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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Learn the Light Basics
How many times have you resolved to start cooking healthier, spent a week or two trying recipes that call for unappealing ingredients like fat-free cheese or mysterious seaweeds or processed soy products, and finally given up in disgust after too many inedible meals? Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could cook the same food you've always cooked, the food you love, but make it healthier? That is the beauty of bestselling cookbook author Martha Rose Shulman's new book, Light Basics Cookbook. Not only does she offer more than 250 simple, appealing, healthy recipes but she also teaches you how to adapt the recipes you've always made to today's standards for health.
What if you'd love to do more home cooking, but you're not sure where to start? Light Basics Cookbook is also a terrific primer for the beginning cook, with sections on everything from cooking pasta perfectly to whisking egg whites until they hold "soft peaks." Shulman also includes simple charts, such as one that explains preferred cooking methods for vegetables from artichokes to turnips, and great introductory chapters with sections on equipment, stocking a healthy pantry, ingredients, cooking terms, techniques, safety, and many other useful tips. Her chapter of "Warm-up Exercises" includes simple recipes designed to teach basic healthy cooking techniques — from how to make a basic tomato sauce and then vary it with different flavors to how to time three separate dishes — chicken breasts, a green vegetable, and potatoes — so they're all ready at the sametime.
Throughout, Shulman uses only real ingredients, using moderate amounts of high-fat ingredients and lots of flavorful low-fat ones, from herbs and spices to citrus juice and fresh chilies. Her recipes range from all-American classics like Roast Turkey with Corn Bread and Sage Stuffing to internationally influenced favorites, such as Japanese "Meal-in-a-Bowl" noodle soups and Avocado and Green Salsa Quesadillas. The chapter on desserts contains a miraculous assortment of options with less than a gram of fat, including Chocolate Meringue Cookies and Strawberry and Rhubarb Compote, plus many more with only moderate amounts, like Fresh Fig Tart and Pear Clafoutis. All the recipes in Light Basics Cookbook are simple enough for busy weeknights, but many are quite elegant and perfect for entertaining. This is a great way to start off a healthier new year.
—Kate Murphy Zeman