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The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health: More Than 200 New Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes for Delicious and Nutrient-Rich Dishes Paperback – Nov 3 2009
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About the Author
The Moosewood Collective has nineteen members who share responsibilities and participate in the various jobs necessary to run what has grown from a very small natural foods restaurant to a larger and more diversified company. Most members of the Collective have worked together for at least 15 years, and some have worked for the restaurant since it was founded in 1973. The Moosewood Collective is the recipient of three James Beard Awards and numerous nominations. Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health is its twelfth book.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
The Moosewood Collective has written a dozen cookbooks filled with recipes for flavorful, interesting vegetarian food from soups to desserts. We've covered quick and easy meals and cooking for celebrations. One of our books is about the world of ethnic cuisines; another teaches you how to cook from your own kitchen garden. Many of our early recipes are loaded with cheese, and one of our most popular cookbooks is all about low-fat fare. Sometimes we think we've said everything we have to say, but then we find new ingredients, new cuisines, and new information, and ultimately we find we have new perspectives. Today we want freshness and integrity of ingredients. Our food must be attractive and delicious, but we also want it to contribute to good health. Really, we want it all.
We read and hear a lot about nutrition. We are bombarded with information on food, and the media definition of healthful food changes from week to week. Bits of nutritional information can be blown out of proportion, taken out of context, or viewed in isolation without considering the complexity of interactions in the body. Sometimes studies are poorly interpreted in the media. Too much of what we learn comes from advertising. Sometimes it seems that we receive more nutritional advice (and some of it contradictory) than we can process.
However, science continues to advance. New and better findings supplant the old, and nutritional recommendations change. So we are careful to heed only the advice of reputable sources, and we deliberate and then proceed with caution before changing our eating habits or making recommendations of our own.
One thing we know is that the surest source of nutritious and delicious food is your own kitchen. And we've noticed that all the experts we trust agree on a few things: eat more plant foods -- fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds; avoid processed foods, refined sugars and carbohydrates, additives and preservatives; cut back on fats, especially trans fats and saturated fats. Many essential vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients are found abundantly -- sometimes exclusively -- in the plant world, and most people will be healthier longer if they pack their diets with plant foods. Well, that's what we're good at. Moosewood has been focused on making delicious vegetarian whole foods for years.
Judging by our customers' questions and requests, and by scanning the magazine covers while waiting in the supermarket checkout line, we think our health concerns are probably similar to yours: achieving wellness, enhancing fitness, maintaining a healthy weight, and managing chronic illness with a conscious diet.
Most people are aware of the role food plays in good health -- the five-a-day message has been heard -- yet it is believed that fewer than a third of Americans come close to this goal. Newer guidelines from the National Cancer Institute call for seven servings of fruit and vegetables a day for women and nine a day for men. Oldways recommends twelve servings of antioxidant-rich foods a day. It seems that although we acknowledge the nourishing and healing powers of plant foods, most of us still need help getting enough vegetables and fruits into our diets to enjoy these positive effects.
There are a number of things we've kept in mind while creating recipes for this book. First of all, we want to cook with real, whole, natural foods, and we want to avoid processed and refined ingredients. So we started with the basics: whole grains rather than refined grains; olive oil instead of the "bad" fats; sweetness from the fruits and vegetables themselves; and lots and lots of dark green, red, orange, yellow, purple, and blue. We've included refined carbohydrates and sugars in scant amounts only or not at all, and we've completely avoided the "white foods": white bread, white pasta, white rice, and white potatoes. Not all fruits and vegetables are created equal, it turns out; some are phytonutrient superstars. So we looked for new ways to use blueberries, sweet potatoes, kale, seaweed, cherries, nuts, and pomegranates.
Then we looked at cooking techniques. We played with all of the methods the kitchen has to offer -- steaming, sautéing, roasting, baking, braising, grilling, boiling, simmering, and stewing -- to come up with healthier ways to prepare some of our old favorites. Healthier not only in terms of our bodies, but also better for the environment. For example, we've baked tofu in the oven for years. That's fine when it's cold out and the heat from the oven helps warm the house or when the oven is on anyway for some other dish. But what about when it's hot out and the house needs to be cooled down, not heated up? In this book, we have several recipes for stove-top tofu, like Pomegranate-glazed Tofu, that cook more quickly over direct heat, using less energy.
We also explored some of the intriguing ways to prepare raw "living" food dishes, such as Winter Squash "Rice Mexicali"; and we came up with more healthful but still satisfying ways to attain certain qualities. For example, we thickened creamy Watercress and Cauliflower Soup with cauliflower rather than potatoes or a flour-and-fat roux, and we made a delicious Sweet Potato Pie lighter by whipping the egg whites and using buttermilk.
Another way to make a dish more healthful is to reverse the usual proportions of ingredients, adding more vegetables than usual and maybe less cheese or eggs. For example, we've been making our Pasta with Broccoli for a long time but it has evolved over the years; now it probably ought to be called Broccoli with Pasta. The pasta is whole wheat and there's just enough olive oil and cheese to make it flavorful with a good mouth feel.
It also occurred to us to boost the nutrition in some dishes by tucking in a couple of little extras not strictly necessary in the recipe. For instance, our Breakfast Muffins are made with whole wheat flour, oat bran, and fruits, and are further enhanced with a little wheat germ or flaxseeds. For more protein, we added edamame (fresh green soybeans) to a classic stir-fry of noodles with vegetables and tofu and called it Three-Soy Sauté with Soba.
Our primary inspiration all along at Moosewood Restaurant has been ethnic grainbased cuisines that are low in saturated fats and high in plant foods. The traditional bean and corn dishes of Latin America, vegetable stews of West Africa, and tofu and vegetable sautés of Asia are all brimming with nutritious vegetables. Sometimes we adjust these dishes to accommodate ingredients that are close at hand, and sometimes we tinker with the traditional recipes and cooking methods to make them vegetarian, quicker, easier, lower in fat, or just plain tastier. Our fascination with both traditional ethnic foods and the multicultural synthesis of eclectic dishes is represented in foods as diverse as Quinoa Tabouli, New World Pizza, Thai Red Curry, Tempeh Bourgignon, and Mushroom Barley "Risotto."
We've included information we came upon in answering our own questions: Why are whole grains so much better than refined ones? What are phytonutrients? Which fats and oils are more nutritionally beneficial? Shouldn't our interest in healthful eating go beyond what's on the plate to the relationships among food, sustainable farming practices, and the environment? Is it more important to choose organic food or locally grown food?
It's a great time to eat well. Farmers' markets filled with local and organic vegetables are sprouting up everywhere, and supermarkets are spilling over with whole grain choices, bigger and better produce sections, and a variety of more healthful convenience foods.
Cooking for both health and pleasure has made creating this, our twelfth cookbook, a wonderful experience. What always remains fresh and constant is the joy we find in cooking and delight in eating. And now, we can't imagine separating the enjoyment of food from its healthfulness. Eating well feels good. Copyright © 2009 by Moosewood, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Cooking for Health has loads of nutritional information at the beginning of the book. It's followed by cooking methods, then the recipes. It's your typical all-around cookbook with chapters on: Breakfast, Eggs, Appetizers, Salads, Soups, Sandwiches, Burgers, Stir-frys & Sautes, Tofu, Savory Pastries, Beans, Pasta, Stews, Veganism, Raw Foods, Grains, Side Veggies and Desserts.
I cook a lot, and own a selection of quality cookbooks. After buying this cookbook and making some of the recipes, I now use this as my Go-To cookbook. I've made the Savory Asparagus and Mushroom Bread Pudding, Pasta with Broccoli and Thai Red Curry. They all came out so delicious, my husband and I loved them. The Asparagus and Mushroom bread pudding was only 222 calories per serving too! It certainly didn't taste like a low calorie dish, and I can't wait to make it again.
My favorite things about the Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health are the "extras" given for each recipe. They describe each recipe at the beginning, plus give variations, helpful suggestions, and serving ideas. The serving ideas can be food-related, or enhance the visual presentation.
This is the kind of cookbook you can take to bed and read, or just start cooking with. The ingredient lists are not overly lenghty, nor are the instructions for cooking. Every recipe lists "Hands-on Time" and "Baking Time" so you know how long a recipe takes and can plan accordingly.
Each recipe has a nutritional breakdown consisting of Calories, Protein, Carbohydrate, Dietary Fiber, Total Fat, Saturated Fat, Monounsaturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. Also listed is the total number of servings, plus the volume yield, so you can easily dole out proper portion servings if you're watching your weight.
The cookbook has vegetarian, vegan and raw selections to choose from. They also give variations on some vegetarian recipes to make them vegan. (But if you're vegan, you often know how to adjust recipes your own way too.) The recipes also come with "Serving and Menu ideas" which can be suggestions on food pairings, or adjusting a lighter meal to make it heartier.
The one change I'd like to see with any Moosewood cookbook is photos. I understand that Moosewood likes to keep their style, but I'm one of those people who loves photos of food.
What I really like about this cookbook goes beyond the recipes (and I'll get to that next). The layout, often forgotten by cookbook publishers, is an important part about using cookbooks. Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health goes a very long way toward making cooking easier for its readers. The ingredients are set aside in a pleasingly shaded box and the ingredients themselves are bolded. These are important elements for folks who may have the book resting in another part of kitchen while cooking and have to run back and forth to the book to see what comes next.
Importantly, the ingredients are presented in the order in which they are used. Don't laugh! Some books forget about this and make it hard for cooks to deal. Also, very important, most of the recipes are very simple, and the directions are limited to one side of an open spread. I find that very useful. One of the design flaws that bugs me the most is running the recipe to a turned page (especially during a portion of the recipe that requires care).
The recipe pages also include the very handy nutritional information (calories, serving size, fat, etc.). Additionally, swap-outs and other recipe suggestions are included.
OK, now for the recipe info. I tried out the Apple-Blueberry Crumble on page 316. It is very easy to make, and I even added pumpkin and sesame seeds to the crumble topping to customize it. It came out perfectly, and didn't take longer than the projected baking/hands-on times listed at the top of the recipe (another great feature of the book).
I'm looking forward to working my way through the recipes as I have done with other Moosewood books. I recommend it for new and experienced healthy eaters interesested in changing up some classics as well as learning a wide variety of new recipes.
I follow a whole-foods approach to cooking and eating, with lots of fresh veggies, whole grains, legumes, and other natural proteins (tofu and tempeh). This particular Moosewood iteration, Cooking for Health, is a great fit for me because it is entirely whole foods-based and very healthy. There are no faux meats or heavy cheese sauces, but there are tons of veggies, which I love. I feel great eating the recipes out of this cookbook and never have to compromise on nutritive quality, because it incorporates foods that I already eat in ways that are inspired, wholesome, and delectable. The recipes let the true flavors of the food shine through while being complimented -- not overpowered -- by spices, herbs, and aromatics. Additionally, many of the recipes in this cookbook take 30-35 minutes, with most clocking in at an hour or less.
Here are the recipes I've made:
1. Greek Lentil Burgers: Good. Relatively easy to make, yet somewhat bland-tasting when the recipe is followed exactly. This recipe actually calls for eggs as a binding agent, but we used Ener-G egg replacer. As my husband, who is also vegan, and I were making these burgers, he didn't like the flavor until we added some Bragg's and vegan Worcestershire sauce to the mix. Might make again.
2. Tempeh-Quinoa Burgers: Wow, excellent. Easy to make, great tasting, super healthy, and filling. Cooked sweet potatoes are used as the binder, so this recipe is straight-up vegan. Would make again.
3. Broccoli Rabe with Beans: Very good. I loved this one! So simple and quick, yet so flavorful and nutritious. Would make again.
4. Spanikopita: Bland, but with lots of potential; tasted better the next day as leftovers. Surprisingly easy to make, although time-consuming because of all the prep work. This recipe incorporates TONS of greens (two bunches each of kale and spinach), which we loved. We subbed one block of extra firm tofu for the crumbled neufchatel/feta cheese the recipe calls for. Will probably make again but will add more tofu (two blocks) and some Bragg's to the greens before wrapping them up in the phyllo dough.
5. Mushroom, Peanut, Tofu Stew with Greens: Very good; hearty and flavorful. Thick enough to be used as a "curry" and served over rice. Both hubz and I enjoyed this one with no changes to the recipe. Would make again.
6. Deconstructed Japanese Lunchbox Salad: Excellent. This dish was surprisingly filling, considering it's basically salad greens, brown rice, tofu, and some veggies. We liked this recipe with no alterations. Would make again.
7. Latin Corn Soup: Slightly eccentric but very good. Another hearty and flavorful dish with tons of veggies. We ate this with no changes to the recipe. Might make again.
8. Adzuki Bean and Spinach Soup: Average. Kind of plain; better once we added some Bragg's and cracked pepper. Probably would not make again.
9. Greek Tomato-Yogurt Soup: Very good. We easily substituted soy yogurt (instead of dairy) and used fresh tomatoes instead of canned. I also added a few avocado chunks for color, although the recipe doesn't call for it. I really enjoyed this soup, but hubz didn't like it so much; said it reminded him of gazpacho (which I love and he dislikes). Would make this again for myself.
10. Italian Lentils: Amazing. This dish is so hearty and delicious, and it can feed 8 people (or more) if you serve it with a grain (we like it with millet). We have since made this dish three more times, changing the recipe only to add zucchini.
This cookbook is huge: 300 pages of recipes, not including the introduction or the index (350 pages total). It's arranged in a typical way, beginning with breakfast and baked goods (none of which are vegan except for the Vegan Cornbread), eggs, appetizers, salads, and soups. It then moves into more main-dish chapters like burgers, stir-fries, casseroles, beans, and pasta. Finishing the cookbook are chapters on side vegetables and then desserts. About 70% of the desserts are straight-up vegan.
Strangely, there is a separate chapter on stews that was placed a full 130 pages past the soup chapter. Maybe this is standard cookbook organization, but I found it inconvenient that soups and stews were not even placed in chapters adjacent to each other. If I'm in the mood for soup, I would also be interested in stews and would love to find them all in one go. Personal preference, I guess!
There are brief commentaries throughout the book that discuss the glycemic index, fats and oils, phytonutrients, antioxidants, seaweed, legumes, veganism, raw foods, sugars, etc. These vignettes would be most informative for the beginning vegetarian or whole foods cook; and while I found them interesting, there wasn't a whole lot I didn't already know.
Other than the placement of the stews chapter, my only other gripe with this cookbook is the lack of labeling. The vegan recipes aren't labeled as such in the table of contents, in the index, or on the recipe pages themselves. This likely won't be a problem for non-vegans; but if Moosewood had had the foresight to simply add the letter "V" (or "V option") to denote vegan (option) recipes, it would have saved me, and doubtless many other vegan readers, tons of time.
So exactly how vegan is this cookbook?
Roughly 60% of the book's recipes are straight-up vegan, with absolutely no substitutions or omitting of any ingredients. Another 10% of the recipes call for dairy ingredients but are veganized with minimal effort without drastically changing the flavor or nutrient profile of the dish -- like subbing for milk, butter, or mayonnaise, or omitting a negligible amount of shredded cheese as garnish. These two categories (vegan and easily veganized) are what I consider, for my own purposes, to be "usable" recipes, and they make up about 70% of the book.
Another 15% of the recipes have dairy ingredients that would take more effort to substitute, like eggs in baked goods (should I use flax? banana? Ener-G?). And finally, another 15% of the recipes call for dairy ingredients that, if omitted or subbed, would drastically change the flavor of a dish or render it totally unrecognizable. These two types of recipes are in my "throw away" category, when subbing is just not worth it. Luckily, vegans will still get about 140 usable recipes out of this cookbook -- not too shabby. However, had I not gotten this cookbook through the Vine program, I don't honestly think that I would purchase it. (Why would I, when I could just buy one of the hundreds of amazing vegan cookbooks already out there and not have to worry about substitutions?)
So, in short, although vegans may prefer to stick to strictly vegan cookbooks, I think that this Moosewood iteration would be a great resource for those who enjoy a whole foods-based, vegetarian cooking style and are looking for a huge collection of healthy recipes.
People who choose this type of cookbook are likely to be well versed in their food choices. There are brief sections on an assortment of things such as "Pesticide Levels in Fresh Produce," organics, antioxidants, a discussion about the inclusion of fish in the diet (not for vegans), seaweeds, sugars and things purchasing locally grown foods. The recipes are very easy to follow and I especially like the boxed section with needed ingredients. I also was impressed with "Guide to Ingredients" which briefly discusses many, but not all of the ingredients used in the book. For example: "FENNEL, FRESH Fresh fennel bulb is a curious-looking vegetable: a large, white bulbous bottom with long stalks of feathery fronds. The bulb has an anise-like flavor and crunchy texture."
Types of recipes included:
* Breakfast & Baked Goods
* Appetizers, Sauces & More
* Stir-Frys & Sautés
* Savory Pastries, Stuffed Vegetables, Casseroles & More
* Raw Food
* Side Vegetables
No cookbook is going to satisfy everyone, but I think this one will provide enough recipes to keep a household satisfied and eating healthy meals. I read a lot of the recipes to my son and he was very interested in taking a look. If one recipe can satisfy an extremely picky eater, this cookbook is a definite winner!
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