I’ve been fortunate to have experienced lots of great vegetarian cookbooks this winter. The raw-foods movement has fascinated me, and there are flurry of beautiful books that inspire. I also love books by dietitians. RDs, in my opinion are well-educated and underappreciated, and while our professional organization tends to sell our collective souls too easily to the processed food industry and big pharma, please don’t let that detract from the wisdom you’ll often find among this crew – like anything, you need to find the good eggs. With RDs, they are lots of them.

One good egg I’ve been blessed with connecting with this winter is Jill Nussinow, MS RD, The Veggie Queen. She’s a California-based nutritionist, and I’ve found her cookbook an inspiring one for the everyday cook (which, for the most part, I am). Jill is a fan of mushrooms, as am I, and she’s into her pressure-cooker. The appeal of a 12-minute soup, or 5-minute mashed potatoes tell me that last year when someone left this cute little pressure-cooker in our house (long story) that I was right to keep it. Now I have some coaching about how to use it and why to pull it out from the back of that bottom kitchen drawer. Her cookbooks is lovely to hold, and features culinary tips as well as a view into her Farmer’s market lifestyle. Jill illustrates, I think, the degree to which sustainable eating really is a lifestyle.

Find out more about Jill and her book The Veggie Queen, at www.theveggiequeen.com.

Another recent entree in the vegan cookbook genre that I’ve been having a good time with this winter is Blossoming Lotus’ World Fusion Cookbook. This is another beautiful book – this one in full Technicolor, high production value loveliness. Healthy cats in Kauai know Blossoming Lotus well – and if you ever make it to the north shore here, a meal at the restaurant is a must. It’s a great place to bring your non-veggie friends to see just how delicious and refined vegan cuisine can be.
So I’ve been cooking from this book through the winter, and the one drawback for really wide appeal is that it’s very Hawaii-centric. Many ingredients just aren’t available or as good off-island. And, the secret to many BL dishes is pureed macadamia nuts! Heavy cream it isn’t, and I suppose if you are living the vegan lifestyle you can boost the healthy fat a bit, but for those who must be weight conscious, just know that you’ll need to be conscious of how much of those fab rich sauces you slather on you veggies.
Another small detraction is the cutesy recipe names. Now, just being in Hawaii tends to make the most hard-nosed Easterner a little whimsical. But I think the book would be stronger if it settled down in that area a bit.
Overall, it’s an inspiration. A beautiful book to hold, and some great ideas that really could be modified to accommodate the possibility that not everyone can live in paradise.
Find out more about the book and their very cool scene at www.blossominglotus.com/about_book.htm
Happy healthy eating.