Heidi’s Super Natural Every Day

by Matt on April 28, 2011

I’m at a loss for words as I sit down to write a very quick review of Heidi Swanson’s latest book Super Natural Every Day. There is nothing that could come from me that would tell you what you don’t already know about Heidi and her writing and photography.

It’s perfect.

For once I’m not trying to speak in superlatives here and I really mean it when I say this book is perfect.  I’ve been carrying it around showing it to friends and family and find myself saying something over and over again.

“It feels good, doesn’t it?”

When I think about it, I’m not sure how to explain my statement. There’s the tactile element, similar to her last book in that the soft coated stock wraps around the beautiful images printed on uncoated paper. There’s the graphic design and typography that adds but never distracts, and then there are the photographs.

Oh, those photographs.

They inspire me. They take me places. They make me dream of soft light and quiet conversations, something I’m all too short on as I try to do way too many things all over the world.

This book makes me catch my breath.

And of course there are the recipes. Heidi writes recipes that are blend of comforting flavors and good-for-you ingredients, all with dashes of global influences that keep me (and millions of others) yearning for more. There’s nothing I don’t want to eat from this book, and I’m not the least bit embarrassed to tell you that I began with the alcoholic beverages first. Ok, maybe I’m slightly embarrassed.  But light Heidi says, they’re light and fizzy, not hard and heavy. I like that.

There are no ways around this next sentence: YOU NEED THIS BOOK. You must have this book. If you don’t already, that is. It inspires me and I hope it does the same for you. I’m pretty confident it will.

 

Chickpeas & Dandelion Greens
One of the first recipes I made from Super Natural Every Day was the Chickpeas & Dandelion Greens. I’m a greens freak and I’ve been on a chickpea kick lately so it seemed like a natural combination. It’s simple yet filling, and anything with lemon zest, salt and red pepper flakes is going to make me smile. Heidi recommends using any green that looks tender and fresh so if you can’t get dandelion greens then don’t worry.

2 cups / 10 oz / 280 g cooked chickpeas (see page 215), or 1 (15-ounce / 425g) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Fine-grain sea salt
3 or 4 handfuls of young dandelion leaves, stems trimmed
Grated zest of 1 lemon

Put the chickpeas in a medium bowl.

Take out a large skillet, and, while it is still cold, add the olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and 2 big pinches of salt. Stir over medium heat until the garlic starts to sizzle; it should not begin to brown. Toss the dandelion greens into the skillet and stir until they begin to wilt, 15 seconds or so. Stir in the lemon zest.

Pour the greens over the chickpeas and toss. Taste, and add a bit more salt if needed. Transfer to a platter and seve warm or at room temperature.

serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side dish

Tinto de Verano
Heidi calls this drink sangria’s “dressed-down cousin”.  Made of only three things, cheap red winem, sparkling lemonade and plenty of ice, I knew I had to give this recipe priority in anticipation of plenty of summer entertaining. It does not disappoint and is the perfect warm weather sip.

Ice cubes
1 (750ml) bottle inexpensive Spanish red wine
Sparkling (naturally sweetened) lemonade or any not-too-sweet lemon-lime beverage
Fresh lemon slices

Heidi says: Fill each glass with as many ice cubes as will fit. Add 1/2 cup / 120 ml wine and 1/2 cup / 120 ml sparkling lemonade to one glass, then stir. Taste. It should be light and refreshing and not overly “juicy.” Sometimes the cheap wine you get here in the States is very concentrated and grape-y. If that is the case, you’ll need to dilute your tinto with a bit more sparkling lemonade. Fill the remaining glasses, stir, garnish with lemon slices, and serve.

serves 4 to 6

Both recipes reprinted with permission from Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.