pan roasted brussels sprouts recipe

Photo: Alison Gootee

As a chef, my job is to make tasty food, but it's just as important to me to create surprising food. When people visit my Beverly Hills restaurant, Maude, I want them to be wowed by dishes and flavors they've never experienced. Home cooks can embrace the power of surprise in the kitchen, too—something I highlight in my new cookbook, Good Food, Good Life. You might find it strange to add caraway seeds to Brussels sprouts and chorizo: Hey, what's the rye bread spice doing with veggies and Spanish sausage? Making them sing, that's what!

Get the recipe: Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo
magic caramel bars recipe

Photo: Alison Gootee

While you may have made chocolate caramel bars before, have you ever tried them with coconut milk caramel and espresso powder? Those tiny alterations take the bars over the top.

Get the recipe: Magic Caramel Bars
broccoli chicken casserole

Photo: Alison Gootee

You're probably familiar with chicken-and-broccoli casserole, but I'll bet you've never eaten it topped with light, crispy Japanese panko instead of traditional bread crumbs. (The casserole also calls for a surprising technique: Did you know that if you don't plunge cooked broccoli into ice water before adding it to the dish, it'll curdle the creamy sauce? Another important part of being a chef is knowing your science.) I've been working in kitchens for decades, but I'm still striving to come up with exciting ideas. That's the key to great cooking—a willingness to keep trying things until you discover something delicious.

Get the recipe: Chicken and Broccoli Casserole