All Posts By Gaby Dalkin

Gaby Dalkin is a chef, photographer/food stylist, enthusiastic traveler and guacamole fanatic. She is the founder of What’s Gaby Cooking, where she showcases her simple and sassy recipes that feature whichever ingredients she is currently obsessing over. She lives in Los Angeles with her fiancé, Thomas, and her cat, Stella.

5 Tips to Create the Ultimate Guacamole, Plus Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

by in Holidays, April 29th, 2013

Gaby Dalkin's Guacamole for Cinco de MayoIt’s that time of the year again when eating massive amounts of guacamole and enjoying a margarita is 100 percent acceptable. Yes, that’s right: Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner.

This year’s Cinco festival is even more exciting than usual because my first cookbook, Absolutely Avocados, is out and about, and being sold all across the country. It has a little bit of everything from breakfast to dessert  — and it’s all about avocados.

If you’re set to make the ultimate guacamole this upcoming weekend, keep my five rules, or guidelines, in mind:

1. Avocados: There’s nothing worse than spending a few bucks on avocados at the market and then getting home only to realize they are overripe and brown on the inside, right? The trick to buying perfect avocados each and every time is looking for an avocado that is just the slightest bit tender. It shouldn’t be mushy, and it shouldn’t be rock hard. Rather, give it a gentle squeeze; if it gives the slightest bit, then you’re good to go.

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Easter Dinner Made Simple

by in Entertaining, Holidays, March 27th, 2013

Roasted Mushroom ToastsWith Easter right around the corner, it’s never too soon to start planning — the sooner you create a plan, the more organized the day will be and you’ll wind up enjoying it more yourself.

I’m hosting Easter again this year — it’s become somewhat of a tradition. Or maybe it’s the fact that everyone knows I’m going to cook up a storm so they are all always open to coming to my house. Either way, I love it. I get to decide what’s on the menu and make things I think will please a crowd.

This year I’m going heavy on the appetizers. I want to host a fun outdoor party with plenty of cocktails and lots of delicious appetizers for my guests to choose from. That way they get to taste a lot of different things without getting totally stuffed from the ham. Not to fear, though, there will absolutely be ham, but I’m incorporating it in a little bit of a different way this time. By eliminating the centerpiece of the large-baked ham, it takes the pressure off of the long cook time and preparation. The recipes below incorporate classic flavors you’d see on an Easter table, but in a casual form — perfect for entertaining a large or small crowd.

Click here to get the menu

Feed Your Crowd Before Hitting the Town — St. Patrick’s Day Entertaining

by in Holidays, March 12th, 2013

Irish Grilled CheeseSt. Patrick’s Day is simply about food, drinks and having a good time. It’s a day to celebrate with your friends, be a little silly, and eat and drink until your heart’s content. Most years we have a group of friends over for an early St. Patrick’s Day dinner, and then we hit the town. With that said, I always try to feed my friends and family a good foundation of food to handle the rest of the night’s activities.

This year I’m making a few of my favorite green-ish appetizers and then several main course options. That way people can pick and choose what they want, and I get the benefit of having leftovers for a few days after the celebration.

Irish Grilled Cheese (pictured above) is what we’re eating to kick things off. These are super easy, especially because I can pre-assemble them, and then everyone can use the panini press to make them as they please. Simple, delicious and fun.
Get the recipe: Irish Grilled Cheese

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Award-Worthy Oscar Party Cocktails

by in Drinks, Entertaining, February 24th, 2013

Oscar Party CocktailsWith the Oscars just hours away, it’s time to get serious — serious about planning a little soiree with your movie-loving friends who also love to get dressed to the nines.

The Oscars are a fun event in my house. We’re big movie people, so I’m always excited to see who takes home the gold. I like to invite over a handful of friends for an Oscars viewing party, mix up a few fun cocktails that are classy, swanky and delicious, and add a few little nibbles too. I mean, let’s be honest here — it’s really all about the cocktails in this case. No one actually eats at those awards shows; it’s more about the drinks, socializing and looking fabulous.

So in honor of that, here’s my Oscar party cocktail menu that you can whip up in no time:

Bobby has a great recipe for a Kir Royale. This drink only has a few ingredients, but they’re fun and decadent, so when you mix them all together you’ve got a gorgeous bubbly concoction that’s going to be a crowd-pleaser! Bonus: you can ask your friends coming over to pick up a bottle of bubbly or two to use for these drinks.
Get the recipe: Kir Royale

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A Valentine’s Menu That Will Impress Without the Stress

by in Holidays, February 11th, 2013

Beet, Goat Cheese and Arugula SaladRaise your hand if you’re not into going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. I know I have my hand straight up in the air. It’s not that I don’t love restaurants; I honestly do. But it’s always such a zoo and I would much rather stay home with my honey and make us a memorable dinner spread in the comfort of our own home.

This year I’m jazzed about our menu: it’s fun and comforting and I know my husband is going to love it.

First I’m going to make a cheese plate, complete with lots of crackers and fruit — a cheese plate is the perfect way to start a nice meal at home. Read these tips from Food Network and head to the market to pick out several great varieties of cheese.

After that, we’re going to have salad from Giada (pictured above). I love beets, goat cheese and arugula, so this is the perfect salad. Plus it’s light so it won’t be too filling.
Get the recipe: Beet and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad

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There’s Still Time to Whip Up a Big-Game Party

by in Events, Holidays, February 2nd, 2013

Guacamole for the Big GameOK, I have a confession: I don’t understand football. Never have. Never will. It’s just the way I was made. I do, however, love throwing Super Bowl parties. You wouldn’t actually find me watching the game, but I love to have all my friends over and cook a big feast and let everyone else enjoy the game while indulging on great food.

The key to a great big-game soiree is to have lots of finger foods — things that are easy to eat while you’re on the couch watching TV and screaming for your favorite team. You also need recipes that are simple to make so you don’t spend the whole day in your kitchen.

The big game may be tomorrow, but there’s still time to organize a feast. Here are a few of my favorite recipes that always make an appearance at my party:

Alton’s guacamole. I once heard a fact that some obscene amount of guacamole is consumed every year during the Super Bowl — something like two football fields’ worth. But since guacamole is awesome, I can believe it.

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A Last-Minute New Year’s Eve Simple Soirée

by in Entertaining, Holidays, December 30th, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Nuts for New Year's EveYou’ve decided to skip the big dinner and throw a New Year’s Eve party, but it’s just one day away. Don’t fret; there’s still time to throw an all-out bash that will also allow you to enjoy time with your guests.

So let’s throw a party! I’ve compiled a few of my favorite recipes that will complete your menu (with bubbly, of course). Keep the items small, but make sure they’re filling:

Hummus — it’s a must for any party at my house. You can make it the morning of your party and it only takes mere minutes to whip everything up in a food processor. Toast up your own pita chips, too, and this one is good to go.
Try this recipe: Red Pepper Hummus With Toasted Pita Triangles

Spiced nuts (pictured above) are great to have on hand for the holiday season and the same goes for New Year’s Eve. Make these the day before, reheat them for a quick minute in the oven, and serve them at your party. Feel free to get creative with this recipe, like I did, and add other nuts besides pecans.
Try this recipe: Food Network Magazine‘s Sweet-and-Spicy Pecans

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Spiked-Gin Lemonade for a Simple Labor Day Soirée

by in Drinks, Holidays, August 31st, 2012

gin spiked lemonade
With Labor Day just around the corner, it’s evident that we need to talk about cocktails. This is summer’s last hurrah! It’s your last three-day weekend for a while, so enjoy every last sip of it.

Try my take on Marcella’s Rosemary-Infused Lemonade to get the party started. This cocktail would make the perfect addition to your party, whether it’s a huge pool party with all of your friends or a casual late-afternoon barbecue on the back patio. Either way, this lemonade makes perfect sense.

So go ahead — whip up a batch or two and have a ball with your closest local pals before school goes back into full gear and fall sets in.

Get my recipe for Spiked Gin Lemonade

A Gold Medal-Worthy Grilled Cheese

by in Events, Recipes, August 2nd, 2012

double grilled cheese with avocado and tomato
Grilled cheese is my jam. When I was younger, my dad would make my sister and me a grilled cheese sandwich every day after our morning swim practice. It was basically the best treat in the world. Stuffed with Colby jack cheese and buttered to perfection, my dad would slice it in half on a diagonal, rather than a boring down-the-middle cut, and we would gobble it up with big smiles on our faces. But those were my picky eater days. Now I stuff my grilled cheese sandwiches with lots of fun ingredients.

And what better event to pair with an all-American jazzed-up classic, like the grilled cheese, than the Olympics? So I’ve decided to share my grilled cheese — Olympic edition. It’s loaded with two kinds of cheese, juicy tomatoes and sliced avocados, then slathered with a healthy dose of butter and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and grilled to perfection. Try serving this tonight for the Olympic swimming matchups — invite your friends over and tell them to bring over their favorite ingredients for a grilled cheese sandwich soiree.

I’ve taken a classic recipe from Tyler Florence and made additions to it.

Click here to get Gaby’s Double Cheese Grilled Cheese recipe

Roasted Red Pepper Dip for Summer’s Simple Soirées

by in Entertaining, Recipes, July 10th, 2012

roasted red pepper dip
The beginning of summer means a few things, but maybe the most important is that it’s the beginning of backyard barbecues and potluck parties.

I’m sure quite a few of you are hosting parties this summer and even more of you are planning to attend some fun soirees like graduation parties, birthday parties and classic Sunday suppers. I don’t know about you, but I love showing up to a party with something delicious in hand. And that something delicious has to also be something that can handle a trip in the car to a friend’s house in the summer heat.

One of my go-to potluck style dishes is this Roasted Red Pepper Dip from Ellie Krieger. The original recipe calls for almonds, but I like to give it a nice salty kick and replace the almonds with feta. It gives the dip a smooth and creamy consistency, which makes it perfect for some serious pita chip dipping. Not to mention it’s easy to bring to a friend’s house, and I can promise that your friends will become addicted to this dip as I am — they’ll be begging you for the recipe.

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