Sample text for The Golden Door cookbook : 200 delicious and healthful recipes from the world's most luxurious spa / Michel Stroot ; introduction by Deborah Szekely.

Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog

Copyrighted sample text provided by the publisher and used with permission. May be incomplete or contain other coding.

Counter Welcome to the Golden Door.

As you prepare the recipes in this book, I hope you feel as though you have visited me in my kitchen and I have guided you every step of the way.  I want you to enjoy preparing these dishes as much as I do.  At the Golden Door, we are extremely proud of our food and believe it epitomizes the best of spa cuisine.

Spa cuisine is about fresh, wonderful flavors and foods that are cooked carefully, but simply--never manipulated beyond recognition or drenched in obliterating sauces.  It's about selecting the freshest and best fruits and vegetables you can, cooking ocean-fresh fish and free-range poultry.  It's also about eating sensibly and healthfully in keeping with the Golden Door philosophy of balance in all things.  It's about the pure enjoyment of life.

When guests gather for a revitalizing week of healthful living at our spa, enjoying the food prepared in our kitchen is only one of many pleasures.  They also hike, exercise, meditate, relax with daily massages and facials, and socialize in a stress-free environment, surrounded by serene Japanese gardens, gently flowing waterfalls, and quiet ponds.  The food, however, is always a highlight as guests look forward to their meals, juice breaks, and snacks.  Because so many guests have asked for recipes to take home, I have compiled notebooks full of typewritten versions for copying, but until now have not codified them in a book.  The more than two hundred recipes included here do not represent every dish ever served at the Door--but they are some of the best and certainly speak of the overall spirit of the food.

The Spa Kitchen

Many first-time guests are surprised when they encounter my airy, bright kitchen.  There are no shelves bulging with bottles of oils, boxes of spices, or packages of pasta and rice.  Instead, there are bowls and small bins of grains, potatoes, and legumes on the countertops, and recently picked fruit, squash, and tomatoes from our gardens line the windowsills.  A large walk-in refrigerator is piled with baskets of greens, mushrooms, beans, and berries.  Because I cook food at its freshest, I do not stockpile large amounts.  I rarely rely on packaged food.

A short walk from the kitchen door is an expansive organic garden, with the fruit orchards just beyond.  It's not unusual to find me or one of my assistants stooped in the garden a few hours before dinner picking herbs, edible flowers, and lettuces to use that evening.  Without question, my kitchen and gardens are a chef's dream of culinary heaven, and I am well aware of how fortunate I am to work in such ideal surroundings.  But this does not mean you cannot create your own spa kitchen--on a smaller, more practical scale.  And I've tried, with some of my recipes, to give an alternative to a fresh ingredient if you live where the winters are long.

Begin by reading through the recipes, the advice boxes, and the recipe notes.  Do not be put off by the long lists of ingredients in some recipes.  Each touch of spice and sprig of herb adds immensely to the flavor of the food, so I have not simplified these recipes at all.  On the contrary, I have included every ingredient I use at the Golden Door.  Do, however, rely on your common sense.  If you cannot find a sprig of fresh rosemary or thyme, prepare the dish anyway.  The same is true of techniques.  If you choose not to fire up the grill to make grill marks on a chicken breast or tuna steak, omit the step, but do not omit the recipe from your repertoire.

Stock your pantry with a good variety of spices, vinegars, vegetable oil sprays, olive oils, chili sauces, dried beans, dried fruits, grains, and pastas, and, very soon, the more complex recipes will seem far less overwhelming.  Additionally, shop seasonally and buy the freshest food you can find, and you will be well on your way to successful spa cooking.  Get into the habit of making stock whenever you have a spare hour or two (vegetable stock in particular) and freeze it in small quantities so that you always have it on hand.  It's essential to spa cooking.

Black Bean Dip with Whole Wheat Tortilla Chips

Black beans are the traditional bean to use in this type of dip, but other dried beans, such as pinto or Anasazi, work well too.  If you prefer, or if you are serving someone with a wheat intolerance, substitute high-quality corn tortillas for the wheat tortillas.


1/2 cup dried black beans, rinsed, or one 15-ounce can low-sodium black beans, drained and liquid reserved
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Dash of hot chili sauce
(see page 22), or to taste

Tortilla chips

Four 10-inch whole wheat tortillas (61/2 ounces)
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

To make the dip, put the beans in a bowl and add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches.  Set aside for at least 4 and up to 8 hours.  Change the water once or twice during soaking.  Drain and rinse the beans.

Put the beans in a medium-sized saucepan and add 3 cups of water and the pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the beans are tender and the water just barely covers the beans.  (Add more water if necessary while cooking the beans.) Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.  Set aside to cool.

Transfer the beans and half the cooking liquid (or half the liquid from the can) to a food processor.  Add the garlic, cumin, and chili sauce.  Process until coarsely blended.  Add more of the bean liquid if necessary to thin the dip.  Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.

To make the chips, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Lightly spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil spray.

Lay the tortillas on a work surface and brush them on both sides with the egg whites.  Cut the tortillas into 10 to 12 triangles each and lay the triangles on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle the triangles with the sesame seeds.  Bake for about 10 minutes, then remove from the oven.  Use a metal spatula to loosen any chips that have stuck to the sheet, turn the chips over, and bake for a few more minutes, until golden brown.  Lift from the baking sheet and serve warm or at room temperature with the dip.

Per serving:

86 calories
1 g total fat (13% of calories)
0 g saturated fat
0 mg cholesterol
4 g protein (19% of calories)
15 g carbohydrates (69% of calories)
1 g fiber
153 mg sodium

Makes 8 servings

Butternut Squash Soup

This lovely autumnal soup is flavored with orange and garnished with apple slices.

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 cups 1-inch slices leeks (white part only; 2 leeks)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onions (2 ounces)
2 carrots, sliced (8 ounces)
1 green apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch wedges (4 ounces)
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks (2 pounds)
1 sprig fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons kosher salt
7 cups Vegetable Broth or Chicken Stock, plus more if necessary
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
8 teaspoons nonfat plain yogurt
1 green or red apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (4 ounces)
8 sprigs fresh chervil

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the leeks, onions, carrots, apple wedges, squash, thyme, bay leaf, allspice, cinnamon, and salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.  Add the broth.  Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, partially covered, for about 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.  Remove the thyme sprig and bay leaf and let the soup cool for 15 minutes.

In a blender or food processor, process the soup to a smooth consistency.  (This may have to be done in batches.) Return to the pot, stir in the orange juice concentrate, and reheat gently, adjusting the consistency by adding more broth if necessary.

Ladle the soup into heated soup bowls and garnish each with a teaspoon of yogurt, a couple of apple slices, and a sprig of chervil.

Per serving:

141 calories
2 g total fat (10% of calories)
0 g saturated fat
0 mg cholesterol
2 g protein (7% of calories)
29 g carbohydrates
(83% of calories)
3 g fiber
611 mg sodium

Makes 8 servings

Chicken Breasts with Peanut-Ginger-Honey Sauce

Nothing could be easier than these chicken breasts served with an addictive peanut sauce that gives the simple chicken an Asian flair.  When making the sauce, double the recipe so you can serve it with cold seafood or chicken salad--but be careful not to eat much more than recommended, as the calories add up quickly.

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon Chinese toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon cracked Szechwan peppercorns or Thai or Vietnamese chili paste
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, fat trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (14 ounces)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips (2 ounces)
5 shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and thinly sliced (4 ounces)
1/4 cup Vegetable Broth or water
1 cup broccoli florets (3 ounces)
16 snow peas (2 ounces)
8 baby carrots (4 ounces)
11/2 cups hot cooked brown rice
Peanut-Ginger-Honey Dressing or Sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a small glass or ceramic bowl, whisk together the ginger, oil, tamari, lime juice, and peppercorns.  Add the chicken, toss, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and no longer than 8 hours.

In a large saucepan or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and any marinade and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until just slightly underdone.  Add the bell pepper and mushrooms and stir-fry for another 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the vegetable broth and scrape up any browned bits sticking to the pan.

Meanwhile, in a steaming basket set over boiling water, steam the broccoli, snow peas, and carrots just until fork-tender.

Spoon the rice onto warmed plates.  Spoon the chicken and stir-fried vegetables over the rice and ladle 2 tablespoons of the sauce over each serving.  Garnish with the steamed vegetables and cilantro.

Per serving (not including Peanut-Ginger-Honey Dressing or Sauce):

323 calories
7 g total fat (20% of calories)
1 g saturated fat
67 mg cholesterol
30 g protein (37% of calories)
35 g carbohydrates (43% of calories)
2 g fiber
220 mg sodium

Makes 4 servings

Green Apple-Lime-Candied Ginger Sorbet

The candied ginger gives this pretty pale green sorbet an elegant kick of flavor.

4 tart green apples (16 ounces)
2 cups unsweetened apple juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon minced candied ginger
4 sprigs fresh mint

Peel, core, and thinly slice 3 of the apples.  Set the other aside to use as garnish.

In a blender or food processor, combine the apples, apple juice, and lime juice and process until smooth.  Add the ginger and pulse just to mix.

Transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions.

Thinly slice the remaining apple.  Spoon the sorbet into chilled bowls and garnish with the apple slices and mint sprigs.

Per serving:

45 calories
0 g total fat (5% of calories)
0 g saturated fat
0 mg cholesterol
0 g protein (2% of calories)
10 g carbohydrates
(93% of calories)
1 g fiber
5 mg sodium

Makes 8 servings

Note: The sorbet can be kept in the freezer for several days.  Let it sit at room temperature for up to an hour (depending on its hardness) before serving.  It should be pleasingly soft but not watery.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Cookery (Natural foods)Low-calorie diet Recipes