Golden Door Cooks at Home: Favorite Recipes from the Celebrated Spa


Tucked away in the rolling hills and hidden valleys of idyllic southern California, the Golden Door is the epitome of the luxury spa experience. As the quintessential holistic retreat, the spa is equally renowned for its inspired, bold, and innovative cuisine. In celebration of fifty sensational years, the Golden Door shares the secrets of its celebrated kitchen, bringing its famously fresh and healthful cuisine into your home.

With a focus on lean proteins, whole grains, fresh ...

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Tucked away in the rolling hills and hidden valleys of idyllic southern California, the Golden Door is the epitome of the luxury spa experience. As the quintessential holistic retreat, the spa is equally renowned for its inspired, bold, and innovative cuisine. In celebration of fifty sensational years, the Golden Door shares the secrets of its celebrated kitchen, bringing its famously fresh and healthful cuisine into your home.

With a focus on lean proteins, whole grains, fresh vegetables, and other wholesome foods combined in astoundingly delicious ways, Golden Door Cooks at Home shares Chef Dean Rucker’s most sought-after recipes, including:

• Spiny Lobster and Mango Gazpacho Shooters
• Soft Rosemary-Lemon Polenta with Sweet Corn, Oyster Mushrooms, and Rainbow Chard
• Adobo-Marinated Grass-Fed Flank Steak with Spinach Salad and Roasted Poblano Dressing
• Grilled Lamb Chops with Rosemary Roasted New Potatoes and Apple-Mint Salad
• Blackberry Nectarine Crisp

Also featured are cooking tips from Chef Rucker’s popular cooking classes, information about how to boost flavor healthfully, recipes for easy-to-make sauces and vinaigrettes, and sidebars on fitness, nutrition, and other aspects of the unique Golden Door experience. Whether you’ve been a guest in the past or have only dreamed of getting a taste of the Golden Door, you’ll enjoy this culinary tribute to one of the world’s most restorative and nurturing destinations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Most of us won't be shelling out our dwindling greenbacks to spend a week at the Golden Door any time soon. Even when we were riding high, it was one of those deluxe destinations that always seemed a tad out of reach. But now the super-spa has decided to open its embossed golden doors to mere mortals and let us in on their renowned and revered culinary secrets. In Golden Door Cooks at Home, published to commemorate the spa's 50th birthday, Chef Dean Rucker shows us how to make his signature spa food, food that promises to leave you feeling 'sated, nurtured, and above all, healthy.' Using lean proteins, whole grains and fresh vegetables as his building blocks, real food, not stripped down 'replacement food,' Rucker turns out dish after dish with big, bold flavors. A spa secret he wholly recommends is 'the sensible use of the starter course'—try his Corn and Scallion Pancakes or Broccoli Basil Soup—so that you'll eat a smaller main course and be doubly happy. The vegetarian mains are marvelous, not to mention Walnut-Crusted Turkey Scaloppini, Teriyaki Black Cod and Moroccan Spice-Rubbed Lamb Loin. Take your taste buds on a virtual spa vacation."

"Dean Rucker offers many of my favorite Golden Door dishes–from the modern Coriander-Crusted Tuna on Wonton Chips to the warming Corn and Scallion Pancakes–allowing all cooks to savor a light, healthy, wholesome, appealing cuisine."
—Patricia Wells, author of Vegetable Harvest

Publishers Weekly

Golden Door, the Southern California luxury spa known for its inspired cuisine, marks its 50th anniversary with the publication of its first cookbook, bringing its flavorful, healthy dishes into the home. The spa advocates that good food is about feeling sated, nurtured and healthy, so its recipes center on lean proteins, whole grains and fresh vegetables, using natural whole foods. Most of the recipes included in this volume are new, although some have been on the spa's menu for decades, such as its famed Potassium Broth. Highlights include beer-steamed shrimp with avocado-citrus vinaigrette; red lentil veggie burger with garlicky yam fries and a spicy mango ketchup; and Maryland crab cakes with caramelized pineapple and roasted pepper remoulade. Lean meats and desserts also get ample attention, including crispy duck breast with cracked wheat, caramelized shallots and blackberry gastrique; and a warm flourless chocolate cake with Grand Marnier orange sauce. Nutritional information for each recipe is listed, and the basics section includes recipes for staples such as stocks, herb oil and caramelized onions. Offering a variety of appealing, healthful recipes with numerous sidebars on better living, this long overdue volume offers appetizing alternatives for everyday meals and everyday living. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

The original Golden Door, in Escondido, CA, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year; there are now offshoots throughout the United States and in Puerto Rico. The spa published several cookbooks a decade or so ago; this new book presents sophisticated, healthful recipes from Rucker, who has been executive chef since 2005. There are also sidebars on nutrition and other topics (e.g., "Your Fitness Toolbox") and color photographs throughout. Buy for demand.

—Judith Sutton
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307450791
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/21/2009
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

DEAN RUCKER, a graduate of the California Culinary Academy, came to the Golden Door in 2000 as sous-chef. In June 2005, he was named executive chef, and his bold and fresh new American cuisine has been met with accolades ever since.

MARAH STETS is a food writer and editor. Her most recent collaboration was with Jim Denevan on Outstanding in the Field.

GOLDEN DOOR has been the premier spa in the United States since it opened in 1959. With architectural elements modeled after seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Japanese inns, and with programs incorporating Zen philosophies of balancing physical and spiritual health, the spa revolutionized the American spa experience. In addition to the destination spa in Escondido, California, there are also full-service Golden Door resort spas throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

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Read an Excerpt

Golden Door Cooks at Home

Favorite Recipes from the Celebrated Spa
By Dean Rucker

Clarkson Potter

Copyright © 2009 Dean Rucker
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780307450791

Teriyaki Black Cod with Sticky Rice Cakes and Seared Baby Bok Choy
Serves 6

A staple of classic Japanese cooking, teriyaki is wonderful with not only seafood but also poultry, beef, vegetables, and tofu. Often, however, this versatile sauce can be quite sweet. My version uses fresh orange juice, which adds just a touch of natural sweetness as well as some acidity to temper the sweet mirin. Pouring some of the teriyaki sauce into the hot pan with the fish further reduces it so the sauce really coats the fish with a deep, caramel glaze that enhances the delectable moist, buttery, and tender qualities of black cod perfectly. Other good fish for this dish are Alaskan cod, true cod, sablefish, or wild salmon.

Searing each side of the sticky rice cake gives a nutty flavor and crisp texture. I also like to serve these rice cakes with vegetable stir-fries in place of plain rice. If you have a rice cooker, use it to prepare the rice according to the manufacturer’s directions. If not, follow the instructions in the recipe to prepare it in a saucepan.

   • 9 baby bok choy, halved lengthwise

For the sticky rice cakes

   • 3/4 cup sushi rice
   • Grapeseed or canola oil spray
   • 2 tablespoons sliced scallions (white and green parts)
   • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
   • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
   • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
   • 1 1/2 teaspoons mirin
   • Pinch of kosher salt
   • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

For the black cod

   • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
   • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice (from 3 oranges)
   • 1/4 cup mirin
   • 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
   • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
   • 6 (4-ounce) skinless black cod fillets, each 1 inch thick
   • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
   • Grapeseed or canola oil spray
   • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (white and light green parts), for serving
   • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted, for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Add the bok choy to the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds. Drain the bok choy and immediately transfer it to the ice water for 2 minutes to cool. Drain the bok choy and set aside on a clean kitchen towel to soak up excess moisture.

Prepare the sticky rice cakes. Put the rice in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Use your hand to swish the rice around a few times. Drain and repeat until the water in the bowl is clear; you may need to rinse it several times.

Put the rice in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and add water to cover by 1 inch. Cover the pan; for best results, do not uncover the pan at any time during cooking. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, 4 to 5 minutes; you will be able to tell the water is boiling by the large amount of steam pouring out from under the lid. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes.

Spray a small sauté pan with grapeseed oil and heat over medium heat. Add the scallions, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, until just softened and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Fold the scallion mixture into the warm, cooked rice along with the vinegar, mirin, salt, and pepper.

Line a platter or baking sheet with parchment paper sprayed with oil or with waxed paper. Have a separate bowl of water ready. Dip your hands into the water and scoop up 1/4 cup rice. Form it into a tightly packed cake about 2 inches thick and place the cake on the platter. Repeat with the remaining rice to form five more cakes. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, orange juice, mirin, and ginger. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer just until reduced by half, 30 to 40 minutes. In a small dish, mix the cornstarch and 1 teaspoon water and stir this slurry into the simmering sauce. Simmer 30 seconds and remove the pan from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Season each fillet with pepper. Spray an ovenproof sauté pan (preferably nonstick) with grapeseed oil and heat over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Lay the fish in the pan flesh side down (not the side where the skin was); you should hear a sizzle. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the fish over and place the pan in the oven. Cook until the fish is just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Pour half of the teriyaki sauce over the fish. The sauce will bubble and simmer. Gently turn the fish over and gently swirl the pan to coat the fish. Turn the fish over again.

While the fish is cooking, finish the bok choy: spray a nonstick skillet with grapeseed oil and heat over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Place the bok choy in the pan cut side down and cook until deep brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the bok choy over and cook 1 minute. Remove the bok choy from the pan.

To finish the rice cakes, spray a nonstick skillet with oil and heat over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the rice cakes and cook until heated through and golden on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Divide the bok choy halves among six plates. Place a rice cake and a fillet of teriyaki cod next to the bok choy and drizzle teriyaki sauce around the plate and over the fish. Sprinkle each serving with sliced scallions and sesame seeds. Serve.


Excerpted from Golden Door Cooks at Home by Dean Rucker Copyright © 2009 by Dean Rucker. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Posted July 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Golden Door to Great Food

    If this book does not inspire you to re-stock your kitchen, re-think your cooking methods and your menus, then you are hopeless.
    Beautifully pfotographed, with lots of useful information about lifestyle, cooking methods, all the nutrition info, and basic methods for stocks, and dressings; it has it all. It is not deprivation, it is luscious. Real food, real ingredients, and not insanely difficult. The recipes I have tried thus far have been excellent.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted June 17, 2010

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    Posted January 7, 2011

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