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Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World Hardcover – November 16, 2004
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From the Inside Flap
For more than three millennia, vegetarian cooking has been a central component of the rich fabric of Jewish culinary tradition around the world. Olive Trees and Honey is a tribute to this vital realm of Jewish heritage, showcasing an authentic collection of vegetarian dishes that have graced Jewish tables across the ages from Alsace to Uzbekistan, and are still very much alive todayat holidays, rituals, festivals, and everyday meals alike.
In virtually any kitchen today, cooks need to possess a broad repertoire of vegetarian dishes for themselves or their guestsfor health, theological, philosophical, or other reasons. In Olive Trees and Honey, eminent Jewish cooking expert Gil Marks presents a magnificent treasury of meatless fare suitable for any table: 300 simple, enticing recipes that accentuate signature flavors of time-honored dishes. The classics heresoups, salads, pastas, legumes, vegetable stews, egg dishes, and morerepresent every part of the menu from an expansive global palette.
From savory pastries like Syrian Miniature Lentil Pizzas to hearty entrées such as Moroccan Mashed Potato Casserole, nourishing Romanian vegetable stews to wholesome legume dishes like Tunisian Chickpeas with Greens, Marks brings the world of Jewish vegetarian cooking to the home kitchen. For those observing kosher laws, each recipe is labeled as Dairy or Pareve. Many recipes include tips and variations for years of fresh, inventive meals.
Through brief chronicles of the Jewish diaspora's vegetarian legacy in diverse corners of the world and sidebars woven throughout the book, Marks sheds light on the origins and evolution of cuisines and dishesand of the communities that created them. There are chapters on suitable recipes for key Jewish holidays and on essential ingredients and seasonings. Maps in each chapter chart the paths of several unique gustatory traditions through history.
Perfect for the vegetarian kitchen or as a complement to meat-based menus, the exquisite dishes in these pages will enrich any diet and bring warmth to any table. At once a practical guide to Jewish vegetarian cooking and an illuminating portrait of its journey across continents and centuries, Olive Trees and Honey is a celebration of this enduring global mosaic.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is the antithesis of Cooking for Dummies, but will reward the curious and open minded chef for many years of delicious vegetarian meals.
Sephardic red lentil soup - absolutely my favorite lentil soup EVER. It never fails me and I've made this more than anything else in the book.
Egyptian potato soup - fantastic potato soup flavored with lemon juice.
Moroccan pumpkin soup - deliciously spiced with a beautiful orange color.
Bazargan (Syrian bulgur relish) - a must have for meze. Goes well with crackers and pita.
Sephardic rice stuffed peppers - hearty, filling and very easy to prepare.
Turkish bulgur pilaf - wonderful on it's own or stuffed into peppers.
Moroccan fiery marinated olives - Wow!
Bukharan samsa - light pastry surrounding delicious butternut squash filling
Moroccan vegetable stew - perfect on top of couscous with onion cinnamon raisin topping (also in book)
and many more...
Another positive aspect of this book is the history. The author has really done his research and offers insightful information about the origins of specific foods and dishes. So very interesting! A history of food and cookbook in one. A must buy.
The recipes are clear, and most of them have short descriptions to go along, which is helpful because I've never seen, tasted, or heard of many of the dishes inside. Many of the flavor combinations were unfamiliar to me, but the writing allowed me to envision a final product. Most of the recipes have multiple variations listed from different countries. I've cooked several soups, a few cold salads, and many of the cooked vegetable dishes, but none of the pastries. Everything turned out delicious, with or without extensive tweaking. On a fairly tight budget, all of the recipes are very affordable. If I have a random vegetable that I don't know how to use, or need to throw together something to eat last minute without going to the store, this is my go-to book. One thing that I especially love about this book, is that the many variations give you a good feel for how you can change the recipe to suit the things you have on hand. It frees you up to be creative, and resourceful. This is a fun way to try new foods.
I love the flexibility, this is not fussy, not high maintenance, just cheap, easy, and tasty. Not everything in here is a fast/easy recipe, but those are the kind I have cooked most frequently. There are dishes in here that would be fine for a nice dinner, and many dishes designed to be made ahead and held over (as opposed to sub-prime leftovers). You can set aside a slow day to cook something special and yummy, or you can open a can of beets and have a delicious salad ready in 3 minutes.
It is a great read, part history, part recipes. As other people have noted, there are no photos (which I really don't mind at all) but some very interesting maps. I think I've read this book three times through, gleaning new ideas each time. Whenever I need to cook out of it, it is never on my bookshelf with all the other cookbooks, but rather on my kitchen counter next to the Joy of Cooking, or on my nightstand. When I cook out of this book, I feel like I am taking a historical tour across the "Old World."
The Bottom Line:
-Affordable, Practical, Flexible