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Cookbook review: ‘The 100 Percent Natural Foods Cookbook’ helps make eating vegetables enjoyable

"THE 100 PERCENT NATURAL FOODS COOKBOOK," by Caleb Warnock, Front Table Books, $15.99, 120 pages

From jazzing up green salads to making Traditional Japanese Yakisoba, “The 100 Percent Natural Foods Cookbook” shows how to incorporate vegetables and herbs into meals. Utah author Caleb Warnock proves in his latest cookbook that eating fresh food not only is the healthiest but can also be the tastiest option.

While many of the recipes use beef and poultry, they rely on fresh vegetables to make up the bulk of the taste. A few recipes call for small amounts of sugar and white-flour items, but these recipes are the exceptions rather than the norm. And recipes requiring canned goods are nonexistent.

Warnock describes how to cook with vegetables such as beets, leeks, turnips and Swiss chard, to name just a few. He also explains many herbs and encourages readers to get daring with spices. The enthusiasm he finds in creating meals from his garden is contagious, and readers can feel inspired to incorporate more fresh vegetables and herbs into their own meals.

“The 100 Percent Natural Foods Cookbook” can be a great addition for those wondering how to include more vegetables in their diet. Warnock’s laid-back writing style is easy to read, and his enthusiasm for healthy living can be contagious.

Warnock is a Utah State University graduate and lives along Utah's Wasatch Front. He is the author of several cookbooks that share different aspects of using natural ingredients.

*****

PUMPKIN VICHYSSOISE or ‘PIPING PIE’ SOUP

This soup is so easy and fast to make, which makes it one of my favorites. In high-end restaurants, this is often served with just a pinch of brown sugar on top, but I don’t usually serve it this way at our house. This is a true dual-purpose soup. In hot weather, it makes a flavorful pumpkin version of vichyssoise, which is a fancy word for a cold blended soup. Or in cold weather, serve it hot with Altitude Popovers. When it’s served hot, I like to call this “Piping Pie” soup because it tastes like pumpkin pie.

Serves: 4-6

Preparation and cook time: 15 minutes

1 winter pumpkin (like Mormon Pumpkin, Potimarron or Waltham Butternut)

2 leeks

1 potato

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ pint cream

1 cup chicken broth (or more, to taste)

1 teaspoon oat flour

1 tablespoon cinnamon (or more, to taste)

1½ teaspoons nutmeg (or more, to taste)

½ teaspoon salt

1. Remove seeds from the pumpkin, cut pumpkin into large chunks and steam until tender. Cool until you can handle it with your hands.

2. Dice onions. Sauté in butter and olive oil for 4-5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent.

3. In a large measuring cup, mix cream and broth. Remove outer shell from the pumpkin and discard. Pour half of the cream/broth mixture into blender, and add half the pumpkin. Blend until smooth. Repeat until all pumpkin is blended. In a large soup pan, mix blended pumpkin, salt and spices, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Serve hot or cold.

— “The 100 Percent Natural Foods Cookbook,” by Caleb Warnock

Elizabeth Reid has bachelor's degrees in economics and history. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education and business fields. Her favorite occupation is that of wife and mother. She blogs at agoodreid.blogspot.com.