My Favorite Chef

I have been fortunate to know a very special friend, Dahlia Haas, for many decades. She also just so happens to be one of the best chefs I know! I consider myself a foodie because I dine out nearly every evening, but her divine home cooking is my absolute favorite. She has taught cooking classes at the fabulous Rancho La Puerta Resort and Spa in Tecate, Mexico where we have traveled together.

I asked her for a few wonderful recipes that I could include in my blog, and now you can duplicate her incredible skills!

Being a spectacular cook is quite a talent. Thank you, Dahlia!

 Orange Blossom Doughnuts

Makes about 3 dozen, 1inch doughnuts

½ cup  unsalted butter

1 cup water

3 tablespoons  granulated sugar

1 cup flour

1 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped

1 tablespoon orange blossom water

4 large eggs

Peanut oil for frying

warm honey for drizzling

powdered sugar for dusting

Edible flowers or orange flowers for garnish


Place butter and water in a medium heavy saucepan over a medium flame. When mixture is simmering and the butter is completely melted add the sugar, vanilla bean seeds, orange blossom water and flour, quickly and vigorously stirring till flour is completely incorporated and forms a ball. Reduce the heat and continue to stir until the mixture seems completely dry, about 1 minute. Place dough in a mixing bowl and stir to further incorporate the ingredients. Let dough cool.

With an electric mixer add one egg at a time and beat well until each egg is completely incorporated and dough is smooth and satiny. Set aside while oil heats.

Pour 3 inches of oil into a heavy medium-size pot and heat the oil to 375F. Quickly drop small, 1inch balls of dough using 2 teaspoons to shape doughnuts, into the hot oil, about 8 balls  per batch. As the doughnuts, brown they will double in size and puff. The  oil should stay at a constant bubble. Move the doughnuts around the hot oil so they brown evenly. Let the oil reheat before adding the next batch of dough.

Remove the doughnuts from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels. Place the doughnuts in a serving dish and dust with warm honey and powdered sugar and garnish with fresh edible flowers or orange blossoms.


Hibachi Shrimp Salad with a Barbeque Guava Glaze

This is an easy Appetizer to assemble and fun to serve for a cocktail party. Everyone has a favorite barbeque sauce in their pantry, don’t hesitate to use it for this recipe.

Makes 4 Servings

1 cup Barbeque Sauce, bottled

½ cup  Guava jam or orange, lime jam

1/2 cup Teriyaki Sauce or Coconut Aminos

1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (16-20 size)

5 cups  mixed mixed baby greens

A handful of Edible flowers –

Macadamia Nut Vinaigrette, see recipe below

Combine the barbeque sauce with the guava jam and teriyaki sauce in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Add shrimp and marinate in the barbeque, guava sauce overnight or 4 hours.

Remove shrimp from the marinade and light the grill. When hot, sear the shrimp on all sides for about 5-6 minutes total depending on the hotness of the grill. Do not over -cook or the shrimp will be rubbery. Alternately, you can  bake in the shrimp on a baking pan in the oven on 400F for 5-7 minutes.

Combine all of the salad ingredients including the edible  flowers in a large salad bowl. Lightly toss with enough vinaigrette to coat the leaves. Divide the greens among four salad plates and top with the grilled shrimp.

Macadamia Nut Vinaigrette

¼ cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons shallot, minced

1 tablespoon Rice vinegar, seasoned

1 teaspoon salt

freshly black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon parsley, minced

2 cups or less Macadamia, avocado oil, or any flavored oil

Whisk all the ingredients together, except for the oil. Slowly whisk in the Macadamia nut oil until well combined. Adjust the seasoning as needed.


Coconut Ginger Chicken Soup

Soup is comfort food. This wonderful recipe is a combination of chicken soup with fresh farmers market ingredients. You can easily change out the chicken, add any of your favorite diced vegetables or shrimp to create a new flavor of your own.

Makes 6-8 servings

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 cup onion, minced

6 cloves of garlic, minced

6 chicken thighs cut in 1 inch cubes

Heat oil in a medium stockpot over a medium flame, when hot add the onion, and garlic

sauté till softened and lightly browned, stirring well, then add chicken and quickly stir-fry till just done. Don’t over-cook. Remove mixture for the pan and set aside in a bowl.

Coconut lemongrass broth: Makes 6 cups

2 tablespoons, Coconut oil

1 cup onion, diced

4 stalks lemongrass, plain parts only, crushed

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 whole Thai or Serrano chilies, stemmed not seeded

¼ cup ginger, minced

6 cups vegetable stock

10 oz Coconut milk, canned

Juice of 2 lemons

½ teaspoon red chili flakes

4 tablespoons Fish Sauce

Saifun noodles, cooked as directed

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In the same pan, heat oil over a medium flame, add onion, garlic, chilies and ginger, sauté and stir till mixture is softened and lightly browned about 5 minutes, add the rest of ingredients, except the saifun noodles, simmer, covered for 30 minutes till broth is well flavored. Remove from heat, strain broth through a strainer, discard the solids and return the broth to the saucepan.

Add the Saifun noodles and cooked chicken, simmer for 10 minutes on a low flame, season with salt and pepper.


Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad is a universally loved dish.  For a change,  place a big portion  of the dressed salad between two crispy wonton skins, one per person. Then diners chop up the bottom layer of the wonton skin together with the salad. It’s pretty cool… and tastes incredible too.

Ginger Dressing: Makes 6-8 servings

2 teaspoon dry mustard

2 tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons soy sauce

6 tablespoons rice vinegar

4 tablespoons ginger, minced

1 tablespoon sesame Oil

2/3 cup oil


Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender, except for the oils and whirl until smooth. Add oil drop by drop on a low pulse until the dressing is thick and emulsified.


Salad Ingredients:

Mai Fun Noodles

12 large Wonton skins

Macadamia Nut oil or Coconut oil to fry

4 scallions, sliced

½ each red and yellow pepper, finely diced

4 cups of shredded lettuce & Napa cabbage

12 oz roasted shredded chicken, skinless


Break Mai Fun noodles into 3 inch long pieces. Pour oil into a wok about 4 inches deep. Heat on a high flame. When hot, dip a portion into the hot oil- they will puff in a few seconds. Use 2 spoons to turn over all the noodles so they cook evenly.

Remove from oil as soon as crackly and place on a paper towel to drain.

Place wonton skins on a cutting board and cut into 6inch circles with a biscuit cutter. Fry in the hot oil till crisp and lightly browned on both sides. Remove from oil and drain.

Place scallion, peppers, shredded chicken, mixed greens and cabbage in a large bowl and lightly toss the salad with just enough dressing to moisten the leaves

To Serve: Place salad between 2 crispy wonton skins and garnish the tops with the fried Mai Fun noodles.

Asian Shrimp Noodle Bowl

Everything in this salad is addictive and healthful, even the dressing! You can make this salad in individual bowls, one per person or in one gorgeous salad bowl. I love to make this salad with fresh tuna poke as well. Just give the poke a quick stir-fry just before serving and don’t forget serve the salad with chopsticks.


Dressing: Makes 6-8 servings

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ teaspoon red chili flakes

½ cup sugar

½ cup fish sauce

8 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup water


Put the ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake well to mix the ingredients. Set aside.

Salad Ingredients

1 package Saifun Noodles

18 large shrimp, cooked

5 cups mixed lettuce, torn into bite size pieces

2 cups mung bean sprouts

2 Asian pears, thinly sliced

2 medium cucumber, thinly sliced

1/3 bunch fresh mint leaves, stemmed

3 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins

1 daikon radish, peeled and sliced into coins

Macadamia nuts, roasted and chopped


Cook the Saifun noodles as directed on the package, drain well in a strainer.

Layer the salad ingredients, except the macadamia nuts in a large salad bowl.

Gently toss with just enough dressing to moisten the leaves and garnish with the macadamia nuts.


Joyce Rey
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