Pros: Delicious, easy food; lots of information on eating green, organic, sustainable, etc.
Cons: Binding issues
Rating: 4 out of 5
Review book (published 2010) provided courtesy of Chronicle Books.
Anna Getty’s Easy Green Organic is a great place to start if you want to “green” your kitchen but aren’t sure how to start. It will help you decode food labels, explain the differences between organic, sustainable, fair trade, and other terms, tell you which types of produce retain the most pesticides, and so on. There’s information on composting, making environmentally friendly changes to your cleaning and cooking habits, and more. Getty is realistic—she encourages you to pick one change you’re comfortable with and get used to it before you move on to the next.
There are also plenty of lovely recipes that make use of fresh ingredients. The roasted tomato and goat cheese toasts, in particular, were divine. There are simple recipes like curried deviled eggs, and fancier ones like scallop ceviche. Ingredients range from the everyday to “health food”: quinoa croquettes with cilantro yogurt sauce. There’s a whole chapter of soups, from cucumber soup to fennel, ginger-orange pumpkin soup to miso. There are also a couple of basic stock recipes included.
A salads chapter works with everything from red quinoa to arugula or heirloom tomatoes, but also includes such standards as beets, potatoes, carrots, tuna, white beans, and mushrooms. (Thai carrot salad with toasted almonds, anyone? Yum!) We enjoyed the summer zucchini salad with pine nuts and parmesan—it was odd to have zucchini raw, I admit—but the flavors seemed a tad bland. The main dishes chapter is heavily vegetarian, starting off with a ginger risotto, but does include a recipe for “Paul’s Filet Mignon with Whiskey Cream Sauce”, a couple of chicken recipes, and a bit of seafood (barbecue baked Alaskan salmon!). My favorite recipe from this chapter is, hands-down, the open-faced avocado cheese melt. It’s to-die-for.
A side dishes section includes such dishes as garlicky baby bok choy, roasted baby beets with horseradish cream and walnuts, maple-orange glazed carrots, sweet potato medallions, and sage skillet potatoes. Finally, there’s a desserts and sweets chapter that includes such lovely recipes as stuffed dates, pear and blueberry crisp with brown sugar sour cream, sauteed apples with vanilla ice cream, caramelized banana cream pie, and more. This is followed by some menu suggestions, a list of organic California wine suppliers, and a number of resources (both for further information on organic matters, and for kitchen- and garden-specific items). There’s also a small bibliography to lead you to further reading, and a handy index.
As is typical for most Chronicle books, the recipe layout is clear and easy to read. The photos (there are quite a few, although not one for each recipe) are gorgeous. Unfortunately, the lay-flat binding in this book seems to have problems. The cover on my copy came off within several uses. At least the innards seem to be holding together well.
Overall, Anna’s book is filled with lush, fresh, delicious food, and plenty of useful information. It will certainly dispel any notion that organic, healthy food has to be flavorless and dull!