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The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: A Delicious Alternative for Lifelong Health Hardcover – December 30, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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More About the Author
Nancy spends half the year on a rustic farm in the hills outside Cortona, Tuscany, where she makes extra-virgin olive oil from a small orchard she planted; the rest of the time she lives in an enchanting village on the coast of Maine where she was born. In both places she spends a lot of time in the kitchen, playing with food, studying the results, and creating dishes to seduce friends and family. She has never regretted giving up a career as an Egyptologist to focus on food.
Top Customer Reviews
The book has a lot of ideas that I've just not seen before. Last night I served the grilled asparagus with bitter orange and it was a refreshing change from the usual puddle of olive oil. Tonight I'm trying the fish and spinach au gratin. Tomorrow, the swordfish with almond sauce. These are three dishes I hadn't seen even though I have several cookbooks from the Mediterranean region. And the book is loaded with recipes for next week. What to try next? I'm a happy man and my family is going to be happier.
One of the features that makes the book work for me is the stories that accompany each recipe. This is such a diverse region with differing food traditions and palates that the introductory paragraphs help set a context for each recipe.
I agree with others that pictures would be nice. In 2009 there are a bunch of books on the market where the pictures are better than the recipes. But even if a picture is worth a thousand words, in the end I need the ingredients, steps, and times to put the dish together, so I can't take away a star for leaving the pictures out.
And since we began our dietary changes, including the use of this book, my wife's cholesterol count has come down from 193 to 139, with a very healthy ratio.
The book does require a basic familiarity with kitchen techniques, and a comfort with cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients -- there's no "semi-homemade" nonsense here. But if you have some basic skills, or a copy of "Joy of Cooking" to which to refer for guidance, nothing in here is too complicated.
I see some complaints in other reviews about recipes requiring hard-to-find ingredients. Honestly, I find that surprising. I live in a rural area 100 miles from the nearest Whole Foods, and I can find most of the ingredients without difficulty, and easily substitute for those few that are out of my reach. And if you have to skip a recipe or two, so be it. Make the carrots in chermoula sauce instead of the Tuscan kale.
If you have an interest in healthy eating, and a taste for Italian and/or Moroccan and/or Greek food, you just can't go wrong with this cookbook. It will help you improve your diet, and introduce you to more food that you'll enjoy.
There is a brief introduction and some general guidelines to get you started along with vivid, time-transporting descriptions and some recommended pantry items. True, the author gives you some preferred ingredients and supplies for making the different recipes, but she states several times to use what you've got. You don't have porcini mushrooms or Greek gigantes beans? Use something else. It may not taste EXACTLY the same, but it'll be in the spirit of the idea. Who knows, you might even find you like it better than that special- not always in the supermarket- ingredient. If you must use exactly what the recipe calls for and can't find it in your supermarket, Nancy Harmon Jenkins gives several suggestions on where to find it (back of the book) or what may substitute (in the recipe or the preface to the recipe.
I loved the slow-cooked chickpeas with orange-zest and lemon juice. I didn't have white wine, so I just used extra stock and lemon juice. The green beans with olive oil and tomatoes were a nice change from plain old green beans. I can't wait to try out the rich beef stew or the Lebanese garlic-marinated chicken on the grill.
I have found that the serving sizes are fairly large- when it says that it'll make 6-8 servings it is actually more like 10-12 (in my household), so I have started halving the recipes. And no, there aren't any pictures in this cookbook. However, I think my imagination produces better images than can be found in any book. ;)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
VERY disappointed and surprised it had no nutritional values listed for recipes!Published 8 days ago by TERRI TYLER
Be aware: This book is for people with lots of time and money. The author lives and gets her inspiration from Italy, and all of her recipes require (or strongly suggest) imported... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dianne texas
This is from the wife/cook... I like this book because of the variety of recipes from a variety of Mediterranean countries, and can attest that those from countries (such as... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Roscoe F. Ward
Don't let the word 'Diet' in the book title mislead you. While the recipes are for the most part healthy and diet worthy, they are also gourmet recipes, and every one that I have... Read morePublished 5 months ago by American_Artist