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The Healthy Hedonist Holidays: A Year of Multi-Cultural, Vegetarian-Friendly Holiday Feasts Paperback – October 16, 2007
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About the Author
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I originally came to cooking from a background in fashion design. Nowadays, I like to encourage my students to trust their instincts and be their own designers. Creative inspiration can come from anywhere: from a trip to the Southwest, from an encounter with a green zebra tomato at a local greenmarket, from that great falafel that you picked up on the corner, from reading an exotic memoir, from a "mistake" in the kitchen.
Cooking is a lifelong journey, and the path is fascinating in its unpredictability. My students range from vegans to omnivores. While the particular foods they eat may vary, they all want to eat well. I have observed that at some point or another in the course of life, one's eating habits will alter. What worked at one point may no longer serve. What one chooses to eat is an individual decision based on a myriad of factors. It is best to be honest, and if one way of eating no longer serves, perhaps you need a dietary reassessment.
I spent years cooking vegan meals at Angelica kitchen, in New York City. My first book, The Voluptuous Vegan, reflects that experience. While I have never been vegan, or even vegetarian, I have come close at times. I did not find that it worked for me to be so strict. I do appreciate good vegetarian or vegan meals, and I cook them often. My subsequent two books are flexitarian and include some dairy, eggs, fish and poultry. My writing and editing address a wide variety of foods.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind. It's worth using the highest quality "real food" ingredients, locally grown or produced if possible. Try not to surf on the latest fad-based dietary wave. Savor ingredients that have been favored by long cultural traditions. For the best-tasting results, use healthy traditional fats (yes, fat makes flavor!), and remember- salt is your friend. High quality sea salt draws the flavors of a dish together; and furthermore, it's good for you. Seek out animal food - whether it's dairy, eggs, or flesh - from an animal that was raised humanely and traditionally, and consumes what it was designed to eat. Products from traditionally raised animals are now becoming increasingly available from local farmers. It is, in fact, getting much easier to find pastured eggs with bright orange yolks from hens that have been foraging outside.
What is healthiest for you is also what is healthiest for the planet. Local food is fresher, picked riper, and often grown without excessive pesticides. It also requires a minimum amount of fossil fuel to get to market. Furthermore, it just tastes better. Compare a peach so ripe and juicy that it falls apart as you eat it to the mealy versions so common in most supermarkets.
Nourishment is not only a matter of what we eat, but how we eat. Slow down, pay attention, and really taste your food. Keep in mind the pleasure, or "hedonist" factor. Also keep in mind that a meal should make you feel satisfied and lively after eating it. Splash love into your food, call down blessings on your kitchen, your family and friends, even as you wash and chop and slice. Nourish yourself and others as deeply as you can.
Myra Kornfeld is the author of The Healthy Hedonist Holidays; A Year of Multi-Cultural Vegetarian-Friendly Holiday Feasts (October 16, 2007, Simon and Schuster Publishers), The Healthy Hedonist; More than 200 Delectable Flexitarian Recipes for Relaxed Daily Feasts. (Simon and Schuster, 2005), and The Voluptuous Vegan: More than 200 Sinfully Delicious Recipes for Eggless, Meatless, and Dairy Free Meals (now in its seventh printing from Clarkson Potter, October, 2000).
Myra is the Head Chef & Content Manager of MyFoodMyHealth.com, a food and healing website. Myra teaches classes in ethnic, classic, and vegetarian cooking at The Natural Gourmet School of Health and Culinary Arts and the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She has been a guest instructor at numerous schools including the New York Jewish Community Center, Classic Thyme in New Jersey and at Sur la Tables around the country. She frequently teaches individual and group private classes and coordinates cooking parties. Myra specializes in corporate team- building events, with clients including Jurlique, The Gap, Credit-Suisse, Colgate-Palmalive, Alliance Bernstein, and American Express. She is a frequent contributor to Vegetarian Times and has contributed articles to Natural Health magazine and Organic Style. A veteran restaurant chef, recipe developer and editor, private chef and menu consultant, Myra worked for six years creating innovative vegan cuisine at New York's Angelica Kitchen.
Top Customer Reviews
What is most impressive, is that the recipes work without any tweaking. I have made several recipes from the book and each one has come out tasting fantastic and looking beautiful. Even though I tend to prefer savory foods, the first recipe that I made was the Double Chocolate Cloud Cookies. I took them to the office and everyone inhaled them as if they were clouds! While we are on the subject of dessert, the Truffles are yummy and the Belgian Brownies are more than a little sinful.
Being a vegetarian, I really like that each of the menus has a main dish that is either Vegan or Vegetarian. The Golden Squash and Chickpea Soup with Roasted Chickpea Nuts is delicious with balancing flavors of spicy ginger and clean lemon, perfect for a cool autumn supper. The best Chickpea recipe I have ever tasted is the Charmoula Chickpea Strudel and it is so easy. It also freezes well. For a weekday brunch, I prepared the Cheese Pancakes with Zucchini and Walnuts. They are light and airy, almost like a soufflé. Everyone wanted more!
I recently returned from Mexico and needed a "South of the Border" fix. I made the Tortilla Soup, and the Asparagus Quesadillas with Red Chile Paste and the flavors were authentically recreated. I was back in the sun!
I read cookbooks like novels.Read more ›
My five year old son and I made the Potato Latkes (light and easy with lots of carrots in the mix) and the Cheese Pancakes with Zucchini and Walnuts (scrumptious). He had a good time mixing the potatoes and forming them into small patties for cooking. The mama in me liked the fact of the "hidden" veggies that he wolfed down happily. We made the Mulled Cider-Cranberry Applesauce which my son informed me was "way better" than store bought applesauce: No Kidding! And it was so pretty!
The Pierogis were fun to make together, too, and the dill was a great addition to the Dilled Potato Cheese Pierogis. I love it that they can be made ahead and frozen. I doubled the recipe and filled the freezer with meal-sized bags of them.
The recipes are fantastic, but maybe the best thing about the book is the writing about the holidays inbetween. I love it that I can cook this food with my son, and also talk with him about who makes the same kind of food, and why and what it means to them. It makes the world seem a lot smaller, which can't be a bad thing in these troubled times.
We are looking forward to making the Pomegranate Chicken with Walnuts for Thanksgiving. Thank you, Myra Kornfeld, for another fantastic cookbook!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am not basing my review on the turnout of the recipes here. It has many festive, interesting concoctions like, Beer-Braised Brussels Sprouts, Mulled Cider-Cranberry AppleSauce, &... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jane E. Hallett
Can't wait to try as many as I can find ingredients for...!Published 13 months ago by Still Dream'in...