This wide-ranging recipe collection promises an array of health benefits from an organic, mostly vegetarian diet.
Taking its place in a long line of books trying to convince home cooks to eat healthier, this book offers 300 recipes based largely on fruits, vegetables and seafood, with no butter, red meat or poultry. The mix of recipes includes a good variety of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and side dishes, many that serve two diners. The truth is that there’s no trick to cooking with organic foods; eating “organic” is in the shopping, not the cooking. The authors insist, however, that the recipes have been tested with organic ingredients and will yield different results if prepared with conventional foods. True believers in organic food won’t need convincing, but those on the fence won’t find any scientific evidence in the book to back up its many scientific-sounding health claims. Beyond health benefits, the authors also call their approach “gourmet,” a debatable claim for the food combinations here. Mango, kiwi, star fruit, maple syrup and cinnamon frequently appear in the book’s savory dish recipes—not in salsas, chutneys or salads, but in scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes and stuffed mushroom tops. Most seafood recipes in the book call for cheese of some sort, including scallops boiled in a blended mixture of maple syrup, mango, apple, star fruit, soy cream cheese and rice cream cheese, and then tossed with egg noodles and chunks of provolone. Many recipes simply don’t work: It’s nigh impossible to brown onion rings by starting them in cold oil mixed with maple syrup, then turning up the heat. Other recipes leave out crucial amounts: Just how much applesauce, ginger, coconut oil, sesame oil and maple syrup does one mix together before boiling cauliflower in it? It’s one thing to say “salt and pepper to taste” (actually, most recipes here eschew salt in favor of commercial spice blends), it’s quite another to leave cooks guessing at whether the intention is a dry curry or a soup.
Sincerity of purpose yet unpalatable.