ABC’s “The Chew”is one of the better daytime network TV shows.

It’s hosted by a diverse and down-to-earth panel of media personalities and celebrity chefs, including Mario Batali and Michael Symon, all of whom are entertaining and adept at demonstrating and explaining basic cooking techniques. Their themed episodes – “Pancake Palooza” and “Jingle Bell Bites” were recent offerings – feature engaging guests such as first lady Michelle Obama and controversial country cook Paula Deen. Their repartee is seasoned with a smattering of good-natured jibes, self-deprecating humor and helpful nutritional information.

Now in its fourth season, “The Chew” has published a promotional cookbook, “A Year of Celebrations: Festive and Delicious Recipes for Every Occasion.” It’s a mixed bag that will please most fans of the show, but it’s a drive-by for any experienced cook. Recipes range from simple Key Lime Pie Pops to complicated Beef Wellington.

The book suffers from poor organization. Rather than logically following the calendar year from the Super Bowl to New Year’s Eve, the book is organized into clunky categories: All-American Classics (Game Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day), Happy Holidays (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day), Milestones (Shower, Wedding, Anniversary) and Big Bashes (Awards Night, Dinner Party, New Year’s Eve). Several recipes lack photos, and some annoyingly feature a photo of a host instead of the dish itself. The book also includes several superfluous craft projects, such as dip-dyed cloth napkins and citrus salt body scrub.

Still, several recipes intrigued me enough to put on my try-someday list, and these have nice photos. For a July 4th party, host Daphne Oz offers a Corn-Apple Salad with a bright and simple dressing of chopped fresh chives, tarragon, shallots, apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard. It starts with fresh grilled corn on the cob, but I think it would be a great way to use leftover corn on the cob, too. In the Easter section, Mario Batali makes Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb sound easy and delicious, with clear instructions and an appealing garlic, lemon and rosemary marinade.

I tested the Chicken Diablo recipe, presented by Michael Symon in the Halloween section, which made a simple, mildly spicy and well-balanced supper. I used organic skinless and boneless chicken thighs instead of the skin-on version listed in the recipe and served it with U.S.-grown brown jasmine rice.



They say the jalapeño is optional, but I say the dish is hardly Diablo without some element of heat.

Serves: 4 to 6

Skill Level: Easy

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes


1/4 cup olive oil

6 (4-ounce) boneless, skin-on chicken thighs, pounded to a 1/4-inch thickness

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, thinly sliced

1 jalapeño pepper, stem and seeds removed, sliced into rings, optional


1 (14-ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped

Place a Dutch oven or deep cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the preheated pan. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Put the chicken skin-side down in the pan and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the garlic, bell pepper, jalapeño and a pinch of salt, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup water, scraping with a wooden spoon to incorporate the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, another 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and capers, cover the pan, and cook for 5 more minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately.

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