I met Heidi Swanson back in my early blogging days, almost three years ago to the day. Her blog 101 Cookbooks was and is one of the blogs that inspired me the most. She has seemingly endless creative talents; in addition to being an amazing photographer she is also a wonderful writer and recipe developer.
Sometimes people talk about how the blind have better hearing. Because Heidi is a vegetarian, I think she has a heightened senses of flavors and textures in food. She manages to coax the most out of everything she cooks.
What else sets Heidi's recipes apart from the rest? She balances health concerns with taste. In her latest book, Super Natural Cooking, she has taken on whole and natural ingredients, coming up with all sorts of mouthwatering recipes. Just flip through the book and you'll see what I mean. For example she uses beluga black lentils to top a chive goat cheese crostini and her Lime-Bathed Peanut Salad, inspired by the lime peanuts she ate in Mexico, features tomatoes, peanuts, lime juice, jalapeno, cilantro and just a bit of olive oil and salt.
The way to approach this book is to take pen and paper in hand and make yourself a list of ingredients--like quinoa, amaranth, whole wheat pastry flour, all kinds of whole grain products that you've been curious to try, and then purchase them at your local health food store. Finally pick some recipes that use in season produce like the one I picked, Farro with Green Onion Sauce, Toasted Walnuts and Asparagus and start cooking! I think you'll be as impressed with the book and the recipes as I am.
Over at Bay Area Bites is my interview with Heidi Swanson and her top local food and wine shopping picks.