Cookbooks: Pretty Simple Cooking by Sonja and Alex Overhiser

In a culture where fewer and fewer people are able to cook for themselves, cookbooks that can tackle simple food prep and make it easy are more and more important.

In Sonja and Alex Overhiser’s Pretty Simple Cooking (DaCapo Longlife) food is pared down to its essential plant-based basics, mostly with few ingredients and simple preparations.

A Creamy Cashew Sauce is a good example. Cashews. Vegetable broth or water. Salt. Soak the cashews. Toss all ingredients in a blender. Boom: a sauce suitable to be drizzled over vegetables or to top the bowl-focused meals found on other pages. Want more color or flavor? Additions are suggested in a very clear way.

Or how about some of those crispy brussels sprouts sold at a premium in almost every great restaurant? The recipe in Pretty Simple Cooking calls for the sprouts, extra-virigin olive oil, salt, pepper and some pecorino cheese. Instructions again are clear and simple enough for anyone to follow.

The book includes more complicated recipes, but here, too, the instructions are clear and concise even when the ingredient lists are long. Veggie Supreme Paella, Moroccan Sweet Potato Stew, White Cheddar Leek and Greens Millet Bake (much better than the word “millet” might lead you to believe) all go together exactly as described.

This is a terrific book for the new chef, or the more seasoned one who wants to trim things right back to flavorful, plant-based basics.

Authors Sonja and Alex Overhiser are the creators of the A Couple Cooks web site which keys on whole food recipes and offering inspiration for healthy, sustainable eating. ◊

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