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The Whole Foods Cookbook

July 12, 2012 | by Sharon Matten

Healthy recipes from Levana Kirschenbaum’s new gorgeous cookbook.

Levana Kirschenbaum’s new The Whole Foods Cookbook is a gorgeous cookbook with a gajillion recipes. It’s nearly 400 pages long! You can tell that this is truly one of Levana’s life’s works, written straight from the heart with love. You can hear Levana talking to you throughout the book. It’s written as if she’s sitting across the kitchen table from you, giving advice and encouragement while you cook.

The recipes are outstanding. Each one comes with multiple variations – so if you like a recipe, you can make it again…but a little differently.

I made the following three recipes from the book, and they were simply fantastic. I highly recommend The Whole Foods Cookbook, it’s a great way to add healthy, fast, dishes to your family’s meals – and it’s pretty to look at too!

You can find more information about Levana's book at:

Chicken and Mushrooms

  • Chicken and Mushrooms16 pieces chicken with skin on
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 pounds whole domestic or crimini mushrooms, the smaller the better
  • 3 cups water

Place all the ingredients in a wide heavy pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the flame to medium and cook covered for about 1 hour. Transfer the chicken pieces onto a platter. If the sauce is not thick enough, reduce it on a high flame, uncovered, just a few minutes until it reaches the consistency of maple syrup. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.

Herb Roasted Salmon Medallions

  • Herb Roasted Salmon Medallions3 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice and peel of 2 lemons
  • 1 bunch flat parsley
  • sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • A handful of fresh herbs of your choice: thyme, basil, rosemary, tarragon, chervil, etc. (no more than 2 kinds), leaves only
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 side salmon, skinless and boneless, about 4 pounds trimmed

Place all but the last ingredient in a food processor and grind until you obtain a smooth paste.

Preheat oven to 425° F. Cut he salmon into 10 strips, reserving the tail end for another use. Cut each strip through their thickness, leaving them attached at one end. You will get long thin strips. Rub each strip with the paste, then roll tightly and secure with toothpicks. You will get neat little cylinders (medallions). Place the medallions in a pan just large enough to contain them. Roast 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with lemon slices and chopped herbs.

Preserved Lemons

  • Preserved Lemons8 to 10 large thick-skinned lemons
  • coarse sea salt

Wash and dry the lemons thoroughly. Remove any green points attached to the ends of the lemons Cut them in quarters lengthwise. Place 2 to 3 pieces in a clean wide-mouth quart-sized glass jar, top with a thick layer of salt. Repeat: Lemon, salt, lemon, salt, and so on, all the way to the top, pressing down hard as you go to draw out the juice. Don’t worry if the juices don’t appear immediately; they soon, will, with all that salt. The lemons should be totally submerged by their own juice, and reach all the way to the top of the jar. Top with an extra layer of salt to enur that no lemon skin is exposed (or it will mold). You will need 2 jars. Place the jars in a dark cool place (I keep mine under the sink). They will be ready in two weeks, at which point they should be refrigerated. To use, take out a quarter of lemon at a time. Discard the pulp, rinse the skin thoroughly, and mince. Add to fish and chicken dishes, bean soups, salads, and salsas. Makes about 2 quarts. After the two weeks of pickling at room temperature, store refrigerated.

Blueberry Cake with Almond Streusel

  • Blueberry Cake with Almond Streusel¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 3 cups flour: all-purpose, whole wheat pastry, or spelt
  • 2 tablespoons triple sec, kirsch or casis
  • 3 cups blueberries, rinsed and dried thoroughly, or frozen marked IQF or IFF


  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup sugar or Sucanat
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 10-inch round or tube pan.

Cream the oil, sugar, and eggs in a food processor until light and fluffy. Mixing the whole cake by hand is OK too. Add all but last ingredient and pulse 3-4 times, until just combined.

Transfer the batter to a mixing bowl. Very gently stir in the blueberries with a spoon. If using frozen, take them out of the freezer at this point but not before. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Mix the streusel ingredients lightly with your fingers until the mixture looks like coarse meal, adding a drop more flour if necessary. Sprinkle evenly over the cake, using it all up. Bake about 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Invert the cake and let the steam escape, then invert again streusel side up. Makes a dozen ample servings.

Cold Red and Yellow Pepper Soup

  • Cold Red and Yellow Pepper Soup4 large red bell peppers, cores and seeds taken out
  • 4 large yellow bell peppers, cores and seeds taken out
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 6 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 leeks, dark leaves discarded, sliced
  • 2 large potatoes, diced
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • salt to taste
  • a little ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup basil leaves, packed

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Spray the peppers with the vegetable oil spray and place cut-side down on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment. Roast about 45 minutes until the skins look blistered. The peels will be very soft – peel off only the darkest ones.

Meanwhile, make the soup. Heat the oil in a wide heavy pot. Add the garlic and leeks and saute’ until wilted. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook covered for 30 minutes. Divide the mixture in two. In one pot, add the yellow peppers. In the second pot, add the red peppers, paprika, tomato paste, and basil. Cook each mixture 10 more minutes. Process each mixture separately with an immersion blender until smooth (start with the yellow mixture so you won’t have to rinse the immersion blender when you switch to red). Adjust the texture and seasonings in each pot. Chill completely.

To serve: Pour simultaneously, slowly and steadily from 2 containers equipped with a spout. Makes a dozen ample servings.

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