Blissed Out: Review of Christy Morgan’s Cooking with the Seasons: Summer Ebook & Recipe

[A quick note and special requestThe VegNews Awards polls for 2010 are open!  If you like Diet, Dessert and Dogs or my cookbook, Sweet Freedom, please head to the site and add them to their lists!  You can nominate me for the blog, cookbook author or tweeter categories.  How great would it be for an allergy-friendly, whole foods site to top their lists? (And guess what?  Ms. Ellen is already nominated!  I sense that a meeting will be coming about somehow. . .  ;)  )  Your support is much appreciated, everyone!]

[Simple to make, delicious to eat: red lentil pâté]

The first time I purchased an ebook from Christy Morgan (aka The Blissful Chef), all I really knew about her was (a) she lived in LA; and (b) she cooked according to macrobiotic principles.  Well, since I’d studied the macrobiotic diet in nutrition school, I  knew it meshed very well with my own food philosophy and even the anti-candida diet (ACD), as it focuses on whole and local ingredients and traditional preparation methods. And as someone who’s been pining to return to LA (especially on The Ellen Show!) since my last visit there when I was 17, I was pleased to know that fact about Christy, too.

A few weeks ago, I bought the most recent in the “Cooking with the Seasons” series for summer. This is the second in a series of Christy’s ebooks that present recipes geared specifically toward each season.  In this ebook, Christy talks a bit about how summer is the “fire” season and why it makes sense to prepare foods that are fresh, mostly raw, quick and easy–to avoid the heat of the kitchen and preserve our energies for other activities during the warm weather.  She also discusses her approach to cooking, which she describes as “macrobiotic, vegan, raw fusion.”  The sixteen recipes in the ebook reflect that philosophy as well.

The first thing that struck me as I browsed through the recipes was that were so many in it I could eat–with no (or very little) adjustment.  Whole foods, low fat, easy preparation and nothing processed–these are the kinds of recipes that fit perfectly with someone on the ACD!

I decided to plunge right in with the ”Red Lentil Pâté with Cashews,” a quick and easy spread that’s perfect to serve to guests or for a light dinner.  This is a lovely appetizer with a light texture that’s quite different from the rich, nut-heavy spreads that are more commonly served as vegan pâtés; in keeping with the light summer theme, this recipe has no added fat (though the cashews do add some, of course).

I adored this pâté.  It works beautifully as a finger food or even–as I found myself snacking on it–straight from a spoon.  The preparation is super-simple (though you do need some time to let the mixture boil down).  I was skeptical at first about the amount of curry powder in this–it’s a full tablespoon–but once the mixture cooks up and the lentils begin to soften and dissolve, the final balance of seasoning is perfect.  Once cold, the mixture firmed up beautifully as well.

Serve this on crackers, as I did, or slice a thick block to have between slices of hearty bread, with some lettuce and sprouts for a great summer sandwich.

Next up was the “Fresh Herb Salad with White Peaches.”  Again, the ingredient list was mostly fresh, whole fruit and vegetables with flavorful fresh herbs as garnish. The combination of peaches, greens, and just-picked herbs sounded fantastic to me, and a great way to use seasonal produce and some of the  lovely basil from my garden. Although I couldn’t find white peaches, the final result with conventional fruit was strikingly colorful and vibrant, like a festive float at a summer celebration:

[Fresh Herb Salad with White Peaches--and this is an unretouched photo; the colors really are this intense!]

Finally, I cooked up the “Garden Fresh Millet Quinoa” for dinner;  I knew I couldn’t go wrong with two of my favorite grains.  Another quick and simple preparation resulted in a light, flavorful dish that was so much more than the sum of its parts.  A mélange of colors, flavors and textures contribute to a filling and satisfying meal that both the HH and I enjoyed immensely.

With other recipes like “Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta,” “Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque,” “Kale with Lemon Miso Dressing,” “Summertime Succotash,” or “Mixed-Berry Couscous Cake,” the book offers tasty, fresh ways to use your summer produce and stay cool in the kitchen. And at only $4.99 per book (or $7.99 for both!), Cooking with the Seasons: Summer is a great find.

To provide a sample of the book’s recipes, Christy has graciously allowed me to reprint the Red Lentil Pâté with Cashews.  If you enjoy lentil curry, you’ll love this.

Last Year at this Time: Lucky Comestible 5(4): Grain-Free Hazelnut-Cilantro Crackers

Two Years Ago: Flash in the Pan: Mex-Ital Tofu Scramble

© 2010 Diet, Dessert and Dogs

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Comments

  1. I used to make red lentils puree and eat it on toast once in a while and I loved it. I was thinking lately it had been a long time and I should do it again soon. Well, now I’ll have this to try instead of my usual plain recipe! Thank you for choosing to share this one with us.

  2. Wow, all those recipes sound so delicious! I really like the look and sound of the salad especially and I am super intrigued by the combination of millet and quinoa in one dish. I have heard of Christy before, but she kind of fell off my radar lately, so thanks for the reminder! :)
    -K

  3. Oh, I love the Blissful Chef! And that pate looks incredible! I cant wait to try it out…
    Your photos are stunning- and it helps that Christy’s recipes are so photogenic. ;)

  4. That millet-quinoa dish is shouting my name! I’ve never heard of her before, but will be checking out!

  5. Thanks Ricki for the beautiful review and photos! Glad many can appreciate the healthy, yet delicious flavors this eBook has to offer :)

    I’m offer a special if you buy both the Spring and the Summer edition eBooks together. Yippee!

  6. all these dishes sound wonderful but am quite excited to see a red lentil pate recipe as I have been wanting to make a red lentil pate for a while now and love the idea of one with cashews – love the green pattern on your plate too

  7. Great review. I’m going to take a look at the eBook — the food looks delicious and healthful.

  8. What lovely dishes! That spread sounds delicious. I love having hummus in the fridge to snack on, but this stuff sounds a little more interesting.

    • It’s not as smooth as hummus–it retains its shape until you actually spread it–but a great stand-in for the usual chickpea spread!

  9. I love using lentils to make pate. I think my favorite so far has been red lentil, mushroom and walnut.

    Great review of the e-book, thanks for sharing. As always your pictures make me hungry. I really need to eat before I stop by your site. ;-)

    Ali

    • I’ve had lentil-walnut pate before and mushroom-walnut pate, but never lentil-walnut-mushroom! Sadly, can’t have the ‘shrooms right now, but am patiently waiting for the day. . . ;)

  10. Looks tasty! I couldn’t tell from the picture that it was red lentils. I’ve never made any sort of pate. I”ll have to try it sometime!

    ~Aubree Cherie

  11. Mmm…that looks good. I love spready things.

  12. sounds like a delicious e-book :) i’ll have to check it out!

  13. The pate looks great & the other recipes sound delish! Definitely sounds like a fantastic e-book!

  14. How great to find a recipe book that suits your needs and your tastes! Isn’t that always so refreshing and fun? That pate look seriously delicious. What an amazing silky texture! Piled on top of some crusty bread…I would be in heaven!

  15. that looks fantastic. and you have my vote!

  16. Those do look yummy! I’ve been getting so bored with my cookbooks lately…

  17. Everything looks so yummy and like it would make you feel so good after eating it!

  18. Your photos never fail to be beautiful. That red lentil pate sounds delicious! And although this is not the most timely of comments, in response to this post http://www.rickiheller.com/2010/06/12/a-glowing-recommendation-angelas-vegan-overnight-oats-anti-candida-incarnation/ I have several times used frozen pears in my vegan softserve with absolutely wonderful, creamy results!

  19. I have to praise you. Your recipes are to die for!! Absolutely delicious and healthy. They insipre me to be adventurous in the kitchen for recipe son my blog. Thank you! :)

  20. Looks sooo good – love the color. Beautiful photos. I hope you will submit this to Finding Vegan ~Kathy

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