March 6, 2012

The Organic Family Cookbook – A Review And Pumpkin Pancakes with Honey Butter, Pistachios, and Fig Jam

was sent this book by Sellers Publishing late last year and when I flipped through it, I knew I would be posting about it for sure.  It has taken me a couple of months to finally review The Organic Family Cookbook -Growing, Greening And Cooking Together by Anni Daulter, but in my opinion the delay shouldn’t matter because this is one of those cookbooks whose recipes are always relevant.
The Organic Family Cookbook is all about family friendly and healthy meals using organic ingredients. She advocates trying to grow whatever one can, but her recipes are really about using fresh and natural ingredients in one’s cooking.

This comes across while flipping through the book which is full of beautiful photographs (taken by Alexandra DeFurio), is that everything looks farm-fresh, wholesome, healthy and colourful.  
The recipes are short and easy to follow, accompanied not only by photographs but also sidebars where Anni Daulter shares how she and family are eco-friendly,  grow their vegetables/ fruit and how  she gets her children (teenager to toddler) to eat healthy and organic. She also provides tips on things like tips on how to green your kitchen, building a compost pile with the children, planning a family cooking day and how to dye eggs with vegetable dye.

(Image: Courtesy Sellers Publishing)

The recipes in this book are divided into different sections based on types of meals.
Naturally Tasty Breakfasts (On-the-Go 3-Cheese Savory Scones, Bodhi’s Warm Berry Quinoa With Honey Butter, Mother’s Day Sun-dried Tomatoe-Basil Pesto Ricotta Crepes, etc)
Simple Snacks (Veggie Parmesan Popcorn, Natural Cran-Strawberry Red Roll-ups, Spicy Lime And Sesame Pumpkin Seeds, etc)
Wholesome Lunches (Piquante Pepper And Sweet Potato Flatbread, Roasted Tomato Garden Tacos, Udon Noodles With Soybeans And Carrots, etc)
Family Favourite Dinners (Tom’s Favourite Mushroom And Onion Tart, Linguini With Spicy Tomato Caper Sauce, Veggie Sliders With Blue Corn Chips, etc)
Savory Sides ( Luscious Garlic Beet Chips, Stuffed Focaccia French Bread, Fig Jam With Garlic Cheese Tarts, etc)
Refreshing Desserts ( Fall Pumpkin Spice Cookies, Simple Peach Berry Souffles, Dana’s Raw Vegan Apple Pie, etc)
Homespun Extras ( Lotus Loves Honey Butter, Tofu Mayo, Fresh Fig Jam, Everyday Garden Salsa, etc)

Please see this page for a little more about the book.

(Image: Courtesy Sellers Publishing)

Now I don’t grow much stuff on my balcony, and I’m not too sure just how organic the vegetables and fruit at my local market are, but I do cook almost all my meals from scratch as do most people in India. Some of the recipes in Anni Daulter’s book may take a little (not a lot) time to put together but I agree with her when she says the effort is worth it, especially if one can involve one’s children in the process.
Some of the organic ingredients she uses may not be available in regular stores but she provides, at the end of her book, a list of speciality stores where these would be available. Even if they aren’t available anywhere where you live, like in my case, it is easy enough to use substitutes.
And if you’re vegetarian like me, a large number of recipes in this book are vegetarian and most of them that aren’t can very easily be adapted to make them vegetarian. I would definitely recommend this book as one to have on your cookbook shelf.
Please also see my review of Anni Daulter's other book, Ice Pop Joy.

About The Author:
Anni Daulter is an ecomama, professional cook, advocate for sustainable living, and author of 2 other books, Ice Pop Joy and Organically Raised: Conscious Cooking for Babies & Toddlers. She is also the cofounder of a conscious family living magazine called Bamboo and lives in Los Angeles, California with her family.

I tried making her Pumpkin Pancakes With Honey Butter And Pistachios and Fig Jam, and they were very good. I have my own recipe for Fig Jam so I didn’t make hers. I made the Honey Butter and found it enough of an accompaniment for the pancakes.
I had to make some substitutions for ingredients I couldn’t find here. So I used sugar instead of agave syrup, yogurt instead of sour cream and used 1 cup each of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour.

And that Honey Butter is pretty good, very easy to make, tastes like a very buttery toffee sauce and is sure to be a popular with children especially. It is rich but perfect with these pancakes and would be excellent with waffles or vanilla ice-cream, or with just about anything where you might use a butterscotch sauce.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Honey Butter, Pistachios, and Fig Jam
(From the Organic Family Cookbook by Anni Daulter)


2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons raw agave nectar, plus more for topping
2 eggs
unsalted butter, for cooking
1/2 cup chopped pistachios, for topping
honey butter, for topping
2 tablespoons fig jam, for topping (recipe page 151 of her book)



In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, wheat germ, baking soda, and baking powder.
In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, sour cream, pumpkin purée, vanilla, agave nectar, and eggs.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and mix until combined.
Melt about 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Ladle pancake batter into skillet to make medium-sized pancakes. As soon as bubbles begin to form on the top side of the batter, flip the pancakes to the second side. Both sides should be lightly browned when done.
Remove pancakes from skillet and keep warm while cooking the remaining pancakes. Serve topped with chopped pistachios, raw agave nectar, honey butter, and fig jam on the side.
 Makes 12–15 medium-size pancakes.

Author’s Notes: These pancakes are a fall favorite. I enjoy the spicy flavors and the crunch of the pistachios, and fig jam is good on just about anything. These are great for picky eaters, because they’re packed with delicious flavors (as well as healthy goodies!).
The trick to cooking pancakes well is to flip them as soon as you start to see bubbles forming in the batter. They almost look like little holes on the surface.

Honey Butter


8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup honey


Mix the butter and honey together until nicely whipped and smooth. Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator for upto 1 week.
Serves 6.