Jessica Harlan has written about food and cooking for nearly twenty years for publications such as About.com, Clean Eating, Town & Country, Mobil Travel, Gaiam.com and Arthritis Today. She is the author of the book, Ramen to the Rescue and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Kelley Sparwasser began a career devoted to food and wine in Portland, Oregon, where she completed cooking schools and worked in area kitchens. Since then she has been on the editorial staffs of McCall's and Food Arts. She opened a restaurant consultancy before returning to Oregon to pursue her passion for pinot noir as Direct Sales Manager at Penner-Ash Wine Cellars.
Jessica Goldbogen Harlan has always had a passion for food and cooking that dates back to her childhood when she enjoyed the disparate cuisines of her New Mexican and Jewish heritages and when making the family dinner was one of her weekly chores.
After getting a degree in rhetoric from the University of Illinois, she revisited her love for food by getting a job as an assistant editor for a gourmet food trade magazine. Later, she moved to New York City and attended the Institute of Culinary Education to get a thorough education in professional cooking.
Currently, Jessica is the Cooking Equipment Guide for About.com and writes a regular kitchen tools column and recipe for Clean Eating magazine. She has written about food, cooking and kitchen products for Town & Country, Pilates Style, Arthritis Today, Consumers Digest, Time Out New York and Mobil Travel Guide, among others.
"Ramen to the Rescue" (Ulysses Press) is her first book, but she's already at work on a second book about quinoa, which will be co-written by Kelley Sparwasser and will be published in early 2012 by Ulysses Press.
I love to cook for myself and my husband and am always on the lookout for healthy recipes that can accommodate our dietary restrictions (vegan, with a gluten intolerance thrown in for good measure). I also love quinoa for its light texture and protein power, but have been frustrated by its treatment in many cookbooks as an afterthought - usually a token quinoa pilaf and that's it. So I was super excited to see a cookbook devoted to quinoa.
Although a lot of the recipes contain meat, it is clear the authors had vegetarians and vegans in mind - many, many of the recipes can be easily modified to become vegan. That's evident even before you hit the vegetarian section. I really appreciate the symbols on each recipe that shows whether it's gluten free, vegan, etc - and again, many of those not labeled as vegan can become vegan with some very simple modifications.
My favorite so far? The kimchi-quinoa salad - ridiculously easy and incredibly flavorful.
What I love about this cookbook is that it shows how to easily incorporate quinoa into dishes that I'm already familiar with. (And, more importantly, that my son is already familiar with, making him more likely to try these new, healthier versions!) We especially love the quinoa pumpkin waffles, grilled pizza with prosciutto, grilled peaches and arugula, and Congo Bars. There are lots of other, more sophisticated, dishes for grown ups, too, including many delicious-sounding soup & salad recipes (I have yet to try them all, but I will!) The only reason I gave this book four stars instead of five is that I would have loved to see color pictures of the dishes included in the book. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to create not only healthier, but really delicious, food.
Before I got this book, all I knew about quinoa is that it is healthy. I didn't even know how to pronounce the word `quinoa'. This book has now become a staple at our house. I love that there is a great introduction explaining what quinoa is (it is actually not a grain, but a member of the goosefoot family), the health benefits (it is one of the few plant foods that contain all eight essential amino acids), the various types of quinoa and quinoa products, the best places to purchase it, how to sprout it, and cooking tips.
I like that the recipes are very easy to follow and understand. Each recipe starts out with a brief paragraph either explaining what the recipe is, or where to find certain ingredients (or how to make them), sometimes explaining what some not well known ingredients are, and sometimes giving substitutions for ingredients that may be difficult to find. Although most of the ingredients used are things that I either already have on hand or use frequently or are readily available at our local grocer.
Each recipe has an icon that explains if it is quick and easy (defined as taking 30 minutes or less), if it freezes well, if it is gluten free, works well as a special occasion meal, if it is healthy (meaning low in fat or full of nutrients such as fiber, fruits, vegetables, or whole grains), if it is kid friendly, vegan, or vegetarian. This makes finding the perfect recipe really easy and it also makes it so when starting a new recipe you have a heads up what to expect.
This excellent text/cookbook has caused me to revisit this ancient grain or seed (or "pseudograin," as nutritionists call it) more seriously after some unsuccessful attempts at cooking it. The book gave me simple starting-point tips for preparation that led me experiment with some of the more complex recipes. This is more than a cookbook. It offers an excellent, brief history of quinoa, telling us how significant it has been to the world, going back to ancient times. The text gives a good, easy-to-understand rundown of quinoa's nutritional strengths, comparing favorably to rice and barley. And it offers an easy-to-follow icon key so cooks can easily categorize a recipe. For example, a symbol of a stopwatch lets harried dual-career couples know this recipe is a "30 minutes or less" meal; two wine glasses indicates a "Good for company, special occasion" meal; and a crayon means "kid-friendly." Recipes with the crayon symbol are an excellent means for broadening children's exposure to new ingredients and types of food preparation they would not find at a typical restaurant or school cafeteria.
I was not aware I could sprout these quinoa seeds, using the sprouts in salads and sandwiches for an even more nutritious meal. This books shows me how. And I never really considered quinoa as a source for pizza dough, muffins, or pancakes. This book offers easy-to-follow recipes for these and other uses.
The biggest surprise for me, though, is learning that I can use quinoa as a key ingredient in making my own trail bars for hikes. It will save me a bundle. I'm a weekend volunteer trail maintainer for a stretch of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia and packing lightweight, nutritious items for these strenuous days are vital. For my next work trip, I plan to share some of my homemade quinoa trail bars with my hiking buddies. It's about time they had something decent to nibble on while on the trail!