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Meze: Small Plates to Savor and Share from the Mediterranean Table Hardcover – June 3, 2003

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Editorial Reviews Review

To confuse meze with antipasto or tapas is to miss the point. These small plates of Greek deliciousness come to us from a Mediterranean world of mid-afternoon snacking, drinking, and talking. The pace is leisurely, the content simple, the effect extraordinary. Early on in Meze Diane Kochilas, award-winning author of The Glorious Foods of Greece, sets the prototypic meze stage: two village codgers holding down either side of a small table; two glasses and a carafe of raki between them; a plate with some bread, olives, air-dried anchovies, cucumber sticks, and cheese. They do not sit at the table so much as beside the table, the better to take in the world.

And thus it is with meze. It's not about sitting down to eat as much as being present to exchange ideas, enjoy a glass of wine or spirits, and snack on taste treats that enliven the palate and pull all the threads of the whole into one. Kochilas divides Meze into "Dips, Spreads, and Relishes"; "Savory Salads"; "Small Egg Dishes"; "Phyllo Pies"; "Finger Foods and Fried Treats"; "Vegetable and Bean Mezethes"; "A Sea's Bounty"; "From Meatballs to Kebabs"; and, the "Meze Pantry." She provides sources for ingredients. And she includes enlightening notes on Greek wine and spirits, perfect for serving with these small dishes. She is truly a master of it all and a delight to read. When was the last time you mixed garlicky yogurt with dried apricots, or baked figs with oregano? Put your hand in Kochilas's oven mitt. She'll take you to a new, delicious, life-invigorating territory. --Schuyler Ingle

From Publishers Weekly

Mezethes (plural of meze, which means middle) are little Mediterranean dishes designed to complement a beverage, tease the tastebuds and encourage diners to linger around a table for good conversation, says Kochilas (The Glorious Foods of Greece), and "variety, playfulness, and surprise" are key to their preparation. Her nicely illustrated cookbook offers 80 meze recipes to pair with ouzo or Greek wines, and shows American home cooks how a varied gathering of Greek, Turkish and Lebanese flavors-olives, anchovies, cured beef, cheese, good bread-can make for a perfect brunch or buffet spread (though, Kochilas is careful to note, a "meze spread is not meant to be a meal, but a nosh"). Her chapters cover culinary themes such as Dips, Spreads and Relishes, Small Egg Dishes, Finger Foods and Fried Treats, and A Sea's Bounty of Mezethes; dishes range from Fluffy Fish-Roe Dip with Ground Almonds (a variant of the classic taramosalata), to Three-Cheese Phyllo Triangles with Onions and Yogurt, to Marinated Panfried Shrimp in the Shell, to Grilled Greek Meat Patties with Chopped Tomatoes, Spicy Yogurt, and Lemon. (Don't let the long names fool you-these dishes are never difficult to prepare.) These piquant, lively foods are "a savory flirtation," and an array of them on a table is a delightful thing.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1 edition (June 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688175112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688175115
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,042,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Cooking from this book was a great joy after having spent several days with books dealing with French haute cuisine. I heartily recommend this book to just about anyone as a source of tasty, easy, traditional dishes. The only reservations would be to people who may not have the time or inclination to search out some of the speciality ingredients.
Almost all recipes in this book use fewer than 12 ingredients and the technique rarely takes more than four (4) steps, taking no more than a half page of text. This is not exactly quick cooking, although there are a fair number of quick recipes herein. Some recipes do require long marinades, but very few require long cooking. Most heat is from either a quick saute or a grill.
The issues with ingredients, especially for those who like to stay authentic, is probably solved if you live in a large city and there is a Greek or middle eastern grocery available. It is also probably not a big issue if you live near a `megamart' which carries a generous supply of Greek and Turkish staples. Needless to say, even if you live in the sticks, there are internet sources for everything. The most important speciality ingredients are:
Greek feta - There is barrel cured and tin cured. Some recipes recommend one type. Some the other.
Other Greek Cheeses - Popular Italian cheeses like ricotta will substitute for most requirements.
Greek Oregano - Dried
Greek / Eastern Mediterranian yogurt - Fortunately, there is an easy way to make plain yogurt work.
Dried Mint - Yes, dried. Fresh mint is also commonly used.
Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil - `What is grown together goes together'. But Italian or Spanish will work.
Phyllo - Supermarket Phyllo is fine.
Octopus - The national seafood of Greece.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Busy with bowls of savory Bread Salad with Watermelon, Feta, and Red Onion and Little Meatballs Stuffed with Olives, thunderstorms couldn't stop us from enjoying the last weekend of Summer. I found numerous recipes in Meze's index calling for different combinations of the just-picked vegetables from my mom's lovingly tended garden. Baby Eggplants with Herbs & Bulgur was the visual star of our Meze-covered table: luxurious eggplants with savory herb-flecked stuffing baked over a rich tomato "sauce" was amazingly simple to make. Author Kochilas demystifies favorite ingredients like thick, creamy Greek-style Tangy Yogurt [with Sauteed Carrots and Mint] by sprinkling Notes on technique throughout her book. It was a spectacular summer feast. And I can't wait til Fall to try the Pumpkin-Cheese Triangles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Silicon Valley Geek on September 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has some nice twists on traditional Greek dishes. Some of the dishes are easy and some are time consuming, but they all came out great.

I was a little disappointed that they don't have the Greek names of the items - this is clearly a book that is geared for an English-only audience.

Our favorite is the Skewered Ground Lamb Kebabs, which contain cayenne and mint.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Joyce A. Christian on September 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Lovely book, lovely photos...BUT I am disappointed in the recipes. Admittedly, I have only tried five of them, but was disappointed in all five. I am a good cook,lived in Greece for 2 years, and have been cooking Greek food for some 30 years with great success. Some of the MEZE recipes were O.K., but not REALLY good, and one was a disaster. Sorry.
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By Nancy J. Andrews on March 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had seen this woman on a Bobby Flay throwdown and wanted to try one of her cookbooks (I love Greek food) this one sounded the best as it is for small things and I was not disappointed. I have tried several recipes and have not been disappointed with the results. I collect cookbooks (have done so for years) and must have over a thousand. This is one of my new favorites. Very good purchase and the seller was great.
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