YUMUNIVERSE PANTRY TO PLATE
Improvise Meals You Love— from What You Have!—plantpacked, Gluten-free, Your Way!
Heather Crosby, The Experiment Softcover $24.95 (332pp), 978-1-61519-340-0
If you are new to the kitchen or to a gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian diet, Heather Crosby can be your culinary guru. The Yumuniverse blogger beat her own path to wellness with a wheat-free, meatfree regimen while nourishing her inner foodie with a decadently delicious, unfussy style of cooking.
Her second cookbook, Yumuniverse Pantry to Plate, is a guide to crafting healthy meals with ease. Her breezy writing style engenders confidence for beginner cooks and for those who hesitate when tackling a new recipe. Crosby’s philosophy is to stock the kitchen with essentials and seasonal veggies, fruits, and nuts and then quickly cook up satisfying dishes whenever it’s mealtime. The emphasis on using up what is in the pantry also avoids unnecessary market trips for busy, hungry households.
There’s an equal helping of standard recipe formats and recipe templates that allow for many flavor and texture options. Improvisational templates start with “what you need no matter what,” then outline riffs with many ingredient variations, flavor choices, and mix-ins. It’s a fun and empowering approach, enlivened with the author’s zippy names—amazeballs, Mmmaki, Bites and Tots— and full of alluring recipes like Chipotle Cream, a flavor-packed sauce made from cilantro, cashews, lime, and smoky hot chipotle, or Decadent Pecan Milk Hot Cocoa swirled with Medjool dates, maple syrup, grated chocolate and homemade coconut cream-based butterscotch. Plentiful, playful illustrations and photos add to the book’s pizzazz.
The author really likes her breakfasts; there are loads of recipes for variations on traditional morning eats and baked goods, and some more surprising options for breaking the fast like scrambles of buckwheat, quinoa, and rice with veggies, or breakfast cookies packed with nuts, seeds, ground tea, and coffee. For whatever time of day, however, this cookbook is full of uncomplicated instruction and delicious advice for making everything from “crave-worthy, on-the-go” snacks to heartier meals.