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Artichoke to Za'atar: Modern Middle Eastern Food Hardcover – March 1, 2008


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Artichoke to Za'atar: Modern Middle Eastern Food + Turquoise: A Chef's Travels in Turkey + Saha: A Chef's Journey Through Lebanon and Syria [Middle Eastern Cookbook, 150 Recipes]
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A celebration of Middle Eastern ingredients by the coauthors of Saha: A Chef's Journey Through Lebanon and Syria—one a renowned Australian chef and the other a Melbourne-based food writer—this collection provides a comprehensive overview of traditional dishes of the cuisine. With more than 40 tantalizing color photos, recipes are divided by main ingredient, from the familiar (artichokes, chickpeas, lentils) to the lesser known (rose water, sumac, quinces). Each section offers a brief history of the ingredient and includes tips for selection, storage and use. Most dishes focus on a short list of simple ingredients that highlight rather than disguise flavors. Blue Cheese and Walnut Terrine, Battered Scallops with Cumin Salt, and Fresh Figs Poached in Ginger Syrup all follow this credo. Others are more complex, such as Green Lentil Soup with Saffron Scrambled Eggs and Cardamom-Honey-Glazed Roast Duck. All recipes—170 in total, some including meat—are easy to follow, appropriate for beginning or experienced cooks. Many ingredients are readily available, while some may require a visit to a specialty store. Originally published in Australia, this collection is available in North America for the first time and is sure to appeal to a wide audience. (Feb.)
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Review

“Recipes for pros and novices alike.”
(Bon Appetit 2008-05-01)

“Again and again, this elegantly photographed book makes good on its promise to challenge outdated notions of Middle Eastern cuisine.”
(Saveur 2008-06-01)

“Some of the highest quality prose to be found in cookery books.”
(Foreword Magazine 2008-06-01)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (March 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520254139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520254138
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 1.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #758,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Byrne on September 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In an era in which we associate the Arab world with closed-mindedness and self-isolation a cookbook like this must come as a shock. These eclectic recipes remind one of the tales one often reads of banquets in the glory days of Al Andalus, where Jewish advisors counseled Syrian kings who ruled over a Christian population, and where the threads of so many different cultures intermingled freely to produce the greatest cultural flowering in the history of humanity.
That claim may seem a bit overblown, but just try the dried apricot and sherry cardamom ice cream, and you'll quickly realize that this is not a compendium of one's grandmother's old village recipes. This is a book that shows how cuisine is born in the mixing of the old and he new, the traditional and the foriegn. How refreshing to find a bood of middle-eastern cooking that isn't afraid to deploy pork or rabbit! Shukran!
Preserved lemon guacamole with smoked eel, salmon kibeh, watercress tabouleh, barbequed squid in a hot Yemeni relish, grilled haloumi endive salad, etc. etc. etc. What makes the recipes work is the way in which each extends the core idea of traditional recipe by borrowing from something outside of any traditional Arab cuisine. For example, by taking simple tabouleh and adapting it for watercress you come to realize just how parsley works in the original in a way that you never would by just making up a batch of the traditional fare.
In addition to the recipes the book features a number of descriptions of the place of various key ingredients in arab cuisines: their history, their raison d'etre, and their most commmon uses. Having a chapter on rosewater is really very helpful when you find yourself with a bottle of it and would like to put it so some use beyond scenting baklawa.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sustainable Global Foodie on April 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The recipes are simple, the ingredients few in most cases (and the chef gives ideas on substitutions). But, the COMBINATIONS ARE SUBLIME !! The dishes could be expensive to-die-for trendy restaurant fare, or an elegant way of life at home, for not much money! My mouth started watering when I started reading the recipes. I LOVE these delish recipes! The added bonus is that the recipes presented are light and healthy.

I would list all of the recipes for you if I could. I have not yet made the very simple Arab Pancakes with Fresh Mangoes and Orange-Blossom Clotted Cream, because I am contemplating waiting for the divine Mangoes of Summer Mango season. The Spicy Prawn and Mussel Tagine made my eyes rollback! The most difficult aspect of this book is that every recipe is more tempting than the one before so it is hard to decide on any one dish because of the sense of longing for all the others! One almost is tempted to close one's eyes, flip the pages and point, to pick the recipe for the day. IMO, the cookbook is that good. I have shared recipes too, and everyone has loved the recipes!
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By Pepi on March 2, 2015
Format: Hardcover
What a delightful cookbook!
ok, ok, I know I'm late to the game, this was published on '06 I think.
but a friend just directed me to this cookbook a while ago.
personally, I love it.
but why only 3 stars? well, it's such a niche corner of cuisine.
I have my own list of 5 cookbooks everyone must own, well, wait a minute, I do hate the word must.
everyone should own. but again, even these are just an opinion.
I give these cookbooks 4 stars. (how can any book get 5 stars, that's 5 out of 5, perfection? perfection does not exist.)
so "Artichoke to Za'atar" gets 3, on my scale pretty good.

the recipes look great. no, I haven't tried any yet.
but the big bonus imo, are the marvelous historical précis given for each ingredient in the book.
if you have room for a niche cookbook, I think this one is special.
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