This intimidatingly beautiful book on low-fat spa cooking takes the chi-chi out of spa food and actually makes it accessible to the average cook. Although the easy-to-prepare recipes in Canyon Ranch Cooking
rely mostly on fresh produce and meats, Cook It Light
expert Jeanne Jones offers alternatives to and substitutes for ingredients you might not find during certain times of the year (such as frozen berries and vegetables in place of their fresh counterparts). Also, many of the recipes incorporate carbohydrates and grains such as pastas, white and brown rice, couscous, and bulgur, which are easier to find year-round. The tone of the book is not restrictive or didactic--Jones really wishes to make the food accessible and friendly, as well as healthful--and the language used is positive and intended to empower the cook both in building a low-fat pantry and in trying new cooking methods. In addition, calorie and nutrient analyses of each dish are provided with portion sizes that are realistic and possible to visualize.
Jones suggests using spices to add dimension to dishes and, from cooking a number of them, we would have to agree--main courses such as Turkey Meatloaf and Polenta Crusted Sea Bass were a little bland. However, the corn salsa that accompanied the sea bass jazzed it up a bit and made it taste both fresh and healthy. The Banana Bread and Fruit Muffins, both of which used whole-wheat flour and minimal oil, were low-fat hits with office tasters. Garbanzo Nuts, or oven-baked, spiced garbanzo beans, are the perfect mid-afternoon snack fix. The salad and dressing ideas are all zesty and quick to make, but finding the fresh ingredients could prove challenging for most of the year. With more than 200 wonderful recipe and menu ideas, the book could end up paying for itself in more healthful and flavorful meals than one could get dining out. The "Canyon Ranch Weekend at Home" ideas in the back of the book will inspire more than a weekend of pampering oneself and eating with one's health in mind. --Gilia Angell
From Publishers Weekly
Syndicated food columnist and menu designer for the upscale Canyon Ranch fitness resorts, the prolific Jones (Healthy Cooking for People Who Don't Have Time to Cook, etc.) offers well-flavored, healthful recipes. She restricts fat calories to about 20% and keeps careful tabs on protein-rich foods. The usual healthful helpers (e.g., defatted stocks, fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices) play major roles. Substitutes abound. Instead of the fatty avocado, asparagus and light sour cream make Canyon Ranch Guacamole. Nutritional breakdowns are given for all recipes, and Jones is a firm advocate of portion control. One pound of extra-lean ground round yields eight Canyon Ranch Burgers. Seared Ahi Tuna on Warm Potato and Leek Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing makes a fine luncheon. Fish 'n' Chips ingeniously dips fish in egg white, then in flour and bread crumbs before baking at 450 degrees. A spicy Indonesian Chicken with Grilled Bananas arouses the palate. There's also room for modestly sized Steak au Poivre and Osso Bucco. Desserts are either fruit-based, such as Pear in Phyllo, or pared-down fare like Chocolate Mocha Cheesecake made with light and nonfat cream cheese. This is an appealing collection for disciplined eaters, spiced with helpful tips that might inspire cooks to apply some of Jones's methods to their own recipes. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.