Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Healthy Hedonist

About a month ago, I picked up a copy of "The Healthy Hedonist" by Myra Kornfeld at our local used bookstore. It's a "flexitarian" cookbook - with some dairy and even chicken and fish recipes... so I wasn't sure if I wanted to bother buying it. But Kornfeld wrote "Voluptuous Vegan," which is one of my true favorite cookbooks. So I decided to give it a go.

Well! I have been having more fun with this book. The recipes are truly varied, and are really wonderful: nutritious, different, unique flavors, interesting ingredients, and fun to make. You may have noticed that many of the dishes I made for my Olympic potluck party were from this book... but I've made more than just those. Here are some of the great meals I've made since discovering my love for this cookbook:

My basil plants in the garden were on the verge of going to seed, so I tore out two of them and made a double batch of "Basil Pesto." I saved enough for dinner and froze the rest into ice-cube sized servings. After they were frozen I dropped them all in a zip lock bag in the freezer. This way we can look forward to a little taste of summer in the dead of winter!

With the rest, I made pasta with summer vegetables. No recipe required. Italian food is pretty much home turf for me. Within the realm of Italian flavors, I can always come up with something reliably tasty, though rarely innovative. This is lightly sauteed broad beans, summer squash, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes with pesto. Musty is usually a pesto hater (what's that all about!?), but even he enjoyed this dinner.

This is the "Seven-Vegetable Moroccan Stew" with homemade Harissa. Great big chunks of flavorful veggies with a pleasant - but not overwhelming - heat punch. I made a half batch of the harissa, and still have some in the fridge... I wonder what I"ll do with it!

"Beet, Tomato, and Watermelon Salad with Caramelized Onions." With a name like that, I just had to try this one. I pretty much never make salads from recipes, but this seemed like something I would never come up with. And, really really beautiful too!

This is the Glazed Tofu version of the "Asian Chicken Salad with Watercress". Wow! This meal was a serious winner. We ate the whole thing! The tofu was quick, easy, and totally delicious. The peppery watercress with the sweet-hot tofu glaze and the sesame-Asian dressing was a marvelous combo. I especially love when a cookbook guides me to use flavors and ingredients that I wouldn't have used otherwise. This was probably only my second time buying watercress, but it won't be the last! In all, I think I've already used at least 4 new ingredients that I hadn't ever used before cracking open this cookbook. How cool.

mmmmmmm. Loved it! "Thai Baked Tempeh" took about 3 minutes of effort and 45 minutes of oven time. The two "Thai Double Dynamite" sauces were easy and delicious. I made a 1/3 recipe of the Yellow Pepper-Coconut Sauce and a 1/2 recipe of the Spinach-Basil sauce. For these two sauces I bought some beautiful, multicolored Thai Chilis at the farmers' market - another new ingredient! The baked tempeh was easy and delicious, but with the two sauces, it's a real hit out of the ball park. Totally stunning and new.

Because tempeh chunks alone do not a meal make, I also made up the "Indonesian Corn Chowder" - with fresh goodies from the farmy market of course. With flavors of jalepeno, lemongrass, and ginger, this soup had the thick comfort of traditional corn soup - but with more kick and flair. Most certainly I will make this again.

So, all in all, you can see that I like this book a lot. I'm so grateful for delicious recipes with interesting flavor profiles and textures. The recipes are mindful of nutrition, but never at the taste of flavor or presentation. Everything I've made so far has been delicious, nutritious, and beautiful. Right on!

18 comments:

  1. What a great book, indeed!!

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  2. The author of that book was on "Morning Living" on the SIRIUS Martha Stewart Channel the other day, and I thought it sounded like a neat book. You can always veganize the meat recipes.

    That tempeh looks fantastic! I love stuff with sauces!

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  3. I adore corn chowder! Yum yum yum. And pesto = love.

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  4. Everything looks delicious, but I am especially intrigued by the watercress and tofu salad... Mmm!!

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  5. I have some non-veg books that I still love and will keep but I have unloaded many of the most err...meaty books on bookins.com

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  6. Such wonderful looking meals! Great idea about the pesto. I am thinking about jarring my own tomatoes so I can have fresh tomatoes in the winter..not the watery yucky kind we usually get in the winter.

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  7. I'm not ashamed to say that i totally love this cookbook. My favorite part is the menus in the back- makes me want to throw a ton of differently themed dinner parties! That salad looks especially scrumptious.

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  8. Wow! I can't believe all of the meals you've cooked up lately. They each look so delicious. I'm glad you're enjoying the Health Hedonist so much!

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  9. I love when cookbooks encourage me to find new ingredients! this one sounds like a winner, cause all the food you've been making looks great, too (especially those thai sauces, oooh!)

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  10. Anonymous3:30 PM

    Wow, the Thai tempeh and sauces & the corn chowder look particularly amazing. Looks like I am going to buy this book (I checked it out from the library awhile back and copied a few recipes, but now it's "missing").

    The basil pesto reminds me -- A couple times this summer I have made the pesto recipe from one of your holiday cookbooks that includes zucchini. Seriously yummy & a good way to use some of the garden zucchini!

    :) Jen E.

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  11. I've never heard of a pesto hater!!

    All your dishes look so good. I hadn't heard of that cookbook but it looks like one I need to purchase.

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  12. How wonderfully refreshing to see recipes out of something other than the overused, over-hyped "top 5" of the vegan world... these look absolutely fantastic and SOO colorful and delicious.

    Nice!

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  13. Oh man, everything sounds SO good!

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  14. I could bathe in pesto and be happy to smell like garlic and keep everyone at bay...oh yeah. lovely & appetite-inducing pictures!

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  15. everything looks so good! much like celine, I wouldn't be averse to bathing in some pesto...

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  16. Wow, everything looks so beautiful and tasty. Thanks for telling us about this cookbook!

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  17. Wow, that is a lot of food! I do the same with freezing my pesto, and it really is refreshing and invigorating to dip into that stash in the middle of winter. But wait, how could someone not like pesto?? Amazing... And that watermelon salad intrigues me.

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  18. Ooh, now I like this book a lot too. I'm going to have to find it. Thanks for sharing.

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