Book Review And Recipe Natural soup recipe - lentil soup with rice and apricots

Editor's note: I know Debra personally and had the privilege of sampling a good deal of these recipes at her wedding. These are the same recipes she uses in the takeout section of her store. Simply delicious.

Natural Recipes for a Natural World
by Debra Stark
Fast, simple, and delicious - the more than 200 recipes from "If Kallimos Had a Chef" are sure to be a hit with even the fussiest eaters. Author Debra Stark is a well-known cookbook author who is also the founder and owner of Debra's Natural Gourmet in Concord, Massachusetts. Recently featured in "Cooking Light" and "Inc." magazines, Debra believes the best recipes are straightforward, using natural foods and flavorings. That, she believes, will nurture the soul as well as the body. For a feeling of community in the kitchen, section openers carry excerpts about a fictional island where community and nature rule the roost, mirroring Debra's philosophy.
One reviewer has written: "The recipes contained herein are mouth-watering, ethnically diverse, and simple to prepare. Stark uses only natural ingredients - 'foods that have not been over refined or treated with chemicals and that do not contain harmful additives.' Not a vegetarian, Stark includes fish and poultry recipes. She covers the gamut from breakfast dishes, appetizers, breads, soups, and salads, to rich and colorful main dishes, and - perhaps most delightful of all for some of us - an astounding smorgasbord of over 25 sugarless desserts, including Almond Crust Ice Cream Pie, Carob Mousse Cake, Plum and Blueberry Crisp, and Sesame Spice Candy.... Stark invites us to 'find joy and comfort in these recipes,' and I think you will. (Reviewed by M. Polonsky of "Fearless Reviews")
"If Kallimos Had a Chef" features flavors from around the globe. From Apple Peanut Curry Salad to Persian Stuffed Eggplant, there are options for every palate. The ingredients are easy to find and the directions simple to follow.
A sample recipe follows:
Serves 8C10
Apricots in lentil soups are not unusual in the Middle East, Asia or Russia. They lend a sweetness and thickness to soup. Garnish with minced parsley.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup raw brown rice
1 green pepper, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint, optional
2 cups dried lentils
10 cups water or vegetable stock
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Gently warm olive oil in a soup kettle. Saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add rice and pepper. Stir until rice is coated with oil. Add remaining ingredients (except salt and pepper) and simmer, covered, until lentils and rice are cooked, about 1 hour.
Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.
Recipe excerpted from "If Kallimos Had a Chef" by Debra Stark (published by VanderWyk & Burnham, $14.95)"
For additional information, including more sample recipes, visit the publisher's Web site at You can buy the book directly from the publisher.