Mustard Seed Market & Café Natural Foods Cookbook
Pelican Publishing Company (2007)
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (4/08)
In 2003, Mustard Seed Market & Café became Ohio’s first certified organic retailer. Bev Shaffer joined them in 1997 as the cooking school and baking director, and hence this book. Chef Shaffer collaborates with the Cleveland Clinic, the ClevelandBotanical Garden, Akron General Wellness Center, and Summa Health System. She has created more than eight-thousand recipes, many of which she shares in this cookbook.
On the first flip through the book one finds elaborate and colorful pictures, chef’s notes for every recipe, explanations, and, of course, the recipes for everything from soups and salads, to grain dishes, meat and fish/seafood dishes, as well as pasta and deserts. Of course, there are vegetarian and gluten-free recipes too.
It was difficult for me to decide which recipes I would try for this review but first of all I chose an interesting dish called Citrus Apricot Couscous. I’ve never seen one like this before, not only did it have dried apricots but also snow peas, red bell pepper, mint, orange zest and cumin for flavoring. A combination I’ve never done before. Well, I must say, it was delicious! The suggestion was to serve it with grilled salmon which I did. A perfect complement, to say the least.
Being a salmon lover, the next recipe I tried was Roast Salmon with Thai Coconut Sauce. Wow! Terrific. The unsweetened coconut milk combined with Asian chili sauce, ginger, and cilantro gave a flavor I hadn’t experienced before.
I also tried the Black-Eyed-Pea Salad. Living in the south we are used to eating a similar salad but we call it Texas Caviar. This recipe is good, and certainly gives a different flair to what we are used to. The radishes as well as Italian parsley made a difference, but the biggest difference was the dressing. A vice nice change and I will be using this recipe again.
The most encouraging thing about “Mustard Seed Market & Café Natural Foods Cookbook” is the recipes are extremely simple and all the ingredients may be obtained at your local grocery store. Shaffer’s culinary experience, pizzazz, and knowledge of natural foods certainly shine through this collection.