Last Wednesday evening I while running out to quickly dump the compost in the green bin I found a small-ish parcel on the front step. In it was a cookbook I’ve been waiting to try: Love Real Food by Kathryne Taylor. So now it’s Monday evening and in that less-than-a-week spanwe’ve enjoyed so many recipes! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, sweets — so many “keeper” recipes (as my friend puts it when she finds recipes so good that she “keeps”making them again and again). Normally the turnaround time from when I first receive a cookbook to when the review is finally posted can take a couple weeks or more. In the case of Love Real Food — less than a week.
For those of you unfamiliar with Kathryne Taylor she is the creator of the very popular blog Cookie & Kate. She started her whole foods, vegetarian blog back in 2010 and the “cookie” in her title refers to her best (four-legged) friend Cookie. The premise behind her blog is simple — eat food that you prepare yourself and limit consumption of processed foods. Like many health food bloggers she started her blog because she linked how she felt (awful) to what she ate (processed foods like 100-calorie snack packs) and decided to change that. If she wants to feel good she nourishes herself with home-cooked meals. She’s truly a person after my own heart because her food philosophies (like my own) are heavily
influenced by food activist Michael Pollan, a person whom I really admire (a superb speaker — check out this you tube clip if you’re unfamiliar with him). She opens her introduction with a quote of his: Eat food. Not too much. From there she explains how her book can be used. Her Introduction is full of practical information with sections focusing on How to Read a Nutrition Label, Vegetarianism, favourite ingredients, and Whole Foods Guidelines just to list a few (she even has a section devoted to “Dogs and Food”). She is quite passionate about enjoying and celebrating fresh, nourishing food. So if you’re new to whole foods (or even new to cooking) or if you’re just looking to add new recipes to your repertoire, Love Real Foods is a great place to start.
You’re probably wondering what I made in the past five days (and how I did it). One of the things I noticed about the ingredients Taylor uses is that there are no “fancy” ingredients. One of the reasons why I was able to get cooking so quickly is that I could turn to my fridge and pantry and just cook. ( The whole truth of it is that I am mid-cycle in my grocery shopping so I have a good, working amount of ingredients). The first section I normally start with are breakfasts, which are usually low in ingredients and quick to make. Her Fluffy Cinnamon Oat Pancakes were really amazing! Served with fresh fruit, these cinnamon-infused pancakes were really fluffy and moist. What I first noticed with this recipe (and then realized that this feature appears in all the recipes) is that there is a section at the bottom of the page with instructions on how to adapt the recipe to suit almost any dietary need. Even though the cookbook is vegetarian she totally accounts for those with gluten-free or vegan diets. She even notes how these adaptations may alter the taste/texture (never in a bad way but it’s great to know what to expect). Recipe testing for each recipe is time-consuming and costly so the fact that these other options/adaptations appear is such a bonus (especially if you’re used to trying to figure out how to change recipes to fit your gf or vegan diet yourself).
Anyone who follows me on Instagram will know that nothing comes between me and pizza. Nothing. But in all honesty, I’m very devoted to the Nancy Silverton method of making pizza dough (and my quick go-to is this Ricardo recipe when I don’t have time for Nancy’s method) so trying a new pizza dough recipe — especially one made entirely out of white whole wheat flour — didn’t appeal to me in the least. But Taylor’s pizza pictures looked so appetizing and I loved how she photo-illustrated the pizza dough making process in a four-square that I decided to get over myself and try it (the other thing that appealed to me what that this is a no-rise recipe meaning that as soon as you’re done mixing the dough you can roll it out and bake it, whereas Silverton’s method can take hours). If you’re used to rise-time it feels strange without it. What I noticed is that the texture of the dough was way drier so I didn’t really need to flour the peel. As with all of the recipes I’ve tried, the size and amount was perfect — from one batch of dough I was able to make two, 11″ pizzas just like the recipe said (how many times do you make a recipe to find that the size and amount differ?). I didn’t make either of her pizza recipes however I did use her recipe for Red Sauce (Marinara) and it was excellent! No more store-bought pizza sauce here anymore! The crust was crispier than the pizzas I normally make but it wasn’t dry or hard — it almost had a flakey, pastry-like quality to it. While it baked, the whole wheat gave off such a wonderfully nutty-aroma. To the delight of my 3 year old the crust had beautiful, dough bubbles (her raison d’etre). My husband and I found this whole wheat crust more filling, so much so that we saved the entire second pizza (which tasted great the second day after being re-heated in the oven)! Here is a good illustration of her comment from the intro: Pay attention to how different foods make you feel. While I love my all-purpose or bread flour pizza crusts, after trying a whole wheat version I noticed that my go-to crusts leave me with a bloat-y feeling (although this could be accounted for by the fact we way over-eat pizza! Reminding myself here to eat food. Not too much!)
There are many things to love and appreciate about this cookbook but what I really valued is that she used practical ingredients for recipes that anyone could enjoy. I found that these recipes really fit into my daily cooking routines and all of the recipes were totally enjoyed by my husband and daughter, who are at times my toughest food critics. If you’re interested to see what I’ve been cooking up from Love Real Food check out my special hashtag #eatworthylovesrealfood or visit my Facebook page. I’ll keep adding to these as I cook more from this great cookbook. (As my husband kindly listened to me read out this review he kept saying “Did you talk about the Enchiladas? I really think you should…” — not hard to tell what his favourite meal was!)
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rodale Wellness for providing me with a free, review copy of this book. I did not receive monetary compensation for my post, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.