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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
Vegetarian Reading

Each issue the VIP birds will endeavor to soar to the highest literary peak to peck out the most unique, informative, and accomplished book that contributes to vegetarian enlightenment. In this issue we review not one, but two raw food cookbooks by Elysa Markowitz, author, chef, and TV hostess. Elysa hosts a weekly cable show called Elysa's Raw and Wild Foods Show where she presents a multitude of ideas that inspire creativity in the kitchen.


By Elysa Markowitz

Book Publishing Company, 1998

Trade Paperback 15.95

Markowitz Elysa Markowitz's Warming Up to Living Foods cookbook presents raw and living foods with a unique twist. Typically, a raw foods diet consists of foods that are uncooked, unheated, and often cold. However, Elysa shows her readers how to enjoy her recipes to the fullest by warming the foods without destroying their valuable enzymes. By using familiar household appliances, such as an electric skillet or a coffee warming plate, she warms her dishes to no more than 105 degrees to heighten the dining experience.

Elysa demystifies the term living foods in her introduction by defining them as foods that have been sprouted or germinated, foods such as grains, legumes, nuts, or seeds. For those unfamiliar with raw foods she explains that these are eaten in their completely natural state--fresh and uncooked, though not sprouted.

In her chapter Getting Started, the author discusses the different equipment typically used in preparing living foods. Unlike a traditional kitchen where the oven and range top are central to cooking, her food preparation area has five basic appliances: a juicer, a blender, a dehydrator, an electric skillet, and a food processor. Elysa then discusses other tools and appliances "that you will appreciate" such as a Vita-Mix, a nut and seed grinder, a coffee warming plate, wide-mouthed glass jars, and sharp knives.

Between the covers of this treasury of original recipes is a basic handbook that provides a plethora of temptations beginning with Golden Applesauce with Fruit Chips for breakfast to her Date Nut Torte for dessert. Appealing enhancements to the book are the four double-sided color photo pages interspersed throughout. Elysa provides a menu plan for seven days but stresses that her suggestions are only that. She encourages one to mix and match the menu suggestions and to enjoy a lunch dish for dinner or vice versa if temptation calls.

Spirited by Elysa's tempting recipes we prepared her Creamy Squash Soup. It was indeed creamy, flavorful, and satisfying. Her directions were easy and so was the process. It was a hit! We were eyeing the recipe for Eggplant "Pizza" but we don't have a dehydrator and passed it by. Re-reading the recipe after dinner, we realized that one of her suggested options was sun-drying. Too bad we didn't read through the entire recipe before hand. We suggest YOU do. We moved on to the Barley Warmed Casserole and noted the directions were very easy to follow--very warming and tasty. By then we were craving the dessert we had made earlier that day. We dug into our Strawberry Cream Pie with great enthusiasm and licked our forks 'til they were shiny.

In her lively comments that preface each of the recipes, Elysa expresses her joy of cooking and her playfulness with food with expressions like "Green gives us chlorophyll and life--live it up with greens." As a prelude to Orange U Glad It's Salad? she comments, "First eat with your eyes, then taste heaven on earth."

When Elysa first began experimenting with raw and living foods, she admits it was with a hit-and-miss approach. Her first appliance was a juicer. It was her many original juice recipes that became the foundation of Living With Green Power. She admits that shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables was a dizzying experience at first. She gratefully acknowledges the many people who taught her about raw food cuisine and how to turn the simplest of fresh foods into well seasoned and sometimes even spicy gourmet dishes. She delights in sharing the many different ways to serve warm living foods by using an electric skillet, the dehydrator, a coffee warming plate, and even the sunshine.

One special feature of Elysa's book is her ingredient options, machine options, and warming options that follow most of the recipes, allowing a multitude of choices within each person's own kitchen. Other features include a glossary of terms, an excellent resources section, and her helpful explanation of measurements.

Warming Up to Living Foods is a cookbook that provides an ideal introduction to raw and living foods. The ingredients are familiar and easy to locate, directions are very clear, and each of the recipes we tried was entirely successful. There's even room for one's own creativity with Elysa's suggestions for options. As Elysa would say, "What a deal!"


A Gourmet Collection of Living Food Recipes

By Elysa Markowitz

Alive Books, 1997

Hard Cover $24.95

Green Power For those who own the Green Power machine, a juicer that allows one to make not only juice, but soups, crackers, pates, and pies, this book is a gem. From her opening chapter, Getting Ready to Prepare the Food to her excellent section on Food Resources, Elysa is the ultimate guide. If you've just purchased the machine, this book is a must. The author demonstrates her expertise by offering step-by-step instructions in the use of this equipment. She also shows how one can enjoy versatility in food preparation with this single kitchen appliance.

Her chapter Juicy Juices contains 46 recipes, such as her Bunnies Will Stay Juice made with carrots, kale, cucumber, apple, parsley and anise to Sweet Popeye Blend with spinach, arugula, carrots, and anise. Chapter IV, Frubet, combines dried, fresh and frozen fruits into sauce-like sorbets. Just perusing the selections made us salivate. Unfortunately, we don't own a Green Power Machine and were unable to actually prepare these tempting combinations.

This creative author does not limit her abilities to juices alone. Her book has many original recipes that beckon, such as her hearty entrees. Whata Walnut Loaf, Sprouted Nori Rolls, and Sunny Broccoli-Carrot Pate. Her desserts are equally elegant with Picky Pecan Pie, Carob Mint Pie and Key Lime Parfait.

What amazed us is that with her unbridled creativity, Elysa has adapted this machine's abilities to encompass the preparation of every course a breakfast, lunch, or dinner could require.

Looking through the pages, we were dazzled by the gorgeous photography, layout design, and food styling displayed on nearly every page. Many of the photos zoom in to show fruits or vegetables that are larger than life. The colors are brilliant and display Elysa's finished dish to perfection. Our only disappointment with the book is that it lacked a standard index so necessary for quickly locating a recipe by name. Living With Green Power is an outstanding book that ought to be a companion to the Green Power Machine.

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