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Super Natural Cooking: Five Delicious Ways to Incorporate Whole and Natural Foods into Your Cooking Paperback – March 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


“In Super Natural Cooking, Swanson not only goes a long way toward helping ‘whole' foods shed their stale, hippie stigma but also makes a strong case for putting natural foods at the center of an emerging, modern, global cuisine. Her seductive recipes, like lime-bathed peanut salad and an updated (almost guilt-free) take on the classic Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie, reach out to cooks who want to eat smart but still do it in style.”

Super Natural Cooking isn't just any other cookbook; it's meant to inspire and educate, utilizing natural and native ingredients and worldly flavors . . . A great addition to your culinary library as you expand your definition of healthy cooking.”
–Healing Lifestyles & Spas

“A good, solid guide to natural foods, ingredients, and how to use them without the stigma of this food being only boring, bland steamed vegetables and tofu. You'll like her style and simple recipes along with some beautiful photos. Simplicity and ease are great assets of this book.”
–South Florida Sun-Sentinel

“Looking for new ways to eat more naturally and healthfully? Super Natural Cooking is full of good ways to expand your use of whole and natural ingredients.”
–Cincinnati Enquirer

Super Natural Cooking provides not just recipes and advice, but a new perspective on food and how to eat what you should.”
–Baltimore Sun

“At last a cookbook is coming that makes natural food appear glamorous and desirable.”
–UPI (United Press International) Eat to Live column

“[T]he book's layout is urbane, the photos lush, the recipes modern and sophisticated. The teff-and-tofu crowd, it seems, has gone high-gloss.”
–Houston Chronicle

From the Publisher

* An inspiringly stylish introduction to nutritional superfoods, with an emphasis on whole grains, natural sweeteners, healthy oils, and colorful phytonutrient-packed ingredients. * Features 80 recipes, a comprehensive pantry chapter, and 100 stunning full-color photos. * Shows how to build a whole-foods pantry with nutrition-rich ingredients like almond oil, pomegranate molasses, and mesquite flour--each explained in detail.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; First Edition edition (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587612755
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587612756
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

San Francisco-based photographer and cookbook author Heidi Swanson is the creator of the culinary blog 101 Cookbooks. She is the author of Super Natural Cooking, a James Beard Award-nominated cookbook focused on natural foods. She has been a contributor to and has also been featured in a wide range of national and international publications including Food & Wine, Fast Company, Glamour, Vegetarian Times, and the Washington Post.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

180 of 183 people found the following review helpful By H. Grove (errantdreams) TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
There are plenty of new products coming out to meet the demand of folks now eager to try the natural food movement, but it's hard to know how to use them well. Amaranth flour, buckwheat flour, brown rice syrup? Simply trying to substitute them into your favorite recipes rarely works--you need to know how to use them to their own best advantage, and that takes time, effort, and plenty of practice to work out.

Luckily, Heidi Swanson decided to start that process for us.

"Super Natural Cooking" is packed with information on how to best store, handle, and use all of the wonderful ingredients you'll find. You'll find out which all-natural sweeteners have a surprisingly low glycemic index, making them appropriate for diabetics and those worried about their blood sugar or carbohydrate intake. You'll learn how much of those exotic flours you can substitute, which recipe-types they work best in, and how to make sure their different characteristics don't cause your recipes to fail.

The recipes from this book more than prove Ms. Swanson's skill in the creative kitchen. One of the surest signs I've found of a brilliant cook over the years is the ability to take a few, often mild ingredients and turn them into something that is more than the sum of its parts--a wholly new and complex flavor. This she does easily with such recipes as a luscious fig spread that includes a bit of honey, lemon juice and black pepper. Then there's a curry noodle pot that yields new tastes in every delicious bite. I feared the seed-topped amaranth biscuits would be unduly heavy after feeling the texture of the dough, but they came out tender and wonderful, with an elusively delicious flavor I can only attribute to the amaranth flour.
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76 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Cathe VINE VOICE on May 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
"Super Natural Cooking" is an exciting and tasty introduction the world of whole foods. The book has an unusual arrangement. Rather than lumping appetizers, entrees, soups, salads, and desserts into sections - the book is rather arranged like a course on natural foods cooking. The book begins with instructions for building a natural foods pantry - what foods to include and what to avoid, including flours, oils, sweeteners, spices and seasonings.

Then she moves on to whole grains, beginning first with information about the different types of grains (helpful because many may be unfamiliar), she then moves on to recipes. There are baked goods like Seed-Crusted Amaranth Biscuits and Espresso Banana Muffins; soups like Toasted Wheat Germ Soup and Creamy Wild Rice Soup. The Spring Minestrone with Brown Rice made with fresh asparagus and snap peas has been a regular for us on Fridays when I get my box of produce from the local CSA. We also loved the Risotto-Style Barley made with crème fraiche and lemon zest.

Next, Swanson encourages us to "Cook by Color." This section is all about fruits and vegetables - brimming with essential phytonutrients (don't worry if you're not sure what they are, it's explained in the book.) Recipes include Baked Purple Hedgehog Potatoes (your kids will love these), Red Indian Carrot Soup, Curried Tofu Scramble, and Crema de Guacamole with Crunch Topopos.

If those foods weren't healthy enough, the next section teaches you to "Know Your Superfoods:" alliums, cruciferous vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, sea vegetables, sprouts, tea, and yogurt. Dishes include Beluga Lentil Crostini, Sprouted Garbanzo Burgers, and Golden Crusted Brussels Sprouts. My family absolutely loved the Creamy Cauliflower Soup.
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99 of 112 people found the following review helpful By Mpls real food lover on January 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, my title sums it up basically. First off, to give fair warning, I am not at all a vegetarian, though I do eat a "whole foods" diet, but one inspired by say, Alice Waters, or Sally Fallon, or Julia Child. I appreciate that the author does not promote low-fat vegetarian fare, as I don't believe the saturated fat hype, but was dissapointed by how sugar laden many of Heidi's recipes were. The photography is beautiful, stunning pictures make each page worth a peek even if you're not inclined to try the recipes. I wish that the recipes, in general, had less starches, sugar, and gluten-grains.
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61 of 72 people found the following review helpful By jobert on August 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've followed Heidi's blog via email updates for about a year now. I have made a few recipes from there, and I picked this book up at the library.

As other reviewers have noted, she has gorgeous photography, and her instructions are clear and helpful. She is artful in her use of the English language, I must say. She is my go-to source for tasty and creative vegetarian dishes. I should mention that I am not a vegetarian, although probably a third to half of the meals I eat each week are. (I did experiments with going veg that didn't work out for me, because I seem to really need animal protein to be healthy.) I do genuinely think veg food is tasty, but I don't think it is a healthy diet for everyone.

So why three stars?

-She stresses using organic, quality, whole ingredients. That is essential, in my mind, for healthful cooking.
-She doesn't stray from saturated fats. Thank goodness! I was so glad to see that Heidi isn't part of the anti-saturated fat campaign. If you are skeptical, and believe that saturated fats are terrible for you, google the "diet heart hypothesis" and "women's health initiative" and you will see that in the past few years, research studies are showing that a diet low in saturated fat actually doesn't reduce your risk of heart disease or cancer. Even more interesting is that the whole idea was built on shaky use of data to begin with. Google "Ancel Keys".
-Did I mention Heidi is an amazing photographer?? I want to eat the pictures.

-Heidi does a lot of innovative work, and these recipes are testament to that. However, some of her methods aren't based on traditional cooking techniques. For example, there is phytic acid in whole grain flour (wheat, rye, etc).
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