Get the Skinny on Healthy with a New Cookbook by Local Chef Daniel Green

World-renowned chef, culinary author, food television host, airline menu planner, charity ambassador and emcee, husband and father—Daniel Green wears many hats and not just toques. Dashing, dapper and deliciously entertaining, Green has all the star qualities of a world-class celebrity chef. Even with awards and countless accolades to his credit, there’s no stopping a man impassioned by the joys of good healthy eating.

Food, fame and family intertwine in his latest project, the Gotham Steel Skinny Cookbook, a worldly collection of recipes befitting of a well-traveled, former Londoner turned Edina resident. After 12 cookbooks printed in 12 languages, cookbook number 13’s a charm, especially when the author shares his praises for healthy, good-tasting food. Best of all, his culinary creations are sensible—the kind of easily prepared, light, yet satisfying fare to keep anyone happy. Here’s the skinny on this celebrity chef’s latest book published by Gotham Steel.

It showcases “the kind of food that I have every day that fills me up,” Green says. Look for high protein-based recipes assembled in a low-fat, low-sugar and low-carb style. Recipes range from zucchini soufflés, to no-rice sushi rolls, to salmon with edamame and puree of avocado, to cauliflower pancakes with smoked salmon and poached eggs. With recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts, every meal is covered. Soups, rice dishes, pastas and other staples are at their best the chef Green way. “Proteins, fruits and vegetables are really natural and good,” he says.

Not only do his recipes taste brilliant, but they are fun. Delicious mouthwatering foods tempt even non-dieters with bursts of flavor. “If you want to lose weight, it doesn’t have to be boring,” Green says.

The Gotham Steel Skinny cookbook reflects his philosophy. “My message is more about skinny than healthy menus. It’s more about weight loss,” Green says. While most diets require strictly sized portions, Green’s high-protein meals allow room for ample potions. Protein promotes satiety and wards off binge-eating temptations. Dieting pro tip: Occasionally, it is all right to “have a day or a meal off,” says Green. Some of Green’s local day-off favorites are Red’s Savoy Pizza (usually a take-out), wings from Buffalo Wild Wings or a Caesar salad. Some deviation is okay—even a whole weekend—so long as a low-fat-sugar-carb regime is followed most of the time.

Eating earlier in the day also helps, as calories consumed during the evening can be wasted energy. Also try to limit dairy to skim milk in coffee: no butter, cream or cheese. Gotham Steel’s nonstick pans fit the way Green cooks with virtually no oil. Apparently consumers agree, he’s sold millions of pans online and in infomercials as Gotham’s spokesman.

Variations on his sound eating principles change up flavors while retaining healthy eating sensibilities. A little twist on the expected goes into each recipe. Straightforward, step-by-step recipes rely on readily available ingredients a home shopper can find at most any grocery store.

He never counts calories, but his new cookbook has an easy system to select diet-friendly recipes that lead to results. Just look for the red “C” designated recipes. The “C” stands for challenge. “The challenge is for two weeks, to follow the recipes and lose weight,” Green explains.

He tested his recipe creations in a marathon cooking session for the book. “I’ve done all the recipes myself,” Green says. Earlier this year, he prepared sticky edamame chicken in a behind-the-scenes, sneak peak of cookbook book production. A master multi-tasker, he wielded a sizzling hot skillet with professional photographer Aaron Kessler at his side. The photo shoot captured the dish while it was still smoldering. In an adjacent room, a recipe editor Pat Carlson documented recipe tweaks as Green refined recipes—all meticulously measured and perfected to ensure success for the home cook. Back in the kitchen, his youngest daughter, Georgina (Georgie, for short), vied for attention, mixing a bowl under the watchful eye of her father, holding a frying pan and getting hugs in between each step.

The chef’s kitchen bustled with activity. In every interaction, his winning personality came through with a broad smile. Then there’s that British accent. Green is as much an entertainer as a cook.

An exactingly polished manner draws aspiring food fans and dieters alike into a world dominated by serviceable food and spirited fun. Green’s cooking is not geared toward foodies. Diet conscious eating can work for anyone.

Green is testimony his method works after dropping 65 pounds over 25 years ago and keeping it off. He wants other people to know how easy healthy eating can be. “I love creating easy Asian dishes because there’s a lot of flavor,” Green says.

During Green’s personal weight loss journey, he traveled to Bangkok, Thailand and a new passion for food was unleashed. There he discovered tom yam goong soup and other exotic dishes. Experiencing the merits of Thai cooking was a life-changing event.

Many Asian dishes contain little or no oil. Other eminent chefs may profess fat is flavor but Green begs to differ. He knows from personal experience that butter and oil can be omitted with no compromise to taste. When Green creates recipes, they burst with flavors fueled by Thai traditions. Coconut milk, Asian sauces, tamarind, mango, chili pepper and lime or lemon are prime contenders. Thai foods are based on layering flavors that resonate with the senses for sweet, sour, spicy, salty and bitter.

Ask Green about his transformation with food and his eyes light up with awe about Thailand. No wonder it’s his favorite place to visit. He finds “a lot of inspiration going back there,” he says. The sights and smells of a colorful tropical land recharge his quest. That passion for Thai food transformed into a personal and professional mission that has helped Green become known the world over as culinary star sharing his cooking expertise.

A Charitable Chef with a Charitable Heart

Community involvement is important to Green. Even with a busy schedule that includes international business travel, he makes time to give back. The human connection is something he values, particularly when it comes to kids.

The Ronald McDonald House was there for his family during a time of crisis. The organization helps parents cope when children fall critically ill and are in the hospital.

Today he volunteers as brand ambassador, serves as a gala emcee and creates family-friendly recipes. He even donates his time as a live auction cook and guest chef.

He cooks for kids and their families, encouraging others to do the same. After a long day the family can come back, have a hot meal and then maybe decompress and “take away a little bit of the stress after a hard day for those families,” Green says.

New menus Green created recharged the menus used in the Cooks for Kids program. Meal volunteers in the Cooks for Kids program prepare and serve nightly dinners and weekend brunches at four Twin Cities Ronald McDonald Houses.

Ronald McDonald House holds a special place in his heart. Green has inspired countless volunteers and raised funds. Cooking brings people together for the greater good.

Vodka Shrimp
a red “C” recipe

Cooking with alcohol adds a richness of flavor—more than a broth. This is great as a skinny appetizer or served over pasta.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 lb. large shrimp, heads and tails and shells still on
1 small white onion, finely chopped
¼ cup vodka
Salt and pepper, to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup chopped fresh dill

Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 20 seconds, then add the tomatoes and stir well.
Add the shrimp and cook for 2 to 3 minutes turning the shrimp half way through. Place the vodka in a stainless steel ladle. Light the vodka so it will flambé. Immediately add it to the pan. Flambé the contents of the pan until the flame dyes down.
Remove the pan from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon juice and the dill.

Avocado Puree, Edamame and Salmon
a red “C” recipe

This is how to make an avocado go a long way. This provides the avocado flavor but it is lower in fat and is also a great low-carb choice. This is a must to try!

4 (8-oz.) salmon fillets,
skin removed
Salt and pepper
2 ripe avocados,
pitted and skin removed
2 cups vegetable broth, warmed
1 cup shelled edamame beans

Heat a nonstick skillet over high heat. Season the salmon with salt and pepper.
Add the salmon to the pan (no oil). Cook for 2 minutes then reduce the heat to medium. Turn the salmon and cook for another 3 minutes. Turn again and cook for 2 minutes more or until desired doneness.
While salmon is cooking, puree the avocados and the vegetable broth using a stick blender or regular blender.
Divide the avocado puree among 4 plates. Top each with a salmon filet. Sprinkle ¼ of the edamame beans onto each plate.

Salmon Fish Cakes
a red “C” recipe

I have been making this ever since I first started low-carb cooking. Usually fish cakes have flour, breadcrumbs or potato added—I have taken all of that out! A great recipe if you are taking the Gotham Steel Challenge. The Gotham Steel pan makes it so easy to cut down on the oil for frying.

1 1/2 lbs. fresh salmon fillets, no skin cubed
1 egg
1 red Thai red chili, stem removed
½ red onion, finely chopped
Juice of ½ a lemon
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
½ cube fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2–3 green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Place the salmon, egg, red chili, red onion, lemon juice, cilantro leaves, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil in food processor or blender. Process until just combined. Stir in green onions. Shape into 4 large or 8 small fish cakes.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan on a medium-high heat. Add fish cakes. Cook for 2 minutes on each side.
Serve with a green salad.

Korean Chili Burgers
a red “C” recipe

I made these on The Jason Show. The host went crazy for these burgers, and I had just one secret ingredient (that’s not a secret).

1 ½ pound 90 percent lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 egg
1 Tbsp. Korean chili sauce (gochujang)
2 Tbsp. tomato paste

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl using your hands. Shape the mixture into four burger patties. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray or oil. Add burgers to pan and cook for 3 minutes per side. Then turn again and cook again on both sides until desired doneness.