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Thursday, July 11, 2013

It's (truly) All Good

It’s  (truly)  All Good

I’ve been trying to find cookbooks that support the bounty of fresh, organic produce I’ve been getting from my CSA, Dogwood Farms (read – use up before it overtakes my fridge.)  Here are several I picked up at the Library.

The first one that caught my eye was appropriately called The Farm by Ian Knauer.  This one had lots of recipes for seasonal produce but what really stood out to me in this cookbook were the number of recipes that included bacon!  Truth be told,  I like bacon as well as the next person, but lately it has been so overused that chef Michael Symon recently tweeted:  “Bacon:  the duct tape of food.”  It’s almost like cheating – add bacon, and everything tastes great!

Besides the bacon, many of these recipes called for more cheese, meat and fat than I was comfortable with.  I was looking for recipes that were fresh and healthful, not just good tasting, and where the produce itself takes center stage.  Next.

Another promising candidate was Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison.  Here was a book that read almost like a primer for the professional cook.   In fact, its subtitle is “Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom with Over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes.”  Each chapter contained its own little lesson about the growth habit of the vegetable, who its botanical cousins were and what flavors paired well with it.  The recipes were interesting but were often of the side dish variety, again, not quite what I was looking for. (I am soooo picky.)

Enter Gwyneth Paltrow’s new offering It’s All Good, and its recipes are exactly what I want to be making this summer.  Yes, it veers off into the realm of fervent veganism, as well as being gluten free, but you can look at this in two ways:  it might expand your culinary horizons, OR, you could just re-adapt the recipes back so that you use flour with gluten, regular sugars, add meats and cheeses, whatever, if you like.  (Cheating?  Well, nobody's perfect!  Except maybe Gwyneth...)

One thing I loved about this book is that the salad dressings are all phenomenal, plus they're different enough from one another that you could vary the salad ingredients and enjoy lots of different tastes to keep you happy all season.

If you are looking for a healthful, fresh way to cook that is also gourmet delicious, and truly easy, It's All Good is your book.  Great example, this refreshing peach basil summer smoothie combination that I bet you haven’t had before.  Wonderful for breakfast, I poured out two glasses full, but after one taste, I decided not to share and drank them both!  (Full disclosure:  I did make another batch for my husband, but it wasn’t quite as good, as the peach wasn’t as sweet and ripe.  So if you don’t have a giant luscious peach like I did, use two smaller ones, and decrease the lime to ½ a lime if they’re not dead ripe and sweet.)

Crazy Delicious Peach/Cucumber/Basil Lime Smoothie

1 large ripe peach, pitted, not peeled
1 cucumber, peeled
1/3 cup of fresh basil
1 lime, peel and pith removed
1 cup or so ice cubes

Coarsely chop up the first four ingredients, and add them to your blender in order.  Add  ice cubes.  Blend away.  Be amazed.

(If I hadn’t scarfed down the whole thing immediately, the glasses would have looked so pretty decorated with a peach slice and a basil leaf…!)

Can’t wait to see what I get this week from the farm!

Diane Whitman
Gwyneth Fan

If you want to see what a CSA is about, check out their website:

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