on September 8, 2010
In response to the sole one-star review of this book by M. Arthur on Sept. 3, 2010:
"I am at a disadvantage since you did not mention in which recipes you found the offending mentions of chicken stock, pancetta or fish, but I am extremely skeptical of this and wonder if, in fact, you are confusing this book with another. I went leafing through my copy and could find no recipes that ask for chicken stock at all. In fact, in the soup section, Shulman mentions that where a traditional Mediterranean soup that might have otherwise been a logicl inclusion would not translate well with a vegetable stock, she left it out rather than try to kluge a vegetarian version together. Elsewhere, she mentions adding parmesan rind to replace the salty umami of pancetta in a recipe. These comments suggest to me that you are mistaken about your assertion that any recipe in this book "calls for" meat - stock or otherwise.
If she mentions in a HEADNOTE that a particular dish was served to her with meat or that it traditionally contains meat, I hardly think that makes this book a non-vegetarian cookbook, but I suppose that is a matter of interpretation.
Finally, since Shulman is translating some dishes that are usually made with meat in their home countries, of course some won't be "authentic." You can't have it both ways - complain that the food isn't traditional enough and then insist that there be no mention of meat. All in all, your complaints do NOT warrant the sole one-star review of this cookbook."
I have not yet made any of the recipes in this book, but I can at least assert that it is indeed a vegetarian cookbook. Not only is a vegetarian cookbook, but it is written by a woman who is clearly passionate about cooking with vegetables. I have bookmarked several dozen recipes and look forward to returning here to write a review of them.
on May 29, 2008
We are trying to get more fresh veggies into our diet and this cookbook is just the ticket. The recipes are wonderful and the ingredients are readily available at most well stocked markets and farmers markets. Everything that I have made so far has gotten rave reviews from my family. The recipes are interesting and easy to follow, using good fresh ingredients. The recipes come from all over the Mediterranean region such as Turkey, Morocco, the Middle Eest, Spain, France, not just Italy and Greece. This is quickly becoming one of my favorites!
on January 9, 2008
The author's prose is clear and entertaining. The introduction,the section on Mediterranean spice blends, and necessities for the pantry was eye-opening and very informative. After trying about eight different recipes, I've decided that this is one of the best planned and conceived cookbooks that I've had the pleasure of using. Everyone should use it, whether you're a vegetarian or not (I'm not, but she makes it tasty!).
on January 26, 2008
Shh... If you don't tell them, the spouse and kids will never miss the meat. Everyone will find treasures in this collection of splendid recipes. I made the fantastic Country Whole Wheat Bread today, and I couldn't believe the rave reviews from my kids. It was fun and fulfilling to have such satisfying results. The book has fun headers to each chapter and recipe too. I took it with me to the doctors office today and the time just flew by...hmmm , now what shall I make tomorrow?
on March 15, 2009
Martha Rose Shulman's cookbooks have been a touchstone for me for thirty years, but her comprehensive Mediterranean Harvest may be my favorite of all time. I love vegetables and like to buy them locally and in season--our family gets a box of fresh veggies every week from a local farm--and that means I'm getting more or less the same assortment week in and week for what seems like months at a time, as each season brings its set of crops. Now, with Mediterranean Harvest I have half a dozen ways to cook kale (at least), each one distinct but all from my favorite food part of the world. I've learned to blanch my greens and plunge them into ice water immediately to get the best flavor out of them when they go into a Provencal gratin or galette. Spinach is always an easy sell, as far as I'm concerned, but when I made Spinach with Spices and Yogurt--spinach sautéed with allspice, cinnamon, clove, and coriander and topped with a creamy, garlicky yogurt-- my guests and I were over the moon (one of my most requested recipes of late). I've only had the book a few months, but it's already stained and starting to wear. Most important of all, it's the kind of book with recipes I use just because they're in the book, not because I was looking for anything in particular. Martha always asks for the right amount of garlic, the judicious amount of full-flavored (rather than a smothering mess of so-so) cheese. The Provençal Greens Gratin (and its sister, the Provençal Kale and Cabbage Gratin) has become an easy and scrumptious go-to recipe when the season's bounty is greens of one variety or another. Some of my other favorite recipes so far are the Roasted Cauliflower with Chermoula, a luscious sauce of cilantro, parsley, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice seasoned with cumin, paprika, coriander, and cayenne; the Beet and Beet Greens Salad, a simple but effective idea that uses the roots and greens at once; and the Lentil Soup with Goat Cheese. Before too much time passes, I need to try to make Socca, the street food I adored in Nice. And when summer comes I can start all over again and peruse it for new ideas about what to do with all those eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, and basil, and we can indulge in the enticing array of cold soups, especially White Gazpacho with Grapes. How great does that sound?
on December 4, 2007
In Martha Rose Shulman's 30-year food writing career, she has never fallen short of the highest standards. Her latest offering, Mediterranean Harvest, displays all of her virtues: healthful, pleasurable, delicious recipes drawn from great cuisines, and presented with the clarity and precision needed to produce the same results yourself. Essential for any cook's library.
on November 18, 2008
There are lots of good things to say about this book, but my favorite piece is that Shulman goes the extra mile and tells how to prepare all or part of each dish in advance as well as how well and long it will keep once made. She also indicates which are hearty enough to be served as main dishes, especially useful to those of us unfamiliar with this cuisine. Shulman shares the origin of each recipe and sometimes how she happened to include it in the book. Well written overall and a wonderful introduction to the Mediterranean cuisines.
Added several months later: I have now prepared dozens of these recipes and every single one has been "a keeper," as my family would say. Best of all, no one seems to miss the meat! These are all remarkably flavorful dishes and all on the healthier side of average. This book is still my favorite and still gets a heartfelt 5 stars!