sticky. Cover and let stand in a warm area for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Pour the cornmeal onto a small plate. With a 1/4-cup measuring cup, scoop out 1/4 cup of the dough. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and flatten it into a 3-inch round. Press each side into the cornmeal and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Heat a griddle or large cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Spray the pan with olive oil. Place the muffins about 1/2 inch apart on the hot griddle or skillet. Cook until browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn the muffins over and brown on the other side, about 5 minutes. Repeat with all of the muffins; between batches wipe the griddle with a paper towel and spray again with oil.

Return the muffins to the baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely. To serve, use a fork to split a muffin in half through the middle to make two rounds, and toast. (English muffins can be stored in a resealable plastic bag at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to use, thaw at room temperature, then split and toast as directed above.)

Win a copy of Golden Door Cooks at Home

The registered Project Foodie user that leaves the most memorable or creative comment below will win a copy of Golden Door Cooks at Home.  Keep the comments clean and relevant - tell us what attracts you to Golden Door Cooks at Home and/or what you feel makes that book award-worthy and we'll select one to be the winner of Golden Door Cooks at Home.

Please note that you must be registered to enter this giveaway and upon winning provide a US postal address for us to ship Golden Door Cooks at Home to.  We'll announce the winner on May 2nd.

If you have not yet registered with Project Foodie, please take a moment to do so right now--it's absolutely free; and we promise never to share your email address with spammers or other unsavory types.

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 31 March 2010 )
Good Eats
jettrash23 (Registered) 2010-03-31 11:59:57

It's exciting to imagine a cookbook devoted to healthy ingredients while retaining a great taste aesthetic. When this book then falls into your sometimes myopic frame of mind it all of a sudden becomes a necessary component. If awarded this fine book I will surely treasure it by cooking up large healthful bounties for friends.
Eating with Golden Door
lostpastremembered (Registered) 2010-03-31 16:38:30

I do love rich and sinful dishes but the idea of great tasting food that is good for me appeals in a big way. Those english muffins sound great and the photo of that perfect egg.... well that sold me on healthy living!
cnuland (Registered) 2010-04-12 19:12:30

I have never had homemade English muffins. I like the "higher quality" store-bought ones so if I can make them even better - that would be awesome!
southerncooker (Registered) 2010-04-21 05:28:15

I'm always on the look out for healthy cookbooks that deliver great taste. This one sure sounds like it would fit the bill. I have made homemade English muffins and they are wonderful. I look forward to trying this whole wheat version.

This book just might help me achieve a goal of finally loosing that weight and becoming a more healthy me. The bonus being tasty, healthy meals instead of boring diet food.
And the winner is....
pam (Publisher) 2010-05-01 15:23:08

This is truly a healthy cookbook that delivers great taste - hope you enjoy it southerncooker - you're the winner!
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