Canyon Ranch Cooking: Bringing The Spa Home

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9780060187187: Canyon Ranch Cooking: Bringing The Spa Home

The two Canyon Ranch spas are rated No.1 and No.2 (they alternate positions) over and over by readers of the Conde Nast Traveler. Part of the allure are their stunning locations -- in the hills of Tucson, Arisona, and in the Berkshire mountains in Massachusetts -- but one of the best parts of a visit to Canyon Ranch is the food.

Jeanne Jones developed and supervised the Canyon Ranch menu, and in Canyon Ranch Cooking,  she offers everyone a chance to eat the spas' low-cal, low-fat delicious food. The recipes all have detailed nutritional breakdowns to help you plan a healthy meal with a lot of variety. Perhaps best of all are the tips and techniques to help enhance flavor without adding calories. Why does spa food taste so good when nearly all the fat has been removed? Jones reveals all the secrets -- such as adding citrus or vinegar to lift "flat" flavors; grilling over aromatic wood; marinating meat and vegetables; cooking at low temperatures for long periods to "marry" flavors; roasting rapidly for crispy crusts and tender interiors; using dried fruit for rich and creamy fat-free sauces; and much, much more. Try the Canyon Ranch Guacamole, Osso Bucco and Cheese Enchiladas; enjoy Chocolate Mint Cake and Cherry Streusel Pie. This is not a cuisine of deprivation -- the food is wonderful, and the recipes for making it easy and sensible.

This book can't give you a workout or a hike, but it does tell you how to plan your own spa weekend at home, with suggestions for exercise, relaxation, even theme parties for special Saturday night dining. The wonderful recipes and the luscious photographs are here to delight and inspire. With Canyon Ranch Cooking, the spa comes to you.

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Review:

This intimidatingly beautiful book on low-fat spa cooking takes the chi-chi out of spa food and actually makes it accessible to the average cook. Although the easy-to-prepare recipes in Canyon Ranch Cooking rely mostly on fresh produce and meats, Cook It Light expert Jeanne Jones offers alternatives to and substitutes for ingredients you might not find during certain times of the year (such as frozen berries and vegetables in place of their fresh counterparts). Also, many of the recipes incorporate carbohydrates and grains such as pastas, white and brown rice, couscous, and bulgur, which are easier to find year-round. The tone of the book is not restrictive or didactic--Jones really wishes to make the food accessible and friendly, as well as healthful--and the language used is positive and intended to empower the cook both in building a low-fat pantry and in trying new cooking methods. In addition, calorie and nutrient analyses of each dish are provided with portion sizes that are realistic and possible to visualize.

Jones suggests using spices to add dimension to dishes and, from cooking a number of them, we would have to agree--main courses such as Turkey Meatloaf and Polenta Crusted Sea Bass were a little bland. However, the corn salsa that accompanied the sea bass jazzed it up a bit and made it taste both fresh and healthy. The Banana Bread and Fruit Muffins, both of which used whole-wheat flour and minimal oil, were low-fat hits with office tasters. Garbanzo Nuts, or oven-baked, spiced garbanzo beans, are the perfect mid-afternoon snack fix. The salad and dressing ideas are all zesty and quick to make, but finding the fresh ingredients could prove challenging for most of the year. With more than 200 wonderful recipe and menu ideas, the book could end up paying for itself in more healthful and flavorful meals than one could get dining out. The "Canyon Ranch Weekend at Home" ideas in the back of the book will inspire more than a weekend of pampering oneself and eating with one's health in mind. --Gilia Angell

About the Author:

Jeanne Jones has written more than two dozen books about light cuisine and is an internationally renowned nutrition consultant. Her syndicated weekly column, "Cook It Light," reaches 30 million readers.

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