Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Clean Food

Terry Walters believes that in order to nourish our bodies we should eat food as close to the natural source as possible. Her new cookbook, Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source with More Than 200 Recipes for a Healthy and Sustainable You,is being released today and illustrates her philosophy with delicious sounding recipes.

For the last couple of years I've personally decreased the amount of meat in my family's diet. At first I found it to be a challenge, now it feels ordinary. When I was offered Clean Food for review, I thought it sounded like a good fit for me. While we do eat plenty of vegetarian meals, it would be nice to sometimes eat even lower on the food chain, that is to say vegan, and I thought I could use some ideas.

I've only had a chance to try one recipe from Clean Food so far, that for Fruity Balsamic Vinaigrette and it is a winner. This vinaigrette is lighter than the usual salad dressing I prepare, the juices contained in it balance out the olive oil to create a wonderful dressing we all enjoyed. Other recipes that I haven't made yet but have marked to try include: Sesame Brussels Sprout Saute (you know how I love my brussels!), Crispy Chickpea Fritters, Millet Black Bean Patties with Corn, Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Guacamole (!!), Spiced Sweet Potato Fries, Sweet Dumpling Squash with Orange Scented Quinoa Stuffing, and Wild Rice Pilaf. I could go on.

While many of the recipes use ingredients that are common in my kitchen, there are ingredients that are new to me as well such as sea vegetables, various condiments (that frankly, I've seen at the store and always wondered about), and different types of flours, grains, and beans. Walters often uses kombu, a sea vegetable when cooking grains or beans. She writes that it adds minerals and tenderizes legumes. I'd heard about kombu before, but have finally been inspired to buy some and will try it the next time I cook a pot of beans.

I noticed early on that the recipes didn't contain wheat -I wondered why- then Walters mentioned that one her children had sensitivities to wheat, corn, soy, and dairy. It all made sense to me then, and I realized what a great resource this book could be for families with similar food allergies. There are loads of yummy sounding desserts in the book that are dairy-free, gluten-free, you name it. These sorts of recipes are a God-send for families that struggle with what to prepare for allergic children.

If you're interested in Clean Food, I suggest checking out Terry's website. There is more information about Terry's philosophy about food and cooking as well as fun videos of her cooking and shopping.

Many thanks to Megan with Sterling Publishing for sending me Clean Food for review.


Ti said...

Because of some health isssues of late I have been forced to eat clean and I have to say, it has helped quite a bit and I DO feel better overall. I have tried to work it into my family's meals as well and they haven't complained yet. This might be a good book for me to try.

bermudaonion said...

I agree with the author - I prefer foods close to the natural source too. I could easily go without meat, but whenever I prepare a vegetarian meal, my husband always asks me where the meat is. This sounds like a great cookbook.

Eva said...

This sounds awesome! I loved eating vegan; I only stopped when I found out I had a gluten allergy, because I felt completely disoriented. But I'd like to get back to eating vegan when I figure out what works for me. :)

JoAnn said...

This sounds really good but, like Kathy, my husband would miss the meat. I've never heard of kombu, but am intrigued by the recipes you've marked to try. Hope you'll be reporting back on some of them!

Nan said...

If you make the chickpea fritters or the millet black bean burgers, please post the recipe and how you liked them! (the word verification was 'mantrap!')

Nan said...

Me, again. I'm always fascinated at the number of women who say they could happily be vegetarians but that their husbands wouldn't want to go without meat. It baffles me. What is it about men and meat?

Staci said...

Sounds good. My niece is a recent vegan and this may be a good book to buy for her step-mom to help incorporate some other dishes into the meal.

Tara said...

Ti, sorry that you were forced into this diet, but I'm glad you are feeling good! This may be a good book for you to check out.

Kathy, I do too, for the most part. My husband has become more okay with the veg thing (not every day!).

Eva, I was TOTALLY thinking of you when I read this book, b/c I knew you had gone Vegan. But you know what, this would really be perfect for you if you need to be gluten free. The author uses all sorts of alternative flours and grains. Check it out!

JoAnn, I thought my husband would be the same way but he is okay eating veg some of the time. I mean, he doesn't miss meat when I give him pasta with marinara sauce, and then I just went from there.

Nan, I will let you know about those recipes for sure- don't they sound good. I don't know what it is with men and meat. I've been feeding my guy veg meals 2-3 times a week for awhile now, and sometimes he still says 'where's the meat' - he's kidding and thinks he's funny - and wants to see me roll my eyes - but I don't think he's 100% kidding! I think it's worth trying though and that many people would be suprised what their families would eat if only given the chance. My daughter is growing up thinking it's totally normal not to eat meat every day, to eat fish, to eat beans, to eat salad for dinner with hummus and my husband is fine with it too. Also it helps that I've forbidden him to complain in front of her! Hehe.

Staci, it would be great for your niece! Good idea.

Les said...

I saw this book when it came into the store. It looks good, but I wish it had photographs! I do so much better with cookbooks when I can see what the end result is going to look like. Helps me know if it's something I'd like.

We're eating less and less red meat (maybe once a week now), but still have chicken or fish on the other nights. My husband doesn't mind skipping the beef, but he does like to have something other than veggies and grains.

Thanks for the review, Tara. I'll have to look up the Fruity Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe tomorrow. Sounds delicious!

Tara said...

Les, I also wish there were photographs included in this book. I am definitely more likely to make a new dish if I can see it first.

Sunshine said...

I just came across "Clean Food" book and haven't read it.. and I just found your blog, too.
Just wondering, where is Terry Walters from? I see that you are from Minnesota, as we are.
Eat local in MN would have to mean giving up most fruits because they don't grow here. What do you think? PS ... I love pineapple!