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The Real Food Daily Cookbook, Ann Gentry & Anthony Head (Ten Speed Press, 2005)

Real Food Daily by Ann Genty - review by

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For the past 22 years Ann Gentry has supplied the customers of her Real Foods Daily restaurant in Santa Monica, California, with tasty, healthy, plant-based meals.  This restaurant was so successful that she opened two more locations in Southern California.  This cookbook is Gentry’s attempt to answer the thousands of requests for recipes that she created and uses at her restaurants.  If the restaurants are anything like the cookbook, they are a treat to both the eye and taste buds of all of her customers.

We tried several recipes from the book including “Stir-fried Vegetables with Steamed Rice” and “Yin and Yang Salad with Peanut-Sesame Dressing” (recipe below).  They went together easily and they didn’t include any esoteric or difficult to find ingredients.  A majority of the recipes use only whole foods which is a solid approach for healthy eating.

Many of the recipes incorporate Gentry’s Southern heritage while still adding elements of her macrobiotic exposure. The beautiful pictures spread throughout the book will make your mouth water.  I found Gentry’s sharing of her background and her path to being a chef/restaurateur to be interesting as well.

One recipe I particularly liked is “Yin and Yang Salad with Peanut-Sesame Dressing”.  The flavors and combination of ingredients was very tasty and vibrant, both to the palette and to the eye.

This cookbook is a treat for anyone interested in healthy plant-based meals.  I recommend it wholeheartedly!

Glenn McCarthy (6/1/15)

Yin and Yang Salad with Peanut-Sesame Dressing from The Real Food Daily Cookbook

  • 4 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 3 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 1 (2½ inch) piece daikon radish, julienned
  • 10 green onions white and green parts diced
  • 1 cup peanut-sesame dressing (below)
  • 4 cups ½ inch cubed Gingered Tofu (below)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Toss the cabbages, carrots, radish, and green onions in a large bowl with enough dressing (recipe below) to coat.  Mound the salad into 4 wide, shallow bowls or onto plates.  Arrange the tofu (recipe below) around the salad.  Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve.

Peanut-Sesame Dressing (page 100)

  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup brown rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves

Blend the peanut butter, vinegar, maple syrup, water, tamari, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and crushed red pepper in a food processor until smooth and creamy.  Add the cilantro and blend until finely chopped.  The dressing will keep for two days, covered and refrigerated.

Gingered Tofu (page 100)

  • 2 (12 ounce each) containers extra firm tofu
  • 2/3 cup tamari
  • ¼ cup brown rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Drain and press the tofu, saving the containers.  Cut the tofu to the desired size.

Whisk the tamari, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic and ginger in a bowl to blend.  Return tofu to reserved containers and cover each with half of the marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours to a full day.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Using either the canola oil or parchment paper prepare a baking sheet.  Drain tofu and place on prepared sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Use warm or allow to cool.