Organic Cooking: Eating Well Organic Gourmet Recipes For a Healthier Life
309 Pages, Softcover
A World School Publication By Dr. Nancy Philips and Rev. Matthew Haupt
Author House Bloomington, IN 2006 $24.90 US
Reviewed by: Chef John J. Vyhnanek, June 2006

Let's not forget the influx of "Organic" foods in our society as of late. You can't get away from them. They are revered as the godsend of foods that are healthy, pesticide free and with no artificial ingredients.

In the 1930's and 40's my grandfather was already producing organic vegetables, eggs and milk on his farm in the Hudson Valley of New York state. Was he ahead of his time? Noeveryone who had a farm did so. They used cow and chicken manure and fish carcasses for fertilizer, and tobacco water as a pesticide. Then came the pesticides like DDT and all sorts of chemical fertilizers. Traditional farming was lost to the age of additives and laboratory hybrids. Thank goodness we realized that before we killed a good thing, ourselves, we would return to our roots. Now that we have many a fine product to work with again, it's about time to also have cookbooks on the subject of organic cooking. In almost a 1960's, hippy kind of way, people everywhere want to eat and live better.

Organic Cooking: Eating Well "Organic Gourmet Recipes For a Healthier Life" by the founders of the National Wellness Weeks and America's Wellness Fair has recently been published. I counted about 285 pages or 300 recipes in the publication. The authors state that every recipe was prepared, cooked and perfected, a daunting and admirable task all to itself! Did you know that many cookbooks don't test their recipes because of the gigantic cost!

The book itself is quite plain, the cover of the large paperback doesn't shout "pick me up". It's another story on the inside. The recipes are interesting, creative, and made with healthy ingredients. Many of the recipes' names are a bit cutesy with names such as; Summer Fruity Halibut with Tomato Lemon-Pepper Angle Hair Pasta or Delicious Lemon-Mozzarella Knishes and Kisses with Special Salad. Good Cooking started with simpler named dishes to test. Baked Mango Mahi-Mahi on page 143 was tasty, pleasant and very easy to prepare. Veggie Chowder on page 219 was very easy to make: add everything to the pot and cook for about an hourdone! It then was topped with shredded soy Parmesan Cheese as a garnish. It tasted good, after adding salt and pepper. I'm sure it is very good for you too, although the book doesn't list any nutritional information on the recipes. Apple-Pear Crumble on page 277 was again very easy to prepare and tasted great, especially topped with the optional whipped cream.

The bottom line is that this book has a lot to offer in terms of recipes, information about ingredients and other preparation suggestions. There is even an organic source guide that gives company names and contact information for products, and what each company sells. Good Cooking likes the book because of the author's commitment to improve and influence the lives of others. A beautiful cookbook it isn't, but if you are looking to get healthy and eat organics, using creative recipes, it's for you!

Baked Mango Mahi-Mahi
(Serves 2)

6 ounces mahi-mahi (fresh or frozen)
1 tbs. mayonnaise
1/2 cup mango nectar
Sea salt-herb blend
1 slice white onion
Pepperman pepper blend
2 tbs. apple cider vinegar
Mama Garlic herb blend
1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
Ginger (fresh or dried)

In a glass bowl, mix the mango nectar together with the apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar.
Dice the white onion, and add to the mixture. Add the mayonnaise, sea salt-herb blend, Pepperman, Mama Garlic, and a pinch of ginger. Blend together, and mix thoroughly with a fork, to make a marinade. Add the mahi-mahi, and cover completely with the marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator for one hour or longer (if possible), as desired. Bake in a glass baking dish for twenty-five minutes in a preheated 400-degree oven.

Veggie Chowder
(Serves 2)

1 cup purified water
8 grape tomatoes
2 cups soymilk or rice milk
2 slices red onion
3 mushroom tops
1/4 avocado (peeled)
1 tsp. extra virgin coconut oil
Sea salt-herb blend
1 potato (peeled)
Pepperman pepper blend
1 handful of sunflower sprouts
Mama Garlic herb blend
juice of 1/2 lemon
2-inch piece zucchini
Shredded soy Parmesan cheese

Place the purified water and soymilk or rice milk into a large pot. Slice the mushroom tops, and add to the pot. Add the extra virgin coconut oil, sea salt-herb blend, Pepperman, and Mama Garlic. Slice the zucchini, and add to the pot. Cut the grape tomatoes in half, and add to the pot. Cut the red onions into pieces, and add to the pot. Dice the avocado, and add to the pot, along with the parsley. Cut the potato into chunks, and add to the pot, along with the sunflower sprouts. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat setting down to low. Cook for one hour and ten minutes. Pour into two large bowls, and sprinkle with the shredded soy Parmesan cheese.

Apple-Pear Crumble ("The Happy Healthy Pie")
(Serves 6-8)

1 9-inch piecrust (frozen ok)

4 apples (red delicious preferred) (peeled and cored)
4 pears (d'Anjou preferred) (peeled and cored)
1/3-1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. sea salt-herb blend
1 to 1-1/2 tbs. cornstarch (or
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/8 tsp. sea salt-herb blend
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup almonds (or walnuts)
2 tbs. extra virgin coconut oil

Slice the apples and pears, and place the slices into a glass bowl. Combine the rest of the pie ingredients in a large glass bowl. Mix in the fruit, gently, until coated. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Fill the piecrust with the mixture. Bake at 450 degrees for ten minutes. Lower the heat to 350 degrees, and bake for ten more minutes. Prepare the topping by chopping the nuts, mixing together with the dry ingredients, and then mixing in the extra virgin coconut oil. Remove the pie from the oven, cover with the topping, and place back into the oven. Bake for twenty-five to thirty minutes more, until golden brown. Remove from the oven, cool, and enjoy.

Serving suggestions: Great by itself, or top with whipped "cream" or "ice cream" (rice or soy cream suggested)