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The Flavors of Olive Oil: A Tasting Guide and Cookbook Hardcover – September 3, 2002

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Acknowledging the increasing popularity of olive oil, Deborah Krasner's The Flavors of Olive Oil offers a comprehensive guide to tasting, understanding, and cooking with superior extra-virgin olive oil, the cold first pressing of the olive crop's best. Most valuably, the book offers profiles of the best oils from countries including Italy, France, Spain, and the U.S. (as well as international blends). Useful, too, are sections on olive oil grades; label reading (you can tell olive oil from its package); and usage and storage pointers. Though it's hard to derive a unique recipe selection from as basic an ingredient as olive oil, the book also offers over 90 easy, attractive recipes for dishes that include it--from appetizers, sandwiches, and small dishes to salads, pizzas, entrées, and even desserts. Among these, readers will discover delicious versions of familiar friends like tapenade and focaccia with caramelized onions as well as "finds" including White Peach, Corn, and Toasted Almond Salad; Turbot with Fennel, Potatoes, Olives, and Lemon; and Slow-Cooked Boneless Pork Spareribs in Tomato, Rosemary, and Juniper Sauce. As a Jewish cook, Krasner also supplies formulas for enticing Eastern European Jewish classics such as challah and noodle kugel. Also useful is a section that explores the oils through detailed analysis of flavor characteristics--delicate and mild through leafy green and grassy. It's hard to imagine a better introduction to olive oil and its enjoyment. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

This thorough investigation and appreciation of olive oil from food writer Krasner (Kitchens for Cooks), encourages cooks to delve deeper into the pleasures of this versatile staple. The author first gives an in-depth summary of olive oil: like wine, olive oil can be classified by type and grade-and, like grapes, the flavor of olives is affected by soil and climate as well as methods of production. Krasner then discusses kitchen basics, equipment and ingredients and tips for variations, substitutions and labor-saving measures, as well as a section of alphabetically arranged resources, mostly Web sites, some with phone or address. While an entire cookbook on recipes for olive oil may seem excessive, Krasner does offer such dishes as Tapenade, and Chickpea, Tuna, Olive, and Goat Cheese Salad. For main courses, she includes recipes for Charcoal Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb, Turkish Style, and Seared Scallops on Chickpea Crepes. Illustrations by Krasner and photographs by Ann Stratton enhance this presentation.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (September 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074321403X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743214032
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,257,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

My newest book GOOD MEAT comes directly out of the life I lead in rural Vermont. I live in a converted barn on a dirt road with my husband, two cats and a dog. Until very recently we also cared for a dozen laying hens, a couple of Icelandic sheep, and a mixed flock of meat birds including ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl and chickens. All of them are pictured in the book, which was photographed in and around my home.

GOOD MEAT is about finding and cooking grass-fed and pastured meat. Such meat is the opposite of industrial meat -- it is sustainable because it nourishes the earth, is in balance with the land's ability to absorb nutrients and support grazing animals, and supports diverse ecosystems. Grass-fed and pastured meat is increasingly shown to be better for human health, both in terms of nutrients and in terms of fat content. While it's lower in fat than industrial meat, what fat there is turns out to be "good" fat. However, leaner meat can be tricky to cook well, so GOOD MEAT is devoted to showing cooks how to cook it to advantage, using every part of the animal from nose to tail.

In addition, GOOD MEAT is designed to support those who may want to buy their meat directly from farmers in whole, half or quarter animal quantities. Such frozen meat is substantially less expensive than buying grass-fed and pastured meat by the piece fresh at retail, but requires that a consumer fill out a cut sheet detailing how they want their meat cut and packaged. With the help of butcher Adam Tiberio, GOOD MEAT offers a "decision tree" for each animal, showing how to choose the best cuts for you and your cooking style. The book is organized by animal, by primal and sub-primal, and by retail cuts, so that anyone can find a recipe for any part, including offal, fat and odd bits.

Each of my books have been an investigation, detailing the process of my own understanding. From a feminist re-vision of kitchen design to olive oil, I love figuring out what about accepted wisdom makes sense, and what can be replaced with a more logical or sensible perspective. While GOOD MEAT is the most personal book I've written, it is also very much in line with my six previous books on design and food. I loved every minute I worked on it!

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a cookbook author myself, I see lots of culinary offerings, and I can guarantee Deborah Krasner's is one you will both learn from and cook with. It's seductive, reassuring, and authoritative all at once, and the recipes, clearly thoroughly tested, work. Yes, it's about olive oil. But it's like having a confident, knowledgeable, generous friend in the kitchen with you. The writing pulses with vitality and enthusiasm; the recipes sound irresistible (and those I have tried have been).
Who could resist a Grilled Portobello, White Bean, and Arugula Sandwich, an Iced Celery Soup with Feta, Toasted Walnuts, and Apple, and twenty-one pages of pastas, each more invitingly full-flavored than the last? It's hard to decide which to fix first: but I got to tell you, the improbable sounding 4-ingredient cookies on page 195 (Sweet Taralle) are as easy to make as they are impossible to stop eating, and the Cellentani Pasta with Oven-Dried Tomatoes and Gorgonzola (which also features capers, olives, and garlic) is extraordinarily flavorful. You will also learn how to do a superb fake aged balsamic vinegar (in case you don't feel like dropping $90 a bottle for the real thing). And though the book is not vegetarian, it is very vegetarian-friendly.
There's also loads of helpful cooking arcana. Krasner takes you through things like "Respecting a Recipe" (ie, how to make it work for you each and every time, even if you have to make changes), "Boning a Whole Fish" and why heating the pan before you add the oil is "a significant step forward." Next to a recipe extolling the virtues of cast-iron skillets, adjacent text explains why cast iron works, and how to season and care for it.
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Format: Hardcover
This book, `The Flavors of Olive Oil' by professional writer Deborah Krasner may be the answer to your prayers as you browse the fifty or more different labels of olive oil on the shelves of even a modest local market, let alone the bounty available at a megamart or a super gourmet store such as Zabar's or Balducci's in New York City. These riches cannot begin to be approached by a three-page article in `Cooks Illustrated' or `Consumer Reports'. And, even this book doesn't tell the whole story, as most of the economic, historical, and geopolitics of olive oil are left to other writers. This book truly concentrates only on Flavor, nutrition, and cooking with olive oil. A perfect companion to this book is Mort Rosenbloom's book `Olives' which has not a single recipe, but lots of poop on the ways of the European Union, politics, olive growing locations and people, history, and economics. You simply cannot get the full picture without reading both.
But getting back to Ms. Krasner's `A Tasting Guide and Cookbook', the very, very best chapter is the second on techniques for tasting olive oil. This falls under the category of teaching you how to fish rather than giving you a fish. As preparing for a group tasting can be a bit pricy, it is one of the very best excuses I have ever found for gathering together a group of like-minded people to a common cause. (You find ways of socializing in some of the strangest places). In the absence of a handy group to help share opinions and defray the costs of buying ten or twelve bottles of olive oil, the author offers an 18 page guide to commercially available olive oils and her own olive oil karass' opinions on them (for the explanation of the obscure term karass, see Kurt Vonnegut's novel, `Cat's Cradle').
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. It includes an extremely lucid discussion of what extra virgin olive oil is and how it is produced. The descriptions of almost 150 oils from around the world are extremely useful, especially since it includes oils commonly found in most supermarkets in addition to specialty oils (lots of web addresses are included). The discussion on how to classify and taste olive oil is probably the best I have ever read. Almost 2/3 of the book is devoted to wonderful recipes based on olive oil. I have not even finished reading it yet and I have already marked favorites and just took the first batch of olive and pepper knots (an easy cocktail treat) out of the oven. Finally, the book is filled with practical advice and hints on cooking, cookware, and just eating well. This book is definitely worth the purchase for anyone who wants to learn more about olive oil or to explore Mediterranean cooking.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book - well researched, authoritative and entertaining. As an olive producer I read a lot of nonsense about our product so I'm always delighted to find someone who has gone to the trouble to get it right.
However ... while Deborah has given a fairly comprehensive review of oils produced around the world, it's a pity she hasn't heard of the largish island west of New Zealand which has been producing excellent olive oils for many years. (I would have overlooked the omission except that New Zealand got a mention.) She even accuses prominent Australian nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton of being British!
Perhaps in the next edition?
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