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I love Greek food. I adore the flavor combinations: citrus, olive oil, cinnamon, salty cheeses, lamb, fish, mint, sesame, eggplant, olives, almonds . . . Sigh. Really, few cuisines are better in my opinion.
Tessa Kiros's Food from Many Greek Kitchens is a beautifully designed cookbook that is easy to cook from and will satisfy all your Greek food cravings. Its Aegean green and white color scheme helps put you in a Mediterranean mood, and the pretty bottles of ouzo on the cover add to the feeling of good cheer.
Whether you decide to make a traditional dish, such as the familiar baklava or dolmades, or something a bit more unusual, such as a wild greens pie or baked chickpeas, you'll find that the vast majority of the ingredients are readily available and that all the instructions are clear, chatty, and easy to follow. There only a handful of recipes that call for harder-to-find items: For me, the problem ingredient is always fish because I live in a land-locked state and simply don't have access to all the varieties available on the coasts.
The complexity of the recipes range from watermelon and feta:
Cut off the rind and then slice the watermelon flesh into chunks and put on a plate. Break the feta into chunks and eat with the watermelon. That's it.To mussaka, which is not very difficult to make but requires several steps and lots of pots and pans. But, as the introduction to the recipe says, "If this dish seems like too much work all in one go, you can make the meat sauce the day before." Kiros also mentions that the dish freezes well, so you can cook once but eat twice.
Kiros includes helpful extras, such as a glossary, informative recipe introductions, and a useful index. This is is a cookbook I plan to cook from many times. I can't wait for our local farmers' market to open so I can buy fresh vegetables and locally produced meats and cheeses to use in my Greek dinners.
Here are some recipes I have marked to try:
- Orange Semolina Cake (with a citrus-y syrup and almonds)
- Stewed Green Beans in Tomato (with garlic and cinnamon; nice for summer)
- Small Shoes (don't you love that name? similar ingredients as moussaka)
- White Bean Soup (vegetarian and overflowing with good veggies)
I made the Baked Lamb with Rice-Shaped Pasta, except I used brown rice (because we ate pasta the night before). This was a yummy meal and easy dish to prepare: A small leg roast is rubbed with lemon, garlic, and oil and baked with cinnamon, oregano, scallions, and tomatoes. When the roast is almost done, the cooked pasta is added, and the pan is returned to the oven to give the pasta a chance to absorb the pan juices and to heat through. We loved it. I forgot to take a photo, but the photo from the book (above) shows the finished dish. I served it with a salad and steamed asparagus.
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Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011
Source: Review (see review policy)
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