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Fresh Tastes Cookbook Provides Uncomplicated, Sophisticated Cooking for Everyday and Entertaining Inspiration

Award-winning cookbook author, Lee Clayton Roper, shows home cooks how to explore their culinary creativity with her award-winning, delicious cookbook, Fresh Tastes. This beautiful book delivers over 170 flavorful recipes, essential cooking tips and delightful stories to spark inspiration in your kitchen.

Lee takes the “complicated” out of timeless classics, simplifying the process while ramping up flavors, using fresh ingredients when and where possible. She shares personal reflections on lessons she has learned in the kitchen from those who have inspired her, along with 65 beautiful food photos, along with process shots of key preparation steps.

Fresh Tastes epitomizes Lee’s culinary tastes, balancing an innovative approach with uncomplicated preparation techniques. Sophisticated in flavor and beautiful to present, the recipes in Fresh Tastes are prepared with the best quality, readily available ingredients designed to maximize flavor. Some of Lee’s delicious recipes include:

Prosciutto, Fig and Goat Cheese Tarts
Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup
Tomato and Peach Salad with Lime-Balsamic Dressing
Layered Salmon Salad with Avocado-Lime Yogurt Dressing
Grilled Rosemary-Dijon Chicken Breasts
Spicy Pork Chops with Argentine Chimichurri Sauce
Halibut with Celery Root Puree and Tomato Garnish
Chipotle Lime Shrimp Tacos with Tomato Mango Salsa
Roasted Root Vegetable Pot Pie
Peruvian Artichoke Tart
Pear Kuchen
Fresh Fruit with Brandy Custard Sauce

Drawing from her decades of experience, Lee provides readers with helpful advice on what is best for the dish, the flavor and the cook, considering such essential variables as seasonality and availability. Recipes in Fresh Tastes were evaluated by a team of volunteer testers across the country. Only the best, most flavorful, eye catching dishes made the cut. Fresh, flavorful and inspired, this collection of hand selected recipes in Fresh Tastes transcends the kitchen, reminding us all that every meal can and should be a simple yet sophisticated celebration of life.

“My approach with this cookbook starts with the confidence that, with the right preparation and a pinch of creativity, every dish can be extraordinary,” Lee explains. “I have intentionally kept recipes and ingredients easy to get, often providing alternative substitutions.”

Lee Clayton Roper is an award-winning cookbook author, cooking instructor, public speaker and TV personality. Her first book, A Well-Seasoned Kitchen received numerous rave reviews and is often featured in local and national press. In 2010, A Well-Seasoned Kitchen achieved national acclaim, winning the prestigious “Living Now” gold medal. With Fresh Tastes Lee expands her recipe collection, serving up fresh, delicious and sophisticated dishes guaranteed to inspire creativity in kitchen everywhere. Lee tours the country sharing recipes and cooking tips and techniques in sold-out classes, leading cooking demonstrations, and is a frequent guest on radio and television and in print. To learn more about Lee, visit

From A Well-Seasoned Kitchen
By Lee Clayton Roper
Southwestern Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0984116362

Try these fresh and delicious recipes from Fresh Tastes:


The British have known for years that apples and Stilton cheese are a wonderful combination. In this delicious salad, they’re mixed together with spinach, walnuts and a walnut-flavored vinaigrette. I like to serve this salad with any grilled meat or alone as a meal.

1/4 cup raspberry balsamic vinegar*
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup walnut oil*
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
10 ounces mixed baby greens (spinach, arugula, lettuce)
2 large Gala or other red apples, unpeeled, cored and chopped
1 cup (6 ounces) chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
1 1/2 to 2 cups (6 to 8 ounces) Stilton cheese, crumbled**

*If you can’t find raspberry balsamic vinegar, use regular raspberry vinegar and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey. If you can’t find walnut oil, substitute olive oil and add a few more walnuts.

**There are 2 types of Stilton cheese: blue and white. Either will work in this recipe. If you can’t find Stilton, you can substitute Gorgonzola or other forms of blue cheese.

In a medium glass jar with fitted lid (an empty Dijon mustard jar works well), whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and oil until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together mixed greens, chopped apple, walnuts and cheese. Just before serving, toss with just enough dressing to coat the lettuce (you may have some dressing left over). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

VARIATION IN PRESENTATION: If you want to have a more formal, individually plated salad, then instead of chopping the apples, core and slice them. Toss the greens with part of the dressing and divide among six individual salad plates. Arrange the apple slices in a circular pattern over the spinach. Sprinkle the walnuts and cheese crumbles over the top. Drizzle with remaining dressing.


This dish comes together quickly and is delicious paired with green beans and roasted potatoes. It’s a bit on the rich side, so I suggest using fillets no more than 5 ounces each. If using one large fillet, you may need to increase the cooking time by a few minutes.

While the general rule of thumb for cooking fish is 10 minutes per inch of thickness, I’ve included the option to cook these filets for 12 minutes per inch. I find that with the crust on top, it can take a bit longer. It’s really to your taste — just remember, it will continue cooking after you take it out of the oven and let it rest.

6 (4- to 5-ounce) skinless Chilean sea bass fillets
1 cup salted, dry roasted pistachio nuts, very finely chopped (can chop in a food processor)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 15- by 10- by 1-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Place sea bass fillets in prepared pan. In a small bowl, combine the nuts, sugar, lemon juice, dill and pepper. Spoon the mixture evenly over each fillet, pressing down to adhere.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes per 1-inch of thickness of the fillet, or until fish reaches 140 to 145 degrees when measured with an instant-read thermometer. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

MAKE AHEAD: Fish with topping can be prepared but not baked up to 4 hours in advance, covered and refrigerated.

Recipe(s)/photo(s) reprinted with permission from
Fresh Tastes by Lee Clayton Roper

Professional Chef Shares Simple and Delicious Recipes in Simple Real Food Cookbook

Most of us feel we don’t have time to shop and cook. At the end of a busy day why bother? Culinary instructor and chef Amanda Cushman believes cooking can be an easy and creative experience. To that end she wrote SIMPLE REAL FOOD, a contemporary collection of multi-cultural recipes that are delicious, yet simple to prepare using fresh ingredients.

“The recipes in my book provide the basics, you can change the recipe and make it yours. If you don’t like cilantro use parsley, if you don’t like salmon use halibut,” Cushman says. “Relax and enjoy the process of making tasty and healthy meals that take very little time and can be as creative as you want it to be.”

SIMPLE REAL FOOD provides home cooks with make-ahead tips as well as alternatives suggestions for each recipe, many accompanied by beautiful food photographs. Cushman’s recipes cover, appetizers, soups, salads, main courses, sides and desserts as well as a chapter with vegetarian dishes.

The recipes in the book reflect Cushman’s years of culinary exploration around the world and brings these flavors and tastes to home kitchens. Recipes include:

Hoisin Ginger Chicken with Mango Mayonnaise
Thai Shrimp Salad with Asian Dressing
Warm Beet Salad with Chèvre and Candied Walnuts
Seafood Chowder with Cilantro
Tuscan Meatloaf Braised in White Wine
Chicken Souvlaki
Sesame Coated Salmon with Indonesian Soy Sauce
Pork with Honey-Balsamic Glaze
Tempeh Sauté with Miso Dressing
Chocolate Amaretto Cake
Ginger Cake with Tropical Fruit Salad

Cushman also gives home cooks a guide to setting up their kitchen and the essential ingredients to keep stocked that make cooking quick and easy. She believes that simple food that is delicious and easily accessible is worth the effort.

“I hope readers come away with the desire to get in the kitchen and cook, to try new ingredients, and to realize that cooking can be easy, creative, and fun.”

Amanda Cushman is a sought-after culinary educator who has cooked professionally for over thirty years. She teaches a wide range of cooking classes in North Carolina as well as private, in-home classes. Her corporate team building classes have featured clients such as; Hugo Boss, Experian, Exxon Mobile, Google, Yahoo, Fitness Magazine, DirecTV and Toyota.

Her career in food began in Manhattan where she worked with some of the top NYC caterers: Glorious Food, Panhandlers and Martha Stewart Catering. She became the lead chef for Panhandlers Catering where she cooked for parties of twenty to three hundred people Chef Cushman then began testing and writing recipes for Ladies Home Journal and Food and Wine magazine. This led to her contributing to Cooking Light, Self, Fine Cooking and Vegetarian Times. She was also a private chef for the C.E.O. of American Express and the Editor of GQ magazine.

She has developed hundreds of recipes for cookbooks as well as food magazines and web sites. Some of her accounts have been, Minutemealscom and the Time/Life Fitness Series. She and her husband live in Durham, North Carolina.

Visit her websites: and

Recipe(s) may be reprinted with the following credit:

Recipe from SIMPLE REAL FOOD: Delicious Clean Food Prepared Simply
By Amanda Cushman

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Parsley Walnut Pesto

Serves 4


2 acorn squash, halved, seeded
3 cups Italian parsley, washed, stems removed
1/2 cup walnut pieces
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 Tb. grated parmesan, garnish

Heat the oven to 375.
Place the acorn squash, cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes until tender. Allow to cool. Reduce the oven to 350. Scoop out most of the pulp, leaving a 1/4 inch with the shell intact. Cut the halves into half again there will be 8 wedges.
Transfer the pulp to a food processor. Add the parsley, walnuts, garlic, cheese, and olive oil. Process until smooth. Add salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. If the mixture is too thick, add water to adjust the consistency.
Scoop the pesto into the squash shells and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the filling is hot. Serve warm garnished with grated parmesan.

Braised Provencal Chicken with White Beans

Serves 4
8 chicken thighs with skin and bone
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tb. olive oil
1 Tb. thyme, chopped
1 Tb. rosemary, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken stock
6 ripe plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted, chopped
1 16 oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained
3 Tb roughly chopped basil, garnish

1. Combine the chicken in a medium bowl with the oil, salt, pepper and herbs and set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
2. Heat a large high sided skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken again with salt and pepper and brown on all sides turning often, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to a plate.
3. Pour off most of the drippings from the pan and add the garlic and shallots and sauce for about 2 minutes. Add the wine and increase the heat to high, deglaze the pan and reduce the wine to about half. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes and chicken and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir in the olives and white beans and heat through.
4. Transfer the chicken to a large serving dish and spoon the sauce over, garnish with basil and serve.