Monday, January 28, 2008

Super Natural Cooking vs. Chuck Norris

I made a glorious discovery the other day at Borders when I was supposed to be "just looking" and Brian was spending his birthday gift cards: Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson.  When Brian found me, I was nose-deep in a description of alternative flours, having already read through the sections on natural sweeteners, beans, and oils. I was thrilled by the simplicity of the recipes, and my fingers were steadily tightening around the cookbook so as not to let it get away. I must have lowered my lower lip quite pitifully because Brian offered to put back one of his books "The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts About the World's Greatest Human" so that I could buy the cookbook instead. Now there's a real man!

Without the availability of local grains here in San Diego, I have been buying regular flour and baking goods from the grocery store in lieu. However, I recently decided that just because I can't get it locally doesn't mean I shouldn't buy it organically. And, while I am at it, why not buy the stuff that is less refined and better for us? Not one of my cookbooks included recipes using whole grain flours or alternative sweetners. Super Natural Cooking turned out to be just the primer I needed to get started. 

Last night I made the (easy) Garbanzo Bean Burgers with organic olive oil from Temecula Olive Oil Company, onions from Ted's Farm, broccoli sprouts from Sun Grown Organics, eggs from San Pasqual Academy, and lemons from another vendor at the Hillcrest Farmers' Market.  Brian added some zing by mixing a dipping sauce of mayonnaise and Hot Pepper Sauce (an all-natural, though imported, sauce) made for California-Antilles Trading, by far the best place in San Diego to find any kind of hot sauce you'll ever need. The recipe made 12 smallish patties, so we ate a couple each and put them in the fridge to be warmed up for lunches this next week. Find the recipe at Heidi Swanson's blog 101 Cookbooks

As a side note, my search for the remaining ingredients (bread crumbs, cilantro, sea salt, and garbanzo beans) took me to Whole Foods in Hillcrest, where I haven't been for some time.  They now have a wall display between the registers and the stairs to the rooftop parking that highlights local vendors (the only truly close vendor was Be Wise - the rest were considerably further north in California). They also now carry five or six different Basiltops pestos (from Cardiff) in a refrigerator case on the pasta aisle.


Anonymous said...

Yum. That garbanzo bean burger is going on my 'to try' recipe list.

Kelly Makley said...

You may be interested in attending this meeting or posting a link to it on your blog, a friend of mine just emailed it to me:

I really love your blog!!

Ali said...

You've inspired me to buy Heidi's book...I've been holding off, trying to get my fill by religiously reading her blog, but I think I'm going to have to cave.

Also, the link you sent me on the mushroom article got a little cut off, but I found the info I needed from one of your past blog posts.


Alice Q. said...

Hi Melanie! I have that book, it's a lot of fun to look at, but I haven't tried too many of the recipes. You might want to try the bins at People's for flours and other local ingredients - if you're not already shopping there!

Nicole said...

I love Heidi's book! I found the mesquite flour she talks about at People's (definitely not a local ingredient but fun and interesting to bake with). Although I haven't tried exact recipes out of the book, I've discovered several new ingredients from it. Heidi's blog has always been a big influence on me and this book did not disappoint!