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The Healthy Hedonist: More Than 200 Delectable Flexitarian Recipes for Relaxed Daily Feasts Paperback – September 5, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It's not uncommon for people to call themselves vegetarian, only to say that they sometimes eat fish and maybe poultry. What they're probably really interested in is a healthful, well-rounded diet, making them "flexitarians," a growing group that Kornfeld (The Voluptuous Vegan) addresses in this winning cookbook. Pseudo-meat products (like tofu) are used sparingly, and dishes that do have them, such as Wilted Arugula with Braised Tempeh, Mango, and Red Onion, with its delightful intersections of salty and sweet, may conquer even their sworn enemies. Vegetarian offerings dominate, but there's a whole chapter on fish and chicken, which are generally simply prepared but then transformed by more complex sauces, as in the elegant Black Bass in Leek-Saffron-Tomato Broth. Kornfeld's instructions are fairly detailed, and helpful drawings illustrate some of the more difficult techniques, but many recipes can still demand time and patience. Cooks who are willing to put in the effort because they agree with Kornfeld about the need to get past fad diets and eat fresh, "unfussy" food will be thrilled with the possibilities this book provides for pleasing a variety of people and their different eating habits. (Sept.)
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About the Author

Myra Kornfeld is the author of The Voluptuous Vegan. She writes regularly for Vegetarian Times and has contributed recipes and articles to Natural Health and Organic Style. A veteran restaurant chef and private cook, she is an instructor at the Natural Gourmet Cookery School in New York City as well as at Sur La Table.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743255704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743255707
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #646,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Good food, good company, and a great conversation-and especially the three in combination-are among the greatest of life's pleasures. I like to help others create space for such joyful experiences in their lives.

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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I am a huge fan of Kornfeld's first cookbook, "The Voluptuous Vegan" so I was very excited to learn that she had a new book out. The second book is written more in the way I actually use the first book--with flexibility. I love the term "flexitarian" -- it really makes sense with the way most people I know eat. For example, using the "Voluptuous Vegan" book I might add ground turkey to the tofu lasagna or serve one of the vegetable dishes as a side for roast chicken. In "The Healthy Hedonist" Kornfeld provides fish and chicken recipes in addition to vegetarian fare and encourages the users to suit their own needs. I like the hedonist approach, I'm sick of special diets, mainly I just want to eat well and feel healthy. Kornfeld offers sensible suggestions such as purchasing organic produce when possible and exercising moderation rather than giving up foods you love.

I knew this book was a winner when I read the very first recipe (Sweet Potato-Red Pepper Spread). This is so easy to make and provides an exciting change from the pre-packaged Trader Joe's spreads I usually serve at dinner parties. Plus the leftovers made a great sandwich the next day. Many of the recipes in this new book are surprisingly simple which suits my chaotic lifestyle just fine. In addition to interesting recipes, Kornfeld provides a lot of information about cooking techniques, unusual foods, and flexible cooking styles. I didn't know that I could substitute coconut milk for cow's milk when baking, I tried it the other day with a tea cake and it came out great.

"The Healthy Hedonist" has just what I love in a cookbook: an interesting variety of recipes that are clearly explained and tasty, but that also inspire me to experiment and try my own combinations. This is the book I'll grab first when I'm not really sure what I want to cook but I know I want it to be fabulous!
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Format: Paperback
Once again, I was one of the lucky recipe testers for Myra Kornfeld for "The Healthy Hedonist". I LOVE this cookbook even more than her first (The Voluptuous Vegan).

The recipes are not only simple, nutritious, and delicious, they are fun to prepare.

The Sesame Tuna is out of this world and I have prepared this recipe again and again for my family. It's a House Favorite along with the Pecan Crusted Trout, Indonesian Corn Chowder, Braised Tempeh with Curried Coconut Sauce and the Tempeh Ruebens with Carmelized Onions. The side dishes are wonderful and so easy. I just made the Glazed Brussel Sprouts for dinner last night. Even my daughter who hates brussel sprouts will eat a few of these. ( I eat the rest.)

As for the desserts, I keep a stash of her Peanut Butter Cookies in my freezer, though they don't last long. Other must-try's are: Browned Butter Berry Galette, Sesame Biscotti, both of the Luscious Puddings, and Roasted Peaches with Caramel Sauce.

This cookbook stays on my bookstand in my kitchen because I use it all the time. It's also lovely to look at with the fantastic artwork on the cover.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book has easy, creative, and tasty recipes, with a heavy emphasis on Asian and Latino-inspired dishes. That means that if you are looking for basic middle-of-the road vegetarian or flexitarian recipes, like mac and cheese, look elsewhere.

You will also need access to well-stocked specialty markets, or resort to mail order if you live in areas of the country that have limited food market options. For example, the author uses a variety of grains, including millet and quinoa, instead of just brown rice. She flavors her dishes with curry powders and pastes, coconut oil, and brown rice syrup. She uses tempeh and whole grain pastas. The recipes are absolutely wonderful, and I finally stopped bookmarking because I had post-its on every page. My meat eating husband loves the Roast Chicken with Maple Glaze.

Please note: this book has NO photographs. If that's really important to you, consider checking it out from the library first, as I did. I loved it so much I ended up buying it.
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Format: Paperback
Unlike some reviewers, I wasn't familiar with Kornfeld's earlier cookbook. I saw 'The Healthy Hedonist' and decided that 14 people who gave this book 5 out of 5 stars couldn't possibly all be wrong. And they really weren't!
Since I got this cookbook I have made: Pineapple-Mango Salsa, Thai Jasmine Rice with Chinese Black Beans, Thai Tempeh Triangles, Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce, Spinach Tofu Wontons, Salmon Burgers with Cucumber-Mustard Sauce, Wild Mushroom Farro Risotto, Sancocho Stew, and Smokin' Drunken Chili.
I have to say that EVERYTHING I have made has been delicious! Not just good, but absolutely something I would feel comfortable serving any guest. I am amazed that Kornfeld was able to create a recipe (Wild Mushroom Risotto) that I loved as much as I did given that I don't even like mushrooms very much. That's how good she is. Some of the dishes are definitely a little time consuming, but for the most part they are actually fairly easy to throw together. Kornfeld includes some seafood and chicken dishes and also has recipes with optional dairy so that everyone (regardless of whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore) can be satisfied.
It's rare to find a cookbook where every dish you try is stellar. I have more cookbooks than I care to count, but this is one that I know I will come back to time and again.
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