If I had to pick a favorite item of clothing in my closet, it’d probably be my leopard print Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress. I remember first putting it on in the store, how hesitant I was about its cut (accentuating every curve of my body) and its bright pink print, attracting a little more attention than I wanted. But after a nudge from a smart stylist I wore it on TV and instantly fell in love. What had all seemed too much, was in fact the perfect mix of fun, smart, and sexy.
It’s no surprise then that the cookbook by DVF’s personal chef aboard her yacht, Jane Coxwell, conjured up those exact same feelings. Fresh Happy Tasty is full of colorful, vibrant, and flavorful recipes. A lot of the ingredient lists — like the one for this green apple and macadamia nut quinoa — are full of food and spices that I would have never dreamed of putting together. And then, just like that dress, after one bite I was hooked. I stood in my kitchen, serving spoon in hand, shoveling it in my mouth before my guests arrived. (Sorry Callie + David!)
I had never thought to put yogurt with quinoa — even one you’d eat for breakfast, let alone dinner — but it added a subtle sweetness and creaminess that held the dish together beautifully. I’ll never make quinoa without it again. Then you’ll notice the Maldon salt in both the recipe and one of the photos. Jane showcases this salt as one of her kitchen essentials in the beginning of her cookbook, so I decided to hunt it down. I actually found it in the produce market in the back of Chelsea Market (for my NYC readers) and it was well worth it. I got the smoky version, which offset the yogurt and hot peppers perfectly.
The best part of this dish though? How easy it was to make. Only the quinoa and nuts need to cook; everything else is just chopped up and thrown in raw. So think of me as that stylist who first convinced me to buy and wear that DVF wrap dress: get yourself involved with this recipe this weekend. Then buy her cookbook. You’ll thank me later.