The Essential EatingWell Cookbook Good Carbs | Good Fats | Great Flavors

403 pages; Color photographs .  Hardcover Edited by Patsy Jamieson

The Countryman Press, September 2004; $29.95US/$44.00CAN; 0-88150-630-3

Reviewed by Chef John J. Vyhnanek

EatingWell

Sometimes we forget that it is important to eat well. Eating well doesn’t mean that we will eat steak, lobster and all the food we really like whenever we like. Eating well means eating a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits and meats in moderation (in addition to getting exercise). Now there is an exception to the above statement. The Essential EatingWell Cookbook, by the magazine of the same name, is now available at book stores. Good Cooking’s first impression was, “just another diet cookbook”! Oh boy, first thoughts weren’t fair. 

This is a fantastic cookbook that offers plenty of recipes that sound, look and taste great---and they are good for you too! The 350 recipes in this cookbook are from the past issues of EatingWell Magazine, some have been updated and some have not, standing the test of time. I was a charter subscriber to the magazine when it first came out and continue to be a subscriber to its new incarnation. I’ve always enjoyed its content, photographs and recipes. It has supplied me with many an idea for restaurant menus and personal meals. Remember what I said above about a balanced diet of vegetables, exercise and moderation. Well forget about the rabbit food cliché when you try the Mediterranean Burger.


A lovely photograph of it is on page 211, it sits on a whole wheat English muffin with arrugula and olive ketchup. The interesting thing is that it’s not made from ground beef! It is made with millet, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and a few other healthy ingredients. It looks good and tastes good, it’s a winner.


Everyone likes pizza and this book has several recipes that will feed your fancy, with one twist. The pizza dough is made with half white flour and half whole wheat flour. This combination make the dough a little less chewy and actually closer to the texture you will find in Naples---the home of real Italian pizza. How about a pizza with White Beans, Prosciutto and Rosemary, or with Potatoes and Artichokes or with Sausage and Peppers. Do follow their recommendation and buy a pizza stone and wooden peel, then bake it at 500° F. It takes some practice sliding the dough off the peel but what results you will get with this authentic method!

Peperonata & Sausage Pizza (Above)

Prep Time: 50 Minutes | Start to Finish: 1 Hour 5 Minutes | Ease of Preparation: Moderate
A melding of sautéed onions, bell peppers and tomatoes, peperonata is often served as an Italian antipasto. (Photo: page 212.)

Cornmeal for dusting
12 ounces Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough (page 147) or other prepared dough
1 link Italian turkey sausage (4 ounces), casing removed
Peperonata
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup slivered onion (1 medium)
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper (1/2 large)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3/4 cup diced tomato (1 medium)
2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Per Slice: 416 Calories; 17 g Fat (6 g sat, 7 g mono); 37 mg Cholesterol; 46 g Carbohydrate; 22 g Protein; 6 g Fiber; 956 mg Sodium.
Nutritional Bonus: 67 mg Vitamin C (110% DV), 45% DV Vitamin A, 290 mg Calcium (30% DV), 23% DV Fiber, 4 mg Iron (20% DV).
Vegetarian Variation: Replace the sausage with 1/4 cup halved Kalamata olives.

1. Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the lowest oven rack (see "Pizza Essentials," page 148); preheat oven to 500°F or highest setting. Coat a 12 1/2-inch pizza pan with cooking spray and dust with cornmeal.
2. Prepare Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough, if using.
3. Cook sausage in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat, turning from time to time, until browned and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
4. Meanwhile, prepare peperonata: Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in vinegar, salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 13-inch circle. Transfer to the prepared pan. Turn edges under to make a slight rim. Brush the rim with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil.
6. Sprinkle mozzarella over the crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with the peperonata and sausage. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
7. Place the pizza pan on the heated pizza stone (or baking sheet) and bake the pizza until the bottom is crisp and golden, 10 to 14 minutes. Serve immediately.
Makes one 12-inch pizza, for 4 slices.

I guarantee that if you follow the recipe for Sesame-Crusted Tofu with Soba Noodle you won’t be disappointed. Be sure to use a non-stick frying pan and get the sesame seeds toasted enough and you will be in store for a wonderfully tasty lunch or dinner. A easy to make dessert is the Pear-Cranberry Cobbler. What is interesting about this version is that whole-wheat bread is used for the top and it winds up almost like French toast---yum. All recipes have nutritional analysis and serving size specifications. Prep time and degree of difficulty is also part of the instructions. Tips or suggestions are highlighted in a purplish color for most recipes. There are basic instructions on how to use the book at the beginning and some beautiful pictures of several dishes at the book’s center.

Here are some recipes to look for in the book:

Pan-Fried Dumplings on page 41 

Mashed Potatoes with Portobello gravy on page 112 

Walnut Cake with Rosemary, recipe on page 361, picture of the cake on the left.

 

Warning! This isn’t a book that will stay clean, so if you want a bookshelf copy you will need to buy two. This book is a book for the kitchen because all the recipes sound great and you will want to make everyone, hence it will be full of cooking smudges. If I have one complaint, it a fault of cookbook authors in general. Garlic cloves vary in size from really small to very large, so to say use 2 cloves of garlic makes no sense. It would be better to say, use 2 teaspoons of chopped garlic for a more consistent form of measuring.A note about EatingWell Magazine from their website. The first issue of EATINGWELL, The Magazine of Food & Health, appeared in September 1990. The magazine was met with virtually unanimous critical acclaim, and paid circulation climbed to more than 400,000 within the first year. EATINGWELL was able to exceed all critical measures of success, including appeal to new subscribers, newsstand sales, and subscription renewals. Audited, paid circulation grew to 650,000 by 1995. Following a series of unexpected senior management changes within the Canadian parent company of Telemedia, the magazine went through personnel, ownership and strategic shifts that eventually led to the cessation of operations in mid-1999 after almost nine years of bimonthly publication. The founders of the original EATINGWELL believe that, using a simplified business model and the talents of the original launch team, the magazine's tested and proven editorial formula can be used to create a unique new magazine of food and health. 

As in the original EATINGWELL, content is designed to be of immediate use to the readers--both in their everyday decisions about food purchasing and consumption and in the recipes they prepare. Former subscribers can expect to recognize the flavor, commitment to excellence and journalistic ethics of the original EATINGWELL in the new magazine. The Charter Issue of the new EATINGWELL was mailed in June 2002.

Here is a recipe from the book you might enjoy---

Earthy mushrooms, tomatillos and a subtle layering of spices combine to give this full-bodied vegetarian chili a deep complexity of flavor. Note that dried beans need to be soaked before going into the slow cooker. Once that's done, the chili can gently bubble for hours, adding flexibility to your schedule. (Photo: page 213.)

Slow-Cooker Black Bean-Mushroom Chili

Prep Time: 25 Minutes plus 1 1/4 Hours soaking time | Slow-Cooker Time: 5-8 Hours | To Make Ahead: The chili will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, if necessary, and reheat on the stovetop or in a microwave. | Ease of Preparation: Easy

1 pound dried black beans (21/2 cups), picked over and rinsed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup mustard seeds
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds or ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds or ground cardamom
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 pound mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed and sliced (4 1/2 cups)
8 ounces tomatillos, husked, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup water
5 1/2 cups mushroom broth or vegetable broth, homemade (page 67) or canned
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1-2 tablespoons minced canned chipolte peppers in adobo sauce
1 1/4 cups grated Monterey Jack or pepper Jack cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 limes, cut into wedges

*Stovetop Method: Start to Finish: 4 1/2 Hours
In Step 2, increase broth to 8 1/2 cups. Omit Step 3. Add the beans to the Dutch oven; cover and simmer the chili gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, until beans are creamy to bite, about 3 hours.

1. Soak beans overnight in 2 quarts water. (Alternatively, place beans and 2 quarts water in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour.) Drain beans, discarding soaking liquid.
2. Meanwhile, combine oil, mustard seeds, chili powder, cumin and cardamom in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven. Place over high heat and stir until the spices sizzle, about 30 seconds. Add onions, mushrooms, tomatillos and 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are juicy, 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover and stir often until the juices evaporate and the vegetables are lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Add broth, tomato paste and chipotles (with sauce); mix well.
Place the beans in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Pour the hot mixture over the beans. Turn heat to high. Put the lid on and cook until the beans are creamy to bite, 5 to 8 hours.
4. To serve, ladle the chili into bowls. Garnish each serving with cheese, a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cilantro. Pass lime wedges at the table.

Makes 10 servings, generous 1 cup each.

Per Serving: 310 Calories; 10 g Fat (4 g sat, 2 g mono); 20 mg Cholesterol; 40 g Carbohydrate; 18 g Protein; 13 g Fiber; 414 mg Sodium.
Nutrition Bonus: 53% DV Fiber, 187 mcg Folate (47% DV), 743 mg Potassium (37% DV), 4 mg Iron (25% DV).