Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Eat Fresh Food

Rozanne Gold; Photographs by Phil Mansfield

Wow! I really don't know what I was expecting from a teen cookbook, but it sure wasn't this. The fresh ingredients and gorgeous photographs on each page make me want to try nearly every single dish. I'm years away from being a teen - I can only imagine what a great tool this would be for people unaccustomed to making their own meals.

The emphasis of this book is on making sure all the recipes presented are both healthy and delicious. Fruits and vegetables are the real stars here, with a focus on nutrition and flavor. The whole point of the book is to steer teens away from processed foods, to learn to prepare healthy foods that are better for their growing bodies. The result is a very inspiring cookbook that will jump start even the most reluctant or inexperienced cooks.

The recipes are segmented into seven chapters: (1) Bread, Butter & Breakfast; (2) Bowls: Soups & Pasta; (3) Sandwiches, Burgers & Pizza; (4) Salads, Big & Small; (5) Dinner Specials with Vegetables; (5) Side Dishes and (6) Desserts & Drinks. I like that the dishes really cover a lot of ground. Some are very simple, like the Tower of Peaches, while others are slightly more complex and involved, such as Crepes with Fresh Blueberry Sauce. There are comforting, down home dishes (Loaf of Whole Wheat Bread) and the slightly more exotic (Asian Summer Rolls.) There are comforting soups, great big sandwiches, lovely breads and tasty desserts.

The cooking directions and explanations are so straightforward that anyone could pick up this book and follow a recipe start to finish. And at the end, I'm confident you would have a beautiful, impressive dish chock full of fresh ingredients!

Some of the recipes I would have passed right by if it weren't for the delectable photos. Definitely, I would have flipped right past Overnight Vegetable Tabbouleh, but the photo stopped me in my tracks. Chicken Parm with Roasted Grape Tomatoes (pictures below) immediately was marked as must try, even without reading the ingredients. I don't care what's in it - based on the photo alone I know I will be eating it. The same holds true for dozens of dishes; they look so fresh and appetizing that it makes me want to ravage the produce aisles immediately so that I can begin cooking.

This book is an absolutely wonderful way to entice your kids into the kitchen and get them helping with the preparation of some very healthy food. Teaching your children to cook with vegetables, fruits and grains is one of the very best things you can do for them. All the recipes were prepared and tasted by an actual team of teenagers. If they can do it, so can you and your family! This week, we will be trying the Carrot Ginger Tomato Soup and the Silver Dollar Potato Pancakes.

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