Eat Clean with Seasonal, Plant-Based Recipes
By Veronica Bosgraaf
Paperback and e-book formats
Penguin Random House/Clarkson Potter | Feb 17, 2015 | 224 Pages
Book provided by publisher through Blogging-for-Books for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Bring more whole, real ingredients into your kitchen and replace processed foods with the 120 plant-based recipes in Pure Food.
A busy mother of three who was frustrated with trying to find healthy, organic snacks for her kids, Veronica Bosgraaf decided to make one herself, the Pure Bar. Now nationally available and widely beloved, the bar kick started a nutrition overhaul in Veronica’s home. Clean foods and a new, simple way of cooking and eating replaced anything overly processed and loaded with sugar.
Organized by month to take advantage of seasonal produce, Pure Food shares Veronica’s easy vegetarian recipes, many of which are vegan and gluten-free, too.
• January: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Winter Garlic and Vegetable Stew, Chocolate Rice Pudding
• April: Asparagus with Turmeric-Spiced Almonds, Egg Noodles with Wild Mushrooms and Spring Greens, Roasted Cauliflower with Quinoa and Cashews
• July: Watermelon Mint Salad, Grilled Garlic and Summer Squash Skewers with Chimichurri, The Perfect Veggie Burger
• November: Caramelized Pear Muffins, Parsnip and Thyme Cream Soup, Wild Rice and Pecan Stuffing
With 18 color photographs and tips for “cleaning” your kitchen and lifestyle—from drying your own herbs to getting rid of chemical cleaners—Pure Food shows the simple steps you can take to make your cooking and living more healthful.
This is an attractive cookbook containing a lot of seasonal recipes that sound delicious and taste great, for the most part. I made a couple dishes based on the recipes in the book, but I rarely follow recipes to the letter unless I am baking.
I made Walnut-Stuffed Acorn squash and really enjoyed the clever addition of curry and walnuts to the squash filling. Since the acorn squash are not in season, and are very hard as a result, I found removing all but 1/2 inch of flesh as the recipe requires pretty impossible. I also substituted carrots for the parsnip as a matter of preference and regular mushrooms for shitake.
The resulting squash was delicious and filling, and was a winner with my husband who I have a hard time getting to eat acorn squash. The recipe contains walnuts, but not so many that my diet-minded self was not upset.
I also made the egg noodles with wild mushrooms and spring greens. I added fresh fava beans to get a little more protein into the dish. My husband and I both really enjoyed how delicious and savory this recipe turned out to be and how easy it was to make. Sadly, I have a hard time finding wide egg-noodle type pasta that is gluten free so I used GF Tagliatelle.
I can imagine feeding a family wholesome food when one is a vegan could be extremely difficult, so I admire that Veronica Bosgraaf came up with so many delicious ways to feed her family.
I cook pretty much unprocessed foods because it is easier to know there’s no gluten if I make something myself. I had always wondered exactly what “pure” or “clean” eating means to people because those terms are bandied about so much. The truth is, the terms mean what you want them to mean.
Living in a place where we pretty much eat produce from outside New England a huge portion of the year, the seasonal approach doesn’t really work for, or make sense to me. Sure, when there is something in season at the Farmers’ Market I love it. But, I have pretty much come to grips with stuff being transported great distances.
Bosgraath offers a lot of unsupported statements about the health effects of certain foods, and the detrimental effects of others. For example, on page 146 she says, that tomatoes are: “…Packed with lycopene and antioxidants shown to help prevent cancer and protect skin from harmful UV rays,…” I unfortunately can not say whether this information is fact-based from her own reading of studies or simply hearsay. Yes it may be true, but I have lived through a lot of food fads which are later proven wrong. And they usually arise from unsupported hype.
She also states, on page 186, that cumin is “…a very healthy spice for women because it is a good source of both iron and calcium. ” First of all, men and women both need calcium and iron. And, the recipe it is mentioned in the notes for contains a total of one teaspoon for four to six servings.
One Tablespoon of cumin contains 4 mg of iron, which is a good amount since it is about 22% of the amount we should consume daily, but one teaspoon spread over several servings contains barely enough to mention. It does contain nearly 56 mg of Calcium (nutritional content information http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/spices-and-herbs/184/2) about six percent of the suggestion daily consumption. but again, that’s per Tablespoon not the recipe’s teaspoon split over 4 to six servings. I wouldn’t suggest we think of the amounts of vitamins offered in spices as a great source for most of them.
I did not check each recipe for completeness, but I was looking at the recipe for Quinoa with Leeks, Apricots and Toasted Pecans on page 110 and it’s ingredient list contains no leeks. It does contain onion and I suspect that since they are similar veggies, that the leeks go where the onions do. But, maybe both are called for, I just don’t know. The recipe sounds delicious and is full of great flavors.
I looked all over my Whole Foods for the buckwheat called for in several recipes but was unsure whether it should be milled like rice cereal or in its groat form. And, I could not find something that explained it.
This is not a bad cookbook, but it could have fact sources and should have been checked for ingredients. Most of the recipes sound delicious and are pretty easy to make, but I found at least one ingredient hard to figure out. The book’s design and layout are attractive. The author is the creator of a product called The Pure Bar, but fully admits she didn’t have the qualifications for starting a business like this.
She deserves applause for developing a cooking style that she and her family like and sharing it with us. It took time and ingenuity!
Author’s Company’s Website: http://ThePureBar.com