Okay boys and girls, this is apparently a Two for Tuesday on the blog post front! This post, however, will focus on a single topic – a review of the latest China Study cookbook!
If you haven’t read The China Study, which was originally published in 2005, and revised a couple times since – I highly suggest it. For people like me who would rather make my decisions based on facts over emotions (okay, so that may NOT always be true when buying new shoes, but for something as important as choosing a dietary path in life – gimmie the science!) it’s perfect.
In a nut shell, several scientists, in an effort to improve nutrition in developing countries, conducted the longest study of dietary habits ever – a 20 year study called the China-Cornell-Oxford Project. The China Study’s author (T. Colin Campbell) is one of those scientists. Without going into the details (it’s a large tome and would be a 50 page paper by the time I’m done!), it examines the link between meat eating and chronic illness. It presents significant data showing that a whole food, plant-based, low-fat diet leads to superior health and disease reversal. So – check it out if you are so inclined – it could honestly change (or save!) your life.
If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you’ll see other posts reviewing cookbooks that were spawned from the original China Study book. They are written by family members of the author who have embraced this life-style and make recipes that are easy, tasty, and accessible for anyone.
So, when I was approached by the publisher to review the latest, it was an easy YES. I can honestly say that each book has gotten better. The first, while good, was very basic, but could generate wonderful meals with some minor modifications (usually spices in my case). I also have to modify any meals to be nut-free due to an allergy in the house.
So – when the Revised and Expanded China Study Cookbook arrived in my mailbox, I did what I always do – get excited, and lock myself away with a notebook, a highlighter, and some sticky notes to mark the recipes I really want to make.
So, I spent about 2 weeks cooking my way through it, and here’s my assessment. BUY IT. Okay, okay. I’ll go into more detail…
The book was penned by LeAnne Campbell, the daughter of T. Colin Campbell. She lives in the Dominican Republic, and that influence is apparent in many recipes, much to my delight. This very hard working humanitarian’s main purpose with this specific book was to develop recipes that were quick and nutritious and could easily be fit into a busy life. And…anyone who reads my blog typically sees the word “chaotic” mentioned several times, so this was perfect.
As usual, the book begins with forwards and backstory, but also spends a significant amount of time talking about raising plant-based children if you so choose to, using local ingredients – home grown gardens if possible, food storage and prep to maximize nutrient content, how to transition into a WFPB diet, suggested substitutions, and the tools you may want to outfit your kitchen with. And THEN it gets to the 175+ recipes. So it’s as much a lifestyle book as it is a cookbook.
I made several dishes from each chapter. Delights including corn bread, pancakes, salads (particularly fond of the Ensalada Azteca and the Asian Ginger Cabbage Salad), baked tofu cubes, the lemon tahini and mango Azteca dressings, Aztec soup (seeing a theme here??), coconut corn chowder, sweet and sour fusion, and the one I’m going to share with you today – Thai Vegetable Curry!
So again – if you’re a regular reader, you KNOW I have curry at least once per week. Now, my curry of choice is Thai Green Curry with steamed tofu and extra veggies. Of course from a Thai restaurant, it’s not exactly going to be overly healthy, but it’s SO yummy.
This version is incredibly simple to make, and very flavorful. Rather than curry paste (which Thai Kitchen makes one that’s pretty easy to find in most grocery store’s with an Asian or International aisle), my very favorite is a curry powder made by The Spice House – which happens to be from my home town and is AMAZING. But have no fear, if you don’t have this or any other red curry paste, the author has a substitution suggestion.
I used fresh jalapeños and basil from my garden, and an orange bell pepper since I took my red one to my boyfriend’s house this past weekend! And I skipped the peanuts. I also served mine over riced cauliflower rather than regular rice, though it would be delicious over any rice or quinoa too.
So I guess you’ve waited long enough. Here’s the recipe! Enjoy – and if you enjoy it, drop me a note and consider picking up the book. Happy (and healthy) eating!
THAI VEGETABLE CURRY
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
This simple, tasty dish can be prepared with a wide range of vegetables. I often make it at the end of the week, using whatever vegetables remain in my refrigerator. It’s slightly different each time, but always tasty.
1 cup sliced onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
2 cups lite canned coconut milk
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1½ teaspoons Thai red curry paste
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 cups chopped broccoli, steamed
1 cup green beans, steamed
½ red bell pepper, sliced, steamed
2 cups chopped spinach, steamed
1 cup fresh basil, loosely packed
Cooked brown rice, for serving
Peanuts, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish
1. In a large pot, saute onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno in vegetable broth over medium-high heat for 3–4 minutes, until onions are browned.
2. Add coconut milk, soy sauce, curry paste, and lime juice. Bring to a low simmer.
3. Fold in steamed vegetables and basil. Cook for 1 minute. I generally like my vegetables crunchy, but if you want, cook 1–5 minutes longer.
4. Serve over brown rice, garnished with peanuts and lime wedges.
Note: If I don’t have Thai red curry paste on hand, I replace it with 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, and ½ teaspoon of garam masala.