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.

Sweet Cola Ribs — A Fourth of July Simple Soirée

by in Entertaining, Holidays, July 3rd, 2012

sweet cola ribsIs there really anything better in life than a rack of slowly cooked ribs that are doused with a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce? I don’t think so. Whether you celebrate the Fourth of July tomorrow or this coming weekend with family and friends, it’s time to start thinking of great grilling recipes.

These Sweet Cola Ribs from the Neelys’ are the perfect addition to your Fourth of July celebration. They cook nice and slow over your grill so they become smoky and tender, then you add the sweet cola sauce and it’s a match made in heaven. You can use any kind of dark cola for this recipe, but I think my favorite has to be Dr. Pepper.

This year I’m hosting my own Fourth of July party and you can bet that there will be multiple Sweet Cola Ribs on my grill throughout the day. Be sure to whip up extra of the barbecue sauce;  you might even want to double the recipe because it’s great on all sorts of other fun Fourth of July sides like corn on the cob and potato salad. Plus, you can throw some on the side for your guests to dip their ribs into while they eat.

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A Chocolate-Filled Father’s Day Simple Soirée

by in Holidays, Recipes, June 15th, 2012

chocolate sheet cake
Father’s Day is all about chocolate and letting Dad watch whatever TV he wants that day. At least it is in my family. You see, in our family of four, there is only one guy, my dad. We out number him in everything. He wants to watch football? Too bad, we’ve got the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy to watch. Game seven of the playoffs? Nope, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills just started. So you see, the girls win almost all of the time. But not on Father’s Day. We’ll let Dad watch just about whatever he wants and we promise to only complain a few times.

My dad is a chocolate fanatic. I don’t know how he manages to stay so fit when he always has a constant supply of homemade chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cheesecake, chocolate brownies, chocolate layered cake etc., stocked in the freezer in case of a sweet tooth “emergency.” So when Father’s Day rolls around, it’s a no-brainer that we’re going to make him something that’s going to satisfy his chocolate sweet tooth.

This year’s Father’s Day treat is The Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Sheet Cake.

It’s decadent to say the least and it’s exactly what Dad needs this coming Sunday. Plus, it makes a boatload of cake that you could share with your neighbors or fellow dads celebrating this special day.

Get the recipe

A Mother’s Day Simple Soirée

by in Entertaining, Holidays, May 11th, 2012

blueberry raspberry muffins
It goes without saying that Mother’s Day is always a fun day in our house. Instead of giving her gifts every year, I like to cook up a big delicious brunch so we can all lay around the house, eat great food and relax. It’s something we do quite well.

My mom is also quite the picky eater, so I have to tailor my menu to fit her palate. One thing that I can never go wrong with is any kind of baked goods. We have a sweet tooth in my family and these Blueberry Muffins that I’ve adapted from Alton Brown are always a hit.

I brightened them up with lemon zest and raspberries, and then whipped up the most addictive Chantilly Cream. Heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and a vanilla bean is a match made in heaven.

These blueberry-raspberry muffins topped with Chantilly Cream are the perfect way to show your mom some love this Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful mothers out there, and thanks to my mom for being so amazing.

Get the recipe for Blueberry-Raspberry Muffins

A Cinco de Mayo Simple Soirée

by in Drinks, Holidays, May 4th, 2012

margarita and sangria for cinco de mayo
Cinco de Mayo is my favorite food holiday. I know I probably say that for every food-related holiday, but let’s be honest — Cinco de Mayo really is the best.

Growing up in Arizona meant a few things. The most important one is that you absolutely must throw a giant Cinco de Mayo party every single year regardless of what day of the week the holiday falls on. We Arizonans take our Cinco de Mayo parties pretty seriously, too. There is never a shortage of freshly made margaritas or sangria and there is always guacamole.

This year I’m going to be in Los Angeles for the holiday and while L.A. is all well and good, there is really nothing like being home in Tucson for a fun fiesta. But never fear, I’m still going all out for Cinco de Mayo this year. These two cocktails will be making an appearance for my fiesta and you should absolutely make them, too. Based loosely on two cocktail recipes from a few of my favorite Food Network stars, I’ll be whipping up a jalapeno-infused margarita and a strawberry raspberry sangria.

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Easter Brunch — Simple Soirées

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 6th, 2012

coconut carrot cake cupcakes
Easter brunch is one of my favorite meals of the year. Yes, Thanksgiving and Christmas are great. And my birthday is high up on the list, too. But Easter has always been special for me.

When I was growing up in Tucson, Ariz., my family and I would head up to the club for brunch, participate in some extreme Easter egg hunting (I’d always win) and then I would basically stuff my face. Homemade omelets, pounds of roasted potatoes and smoked salmon galore. You name it and I probably ate it. But let’s be honest here — the best part of brunch really has to be the desserts. There are a few in particular that stand out, but in my opinion a truly phenomenal carrot cake tops then all.

I know making a fresh carrot cake can be a little time-consuming because you actually have to grate carrots. Gasp! I know, I know. It’s tough. But trust me, it’s worth the extra prep time.

Get the recipe for Coconut Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Individual Shepherd’s Pie — Simple Soirées

by in Entertaining, Holidays, March 15th, 2012

individual shepherd's pie
St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and this year I’m celebrating with a classic Shepherd’s Pie. It’s basically my go-to dish for this yearly celebration, along with a few Irish-inspired cocktails and beer.

My favorite Shepherd’s Pie recipe comes from Mr. Alton Brown.

It’s a foolproof recipe that will knock your socks off. I jazzed it up a bit by adding some Dubliner cheese into the potato topping to give it that extra Irish kick. What makes this even more special is that rather than making a big casserole dish of Shepherd’s Pie, I turn this into individual portions by make the pies in a muffin tin. How perfect is that for a fun St. Paddy’s-themed evening with your friends? Grab a mini Shepherd’s Pie and a Guinness and call it a night.

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Creole Shrimp Skewers for Mardi Gras — Simple Soirées

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 20th, 2012

creole shrimp skewers
Mardi Gras is the perfect excuse for a party, and not just any party — a New Orleans-themed party. I don’t know if you’ve been to New Orleans (NOLA for short), but let me tell you this: Those people know how to party. I was there last year for a quick week and even this California girl had a hard time keeping up with the nightlife. That aside, you can’t forget the amazing Cajun and Creole food on every corner and the unforgettable cocktail scene with live music that pours into the streets at night. If you can’t head down south for Mardi Gras this year, re-create a NOLA-inspired appetizer for Fat Tuesday.

And who better to take inspiration from than the king of NOLA himself, Emeril.

This Mardi Gras Jambalaya from Emeril is one of my all-time favorites. I’ll make this for a big dinner party any day, but I wanted to turn it into an appetizer so it would be easy to eat — people can grab a bite and run back to the dance floor.

Get Gaby’s Creole Shrimp Skewer recipe »

Guacamole for the Big Game — Simple Soirées

by in Holidays, January 31st, 2012

alton's guacamole
Wait — Super Bowl Sunday is about a football game? Not in my world. Super Bowl Sunday is all about the food. And drinks. OK, and maybe the awesome commercials on TV. But mostly it’s about the food. And you can’t just whip up anything for this very special Sunday that happens once a year — no, you’ve got to go big with the best appetizers and finger foods out there.

Each year we throw a big Super Bowl Sunday fiesta. I think some people actually watch the game, but most come to eat and have someone else cook for them. For those people that truly understand football (I’m clearly not included in that group), I’m a big believer in having tons of appetizer and finger food options for people to grab while they sit in front of the TV. There has to be an assortment of wings, potato skins, chips, dips, desserts and, most importantly, guacamole. Oh yes, it’s not a party without guacamole.

I mean, in my mind it wouldn’t be a football party without a big bowl of guac. Something about it just screams to be eaten while watching football and lounging around on a lazy weekend. This year I’ll be whipping up a guacamole from Alton Brown.

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Healthy Spinach Artichoke Dip — Simple Soirées

by in Recipes, January 19th, 2012

healthy spinach dip
Now that the holidays are officially over and most of us are in cookie detox mode, it’s time to bring on the lighter appetizers for fun get-togethers you might be throwing. I’m a huge fan of Spinach Artichoke Dip. It’s one of those classic comforting appetizers and it’s perfect for these midwinter gatherings I’ve been throwing. Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean that fun and simple soirees have to go away. I’ve been having friends over for casual midweek dinners and introducing them to new lightened-up recipes.

This Spinach Artichoke Dip from Ellie Krieger is the perfect example. You’ll never guess that this recipe is lightened up because it’s still super flavorful and just as addicting as its full-fat cousin. Plus, it would be an excellent addition to your upcoming Super Bowl menu. I made a few changes to spice things up a bit more and make it extra delicious. My favorite mix-in wound up being the addition of pepper jack cheese — it gave the dip an extra kick.

Get Gaby’s lightened-up version »

Cookie Exchanges — Simple Soirées

by in Entertaining, Holidays, December 13th, 2011

malted milk chocolate chip cookies
It’s holiday baking time and that means one thing: cookie exchanges. These simple soirées are hands down one of my favorite type of parties to host or attend during the holiday season. It’s a great way to get a ton of your friends together, share the holiday spirit and stock up on lots of different holiday cookies. If you’ve never hosted or been to a cookie exchange, the concept is pretty simple: Make your favorite kind of cookies, bring them to the party and give them away. In return you get a plethora of cookies from your friends that you get to turn around and take home to your family. So basically, you’re spreading a little of your holiday baking love and getting some serious love in return. I always serve some savory nibbles at these parties to make sure no one goes into a sugar coma. A cheese plate with some crackers or a dip duo with some pita chips tends to do the trick.

This year, I’m all about these Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies from Ree Drummond.

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