12 September 2020

Review: Mediterranean Every Day by Sheela Prakash

A cookbook for the Mediterranean dietI don't provide medical or dietary advice here on Beth Fish Reads, but it's well-recognized that the Mediterranean diet is endorsed by most medical professionals around the world. Good news for those of us who like our veggies, olives, and a bit of meat and fish on the side.

In Mediterranean Every Day (Harvard Common Press; Sept. 1), Sheela Prakash celebrates the foods she learned to cook as an American college and graduate student in Italy. The dishes she shares fit our busy schedules and are easy enough for most cooks. The flavors are bright and fresh, and the recipes call for common ingredients.

Prakash, a registered dietician, doesn't believe in dieting. Instead she advocates a healthy and nutritious lifestyle and kitchen. And, of course, delicious food.

The photographs in Mediterranean Every Day will inspire you to don your apron and roll up your sleeves. Even better, the recipes are clearly written and the dishes are simple to put together.

The cookbook starts with sauces, pantry items, snacks, and drinks. I made the Smoky White Bean Hummus for lunches and snacking. It took me all of 5 minutes to make, and I'm looking forward to serving this to guests.

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish ReadsIn the soup and salad chapter we found a nice variation of a Nicoise salad and a delicious Spicy Sausage Rice Soup, which is perfect for fall.

Finally, we made three recipes from the mains chapter: Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Farro Bake; Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Oven Bake; and Skillet Lemon Chicken Thighs with Blistered Olives.

I marked a ton of recipes to try, such as orzo with shrimp and feta, whole wheat foccacia, no-cook summer tomato pasta, and citrus polenta cake.

Mediterranean Every Day by Sheela Prakash is a beautiful cookbook to look through, plus the recipes are accessible and use ingredients you can find at the grocery. I plan to cook from it often. Put this one on your buy list.

The recipe I'm sharing today should work for most of you; I've included the Prakash's notes and tips as well.

Note: Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this cookbook. The scans and recipe are used here in the context of a review; all rights remain with the original copyright holder.

Slinky Red Peppers with Capers and Sherry Vinegar
Makes 1.5 cups (220g), serving 4
Jarred roasted red peppers are a great convenience, but, unfortunately, all that time hanging out in the jar causes them to become pretty muted and bland compared to those made from scratch. Luckily, I've found a way to improve them. Marinate a jar of roasted red peppers with olive oil and sherry vinegar, throw in some capers for a salty, briny bite, and you have something that's much greater than the sum of its parts.

    Recipe from Mediterranean Every Day
  • 1 (12 oz; 340g) jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into slices
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons capers, chopped if large (rinsed well if salt-packed)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, combine the roasted peppers, olive oil, vinegar, capers, a pinch of salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Stir and let marinate for about 20 minutes at room temperature, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Let the peppers come to room temperature before serving with toasted baguette slices or sturdy crackers.

Prakash's note: Although I really like serving this in a bowl alongside toasted baguette slices for DIY crostini, it's also just a nice thing to keep in the refrigerator all week to spoon over meat, fish, or even scrambled eggs.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


rhapsodyinbooks 9/12/20, 6:37 AM  

The red peppers dish sounds great. I may try to see how it works tonight in a modified way using roasted hatch green chili pappers, which I have in abundance as it is their season. I never thought of adding capers to the equation, and of course, a good baguette will add immeasurably. I also have to confess I recently got some already-made-but-frozen Mediterranean dishes from Trader Joe's, because while we love them and they don't take many ingredients, they take skill in combining, which I seem to lack for some unfair reason.

gluten Free A_Z Blog 9/12/20, 8:01 AM  

I will be giving that red pepper dish a try. Thanks for the review - sounds like a good recipe book!

Mae Travels 9/12/20, 8:32 AM  

As usual, I wish you had told us if this is a better book to buy than one of the dozens of other Mediterranean cookbooks that have been published over the years. Other than that, it's an interesting review, and that sounds like one more good recipe for red peppers from a jar -- a pantry staple that I try to keep in reserve at all times.

be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Jackie McGuinness 9/12/20, 9:42 AM  

You inspired me! I had a pot of freezer veg and chicken bones end on the stove for a soup, but didn't know where it was going - just took out a sausage to add to it.
You also reminded me that I have white beans in the cupboard for a hummus.
I already had chicken thighs defrosting for a Spanish spicy dish for dinner tonight.

I just added myself to the library wait list for this book.
I like the Mediterranean style of eating. I love lots of vegetables never an issue in my house. I would eat a lot more fish but John is kind of finicky about some.

Claudia 9/12/20, 1:32 PM  

It sounds as though she has some good recipes in that book, and I would agree with her eating well and not dieting philosophy.

Les in Oregon 9/13/20, 5:34 PM  

Oh, this sounds like a cookbook I would like to peruse! I have a recipe for shrimp scampi and orzo, but haven't considered adding feta. Yum. The skillet lemon chicken thighs recipe sounds good, too, but I would give my olives to my husband. Not a fan. ;) Thanks for the review, Candice!

Abigail Pearson 9/14/20, 4:19 PM  

This cookbook sounds so good, my mouth is watering!

Debra Eliotseats 9/14/20, 6:50 PM  

Totally agree with the summation of jarred peppers. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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