Mediterranean Cooking

One cuisine that has never lost popularity is the Mediterranean diet. I hesitate to use the four letter word diet because of its negative connotation with denial and hunger. The word diet when used here will describe what we fuel our bodies with versus what we deny ourselves to be able to zip up our jeans.

The Mediterranean diet revolves around fresh, delicious flavors and ingredients that are not only good for us but also are satisfying and filling. There are many titles devoted to this cuisine known for its health benefits and adding years to one’s life. Today I will share a few of my favorites.

Diane Kochilas has written many titles on Greek cuisine. Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Island Where People Forget to Die is one of my favorite titles and shares 140 recipes that are wholesome and delicious. Ikaria is a beautiful island where people live to age 100 and beyond and the numbers of octogenarians (80 to 89) are more per capita than anywhere else in the world. The best part of this longevity is the quality of life they experience. The author is hosting an event in April on this beautiful island and I’d love to pack up my bags and head there to learn how to cook the Ikarian way. Since that is unlikely, I will continue to read her books and dream.

Another fantastic title is Aglaia Kremezi’s Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts which I have cooked from a great deal. Aglaia is the ultimate teacher – couple that with the beautiful photographs and tempting recipes – and it results in a perfect cookbook. The standouts from this book, for me, were the roasted potatoes with garlic, orange and mustard, the crispy cheese pie and the garlic with sage and bay soup. I have all of Aglaia’s books and they are outstanding but Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts is my favorite.

Vefa’s Kitchen by Vefa Alexiadou shares over 650 recipes and is one of the definitive titles on Greek cuisine. Phaidon is re-releasing this sought after title in March under the title Greece: the Cookbook.  Please remember Eat Your Book members receive 30% off Phaidon titles when using the link provided. I will verify if this new release is updated in any way and will report back. Vefa has a number of titles that are fantastic including Greek Pastries and Desserts. I enjoy cookbooks that explore international baking and desserts and there are not a great deal devoted to Greek desserts.

One cannot write about Mediterranean cuisine and not mention Paula Wolfert, the queen of the tagine. Paula has written so many incredible titles and I have a fair number of them. The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean is tops in my collection. I am looking forward to the release of Unforgettable The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life that the fabulous Emily Thelin and her team have been working on with Paula. There will be a Q & A with Emily and more information on this title soon. Paula Wolfert is a force of nature and one must have her titles in their collection.

Besides cookbooks great information on Meditterranean cooking can be found at Mediterranean Living where one of my favorite people, Christine Dutton, is the Wellness Manager. The site shares recipes, advice and product information. I’ve been cooking with their olive oil from Crete (which I love) and their recipes have never failed me. Foods of Crete: Traditional Recipes From the Healthiest People in the World by Koula Barydakis and Bill Bradley (the President of Mediterranean Living) is a wonderful collection of recipes. I wrote about this title previously and shared a recipe for Zucchini Fritters which were delicious.

In January, I wrote about Michael Psilkas’ new title Live to Eat. In the next week, we will have a full review, recipe and promotion on this title to share. I hope you found this information helpful and can sprinkle in some Mediterranean flavor in your menus especially after a day of indulging with Super Bowl fare! 

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