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The Enlightened Kitchen: Fresh Vegetable Dishes from the Temples of Japan    by Mari Fujii order for
Enlightened Kitchen
by Mari Fujii
Order:  USA  Can
Kodansha International, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Touting the benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets, The Enlightened Kitchen presents dishes that anyone would love, while the fantastic photographs will tempt even the most die-hard carnivore to at least try the recipes. Knowing that a healthy life-style and long life takes work, this new cookbook espouses good, sensible meals which can encourage weight loss and improve insulin sensitivity. The bonus? The food tastes good.

The cookbook features dishes from Japan's Buddist temple cuisine, shojin ryori, with recipes 'that emphasize fresh, animal-free seasonal ingredients.' Call this new and tempting cookbook an un-diet book. Starting with soups and working through a meal with salads, tofu and beans, vegetables, potatoes, rice and grains and desserts, there surely are recipes that will touch your taste buds. Once started, can one stop? There's Carrot and Mushroom Soymilk Soup (don't knock it until you've tried it); Sesame-flavored Eggplant Soup; Eggplant Salad with Lemon-flavored Plum Dressing; Sweet Potato and Soybeans with Miso and Lemon Sauce; and Tofu Fried with Almonds. Have I piqued your interest yet? No? Well, how about Fried Pumpkin with Peanut Sauce; Shitake Mushrooms Stuffed with Tofu; Carrot Croquettes; or maybe Spicy Stir-Fried Potato? And top off the meal with Banana Tempura.

I'm hooked. I try to eat sensibly and plan to live to be 110! I expect The Enlightened Kitchen to help me meet my objective.

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