EyeSwoon

  • Okay, guys—get ready to laugh because this video is straight-up F-U-N. I had THE BEST—abs cramping, eyes tearing—time creating it together in my kitchen with my girlfriends Daphne Oz and Eden Grinshpan. When I watched the edit for the first time I doubled over with laughter once again. I mean, we couldn’t script this stuff if we tried. It was just pure, spur-of-the-moment hilariousness, the kind that stems from comfortable friendship, and a shared love of cooking.

    Here’s how it all came together—EyeSwoon really took shape in 2014 in my Dumbo, NYC home when I began making meals with like-minded friends in my kitchen. Fast-forward to recent times, and since I had been renovating my place for legit three years, I could no longer engage with this series, until now. I could not think of two better women and collaborators to team up with to bring it back. To kick things off, a text chain began among us three ladies. The thread was a riot, albeit a touch ADD, as we each began throwing around ideas around for what each of us would make. We settled on a well-rounded, simple family weeknight dinner that we hope will inspire even the novice cook. You can find the recipes along with some confidence building cooking techniques here!  Daphne created mouth-watering coriander-crusted roasted chicken thighs. Myself, smashed potatoes dressed up with herbs, capers, and horseradish crème fraîche. And Eden, a shaved fennel salad with ALL the toppings—Daph and I insisted dates be included. Our day together brought forth a delicious meal, a shit-ton of laughter, some dancing, and a few no-fail cooking techniques.

    Food really is the greatest unifier. Experiences like this one all stem from this incredible, cyclical network of friends, and food, really. By BFF Tali Magal connected me to Eden, Eden connected me to Daphne. Food ladies are my ladies. Put me in a room with someone who swoons over the creative act of cooking and the joys of feeding family as much as I do and watch a deep friendship form. Both Eden and Daphne were strangers to me until I had intimate days in the kitchen with each of them. An unwavering bond followed. We all find joy over a stove. We all found our path to food by “accident”. Food helped each of us find our voice, our passion, and our community. There is also such synergy between our flavor profiles—while we all have our own, individual styles, each of us is all about Mediterranean influences.

    We all love big, bold flavors. Simplicity. Healthy family meals. And certainly a desire to continue to learn and grow.

    The similarities don’t end there. We all love big, bold flavors. Simplicity. Healthy family meals. And certainly a desire to continue to learn and grow. Well, mission accomplished. On this day in the kitchen I soaked up so much—both new techniques, like Daphne’s brilliant method of whisking a roasted garlic clove into pan drippings to create a delicious jus—and more imperceptibly, a greater sense of confidence, the kind cultivated only through experience.

    I mean, these two ladies I am fortunate to call friends are highly-seasoned TV personalities. Man, that could have been intimidating. But it wasn’t. By doing what we love collectively, with a sense of lightheartedness, I could feel myself growing more at ease in front of the camera—video is without a doubt something new for me. Eden and Daphne, I am beyond grateful to your two ladies. You simply raise me up. Isn’t that what friendship is!  

    I hope you get a giggle comin’ at ya through osmosis. And I hope you create this meal because it really is beyond yummy! You can find the recipes here!

    How these friendships were born…

    Eden showed up at my home just a week after we met at the boozy Veuve Clicquot polo match. When she arrived we proceeded to create two insanely delicious Mediterranean meals as we laughed our asses off for five straight hours. We have been rather inseparable since, and that was a good six years ago. Let me add that I am simply not funny (no joke), but around Eden…I am hilarious. She just makes everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, fun! Beyond our shenanigans, Eden and I have guided and supported one another through decisions about cookbooks, assistants, PR, parenting, and opening restaurants. We have been one another’s sounding boards as we both grow and expand our culinary footprint in what can be an overwhelming world of unknowns. Having someone to turn to, to ask questions, to unleash uncertainty upon, or to just be candid and honest with about fears and successes, means everything.  

    As for Daphne—we’d never met and yet the day after I finished shooting my cookbook, I showed up at her home. I was in my most vulnerable state and proceeded to cry buckets because I was so fragile and emotional and overjoyed from this exhilarating and overwhelming book experience. SO much feeling and Daphne just understood. I essentially curled up in her arms and sobbed as we made a whole roast chicken with lentils and squash while noshing on cucumbers and labneh. Let me remind you—we had never met prior to this. AWKWARD! And yet she was precisely the person I needed in the moment. This encounter could have been so inappropriate, but it wasn’t. Instead it was emotionally-charged, honest, and open. To feel supported and understood was AH-MAZE-ING. And, well, the rest is history.

    Now Eden, Daphne, and I all gather together with our families. We cook and laugh and chat and cry and support one another on the regular. I love us. YUP, I love us.

Q+A

Eden Grinshpan, Daphne Oz

Chefs and TV Personalities

  • What distinct food memories do you have together that bonds you as friends?

    Daphne: We can talk about so much here! When Athena came over to my apartment to cook after wrapping shooting her cookbook and we cried and then laughed and cooked and ate. Or when everyone came to mine for a bbq over the summer. We cooked grilled chicken, fresh corn with tomatoes and jalapeños, tender greens with shallot vinaigrette, squash (or was it beets?) with scallions, pine nuts and golden raisins…and that meal actually inspired the chicken we made together in the video as a way to take us back to summer in the dead of winter! Or feasting at Dez! Or meeting Eden when Ayv was maybe 2 or 3 months old at some place that specialized in “bowls” — the food was mediocre, but the conversation was essential. I feel like that’s probably why we end up cooking together so much. We know the any conversation and time together will be stellar, and we want the food to match.

    Eden: A night to remember for us was just before the new year at Athena’s new home (which is the most beautiful home EVER!!) We drank lots of red wine, danced to New Kids on the Block and ate a delicious meal that Athena cooked from her book Cook Beautiful. It was a night to remember

    Daphne, cooks with such ease. She really makes putting together a large dinner spread look effortless. We cooked together at my place a couple years ago. I was prepping for hours and she walked in 10 minutes before the dinner and whipped up 3 huge dishes…she’s a badass.

    What are your top three favorite flavors/ingredients of all time?

    Daphne:
    1. Quality olive oil, avocado, cheese (especially a salty, creamy, sheep or goat milk option)
    2. Condiments: SALT, lime, parsley, chives, pistachios, apricots, dates
    3. Hot sauce (I collect them)
    4. Bonus edition…potato chips, cookie dough, molten brownies with walnuts

    Eden:
    1. Quality Extra Virgin olive oil
    2. Citrus/sweet- lemon-orange, pomegranate. Dates, apricots
    3. spices- cumin, coriander, turmeric, sumac, aleppo, cardamom
    4. herbs- parsley, dill, cilantro, mint
    5. veg- fennel, cauliflower, eggplant, tomato, olives

    What is your number one rule for cooking?

    Daphne: Don’t overcrowd the pan or things will steam instead of getting gloriously crisp and golden brown. Use a great knife and just enough salt.

    Eden: Agree Daphne – Understanding the basics like properly roasting is key.

    Cooking is tricky when you’re busy or tired, how can we bring back joy to cooking again? And why should we be doing more of it?

    Daphne: This is exactly why I wrote The Happy Cook. It kills me to know that cooking — which should be all delicious joy, relaxation, fun, adventure — more often than not feels like an exhausting chore. I want everyday eating to feel celebratory, like you’re eating on the weekend. To do that, I generally keep my recipes to a few simple, quality ingredients prepared well. I take it easy on myself so it doesn’t feel stressful. The biggest changes I made is that I grocery shop more frequently and cook what I buy that night or the next day which helps me stay inspired. Even if you buy a rotisserie chicken and just make a quick gremolata or pesto to put over top, it feels like a celebration that people really do appreciate and remember. And it should make you feel damn good.

    Eden: I love cooking for myself because I like to know what’s going into my food. Obviously, people are busy and sometimes it’s really difficult to get food on the table. Keep it simple and don’t overthink – especially if you’re exhausted after a long day! Focus on fresh, seasonal produce and let the food speak for itself. People forget that cooking is supposed to be fun! I second Daphne’s suggestion, if you don’t having time to cook, buy a rotisserie chicken and dress it with a fresh, herby gremolata and it will make it feel special. It’s also about figuring out those great shortcuts.

More swoon

follow on instagram @eyeswoon