From Publishers Weekly
Traditional Greek cuisine favors sour tastes: lemons, capers, vinegar, wild herbs. Cooking with these pungent ingredients takes a sure hand or, failing that, a good recipe. Hoffman's book supplies the latter in abundance; it attempts nothing less than to capture the whole of Greek food culture between covers. That includes side notes on language, myth, literature and botany; details of regional specialties; lists of native greens; and an explanation of why we say "Greek" instead of "Hellenic." Like many warm-weather cuisines, Greek food relies on an abundance of grilled meats and fish and dressed greens. Hoffman presents them in dazzling variety, alongside familiar exports like Dolmadakia (stuffed grape leaves) and Tzatziki. Hoffman, an anthropologist and cook, includes recipes that might be challenging or improbable for American home cooks: Retsina-Pickled Octopus, Thyme-Fed Snails and "Greek-inspired ice creams" made with mastic or olive oil. There are labor-intensive recipes, too, showing how to make filo pastry and homemade sourdough noodles. Desserts—Semolina Custard Pie; Yogurt Cake with Ouzo-Lemon Syrup—go far beyond Baklava. With its fascinating trove of information, this work will please armchair cooks and traveling foodies. For those willing to surrender to its searingly bright palate of flavors, it's a boon to the kitchen, too. Photos, illus.
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From the Back Cover
THE OLIVE AND THE CAPER is all things Greek: fall-off-the-bone lamb shanks seasoned with garlic, thyme, cinnamon, and coriander. A refreshing new tzatziki made pink with beets, and a dazzling filo pie filled with greens, fennel and ouzo. Dolmadakias–stuffed grape leaves– succulent with retsina-soaked currants and raisins. Fish grilled with mastic-flavored bread stuffing. A luscious kapama of beef stewed in wine, brandy, and coffee; chicken baked with eggplant and green olives. Inspired by the passionate cooks, bakers, fishermen, and housewives she befriended over thirty years of extended stays in Greece, Susanna Hoffman presents more than 250 recipes based on the original and still best Mediterranean diet, with a resounding…Opa!