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Dine Like Diane von Furstenberg

While you can’t have the designer’s fabulous life, now you can eat like her—thanks to a new cookbook from her personal chef

As Diane von Furstenberg’s private chef, Jane Coxwell makes her living engaged in two activities that many of us would do for free: cook and travel. Since 2009, she has spent most of the year on Eos, the luxury yacht owned by her husband, designer Barry Diller, sailing to Papua New Guinea, New Zealand or whatever exotic destination the couple choose and preparing their meals. Coxwell’s dishes are neither the lettuce-leaf-and-sprig-of-mint that you think fashion folk—especially slender ones like DVF—subsist on, nor the brined-artisanal-foie-gras-with-micro-baby-purple-ramps that those who can afford anything might demand.

Instead, Coxwell’s cooking is simple and delicious. We at DuJour were lucky enough to receive a visit from the chef herself with a sampling (which included the first two recipes, below). Everything was so healthy yet yummy, and light yet filling. It’s food you don’t want to stop eating—and because it’s good for you, you don’t need to feel guilty. These dishes are perfect for the summer, since they can be served cold or at room temperature.

Israeli couscous with shrimp and zucchini

“The lemon, cumin and fresh herbs combined with the richness of the shrimp and the great texture of the Israeli couscous make this wonderful eating. Just be sure to taste the dish before serving to check that it has enough seasoning and lemon.”

Serves 4 to 6

1 1⁄2 pounds uncooked shrimp
2 cups uncooked Israeli couscous
2 cups grated zucchini (1 1⁄2 to 2 zucchinis)
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1⁄4 red onion, finely chopped
3 whole scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Juice of 1 lemon, plus more as needed
Agave nectar
Maldon or other flaky salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves
1 large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 handful fresh dill leaves (no big stems)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook for about 1 minute, until pink. (The exact time will depend on their size, but be careful not to overcook them.) Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon and run cold water over them to stop the cooking.

2. Keep the water boiling and add the couscous. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente.

3. While the couscous is cooking, place the zucchini in a bowl and add the garlic, red onion, scallions and shrimp.

4. Drain the couscous and run it under cold water to stop the cooking. Shake off as much excess water as possible and add the couscous to the bowl with the zucchini.

5. Add the olive oil, cumin, lemon juice and a squeeze of agave nectar; season with salt and pepper. Give it a good mix and check the seasoning. Add the herbs and mix again. Recheck the seasoning, adding more lemon juice if necessary.

Green bean, tomato, and potato salad

“Potato salad usually makes me think of heavy egg-and-mayonnaise mixtures, but this recipe is nothing like that. It’s a great green bean salad with a lot of flavor—and potatoes. I’ve used Kewpie mayonnaise—it’s a Japanese mayonnaise that is creamier and smoother than the American kind and can be found at specialty stores—in this recipe.”

Serves 4

1 pound mixed small potatoes (thin-skinned new potatoes are great)
5 ounces green beans, ends trimmed and halved
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 whole scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon agave nectar
Maldon or other flaky salt
1⁄3 cup roughly chopped fresh dill
1⁄3 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

1. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil and add the potatoes. Cook until fork-tender, about 8 minutes; drain. Break up the potatoes a little bit, but don’t mash them.

2. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil again and add the green beans. Cook for just under a minute, taking care not to overcook them. Drain the green beans under cold running water to stop the cooking.

3. Meanwhile, in a large glass bowl, combine the garlic, onion, scallions, tomatoes, olive oil, mayonnaise, vinegar and agave nectar. Add the potatoes while they’re still very hot so they can soak up the dressing. Mix in the green beans, then set aside to let cool to room temperature.

4. Stir in the dill and parsley and check the seasoning right before serving.
NOTE : If you’re storing this for later use, place the bowl in the fridge and add the herbs before you serve.

Quinoa salad with herbs

“You can serve this cold or at room temp, but be sure to taste it before you serve it. You’ll probably need to add a little more lemon and tweak the seasoning.”

Serves 4

6 oz of white quinoa
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 apple, finely chopped or diced
1/2 green pepper, finely diced
1/4 English cucumber, seeds removed and finely diced
1-2 lemons
Small handful of dill
Small handful of basil
Smaller handful of mint
Small handful of parsley
Agave nectar
Maldon or other flaky salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Cook the quinoa like pasta (I don’t rinse it beforehand). Drop it in some boiling water for about 8 minutes and then drain. Put the drained quinoa back in the pot and over the heat and move around for about 20- 30 seconds just to dry it out a little.

2. While it’s still hot, add the garlic, onion, olive oil, and the juice of a lemon. If you add those while it’s still warm, the quinoa will suck in all those flavors really well.

3. Wait for it to get to room temperature, then add the rest of the ingredients.