Green Market Baking Book: 100 Delicious Recipes for Naturally Sweet and Savory Treats – Laura C. Martin ( 2011, Sterling Publishing, New York)
I love the way this book looks! Cover to cover, from the beautiful and quaint botanical illustrations (there are no photographs) to the colours and the fonts, the whole design is sort of old-fashioned and somehow comforting. Even the paper it’s printed on is of an attractive weight and texture – I know, I know, it sounds ridiculous (but I have this thing about the tactile nature of physical books, anyway). That’s all well and good, you’re saying, but it’s a cookbook, so get to it – how are the recipes?
Oh, but that’s the cool part. This cookbook features recipes that do not have refined sugars in them – instead, sugar alternatives such as agave nectar, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, and honey are used as substitutes. Some of the recipes are gluten free, like the Almond Cookies (which I actually baked yesterday), and the Energy Bars, made from a combination of oat, rye, or quinoa flakes (your choice), raisins, honey and apple juice. (Yum!). Dairy-free recipes are also included, such as the Beautiful Brown Rice Pudding, which introduces the heavenly meet-up of nutty brown rice, fresh strawberries, and tahini. Some of the recipes are vegan, some are low-fat. Loads of fresh fruit and vegetables are used in this book – indeed, the chapters are defined by the season and accompanying “flavours.” Spring, for example, is all about apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, chives, fennel, green onions, leeks…you get the picture. There is even a great section detailing how to select and prepare various types of produce, including a bit about canning and preserving, and even how to grow your own garden.
Generally, the recipes seem quite accessible to those of us who are not chefs, and most of the ingredients (sugar substitutes, wheat flour alternatives) can be found at your local organic grocer; there are a few things, such as the umeboshi plum paste in the Sweet Corn Tart, for example, that might cause a bit of stress in trying to track down, but that’s not the norm with this book. I’ve got a whole list of treats that I want to try: don’t Fig and Blueberry Scones and Zucchini Spice Muffins sound absolutely delicious?