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Saffron Shores: Jewish Cooking of the Southern Mediterranean Hardcover – August 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (August 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811830527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811830522
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 8.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Though most of us think of Jewish cooking as Eastern European in origin, there's an alluring second traditional Jewish cuisine, that of the Mediterranean. Joyce Goldstein's Saffron Shores explores the most southerly branch of this exotic repertoire, which includes the spice-infused dishes of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. Goldstein, who pursued Italian- and Spanish-Jewish cooking in Cucina Ebraica and Sephardic Flavors, is ideally suited to introduce this largely unexplored and delicious cuisine; she offers 100 recipes for a wide range of dishes--appetizers through sweets--including don't-miss treats like Lamb Tagine with Prunes and Honey, Baked Fish Stuffed with Almond Paste, and Cumin Flavored Meatballs with Onion Jam and Spicy Tomato Sauce. Simple in conception, and mostly easy to do, the dishes work well for modern cooks who want something "different" without going to great lengths to get it.

Beginning with a brief history of the cooking, and presenting its flavor profile (like that of the Jews who settled in the Ottoman Empire, the Southern Mediterranean palate favors vivid spiciness with the likes of cumin and cinnamon, plus a penchant for sweet-and-sour combinations), she then introduces the tempting recipes. Of special interest is a section on savory pastries like Iraqi Chicken and Chick Pea Pastries and Lebanese Spinach Turnovers, "labors of love," says Goldstein, that are nonetheless worth a cook's involvement, and sweets, such as Syrian Rice Pudding and Raisin and Walnut Jam Tart. (Also included is a recipe for preparing boxed couscous that finally makes the most of this obvious convenience.) With holiday menus and color photos throughout, the book is truly welcome. --Arthur Boehm

Review

Southern lights
Saffron Shores offers Jewish food from the lower Mediterranean
Joyce Goldstein wants to change everything you thought you knew about Jewish culinary traditions. Many Americans associate Jewish cooking with Eastern European flavors (such as chicken fat, onions, and sour cream). But Goldstein's research into Mediterranean Jewish food has opened up a world of different tastes.
Her newest cookbook, Saffron Shores: Jewish Cooking of the Southern Mediterranean, isn't for the novice cook; many recipes are challenging. But it is a beautiful treasure trove of dishes from the Jewish communities of North Africa. Some will seem familiar - spiced roast lamb with couscous and harissa from Morocco, for instance - whereas others are more exotic, like a green pureed soup of fava beans and cilantro, garnished with chicken gizzards, for Passover.
Saffron Shores is full of fresh ideas for all the Jewish holidays. For Hanukkah, it is traditional to eat oil-rich foods in honor of the miracle of a Temple lamp that burned for eight days with only one day's supply of oil. Goldstein suggests serving sweet or savory fried pastries, such as classic North African briks (spicy filled turnovers). We found more than one reason to like these mashed potato-filled Tunisian pastries, adapted from Goldstein's recipe first, because they're easy to put together (egg roll wrappers fry up beautifully, and the thick filling doesn't leak out), and second, because they taste like a subtle twist on comfortingly familiar latkes. - Sunset Magazine

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Customer Reviews

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See all 9 customer reviews
They photography is stunning and the recipes are easy to follow.
A. Almassari
Normally, if you buy a cookbook, if you get one good recipe out of it consider it a worthwhile purchase.
Allan Galanty
All in all, I recommend this book to foodies and strongly recommend it to kosher foodies.
B. Marold

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on September 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
`Saffron Shores' is the first of Joan Goldstein's Jewish Mediterranean cuisine books I have read, and it is easily the best book of Jewish cuisine I have read and reviewed. I say this with the reservation that there are several books on Jewish cooking out there which have excellent pedigrees, such as Claudia Roden's `The Book of Jewish Food', so you may have to take my opinion with a grain of salt.

That said, I still believe this is an excellent book on Jewish cooking and an excellent book on southern Mediterranean cooking. I am surprised this book makes no mention of the fact that that Ms. Goldstein is the author of a really excellent general book of Mediterranean recipes entitled `The Mediterranean Kitchen', published in 1992 by Morrow. While there are dozens of good, well-known books on Mediterranean food by a pantheon of authors headed by Paula Wolfert, Claudia Roden, Nancy Harmon Jenkins, and Clifford Wright, Ms. Goldstein has a light touch in all of her books which make her recipes especially easy to follow.

The very first thing which impresses me about `Saffron Shores' after the delightfully designed dust jacket is Ms. Goldstein's history of the Jewish peoples after the Diaspora, especially the Shepardim who, unlike the Askenazim of eastern and central Europe, settled around the Mediterranean in lands dominated by the Arabic, Moorish, Berber, and Ottoman cultures of Islam. This essay goes far to explain the similarities between Islamic cuisines and the Jewish `dhimmis' who on average had a better time of things under Islam than their Northern brethren had under Christians.

The next thing that impressed me and should impress you is the sketch of Jewish kosher dietary laws. As a gentile, what I knew about these traditions and laws was entirely based on hearsay.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Judy Bart Kancigor on August 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
author of Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family

from the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles
November 29, 2002

Celebrated cookbook author and chef Joyce Goldstein can trace her bloodline to a Russian shtetl, but her heart and soul lie in the Mediterranean.

In "Cucina Ebraica" (Chronicle Books, 1998) and "Sephardic Flavors" (Chronicle Books, 2000) she explored Italian Jewish and Spanish Jewish cuisine, and now, to round out the trilogy, in "Saffron Shores" (Chronicle Books, $35) she continues her Mediterranean culinary journey with the exotic cuisine of the Maghreb: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, even including related Judeo-Arabic countries like Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran.

"I have been cooking this food for I cannot tell you how many years," said the former chef/owner of the renowned Mediterranean restaurant Square One in San Francisco. "When I was doing research for `Sephardic Flavors,' I realized the subject was so huge I couldn't do it all in one book, so I covered the northern Mediterranean in `Sephardic Flavors' and the southern Mediterranean in `Saffron Shores.' Here the style of cooking changes with a lot more spices and herbs and additional uses of fruit, but, of course, there is some overlap."

Notable for its absence is Israeli cuisine. "I left it out because it's a hodgepodge," she explains. "The last time I was in Israel I was served sashimi and Thai-flavored something or other, and I thought, sorry, I didn't come here for that. Israeli cuisine is a melting pot, a lot like America. Whoever is there is cooking Romanian food, Italian food, Yemenite food. Is there Israeli cuisine?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Wells on April 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I cooked 2010 dinner for 8 people entirely from this cookbook. Every recipe I used was just absolutely delicious and my guests raved in particular about Haoari's Spicy Eggplant Puree and the Tunisian Passover Stew with Spring Vegetables. I made the Alternate Harissa for both dishes. I like this harissa so much that I spread it on matzos and eat it just like that. The Passover Stew made probably double the servings listed on the recipe (20 instead of 10). I had to split the stew between a large pressure cooker and my electric countertop roaster, both of which were full. I also made the Osbane sausage recipe for this stew, so that may have driven up the number of servings.

The recipes need to specify amounts more precisely though. In a lot of the recipes it says for example, "2 onions" or "the juice of one lemon". For the Osbane, I used two onions, however, when I mixed it together, it was obvious that the author's idea of a normal sized onion was much smaller than what I had on hand. I ended up fishing out pieces of onion to get the mixture down to where the sausage would hold together. These discrepancies in portions and amounts are the only reasons the book did not get five stars.

Despite this, I recommend this book strongly to anyone. A lot of people have asked me for the recipes from this, but really I would like them to just buy this book instead. The author deserves your money.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Apart from the fascinating background and delicious recipes this book offers, the photography is also excellent. I received Saffron Shores as a gift, but have in turn given it to friends who are interested in less-familiar Jewish cuisines than the Ashkenazic/middle European staples that characterize Jewish cooking in the U.S.
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