Your Garage Summer Reading Amazon Fashion Learn more Discover it PME Fire TV Stick Subscribe & Save Patriotic Picks Shop-by-Room Amazon Cash Back Offer AllOrNothingS1 AllOrNothingS1 AllOrNothingS1  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors All-New Kindle Oasis AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Segway miniPro

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

VINE VOICEon March 13, 2008
Martha Rose Shulman's Mediterranean Harvest owes a large debt to many who have gone before her, including Diane Kochilas, noted expert on Greek cuisine, and Clifford Wright, James Beard award-winning Mediterranean cookbook author. Shulman is quick to give credit where credit is due, and borrows widely from other culinary experts such as Carol Field (The Italian Baker) in areas of local expertise.

With a glut of Mediterranean vegetarian cookbooks on the shelves such as The Greek Vegetarian: More Than 100 Recipes Inspired by the Traditional Dishes and Flavors of Greece (Diane Kochilas), Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World (Gil Marks), and The The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen and Vegan Italiano: Meat-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free Dishes from Sun-Drenched Italy by Donna Klein, why should you choose the pricey Mediterranean Harvest?

One word: love. Shulman's love of local culture, hidden culinary gems, geography, and regional tastes, her lovely travelogues disguised as recipe introductions, and diary entries from memorable stops along her Mediterranean odyssey, both personal vacations and working in Mediterranean kitchens while researching other cookbooks such as Provencal Light and Mediterranean Light: Delicious Recipes from the World's Healthiest Cuisine(Shulman is author of over 25 books). Also, she touches on some less-commonly-discussed cuisines such as Bosnia, Croatia, and Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, and North Africa (Morocco, Tunisia). There is also a handy index arranged by region.

Shulman's rundown of kitchen equipment and the Mediterranean Pantry (spices, olives and olive oil, cheeses, yogurt, wine, herbs, spice blends, nuts and seeds) is a miracle of compactness, yet provides ample information for the home cook without overwhelming. After a brief section on aperitifs, the all-important topic of breads, pizza, and panini is covered first, since bread serves as the base for many common Mediterranean delicacies such as fattoush (Lebanese bread salad), panzanella (Italian tomato and bread salad), and Castilian garlic soup. Most households couldn't afford to waste stale bread (Tuscan bread was traditionally made without salt), so it was given new life as a base for soups, strata, and vegetable salads (the juices would soften the bread).

The list of sauces and dressings includes such favorites as Salsa Romesco from Spain (almonds, bread, spices, and tomatoes), aioli (garlic mayonnaise) several variations of Italian pesto (basil, olive oil, cheese, and nuts), and yogurt-based sauces common in Greece and the Middle East (tzatziki, skordalia, tahini dressing, chermoula, harissa, and preserved lemons). Tapas / meze (finger food) are given a respectable spread befitting their social importance in the Mediterranean, including Tunisian carrot salad, tabbouleh, several variations of marinated cold veggies, hummus, bean and legume salads, and greens.

The eggs and cheese section captured my heart from its introduction; Shulman recalls a Velazquez painting from 1618 of an old woman cooking eggs, with the simple garnish of onion and olive oil, melon, and wine. Such staples as frittata, Spanish tortilla, omelets, strata, and several varieties of scrambled eggs delight, along with a recipe for homemade ricotta cheese.

The "small catalogue of pasta" (if this is the small catalogue, I'd love to see the large one!) is a chef's dream, and there are numerous sidebars to aid you in properly cooking pasta, making homemade pasta dough, and shaping homemade ravioli and garganelli.

The rest of the book is dedicated to savory pies, gratins, vegetables and beans (stews, sauteed/ pan-fried veggies, potatoes), rice, couscous, and grains (risotto, polenta, pilaf) and topped off on a sweet note with sweets and desserts (biscotti, clafouti, granitas, fruit compotes, ricotta cheesecake, baklava, and dessert couscous). A brief page of online resources for Mediterranean ingredients is included, as well as a select bibliography. Thankfully, sidebars are also included in the index as they are numerous and enlightening.

Overall, this may be the most complete look at Mediterranean cuisine that I've had the pleasure to read, vegetarian or not. Shulman's obvious respect and love for the region and its varied, healthful cuisine shines through every page, and her down-to-earth instructions and informative sidebars add to the experience. The visual design is simple and uncluttered (no photos or line drawings), with the focus appropriately on the magical recipes that transport you around the globe. The recipes are generally straightforward and simple, take advantage of fresh produce (although some shortcuts such as canned tomatoes and canned beans are used), and are delicious. If you're looking for one cookbook that combines the charms of Italian, French, Spanish, Greek, and Middle Eastern cuisine along with delightful commentaries on local culture and dining, Mediterranean Harvest is the book for you.
0Comment|119 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 20, 2007
...the minestrone soup recipe in Martha Rose Shulman's Mediterranean Harvest makes me wonder why I ever used beef broth in the first place. The soup is rich and tasty, as are all the hors d'oeuvres and main courses. I just love this book and recently sent copies to friends. They are as thrilled as I am with the possibilities this wonderful cookbook offers!
0Comment|36 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
0Comment|38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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!
0Comment|14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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!).
0Comment|20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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?
0Comment|16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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?
0Comment|8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 4, 2008
Martha Shulman's cook books belong both in the kitchen and on the bedside night stand. Her writing, like those of the very best cook book writers, is as pleasing to read as the recipes are Mediterranean Harvest: Vegetarian Recipes from the World's Healthiest Cuisinegood to eat. Her latest book, Mediterranean Harvest, makes eating right entertaining as well as healthy. What could be better? I highly recommend this book for people who like to snuggle up with a good cook book and dream of the meals they can cook for family and friends.
0Comment|14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
0Comment|29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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!
0Comment|7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse