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Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen Paperback – April 5, 2011
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I don't know who she is trying to reach here. You would expect that most people who follow food blogs and know of her would know some basics about cooking, yet she has some pages devoted to things that quite frankly I find condescending. Recipes for fruit salad, pita chips and egg salad seem a waste of space, not to mention pages devoted to making rice, whipped cream, tea (tea! as in boil water - add tea - steep) and compound butter. The two pages devoted to how to poach an egg are kind of insulting. To me. Not to everyone.
That's my problem with the book. I cook a lot. I follow the food blogs too get inspiration and to get some recipes without having to buy the newest cookbooks. I know basic techniques. I figure other people who follow her blog (the people I imagine she hopes will buy this book) would, too. Or at least they have demonstrated their ability to look things up on the internet - google how to poach an egg if you must.
These basic techniques seem more silly when you consider her fancy-pants ingredients lists. "I shop alongside some of the best chefs in the city ..." If you can't poach an egg or cook rice, are you really using harissa and membrillo?
I bought this book thinking it would be a nice inspiration for summer veggies. But this is a pantry-heavy cookbook. Yes, its vegetarian, but it is what my husband calls "roly-poly vegetarian." Lots of beans and pasta and potatoes. There are at least ten recipes that basically dress up a pound of store-bought pasta or a 15oz can of beans.Read more ›
Most of us wear about 10% of what is in our closet...same with cooking--we make a handful of our favorites over and over again. For this book, Swanson recorded her everyday meals for a couple of years and voila--simple and delicious dishes to enjoy daily.
The book surprises with unexpected pairings like potato salad with tofu. I tried and loved the fennel salad, which features paper-sliced thin ingredients....A simple recipe like the chickpea wrap in whole wheat Lavash flatbread was yummy (I happened to have the bread and other ingredients on hand and made it impulsively...Yum!)
To Swanson, natural food cooking means an abundance of fruits and veggies--local (and organic) whenever possible. Living in San Francisco, she is able to take advantage of the abundance of fresh produce and food from farmer's markets. However, as the popularity of local food grows, many of us can do the same.
Swanson loves to cook with whole grains--I discovered you can actually buy frozen wild or brown rice--but don't bother...whole grains take up to an hour to cook, but need no attention once they have boiled. And, if you are not familiar with wild or brown rice, farro, wheat berries and other whole grains, you are in for a treat!
You don't have to be a vegetarian to love this book--it is literally filled with healthy and interesting recipes that anyone would love! Plus, if you do eat meat and are looking for ways to cut down, this book is a terrific starting point.
Norma Lehmeier Hartie, author of Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify & Energize Your Life, Your Home & Your Planet
But by making several of them I've learned Heidi LOVES her salt, garlic, onions, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Many recipes call for generous amounts of one or more of these. Sometimes a little too generous, in my opinion.
One that especially comes to mind is the Broccoli Gribiche recipe. It calls for TWO whole shallots(flavor is like a combo of garlic and onion), and a half a cup olive oil in the dressing! And mind you that's after baking the broccoli and potatoes in several tbsp's of it. I found out the hard way that is MUCH too much of both ingredients. Our dinner that night was hot bowls of greasy heartburn.
Never one to give up on the first try, I scaled back the shallots to HALF of a small one, and the oil to a 1/3. The result was delish and is now a family favorite. It just needed some tweaking, like many of them.
This is not a book you can go to expecting every recipe to turn out perfectly by just following the recipes to the letter. You'll probably have to cut way back on or add more of ingredients in every one. Sometimes you'll have to cook things for longer or for a shorter span of time. If you don't mind doing that and you like somewhat plainer dishes (you won't find many unusual or exotic flavors here) you might still like this.
Some other weak points I should mention are some downright silly filler recipes - 'How to boil/poach eggs', 'How to make tea', 'how to make egg salad sandwiches' and 'how to roast strawberries'. Really? -.-
The 'dessert' section is joke, and you won't find much more than hippie-dippie stuff like granola, oatmeal bars and fruit salads.
All that being said however, if you want this book and don't mind a little extra effort go for it, there are some real gems in here.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I picked this up at a thrift store for $2. As a 20 year vegetarian, I was hoping to get a few new inspirational recipes. This book delivered more than that! Read morePublished 13 days ago by Lisa Marie
This is the best cookbook I've ever had! I'm usually against owning cookbooks bc I only use a few recipes when all is said and done but I've made tons of recipes outbid this book... Read morePublished 14 days ago by Retro Prep
This book strikes the nearly impossible to find balance between simple, flavorful, and healthy. Some reviewers have complained about the amount of oil called for - but this usually... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kryssa Bates-Perón
This is one of the rare cookbooks I've cooked most of the way through and return to often. Thoughtful, healthy vegetarian fare, with the warmth and innovation we are accustomed to... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Carrie Havranek O'Keefe