Ever since I read Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr.’s Prevent And Reverse Heart Disease, I’d been looking forward to the companion cookbook from his wife Ann Crile Esselstyn and their daughter Jane.
And I wasn’t disappointed! Reading this cookbook made me feel like a member of the Esselstyn family.
The millions of health-conscious dieters used to counting calories and measuring macronutrients, however, might find the co-authors’ approach disconcerting. Why?
Because Ann and Jane don’t buy into eating by numbers. As they explain: “We want you to enjoy the food and not calculate anything except your blessing for having discovered the beauty of eating plant-based.”
Instead of focusing on nutritional information in developing their recipes, the co-authors followed specific heart-healthy rules, such as:
Using low-fructose maple syrup as their go-to sweetener
Limiting high-fat tofu to some dessert recipes
Avoiding all nuts except low-fat chestnuts
Woven throughout the cookbook are engaging stories and explanations of how the recipes evolved. Take Georgie’s Soup, for example:
Who is Georgie and was a soup named after her? Ann tells the story:
“We have a special feeling about this soup because while I was making it, we heard the exciting news that our son Zeb’s wife, Polly, was pregnant. Our ninth grandchild on the way! (They named her Georgie.) So this is a special soup. And oh my, it is good!”
I agree! With red lentils, sweet potatoes, leeks, fennel and mushrooms providing rich texture and mouthwatering flavor, “Georgie’s Soup” can’t help being good!
Jane’s “Enlightened“ Dr. Seuss Stacked Polentas are an amazing combination of roasted sweet potatoes, warm polenta and garden-fresh tomato slices, topped with cilantro-lime or basil-lemon juice.
Their story is that when her kids drizzle the assembled stacks with a “star” of balsamic glaze, she’s reminded of Dr. Seuss’ Yertle the Turtle and Star-Bellied Sneetches!
And when Jane came up with her Chickpea Omelets, Ann — who’s opposed to any recipe referring to natural or “alternative” eggs — was a hard sell.
At the first sitting, however, she downed three of them. Apparently, the chickpea flour-based, onion-, garlic- and pepper-infused, sautéed mushroom-topped creations were impossible to resist!
See what I mean about feeling like a member of the family?