Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen

Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen
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Instead, I kept a simple notebook over the past couple years of my favorite everyday preparations—ones I revisit often. The recipes are rooted in whole and natural foods, typically feature a handful of seasonal ingredients, offer some inkling of nutritional balance, and broadly speaking come together with minimal effort.

Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen

For those of you with Super Natural Cooking , consider this a companion volume. Many of the building blocks I outlined in that book are put into practice here. Simply put—here are real foods and good ingredients made into dishes that are nourishing and worth eating and sharing. You might rightly suspect my favorite section at the grocery store are the bins containing grains, dried beans, and flour. I tend to cook with whole, natural foods—whole grains, whole grain flours, minimally processed sweeteners, and fresh produce—ingredients that are as seasonal and nutritionally intact as possible.

Those sorts of ingredients aside, a good portion of the food I buy is grown or produced locally. And while I run the risk of sounding a bit preachy, supporting good ingredients grown or produced by people who care about our health and the health of our environment is something about which I feel strongly. Or that are made with as little processing and as few added flavorings, stabilizers, and preservatives as possible, keeping nutrients and original flavors intact.

For example, wheat berries ground into flour, grated coconut pressed into coconut milk, cream paddled into butter, or chopped tomatoes simmered into tomato sauce.

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For me, focusing on natural ingredients also means doing my best to avoid genetically modified and chemically fertilized crops, as well as dairy products that come from cows treated with growth hormones. I want each meal I eat to deliver as much nutritional punch as possible, and focusing on a range of real, minimally processed foods is the way I go about it. For those of you who bake strictly with whole grain flours, I try to make note of what you can expect from using percent whole grain flours in those recipes.

For me, this means being vegetarian, buying a good percentage of my ingredients from local producers, and seeking out sustainably produced ingredients.

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Many of the recipes in this book, particularly the main dishes, welcome substitutions, and I encourage you to use some of the ideas as starting points. Go from there based on what is available in your area, or what your family likes to eat. These are the sorts of things that get me excited to cook each day, and I do my best to let them inspire my time in the kitchen before all else.

My Everyday Pantry While my everyday cooking is most often dictated by seasonal produce, I need to keep a supporting cast of ingredients on hand so I can put that produce to work in a variety of ways. I went into a lot of detail about the minutiae of individual ingredients and some of their nutritional benefits in Super Natural Cooking —specifically, how to build a natural foods pantry.

Before we get started, just a few notes. I suspect that would get tedious and turn off some of you. What I will say is that I care about supporting producers and farmers who are using sustainable farming methods. I read a report that over million pounds of pesticides were sprayed in California in , a statistic I find heartbreaking. I know we can do better, and I try to vote for that change with my grocery dollars.

I buy dairy products from farmers who pasture-graze their growth hormone—free cows and I purchase eggs from farmers who keep small flocks of pastured hens. I look for cooking oils and fats made from good ingredients, which have been naturally pressed or produced without stripping them of their personality. Avoiding oils that have been processed with solvents, deodorizers, or heated to damaging temperatures is important. Then, once in my kitchen, I think about how each cooking oil stands up to heat differently, and take that into consideration, too.

I keep a few extra-virgin olive oils on hand. Of those, I typically have one that could be considered my day-to-day olive oil. The other extra-virgin olive oils are more special and costly , and I think about them as finishing oils. I like to cook and bake with butter, sometimes clarified, sometimes browned. You can make clarified butter yourself see page or buy it. Making it yourself is more economical. It has full, rich flavor and a substantially higher smoke point than olive oil. Certain curries really come to life when you use it to start things off, and you can combine it in a pan alongside olive oil to give the olive oil more range. I like to use brown butter see page in baking or for drizzling, as well as plain butter, both salted and unsalted. Extra-virgin coconut oil is fun to experiment with, although its assertive coconut scent limits what I use it for. I use it in the early stages of some Thai-style curries, and in just about any cooking that has coconut milk in it. I use little whispers of toasted sesame oil in my cooking, but it can be devastatingly overpowering.

Cold-pressed nut oils are nice to have on hand, particularly in the fall and winter when the weather cools and heartier meals are in order. I look for cold-pressed, artisan pistachio oils, toasted pumpkin seed oils, hazelnut oils, as well as walnut oils. They should smell like an intense version of the nut or seed from which they were pressed.

Gentle heat helps to release their scent, and they shine drizzled over dishes like warm farro salads and just-out-of-the oven casseroles. They tend to go rancid in a flash and are expensive to replace. There are other quick-cooking grains, but these are the ones I use most often. Whole-wheat couscous, a tiny grain-shaped pasta, is great for quick salads and for stuffing vegetables like tomatoes or zucchini.

You can find many of these, in organic versions, in the bin section of natural foods stores, and they tend to be very inexpensive. I think many people miss out on cooking with the larger grains because of the perception that they take forever to cook. This is only partly true. I might use the wheat berries in a soup tonight, the brown rice in a stir-fry tomorrow, and the farro in a tart filling sometime later in the week. Again, most of these are available, in organic versions, in the bin section for just a couple dollars a pound.

Farro tends to be pricier, but well worth it. FLOURS I counted twenty-two different flours at the natural food store the other day—a number that is both exciting and overwhelming. I use a small subset of those flours in my day-to-day cooking. I use a lot of whole wheat pastry flour and spelt flour for baking.

Both are capable of creating beautiful, tender baked goods. If I need a bit more structure and less tenderness from a dough, I use white whole wheat flour , which is higher in gluten-forming protein—good for pizza dough and certain breads. Beyond that, I rotate through a number of what I consider supporting flours. I love to experiment with homemade multigrain flour blends. For example, I use oat flour , rye flour, and whole wheat pastry flour in my Multigrain Pancakes page The thing I find striking is how no two are alike.

I keep a rotation of various sugars, honeys, and syrups on hand, preferring the ones that are minimally refined. In my sweetener collection right now is a number of honeys, brown rice syrup, a few bottles of maple syrup, numerous natural cane sugars, and unsulphured molasses.

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There is a huge variety of granulated sugars available. They cover the color spectrum from blinding white to deep coffee brown. Look for words like unrefined , raw , natural , and whole ; seek out a fine grain comparable to standard white or brown sugar ; and opt for dark over light when it comes to color. The least processed and most whole granulated cane sugar available is dehydrated cane juice, but it often has an irregular consistency and dryness that keeps me from using it more often.

I call for it in a number of the recipes in this book. If you are having a hard time finding a comparable dark brown sugar, you can substitute any light brown sugar or light muscovado sugar in these recipes. Just be sure to buy a fine-grain sugar and sift out any lumps. There are also lots of fine-grain white sugars available that are labeled as natural cane sugar. If you buy white sugar, look for a sustainably produced organic variety; there are a number that are widely distributed now.

I use buckwheat-based soba noodles quite often, and beyond that, a variety of Italian pastas. Tiny, rice-shaped whole wheat orzo is fun. Make a note of the ones you like, and then taste your way through that family of noodles. They are relatively quick cooking, nutritious, protein-packed, and perfect for use in soups, stews, veggie burgers, dips, and salads.

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I have a particular fondness for yellow split peas, tiny black Beluga lentils, lentils du Puy, and green split peas. I use them quite a lot; and unlike the heirloom beans I talk about on page 11, there is no need to soak them before cooking. Affordable, filling, bulging with protein, they provide a great backbone to any number of meals. I store each type of dried pulse or bean in a separate large glass Weck jar so I can see when I need to replenish the supply.

Be sure to carefully pick over any lentils, beans, or grains before using them—little pebbles and dirt clots often can be found. The specifics are outlined on page This helps me develop a sense of what I might do the next time to highlight the uniqueness of the bean. Some beans are thin-skinned, some are thick, some lend themselves to a pureed soup, while some are better whole. Or, as I mentioned in Super Natural Cooking , one bean might pair with an assertive broth or sauce, while another might be perfect on its own with a drizzling of olive oil and a dusting of grated cheese.

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They can go straight from the freezer into a hot pan on a whim. The flavors, the crunch factor, the uses are endless. I like to use them whole, chopped, pureed with other ingredients into sauces, or ground into nut flours for baking. I keep a mad collection of curry powders and spice blends from various travels, as well as little jars of single herbs and spices.

Part of the fun is tasting through spices and various spice combinations, making note of what you like best.

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Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen

As someone who can't tolerate dairy I thought it likely that this book would include a decent sampling of vegan r Given how many food bloggers have raved about this book and given my appreciation for Heidi Swanson's own food blog, I really thought I'd like this book. Jun 09, Katherine Collins added it Shelves: cooking. The book is organised in chapters according to the type of meal eg breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, drinks, treats etc. Kristin Boldon is a frequent contributor for Simple, Good and Tasty, who also writes for the Eastside Food Cooperative 's newsletter on health and wellness, and for her own blog Girl Detective. Sort of reversed psychology for the weather.. View Wishlist. The lemonade won this non-beer drinker over.

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