Chef Stuart O'Keeffe's Healthy and Hearty Meals
Chef Stuart O’Keeffe is our kind of cook. Born in Ireland and trained at high-end restaurants in France and Napa, O'Keeffe has the the chops to make just about any dish in the world. He starred in The Food Network show Private Chefs of Beverly Hills, hosted his own show in Ireland, and once toughed out a broken wrist after a motorcycle crash to cook for President Obama.
But when it came time to write his first cookbook, O'Keeffe went back to basics. This spring, he released The Quick Six Fix, which takes a minimal approach to cooking that maximizes simple ingredients and time spent in the kitchen. Every dish takes no more than six ingredients, six minutes of prep, and six minutes of cleanup, all without sacrificing heartiness or flavor. Cooking at home is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy diet, and we're always on the hunt for fast, nutritious, and filling meals. The Quick Six Fix just may be our new kitchen bible.
Stu was kind enough to answer a few questions about his inspiration for cooking, how he stays healthy in and out of the kitchen, and share a couple of his favorite recipes straight for the pages of his book. If you're not already on the avocado toast bandwagon, this delicious version will make you convert. And consider his deceptively simple pasta dish and a bottle of Pinot your new date-night specialty.
How would you describe your culinary philosophy?
My culinary philosophy would be hearty and healthy. I like to create easy meals that are both delicious and healthy. I like to take the heartiness of Irish food and match it with the freshness of California cuisine.
What staples should every guy have in their kitchen?
With these you can easily whip up a great tomato pasta dish. Just add any protein that you like. (See his Angel Hair and Shrimp dish below)
Besides eating healthy, what else do you do to stay fit?
I love to go hiking, play tennis and also I use an app on my iPhone called FULL FITNESS. Sometimes I can get lazy but this app keeps me on track—I don’t leave the gym until I finish the workout.
Health be damned, what is your favorite meal to cook?
My favorite meal to cook is my Mac and Cheese along with my Asian Ribs from my book. That sauce is just killer. I also love to cook Short Ribs or a great Beef Stew.
LEMON CHILI AVOCADO TOAST
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Clean: 2 minutes
In California, we always have access to great avocados. And when life gives you an abundance of avocados, you make avocado toast, of course! There are several varieties of avocado, and any of them would work for this recipe. However, I prefer using the Hass variety—the small type with the dark, bumpy skin—as they have more natural fat and are less watery than the larger, smooth-skinned sort. Hass avocados add a wonderfully smooth, creamy texture. The lemon and chili act as the perfect eye-openers.
**Tip: To pit an avocado, take a sharp knife and slice the avocado lengthwise, cutting around the pit. Once you’ve gone the circumference, twist the top half off the bottom. Then take a chef’s knife and swiftly “chop” the pit until the blade sticks into it. Then twist the blade to remove the put from the avocado.
ANGEL HAIR, SHRIMP, TOMATOES, AND LEMON
Prep: 6 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Clean: 6 minutes
This dish is great because the ingredients are easy to obtain and available year-round. Then there’s the flavor: The lemon zest adds a wonderful citrusy zing to the sweetness of the tomatoes, which is amped up with a bit of sugar. The shrimp adds a wonderful texture.
*SOAK PASTA POT for quicker cleanup*
**Tip! Save time by always buying your shrimp peeled and deveined. How to buy shrimp
1. Smell it. The aroma should not be fishy. If it's fishy, it's old
2. Check the texture. It should be firm, not limp.
3. To guarantee ultimate freshness, ask your fishmonger when the shrimp came in.
For more quick and healthy recipes, pick up a copy of “The Quick Six Fix” here!