Two New Cookbooks for Two Very Different Audiences

Two very different cookbooks written for two very different audiences arrived at about the same time: Jeffrey Elliot & Robby Cook’s “The Complete Guide to Sushi & Sashimi” (Robert Rose, $29.95) and Jackie Nugent’s “The All Natural Diabetes Cookbook 2nd Edition” (American Diabetes Association, $19.95).
“The All Natural Diabetes Cookbook”

It’s safe to say that reviewing cookbooks designed for specific audiences requires an understanding of the requisite limitations. Diet is crucial for diabetics, and Jackie Nugent, who has been a national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, offers easily understood explanations, along with easy-to-follow recipes.

She writes, “There’s nothing artificial here! You won’t find overly processed foods in this cookbook. But you will find great-tasting ingredients in just the right quantities and cooking techniques that maximize their flavor and wholesomeness.” She adds, “You’ll find recipes here for every eating style. It is the position of the American Diabetes Association that there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ eating pattern for individuals with diabetes.”

Eating fresh, chemical-free foods makes good sense for everyone. A tomato left to ripen on the vine, for example, needs few, if any, embellishments, a definite plus for anyone interested in controlling their intake of fats, carbohydrates and sodium, a group that includes virtually everyone.

The following recipe is adapted from a recipe in “The All Natural Diabetics Cookbook” by Jackie Nugent (American Diabetes Association, $19.95).

Carrot-Ginger Potage

2 teaspoons unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound baby carrots
I medium stalk celery, sliced (1/2 cup)
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled or peeled and sliced
5 cups cold water
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1.Melt the butter in a stockpot or extra-large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and ginger and sauté until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
2.Increase the heat to high and add the potatoes, water and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes and carrots are very tender, about 25 minutes.
3.Puree the soup in small batches in the blender. If there’s a “hot fill” line on 4.your blender, use it as a guide. A hand blender will also work.
4.Add hot pepper sauce and serve hot, preferably topped with a sprinkle of minced scallions or chives.

Choices/ Exchanges: 1 starch, 2 vegetable, ½ fat
Per serving: calories from fat 25, total fat 2.5g, saturated fat 1.5 g, trans fat 0g, cholesterol 5mg, sodium 410mg, potassium 815mg, total carbohydrate 29g, dietary fiber 5g, sugars 8g, protein 3g, phosphorus 105 mg.
Food Flair

Potatoes, not cream, add the thick richness to this soup. You could also stir in evaporated milk or light coconut milk after pureeing to create a thinner, yet creamier soup. For an eye-appealing finale, serve topped with minced scallions or chives.
“The Complete Guide to Sushi & Sashimi” by Jeffrey Elliot and Robby Cook (Robert Rose, $29.95)

I’m always leery about cookbooks with “complete” or “everything” in their title. I can’t imagine how you could pack “everything you need to know” about a particular subject into a single volume. But that, as it turns out, is exactly what Jeffrey Elliot and Robert Cook have done. The writing is clear and concise, and Andrew Scrivani’s step-by-step photos will make even novice cooks feel empowered.

Elliot and Cook begin with a history of sushi, followed by an explanation of the tools and ingredients used to make it. And somehow, even if you’ve never seen, heard of, or intend to use something as esoteric as a urokotori or a unagisaki, it’s nice to know that the first is a tool used to scale fish while the second is a knife used “to cut through the hard skin of eels.”

The amount of detail in the book is mind boggling. Who knew there were three different kinds of chirashi (scattered sushi) or three ways to cut squid for sashimi? And when you finally get everything done, there are even rules governing what goes where on a sushi plate.

“Sushi,” the authors write, “is often considered an art form, with the sushi chef being the artist…Each serving is expected to have a balance of colors, style and space. Your first sense to experience food is sight: the colors and arrangement should make you want to eat sushi.” I’m not sure I’ll ever be skilled enough to make a spicy tuna or dragon roll, but “The Complete Guide to Sushi & Sashimi” makes it a possibility.

Sushi Vinegar
7 tablespoons red or white rice vinegar
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 piece (4 inches) konbu

1.In a saucepan over medium heat, heat vinegar
2.Add sugar and salt and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently until completely dissolved.
3.Remove from heat, add konbu, and set aside for at least 1 hour to cool. If not using immediately, transfer to a resealable glass container and refrigerate for up to 1 year.

Authors’ Notes:

“Rice is the most important crop in Japan. It is eaten as part of every meal, and each Japanese citizen consumes about 132 pounds of rice per year The Japanese word for cooked rice is ‘gohan,’ which also means ‘meal.’”

"Before there was refrigeration, vinegar was used to kill bacteria and preserve rice and fish.”

Photo courtesy of "The Complete Guide to Sushi & Sashimi" by Jeffrey Elliot & Robby Cook @2015 Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.

Filed under: Cooking the Books

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