World Cook’s Collection: Mediterranean Kitchen
By Jacqueline Clark and Joanna Farrow
Barnes & Noble Books
We’ve all heard of the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet and there was a period that we ate nothing but Mediterranean-inspired recipes. Not for health reasons, but to add more variety to our meals.
Similar to the Soup Cookbook, World Cook’s Collection: Mediterranean Kitchen is beautifully photographed with step-by-step instruction. Chapters range from basic ingredients typically used in Mediterranean cuisine to recipes for shellfish and fish, poultry, meat, vegetables, grains and beans, and desserts.
My favorite part of the book is the appetizer or tapas section. I like to nosh and many of these can easily make a meal with small salad on the side. If you like garlic, shellfish, chorizo and lots of olive oil, you might want to consider these along with a nice crusty loaf of country bread to sop up the deliciously flavored olive oil:
- Sauteed Mussels with Garlic and Herbs,
- Garlic Shrimp
- Chorizo in Olive Oil
However, if you want something more substantial to eat and you don’t mind spending more time preparing a meal, below are some of my favorites:
- Moroccan Pigeon Pie or Pastilla. This recipe consists of phyllo pastry pie filled with a mixture of squab (or chicken) eggs, spices (cinnamon, ginger, turmeric) spices and nuts. It’s a bit labor-intensive, but well worth the effort to make.
- Black Pasta with Squid Sauce. You can find tagliatelle flavored with squid ink in Italian food stores. The combined of squid, white wine, fresh tomatoes and garlic is amazing.
- Turkish Lamb Pilaf. Delicious combination of lamb, rice, spices, nuts and fruits.
- Spiced Vegetable Couscous. This is a combination of spices, and a wide variety of veggies and legumes including chick peas, zucchini, cauliflower, carrots, and tomatoes.
When it comes to dessert or sweet treats, I can never say no to these:
- Churros. This a variation of fried dough, but the consistency is different than a Zeppole or a doughnut. Churros are deep-fried in coils. Once fried, they’re dusted with a combination of cinnamon and sugar. They’re more of a snack with thick hot chocolate or with coffee.
- Crema Catalana. This is a cross between crème brulee and crème caramel. The best part is the caramelized sugar topping.
- Coffee Granita. This is a semi-frozen sherbet, but the ice particles are larger. Ideal for the summer. You can also make these with fruits. In Spain, they make a quasi gelato/granita flavor include almond, hazelnut (my favorite) chocolate, coffee and more.