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on October 13, 2008
I love this cookbook. From the 30+ recipe books on my kitchen shelf, this has become my # 1 creative source for preparing a delicious meal. The recipes for red onions in orange sauce, warm escarole with hot anchovy dressing, sweet pea and squash blossom risotto are just a few of the inventive, simple, healthy and delicious meals I've prepared.I've given several copies as gifts to other of my foodie friends and bathed in the extraordinary appreciation I've gotten from all them. Thank you Sara and Mindy for this jewel of a cookbook. It rivals some of the great classics.
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on November 29, 2008
The pictures in Sara Jenkins's wonderful new book will make you want to cook everything, and you won't be disappointed in anything. The dishes are great, and the recipes work like a charm. Sara Jenkins is one of the few professional chefs who really gets what it means to cook at home day in and day out. The food here is the classic food of the Mediterranean--primarily Italian but with forays into Spain and as far east as Syria (Sara likes Aleppo pepper!). Some of the recipes are traditional; others are truly innovative, but always based on sound, traditional principles. This is the food you can find, if you're really lucky, in small mom and pop trattorias where the traveler eats with the locals; more important, it's the food that people cook at home: honest, seasonal ingredients prepared in just the right ways and in just the right combinations. Throughout the book Sara is with you, with flavor tips, suggestions about how to vary a recipe for a new season, advice about how to use the best of what's available at any time. With her at your side you'll soon get what it means to go to the market, find the best of the season, and turn it into a joy for your table. This beautiful book should be on every serious cook's shelf, and should be given to anyone just starting out.
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on October 31, 2008
When I lived in New York, Sara Jenkins, who was then working at Il Buco and later at Patio, was one of the city's few chefs who made going out for a fine meal worthwhile for a vegetarian. There's pasta, and then there's pasta. And her magic ways with olives, oranges, and all the best of the green market came across in every dish.
I've tried over the years to mimic her Pasta with Many Cheeses, her wonderful soups and creative salads without ever quite getting it right.

It's been great cooking from her new book! She's managed to translate the subtlety of her best restaurant dishes to the page. Vegetarians will find plenty of not-too-obvious new ideas here.
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on February 12, 2009
Olives and Oranges is a simple, elegant and precise guide to flavor and culinary improvisation through easy-to-execute recipes and a detailed guide to building a pantry.

The authors, not content to merely provide recipes, instruct the reader on harnessing flavor and using intuition to create their own original dishes. The goal of Olives and Oranges is to not just share the authors' many years of experience and knowledge, but to actually teach the reader how to cook. Within a few weeks of owning and cooking from this book, anyone with the inclination, motivation and confidence can be improvising like a pro.

I love this cookbook. I read every word of introduction and pantry chapters. It is practical, helpful and chock full of great recipes.

A perfect gift book for the advanced or beginning cook!
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on February 1, 2009
I received Olives and Oranges as a holiday gift. (The hinting paid off!). I always like to read cookbooks from the library first and then decide whether it belongs on my shelf. This book sits in a very prominent spot in my home! I enjoy Ms. Jenkins' and Ms Fox's writing styles and being true to the traditions of the regions. I must comment on two recipes in particular. I make roast chicken at least once a week. I now have a new standard which will be repeated again and again. The chicken with sage, garlic and lemon peel is quite possibly the best roast chicken I've ever made. So tasty and moist. Secondly, being of Italian heritage myself, I love the authenticity of the Classic Central Italian Meat Ragu. My only regret is my dad is no longer here to taste something I'm sure his mom must have made for his family again and again. Buy this book. You will be happy that you did.
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on November 3, 2008
I love this book! As an admitted cookbook junkie, I inflicted a self-imposed moratorium on buying any new ones a couple of years ago, but I couldn't resist Olives & Oranges. It's the kind of cookbook that isn't just beautiful to look at and read, but one that's been constantly open on my kitchen counter since I got it (and has the messy cooking stains to prove it!). Sara Jenkins' stories of growing up in Italy, et al, really let you to travel through her eyes and experiences, and the dishes make it all the more visceral. The recipes are the kind that an experienced cook like myself can dive into with gusto, but have such clear, good instruction (and, not for nothing, ingredients that you don't need a map and a compass to find; and even if you're local shop isn't stocked so well, there's a really good section in the back on where to get everything from pasta to spices), that I think someone just dipping a toe into the world of cooking would have a lot of fun and ease getting into it. I'm buying this book for my sisters for Christmas -- really excited about passing it on! I couldn't recommend it more highly.
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on October 30, 2008
I have to start this by saying that I am Sara's brother, and so therefor this review is by default biased. But I have enjoyed my sister's food for so long, in so many various restaurants, that in the culinary void I now have by not living near her, this book is a godsend. Through all my years of living in New York, there was never a joy so simple and so profound for me than showing up at her restaurant late at night and sitting at the bar drinking a glass of wine, waiting for the a bowl of maccheroni with mustard green, a little anchovy and white beans (featured in this book) or a piece of seared cod done with whatever was fresh in the market. She used to text message me when she had rabbit livers in the kitchen (seared and served with an unctuous white wine reduction sauce) and I would hurry over through the busy, bustling city rushing home in their absent anonymity. Entering the restaurant, I would leave behind that anonymity and be embraced by a family of familiar smells and tastes,(as well as by my real sister) and by the shared inspiration of simple, pure food; basic and elegant, materialist (materialist, is in this sense, used as a compliment) food bound by profound respect for each element of the dish.

Reading her book now before going out to the little french market in the Ariege where I live, I become inspired again by her cooking, by her recipes. Her practical advice is to observe the market, observe the food before and to create from that, to create with materia prima in mind. It is at once deeply spiritual (though she would and does role her eyes at that one) and inherently practical. Her recipes come from the heart and they work (which is not always the case) and from our shared history, a history which involves many countries and cultures, and of a respect for all those places.
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on February 7, 2009
Bravo! These brilliant recipes are delicious, healthy (mostly) and very impressive if you are having a guest over... but are very easy to cook. I am no professional at all, not even close... but even I can take this book out and impress the girls, family, coworkers etc. Every recipe in this book is AFFORDABLE, DELICIOUS AND EASY TO MAKE. You cannot go wrong with this one! Thank you ladies!
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on January 16, 2009
To understand the depths of Sara Jenkins's roots in grande cuisine, you have to understand her past. She had her first Michelin three star meal at about age two and a half. It was at La Baumaniere in the valley below Les Baux in Provence. She was still in a stroller, parked at the table and, after all these years, I can still taste the exquisite lopster bisque that we spoon fed her. I know all this because she is my daughter and we were at La Baumaniere because we had just embarqued on a multi decade odyssey of living abroad (in England, Spain, France, Italy, Lebanon, and Hong Kong with a plethora of gastronomic stops in between). Sara grew up amidst great food, be it from the grandes tables of France, the street stalls of Bangkok, or in Teverina at our Tuscan neighbor Mita's simple wood-fired kitchen. She didn't study cooking, she just absorbed it and experienced it through an extraordinaty international childhood. I never dreamed she would grow up to be a great chef but she has and she is gifted as any one will aver who has dined at one of the New York restaurants she has cooked in over the years.

Having lived among great chefs, I never took to cooking myself. I didn't have to. But Sara's cookbook Oranges and Olives has inspired me to give it a try. And the beauty of the book is that its recipes are accessible and stranght forward to the point that even a neophite cook like myself can produce amazing dishes. My favorite so far: Sara's duck breasts cookied with chanterelles, chesnuts and pearl onions. It is suplime. Buy the book and try it!
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on January 31, 2009
Olives & Oranges is a beautiful cookbook filled with delicious food. Many of the recipes are fairly simple, but their well thought out construction results in both a delicious dish and an applicable technique you can make your own. There are several delicious root vegetable salads - celeriac, fennel - that rely on citrus to soften and flavor the root vegetables. Since first making the celeriac salad I've applied the technique to myriad vegetables - always with great results. I make them for a simple dinner salad and I make them for huge crowds as a perfect, make ahead salad that is always popular.

Whether it's the Pear and pecorino salad or the sage rubbed chicken everything I've made so far has worked perfectly and pleased my table full of eaters. I haven't cooked everything in the book yet, not even close. Give me time though, I will.
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