Not Martha

Super Natural Cooking at the Cookbook Club

cover of Super Natural Cooking

Yesterday was the first meeting of our Cookbook Club, a gathering of friends where we each bring a different dish from a chosen cookbook so we can sample and compare. Our first choice was easy, Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson, aka 101 Cookbooks.

I’ll just go ahead and tell you I liked everything. Heidi’s book is very focused on vegetarian foods that aren’t necessarily healthy (there is no shying away from butter and cheeses in this book) but aren’t trying to be vegetarian versions of meat foods. She explains very clearly the how and why of each recipe (I finally get soaking and cooking beans). Our collective criticism? Some of the ingredients can be difficult to find, even in health conscious, food focused Seattle. Though because of this conversation, half of us learned about Big John’s PFI, an imports store in SoDo.

My favorite of the afternoon I somehow didn’t end up with a picture of, it was the Black Tea Spring Rolls. They are filled with mushrooms and smokey tea leaves and the flavor is interesting and comforting and I wanted to eat more until I burst. update: You can see a picture of these taken by Maggi (thanks Maggi!) here. In fact, she is an amazing photographer so just go look at her pictures instead.

crostini with goat cheese and lentils

Beluga Lentil Crostini, with goat cheese and chives, we couldn’t stop eating these.

brussels sprouts

Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts, this picture was taken just before they were sprinkled with cheese that melted fetchingly.

Gnocchi alla Romana with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, these were delicious, and not shown was the accompanying spicy tomato sauce.

asparagus and spinach pesto

Straw and Hay Fettuccini Tangle, made with asparagus and spinach pesto, amazing.

soba noodles

Otsu, this was very satisfying to eat.


Sweet Potato Spoon Bread, so very yummy.

white beans and greens

Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans, this is the one I made and I’ll be making it again.

raspberry curd cake

Raspberry Curd Swirl Cake, served with whipped cream. This had a delicious crusty top and we were impressed how well the whole wheat flour turned out a fluffy cake.

thin mints cookies

Thin Mint Cookies, really great, I nabbed one of these before we officially started eating.

Next up, Falling Cloudberries!

· comments [26] · 03-15-2010 · categories:food ·

26 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Vincci // Mar 15, 2010 at 8:33 am

    A Cookbook Club! That sounds like an awesome idea – the recipes from Heidi’s book look great too!

  • 2 Wendy (The Local Cook) // Mar 15, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Looks delicious! By the way, there’s nothing unhealthy about full fat dairy, especially if it’s from organic, grassfed sources!

  • 3 Seanna Lea // Mar 15, 2010 at 9:40 am

    I’ve made organic thin mint cookies before, and they were a lot of fun (though mine were super duper thin… I think I made a hundred from a half batch of dough that is how thin and small I rolled and cut them).

  • 4 shokufeh // Mar 15, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Yum! I’m checking this cookbook out!
    I’d like to know more about how your cookbook club works. How often do you meet? How do you choose the book? Do all of you acquire the book or plan far enough in advance that you are able to share a copy or few? Does anyone in the group have a specific diet which it taken into account by all/majority of the group?

  • 5 carol // Mar 15, 2010 at 9:49 am

    YUM! and i love the idea of a cookbook club

  • 6 megan // Mar 15, 2010 at 9:59 am

    shokufeh – It’s looking like we’re going to meet maybe once a month, less if a particular month looks busy for everybody. Book is chosen by consensus, and by that I mean we spent an hour talking about options (celebrity chef? all desserts? all fondue? something as complicated as Ad Hoc or Momofuku?). We try to choose cookbooks more than one person already owns, and it’s up to others to buy a copy or get it from the library (thus a two month lead time since the Seattle library request process can take a looong time).

  • 7 Anotheryarn // Mar 15, 2010 at 11:18 am

    I made her Cauliflower Soup with brazil nut pesto on Saturday night. Very yummy (but I’d suggest halving the red pepper flakes) and satisfying.

  • 8 Carrie // Mar 15, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    A cookbook club is a very neat idea. I just took this book out for an extended amount of time from our library. I was interested b/c my husband recently stopped eating gluten and is very interested in all-natural foods. I liked it, but agree with the difficulty finding ingredients. It really hindered what we could make. The deconstructed sushi bowl was my favorite (although we decided to marinate the tofu to make it more tasty).

  • 9 Stacy (Little Blue Hen) // Mar 15, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Hah, I own the book and I think you hit most of the recipes that I have/plan to make. The white beans make an appearance as my lunch fairly regularly. Thanks for reminding me that I want to make the others!

  • 10 Rachel // Mar 15, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Megan, thanks for this writeup so quickly afterward! I had a great time hangin’ out with all y’all & can’t wait until our next meeting.

  • 11 barrie // Mar 15, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    god, that book is amazing isn’t it? i never go wrong when i use any of her recipes. she has a gift. a bunch of us were gonna do a frozen dish swap, but this cookbook club sounds like an equally delicious idea. thanks for the inspiration!

  • 12 megan // Mar 15, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Barrie – Frozen food swaps are great, you have stuff to eat for weeks and weeks afterwards.

    Rachel – It was great to see you too! I hope we didn’t make you too late for your dinner!

  • 13 anne // Mar 15, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    I want to eat every thing you’ve just poste pictures of! My goodness, it all looks so good!

  • 14 evylynn // Mar 15, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    I am so glad you wrote about this! I bought the cookbook a year ago…and I embarrassingly haven’t used it yet. Now, I feel inspired. Thanks!

  • 15 Rival Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt Maker Instruction Manual & Cookbook // Mar 15, 2010 at 10:12 pm

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  • 16 Heidi // Mar 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Woah – you guys weren’t kidding around! I’m completely flattered my book made the inaugural meeting. Can I be a cookbook club guest the next time I’m in Seattle?? xo -h

  • 17 megan // Mar 15, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Heidi – Oh hell yes, just let me know when you’ll be up our way :) Scott and I had the leftover beans (of which there was not much) as an appetizer this evening and it was officially declared one of our Regular Things.

  • 18 Giulia // Mar 16, 2010 at 4:43 am

    Wow, what a fantastic idea!! How did you make it happen?

    I should definitely get a copy of this book – I’ve been postponing too long!!

  • 19 Giulia // Mar 16, 2010 at 4:47 am

    P.S. Falling Cloudberries is a sweet book, I can’t wait to see what you and your friends will choose to cook!!

  • 20 shokufeh // Mar 16, 2010 at 7:11 am

    Thanks for the lowdown, and inspiration!

  • 21 jennifer in sf // Mar 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Her Otsu recipe makes a regular appearance as my lunch.
    Based on the other recipes it looks like I should got get the book!

  • 22 Ponyboy Press // Mar 16, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    You had me at black tea spring rolls.

    I just got the book. Hopefully I will actually cook from it and not just look at it, like I often do. Great idea, cookbook group.

  • 23 johnAKA // Mar 16, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    We have had a Cookbook Club for two years, and working into our second. There are five couples, and with our schedules, it takes about a year to get to each house. The host home choses a book–a favorite or something people have been wanting to try or a book someone is passionate about–and each couple choses a course that compliments the main course, usually prepared by the host.
    Of all the dinner clubs we have been in, this is the one that has “grown legs” so to speak.

  • 24 Rachel // Mar 16, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    It was all good on the timing! Perfect, even.

    I’m already trying to decide between 5 recipes in Falling Cloudberries! I may turn it into something I work on more consistently between now and our next meeting. This will probably do far more for my cooking skills than prior attempts at upping my game.

  • 25 Lisa // Mar 17, 2010 at 11:41 am

    I am so jealous! I have always wished that I had enough friends around who liked to be adventurous with cooking, to do something like this!

  • 26 MaggieB // Apr 16, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Isn’t her website amazing? I am jealous that you have enough friends around you that you can put together a real live Cookbook Club! I have to settle to attending vicariously through! But that’s okay… I can do it in my jammies 24/7! That works too!

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