- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Kyle Books (February 13, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1906868840
- ISBN-13: 978-1906868840
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 96 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Olives, Lemons & Za'atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking Hardcover – February 13, 2014
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Bishara's cooking combines Middle Eastern techniques with Mediterranean flavors. But she takes cues from other cuisines, too. An eggplant napoleon is an ode to its principal ingredient, as well as an inspired marriage of textures: layers of feathery fried eggplant rest daintily between smears of baba ghanoush. Musakhan―flatbread topped with sumac-spiced chicken, slow-cooked onions, and almond slivers piled high, and sliced like a pizza―is a near-perfect harmony of sweetness and pungency. (Katherine Stirling, Tables for Two The New Yorker, 7/5/2010)
Ms. Bishara's translation of Middle Eastern cooking has Mediterranean accents, and occasional North American ones from her decades in the United States. And so the tang of cilantro enlivens some of her dishes, and the musk of basil, the welcome zing of jalapeño. (Sam Sifton, Tanoreen The New York Times, 2/23/2010)
A strong contender for "Favorite Cookbook of the Season" is Brooklyn Chef Rawia Bishara's Olives, Lemons & Za'atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking. Her Bay Ridge restaurant, Tanoreen, has been recognized by critics and media alike as one of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in New York. Update your 'must-visit' list and make these vegetarian stuffed eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes and squash for a memorable Meatless Monday. (Food Republic, 2/10/2014)
It’s no big surprise that we’ve been drooling over the pages of Rawia Bishara’s beautiful new cookbook Olives, Lemons and Za’atar. Taking inspiration from her cosmopolitan childhood growing up in New York and holidaying in the Med, Rawia has created a book full of cross-cultural cooking. With chapters dedicated to breakfast, mezze, salads, soups and stews, main courses, sides, pickles and sauces and desserts you’re guaranteed to find something to satisfy your spice craving. For a fresh but filling salad the classic tabbouleh is a must try, packed with fragrant parsley and sweet plum tomatoes, no mezze would be complete without it! Or for the ultimate winter warmer the spiced lamb shanks are perfect. Tender slow cooked meat in a richly spiced sauce, all that’s needed is a crispy warmed flatbread and you have the ultimate comfort food. (Grace Parry Eat. Travel. Live)
This is the first cookbook from Rawia Bishara, whose Brooklyn restaurant Tanoreen serves what she refers to as Middle Eastern home cooking. The book will focus on Bishara's personal experience with Middle Eastern food growing up in Nazareth, as well as food from across the region. As she calls it, it will be 'a bible of Middle Eastern food.' (Paula Forbes Eater.com, 1/16/2014)
Olives, Lemons and Za'atar [is] the story of how the food of a Nazareth childhood became destination cuisine. [Rawia Bishara’s] food has been called 'narcotic,' but now there's relief for some of the far-flung junkies. (Katherine Lanpher Aljazeera America, 2/14/2014)
For 16 years, Bishara—whose first name means 'storyteller' in Arabic—has been telling stories through the recipes she serves up at her popular Bay Ridge restaurant, Tanoreen. Now, Bishara is really living up to her name by putting those dishes down on paper, with her debut cookbook, Olives, Lemons & Za’atar. The book, which Bishara will sign at the BookMark Shoppe on March 4, is comprised of 135 recipes that celebrate her Middle Eastern roots, while also spicing up some old favorites. For Bishara, creating dishes that are delicious is more important than being entirely authentic. A staple in Bay Ridge since 1998, Tanoreen’s menu is inspired by the food that Bishara, a Palestinian, experienced growing up in Nazareth in northern Israel. Fans of the eatery will find many of their favorite dishes in Olives, Lemons & Za’atar—such as Bishara’s knafeh, her take on a sweet cheese-filled pastry, which was featured on the Food Network show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” But Bishara also concocted many new recipes just for the cookbook. (Sarah Iannone Brooklyn Daily, 3/3/2014)
Why It’s Worthy: 'Originally when I first came [to this country], everyone had the idea that Middle Eastern food was all about hummus and falafel and shish kebab,' Bishara told us. 'People did not know that we really have a healthy, fantastic kitchen.' Even the book’s most impressive-looking dishes are relatively easy to execute, she stressed. 'People are always afraid to try and cook new things; it’s really much easier than they think,' Bishara said. You won’t have to run here, there and everywhere in search of exotic ingredients, either; Bishara said you can find them at any good-sized supermarket. (Rachel Tepper, One for the Library: "Olives, Lemons & Za'atar" Yahoo Food, 2/28/2014)
These recipes from the cookbook Olives, Lemons and Za'atar by Rawia Bishara, owner and chef at Tanoreen, showcase the unique flavor of Middle Eastern cuisine. (Reader's Digest)
Bishara's book looks at the foods of her native Nazareth as well as the amped-up riffs that she serves at Tanoreen. Time and again throughout the book, she mentions adding more spice, more herbs, more flavor to a dish than her mother would have. Similarly, vegetarian options are given for many recipes. On a Cauliflower and Lamb Stew, for example, Bishara notes the recipe 'doesn't rely on its meat for its flavor; simply use vegetable broth, omit the meat and enjoy it just the same, ladled over fragrant basmati rice.' (Paula Forbes Eater.com National, 2/18/2014)
About the Author
Rawia Bishara opened the restaurant Tanoreen in 1998 as a way to share with the world the rich culinary heritage of her native Nazareth. Located in Brooklyn, New York, Tanoreen has received praise from publications that include The New York Times, The New Yorker, Travel & Leisure, and the Michelin Guide. In 2017, Rawia was nominated for the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef, New York City.
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The proportions are just.. not good.. Many of the instructions are leaving things out.. IE in one recipe for Sahlep, sugar is in the ingredients list but never in the instructions, and the proportions are definitely off (too much rose water, it tasted like potpourri, and the instructions for adding the corn starch doesn't work either).
I just made the baked fish recipe, and the fish was overcooked and tough, and the potatoes were undercooked and hard (you don't pre-cook the potatoes, which seemed suspicious but)...
There really are a few lovely recipes in here.. the flatbread with zaatar was great when I made it, and the fried cauliflower with tahini is a fave of mine... but given 3 or 4 recipes that were clearly just not well written/done/good (baked fish, chicken and potatoes, and the sahlep) I can't justify space on my cookbook shelf for it anymore with so many other quality authors covering the joys of that region. (Claudia Roden, Ottolengthi, Sortun, Taimi etc.)
(1) The recipe for split pea soup (shorabit bazzela, page 89) says to add **15 cups of water** when the soup only contains 2 cups of dried split peas (and only 1/2 tsp salt). Even if you add 10 cups of water, you'll end up with a really watery, bland soup - not the slightly thickened soup shown in the picture. I had to reduce the liquid A LOT and add more salt to make it look and taste right.
(2) Beet salad (salatet shamandar, page 69) was too oily even with half the oil added and the instructions, which say "toss to coat", will not reproduce the beautiful salad in the picture.
(3) Rice and vermicelli pilaf (page 182) says to use 1 lb of vermicelli. I used 12 oz and it was too much. There is also no way that 1 lb vermicelli, 4 cups rice, and 9 cups water will fit in a "medium pot". I had to switch over to the biggest pot I have.
(4) Okra with tomatoes (bamya belzait, page 180) came out ok except I added half the lemon juice and half the oil but that's just personal taste, I suppose.
(5) The hummus recipe (page 36) was good but I did add less garlic and lemon juice which is just a personal taste thing.
I regularly use other people's recipes without a problem but I had to struggle with the ones in this book. If you follow the instructions exactly, you will run into some issues. I highly recommend checking it out from the library first, if you are thinking of buying it.
The recipes include some of my favorite dishes from Tanoreen including the Brussels sprouts, chicken getting, and stuffed cabbage. They are easy to follow and Rawia also provides detailed information on the spices and common ingredients that you will need. Most if not all can easily be found at a Middle a Eastern grocery store, Whole Foods, or Amazon.com.
So far, I've cooked several recipes from the book and my family and I found them to be delicious. The lentil and butternut squash stew, kale and shallots, fattoush, beef and white bean stews, seasoned garlic sauce, and the lentil soup are delicious. I look forward to diving into the other recipes and you and your family will certainly be satisfied with this cookbook, which is now one of my favorites.