In Ithaca, the villagers so revere the olive that they give names to the olive trees that bear them. We're not talking upstate New York here, but Greece, the land that gave us rosy-fingered dawns and spanakopita. Diane Kochilas gives us the Greek way with vegetables in The Greek Vegetarian
, and she should be given some kind of humanitarian award for the effort. For anyone fussing over increasing greens, vegetables, and grains while reducing the place of meat in the usual American diet, The Greek Vegetarian
is a place of comfort and repose, a place to settle back in the sun and flip through the pages and let the deliciousness of all these wonderful food ideas lap over your life like warm waves from the Aegean Sea.
There are 100 recipes herein, and they come from the traditions of Greek cuisine. No one is stretching just to make a dish vegetarian (oh, OK: there's one recipe for vegetarian souvlaki). Only recently have Greeks gained the dubious title of biggest meat eaters in Europe, and even then all they did, according to the author, was make their plates bigger for the added meat. They still eat a diet rich in vegetables. Always have; always will.
But some specifics. Kochilas divides her book into Meze, the little dishes of Greece, and Main Meals, the pastas, soups, stews, casseroles, savory pies and breads, the egg dishes. There's Beet and Apple Salad with a Yogurt Dressing, for starters. How about Roasted Eggplant and Chickpea Salad? Or Arugula Salad with Wrinkled Olives and Orange Slices? The Classic Greek Bean Soup is included. So too is a dish of Potatoes Stewed with Kalamata Olives. The possibilities build, one upon the other. This book bursts with flavor the same way a vine-ripened, sun-warmed tomato bursts at the first bite. It will dribble down your chin if you're not careful. --Schuyler Ingle
From Publishers Weekly
Kochilas, a chef and food writer (The Food and Wine of Greece) offers a delightful view into a cuisine whose "backbone... has always been what is harvested, in either wild or cultivated form, from the earth." Characterized by simplicity and purity of ingredients, these recipes for meat-free dishes promote an encouraging flexibility in terms of substitutions and meal planning that many home cooks will value. Creamy Orzo Casserole with Vegetables and a touch of cinnamon, while included in the Main Meal section might just as easily be served as a side dish; Giant Beans Baked with Honey and Dill could stand in for Boston Baked Beans. Many a family table or party buffet would be revitalized by the creative fusion of ingredients in such dishes as Small Tomatoes Stuffed with Eggplant Puree; Onion Pita (pie) with Dill, Raisins and Nutmeg; or Asparagus Frittata. Historical and cultural tidbits are included in recipe intros. Celebrating the joyful exuberance of Greek cuisine (the freshest of ingredients, fruity olive oil, crusty bread, olives, lemons), Kochilas also offers a deep appreciation for the historical and geographic development of its grain and vegetable tradition. Mail-order sources and bibliography are included; illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.