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Conscious Cuisine Hardcover – October 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The very phrase "spa cuisine" holds the promise of luxurious food (at empyrean prices), dazzlingly presented and of course, more nutritious and healthful than you could ever imagine. To his credit, Neff, chef at Chicago's Miraval Life in Balance Resort, makes good on most of these superlatives in his book, which is as much a manifesto for a beautiful way of life-wholesome, elegant, flavorful-as it is a cookbook. Earnest and articulate, Neff is an able culinary innovator. In an entire chapter on low-fat sauces he coaxes strange bedfellows into happy marriages: carrot-cardamom sauce, saffron-chive sauce, beet-ginger sauce. All the recipes are low-fat, just daring any home cook to try sauteing a pound of protein in 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil. There is, of course, a catch in this too-good-to-be-true formulation: these are not simple dishes to prepare. Easy-sounding "Vegetable Casserole" calls upon four separate recipes dispersed throughout the book. And that's child's play compared to the side dish Layered Spinach, Wild Mushroom, and Carrot Mousse. Neff trained as a traditional chef, which may explain his assumption that readers have an army of prep staff and dishwashers awaiting orders. In any case, it seems clear that this is not a cookbook for the average weekday night-unless one commits to living with the "conscious cuisine" ethos ("to become more conscious or mindful of food") for weeks at a time, in which case one might have Toasted Fennel and Tomato Sauce, or Beet, Cranberry and Jicama Relish on hand at any hour of the day or night.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

"Conscious cuisine" is what Neff calls the food he cooks at Miraval Spa near Tucson, AZ, among the top spa resorts in the country. Here he presents dozens of recipes for the sophisticated but healthful food he serves-one of the major reasons for the spa's popularity. Dozens of color photographs, many of them full page, show off the gorgeous presentations that add to the appeal of Neff's boldly flavored dishes. For diet collections and others where spa cookbooks like Jeanne Jones's Canyon Ranch Cooking or Michael Stroot's Golden Door Cookbook have been popular.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.; First Edition edition (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570719268
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570719264
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.4 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #565,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 88 people found the following review helpful By K. Johnson VINE VOICE on March 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Those who love good foods can keep "Conscious Cuisine" on the shelf for a long-time to come. There is lots of variety, and most of the savoring dishes and sauce recipes are low in sodium, carbohydrates, and sugar. Worth noting, is that this is not for the quick throw-together at-home food enthusiasts. It's a step up into a little more planning and stocking. But the results will give you 5-star dishes such as Saffron-chive sauce, Carrot Mousse, Layered Spinach, Wild Mushroom, are a few of the many high-end cuisine you can create in your own kitchen.
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84 of 91 people found the following review helpful By L. Felton on January 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have tried several recipes in this book. My favorite is the Margarita Cheesecake. The recipes are perfect for anyone looking to improve their eating choices as well as those who have had gastric bypass. They're low in sugar, carbs, sodium, but full of flavor!!!!!
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85 of 94 people found the following review helpful By michael on January 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Having experienced the tastes of what is now one of the best resorts in the world on a first hand basis, this book is for everyone that wishes to experience a world of intricate details, fine dining, into a healthful and refreshing way. Experience 5 STAR resort healthful eating right at your own home. Chef Neff has brought together a passion and love of food that he has refined into a healthful and abundantley tasteful book. Finally food for those of us that love it, and want the tastes of real food without fealing guilty. I know that this has taken him years to perfect to bring to the rest of the world, but like all fine things in life.. perfection takes time.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Amalfi Coast Girl on April 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I love this book so much that I don't know where to start.

To put this review into perspective for you, it is written by an amateur cook that has been seriously studying cooking on her own for 25 years. My favorite cookbook is "The Professional Chef", this book ties for second place with "Healthy Techniques by the CIA".

Anyone can make a dish taste better by adding cream, butter, eggs or sugar. But when someone can take most of things away and still come up with food that you want to eat, all I can say is WOW. If I could nominate this man for sainthood I would.

First, I love that the chef gives you nutritional information on every recipe. If you are a numbers geek like me, you just need to know the calories, fat, saturated fat, etc. in each recipe.

Second, anyone that can come up with a Caesar salad dressing with 25 calories in 2 tablespoons, and make it take good, is a genius in my book.

There has not been a single recipe from this book that wasn't at least good. And given the numbers (nutritional information) that is really saying something. If you want to really be blown away there is a Chilled Chocolate Souffle with a Berry Consomme (230 calories) that is mind blowing.

On the down side, some of the recipes in this book are a little labor intensive. If you don't get pleasure from cooking this might not be the book for you. However, if you relax by cooking and love to learn new techniques I highly recommend this book. I would have given it more than 5 stars if that were an option. This book is definitely at least an 11 on a 10 scale.
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