"To me," says chef-author Jesse Ziff Cool, "restaurants as well as home kitchens should be places where food is simply as pure as it can be, and always served with love." In Your Organic Kitchen
, Cool has culled 160 recipes from her 25 years in the restaurant business and from her food-loving family to share with the public. Cool is an unabashed believer in organically grown and raised foods: pure foods equal healthier bodies, she says, plus foods raised without pesticides or hormone enhancements simply taste better.
Cool divides her cookbook into eight seasons, distinguishing, for example, between the first juicy strawberries of early summer and the bounty of fresh tomatoes and peppers in midsummer. Each section contains recipes for appetizers, main and side dishes, and desserts. She balances savory vegetarian options like Roasted Root Vegetables with Apples and Mustard with nonvegetarian dishes like Lamb Burgers with Caramelized Shallots.
Clear and straightforward, many of the recipes contain ingredients that you will already have on hand or that are easily purchased at your local market. To help you build an organic kitchen, Cool gives suggestions on how to begin stocking your pantry with organic spices, pastas, and grains. Essays on organic farms and companies crop up throughout the book--although they read rather like product advertisements and would work better if simply represented in the list of organic food providers in the back of the book. While Your Organic Kitchen is intended for organic cooks, you can still make the recipes if you don't have all organic ingredients, and you should--these recipes are too delectable not to try. --Dana Van Nest
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From Publishers Weekly
In this easy-to-navigate cookbook, Ziff Cool, proprietor of jZcool restaurant in Palo Alto, Calif., and author of Breakfast in Bed, praises the flavor and health benefits of organic produce. A section titled "Why Organic?" explains that "before 1900, all food was organically grown," so the fad for heirloom tomatoes is really a return to the food-raising practices of centuries. Cool proudly relates that she raises chickens in the backyard of her suburban Palo Alto home, which is known as the best after-school-snack house among her son's friends. After the first two chapters, which explain how to shop for organic produce, readers may head straight for the closest co-op. However, recipes are organized into eight mini-seasons, so if you're wondering what you should do with those early springtime fresh strawberries, or those portobellos you impulsively bought, recipes such as Strawberry-Chocolate Cobbler and Stuffed Portobello Burgers, with easy instructions and tips, will help. There are also a number of meat and fowl dishes, including Port-Braised Lamb Shanks and Pork 'N' Pumpkin Noodles. Yet some recipes call for ingredients, such as chicken broth in Creamy Autumn Soup, that are not exactly fresh from the farmer's stall. The strongest points are fruit-based recipes and desserts, such as Persimmon-Berry Crisp and Rosemary Grilled Figs. If Cool had included more of the unusual vegetables and fruits that are now available at local farmers' markets, these recipes might have melded better with her laudable philosophy. Photographs by Lisa Koenig not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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