on "Super Natural Cooking"

Okay. i’m jumping on that bandwagon. I just love this book.

I’ve talked about this before, and it’s a good read and it makes a lot of sense, especially to people like me who are trying to be careful of how much crap they ingest. Things like being aware of how much high fructose corn syrup is in every day packaged foods. Scary, really.

The one thing that worried me about the book after i bought it and waited for amazon to ship it is that i thought it would preach to no end about the merits of vegetarianism. And i am no vegetarian, although I can go days or weeks without eating meat; and in fact when i lived in Savannah i don’t think i ate meat for months at a time, but that was mostly because i was flat broke. So anyway, i had a sneaking suspicion that this book would be riddled with Meat Is Murderisms, but I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t. it’s the kind of book for a person like me, who eats mostly vegetarian meals at lunch (that i make myself), who doesnt really eat meat unless she’s eating dinner with her husband. And most of the dishes in the book can be served as a side to a meat entree.

To be frank, i’ve never been much of a label reader. That is until several months ago, when i read the side of a yoplait container (i won’t fall back into that I Make My Own Yogurt spiel, because i’ve already talked about that). But with more and more grocery stores here starting their own line of organic foods (Publix has “Greenwise”, and Giant Supermarkets up North have their “Nature’s Promise” brand), i started actively reading how much fucking crap people put in their products.

I’ve only made two recipes from the book so far. The first recipe is the Green-Packed Stir Fry with Fresh Herbs, which made enough for two lunches along with some brown rice. I really loved the combination of basil and mint thrown in at the end. Mental note to plant some mint in my kitchen garden, because i’ve been using it a lot lately and have no idea why i don’t grow it. The whole dish is really fresh tasting. The main reason i made it was because we’ve entered the period of time when asparagus has shown up all over the place in all the markets, and i’ve never cooked asparagus before (i know! Why not? Who knows).

I used half of the asparagus bunch for that recipe, and used the rest in the Straw and Hay Fettuccine Tangle with Spring Aparagus Puree. The asparagus puree is really a type of pesto. I made this last night (halved the recipe) with some spinach linguine bought at Trader Joe’s and some plain ol’ regular fettuccine. I’ll be eating a portion of this for lunch today. When tasting it last night, the only criticism i had was that it appeared to be just a tad too bland, and i’m wondering if this can be corrected with a pinch of red pepper flakes (i do like spice). But this could be because i didn’t really follow the recipe exactly; rather, i saw what the ingredients were, and put in extra spinach leaves (because i had them and they were otherwise going to rot in my “rotter” drawer) and a bit more olive oil than asked for. Really, all recipes are guidelines, and you can add or change them to your liking. I think i’ve only made a traditional pesto once, and stupidly followed the recipe i was using, which made it far too garlicky. I didn’t think that would ever be possible, to over-garlic a dish, seeing as garlic is pretty wonderful; but it was almost inedible. Since then, my pestos have been kind of whatever is on hand. So i had more spinach than what was called for, and it went in.

incidentally, i wonder how good this would be if i used a reddish pasta (i’d have to make that, probably with the addition of red bell pepper to the dough) and used a red pepper and olive pesto as the sauce? Oh man. I’ll have to try that. Patricia Wells has a red pesto recipe in her trattoria book that just might work with this.

All this talk of food is making me hungry.

above photo "borrowed" from amazon.com

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