If there is ONE book you will buy this year, just one, make it this one: The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying, Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods [120 Recipes for Vitality and Optimal Health] by Rebecca Katz. I am a big fan of Rebecca Katz’s work. Let me tell you why:
1. She is a trained nutritionist and has been working with people for years to get them to eat better but she uses science to motivate not to create fear. Her work is not intimidating but rather inspiring. This particular book, for instance, focuses on 16 anti-oxidants loaded ingredients and the science behind them. That is great if you love reading the details. But turn to the middle of the book and each one of those ingredients is featured in a recipe that you just feel like you have to try! (We loved the Greener than the Green Goddess Dressing with Avocado… amazing.
2. I love that Rebecca says that her main tool is flavor! She motivates people to cook with it and succeeds! Her books are runaway bestsellers and this is why.
3. The mineral broth showcased in this book is worth buying the book for. Yep. Just that one recipe. My boys tell me that the broth makes the kitchen smell magical. I serve it to them all the time and use it as a basis for soups, chili etc. It is loaded with all that is good for growing bodies and some bodies that are (ahem) just trying to maintain themselves (like me!)
I asked the lovely Rebecca Katz to tell us a bit about the book in her own words.
By Rebecca Katz
As a cook with a Masters of Science in nutrition, I’ve spent more than a decade motivating people to eat well and in my latest science-meets cookbook tomb, The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying Big Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods, I use the most important tool — flavor — to show people that great taste and great nutrition can joyfully coexist at the dinner table.
Flavor is a fantastic, and usually essential, agent of dietary change. As my grandmother used to say, “If something doesn’t taste good, people won’t eat it in the long run, no matter how good it is for them.”
The truth is, I believe we’re all born with an instinct that draws us toward the foods that nourish us best. That instinct probably evolved as a survival trait, but in modern times, many people have drifted away from this innate wisdom.
The Longevity Kitchen is divided into two parts. The front of the book is filled with nutritional science, including a culinary pharmacy, open 24/7/ and the second part is devoted to nutrient dense recipes infused with YUM. One of the most important category of ingredients in the book that’s an absolute must-use, from the standpoint of both flavor and longevity, is aromatics: spices, herbs, and alliums, such as garlic, onions, shallots, leeks, and chives.
Aromatics serve several important roles. They’re incredibly stimulating to the mouth, nose, and eyes, offering a culinary telegram to the brain consisting of three words: time to eat! There’s immense pleasure associated with that message. It could be argued that when you crave a certain kind of food—Italian, Indian, and so on—what you really want is the aromatics associated with that cuisine.
Receiving the sensory input that those aromatics are just around the corner creates almost a Pavlovian response, like a little kid hearing the chimes of an ice cream truck coming down the street. Just think of how your nose has sometimes pulled you out of from what- ever you may have been doing in another part of the house, offering a simple but irresistible command: “Go the kitchen. Now!” That’s aromatics at work.
If you haven’t used these ingredients a lot, fear not. The recipes in The Longevity Kitchen will help you get more familiar with them, and then you can start improvising. When you’re ready to put together your own creations, you can use the following global “flavorprints” to help you capture the essence of different cuisines.
Asian: basil, bay leaves, chiles, cilantro, coriander, curry powder, five-spice powder, garlic, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, lime juice and zest, mint, miso, red pepper flakes, turmeric
Indian: cardamom, chilies, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, curry powder, garlic, ginger, mint, mustard seeds, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, saffron, sesame seeds, turmeric
Latin: chiles, cilantro, cinnamon, cumin, garlic, oregano, sesame s
Mediterranean: basil, bay leaves, fennel, garlic, marjoram, mint, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, rosemary, saffron, sage, thyme
Middle Eastern: allspice, cilantro, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, garlic, marjoram, mint, oregano, sesame seeds, thyme
Moroccan: cilantro, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, mint, red pepper flakes, saffron, thyme, turmeric
Source: The American Spice Trade Association
Gram for gram, no ingredients are more powerful for stimulating the appetite and satisfying the taste buds than herbs and spices. Their power to heal is no less outstanding. Over the past decade or so, numerous aromatic ingredients have gone under the microscope. A major impetus for this may well have been the prolific use of spices in folk medicine; they have been revered by traditional healers from around the globe for centuries.
For more information: http://rebeccakatz.com/books/the-longevity-kitchen/
Brown Rice Pilaf with Saffron and Ginger
Adapted from The Longevity Kitchen by Rebecca Katz (Ten Speed Press, 2013)
Photo by Leo Gong
(Recipe and photo used with permission of author)
yield: Makes 6 servings
time: Prep Time: 5 minutes (after soaking the rice) Cook Time: 30 minutes