Every once in a while, there comes along a cookbook that I know immediately I am going to like. In my never-ending quest to try to eat more vegetables and fruit, I am always looking for new ideas or inspiration. And for me right now, that is The Greek Vegetarian Cookbook by Heather Thomas. The recipes in this book are mostly uncomplicated, unpretentious, but not boring.
The book is also really enjoying to flip through, as every recipe is accompanied by a gorgeous photo. The breakdown of the cookbook is basic:
- Chapter 1 – Meze, Dips, and Snacks
- Chapter 2 – Salads
- Chapter 3 – Breakfasts and Brunches
- Chapter 4 – Light Lunches
- Chapter 5 – Dinners
- Chapter 6 – Bakes and Desserts
Trying to narrow down a recipe to test for this review was a little tough. The recipes that I was most interested in, some of the ingredients are not in season yet (here being in New England). But here’s a snapshot of some of the recipes I want to make from this book:
- Halloumi and Lentil Salad
- Hummus with Fennel and Golden Beets
- Cretan Tomato Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette
- Crunchy Greek Islands Salad
- Melon and Avocado Salad
- Halloumi with Sweetcorn Fritters with Fried Eggs
- Chickpea and Eggplant Pilaf
- Baked Stuffed Vegetables
- White Bean, Tomato, and Feta Baklava
- Fresh Fig and Orange Cake
In the end, I went with testing out the Broccoli Salad with Yogurt Dressing recipe because I had most of the ingredients and the photo looked appetizing. It’s almost embarrassingly easy. You re-hydrate some raisins. You boil some broccoli. You make a dressing of Greek yogurt, honey, and vinegar. And then you serve the broccoli with the dressing, some onion, sunflower seeds, toasted pine nuts, and the raisins.
And you know what? I loved it. The recipe comes with variations which also sound good, and I’m tempted to try all the suggestions.
So, would I recommend this book to someone else? Yes! I think I’d recommend this book to anyone to be honest. Interested in the Mediterranean diet? Get this book. Interested in recipes easy enough for a beginner? Get this book. Want to eat more veggies? Get this book. And if you do get this book, let me know what you think of it. 🙂
Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Phaidon for this review. I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.
It’s that time of year when I start fretting over my container garden. So far, I don’t have much planted. I have two pots of rosemary, one pot of sage, one pot of mint, one pot of thyme, and one pot of tarragon – all plants from last year. My shiso plant from last year seeded unexpected well on its own. So, I’ve got baby shiso in a pot… and in a couple of other pots too. Not to mention, I found some growing on around the porch. haha! I pulled the ninja seedlings, but I’ve left alone all the ones in the pots. They are growing very slowly. Hopefully, I’ll have more luck with these than the ones I was trying to grow from seed last year. Last week, I bought some parsley, basil, and two cherry tomato plants. Today, I put some seeds down for cultivated purslane, zucchini, and salad greens in dirt.
Going back to the basil plants, I thought the taller growth needed some pinching back already. And then with my small handful of herbs, I decided that it was time to make lunch.
What follows isn’t a caprese salad. There’s no mozzarella cheese, no olive oil. This isn’t a pesto salad either. It was heavier on the pine nut flavor, and I skipped the Parmesan cheese and the garlic completely. And, to reiterate, it had no olive oil.
I chopped up some toasted pine nuts with my bits of basil (smelled so lovely), and then I had the gall to mush it with 1/2 of an avocado (and a tiny pinch of kosher salt).
To this, I mixed in some halved cherry tomatoes and some cooked multi-grain pasta. It was good and it was just enough for one person. I wish I had some baked chicken or grilled steak to go along with it. Oh well, maybe next time. It’s ok. I followed my pasta course with strawberries and yogurt. A happy tummy is of the utmost importance! (^_^)b
I don’t have anything of interest from the CSA this time around – some greens, a tomato (my sister took the other tomatoes), onions, beets, and parsley. I trimmed the parsley and put it in a cup of water, but it’s not doing so well. I guess I should have stored it in the fridge.
But yeah, nothing for making a great meal. On the other hand, the basil in my yard needed pruning, and a couple of small tomatoes were picked. My shiso plant is insane. I need to prune that too. I’ve learned that shiso works pretty well in salad. However, it’s a tougher leaf than something like basil so I think next time I’ll blanch it before adding it to a salad.
But really, this post is about the basil and the tomatoes. It made for an amazing salad for lunch.
Two slices of whole wheat bread were toasted and then torn.
A large handful of basil was cut into small pieces.
Three smallish tomatoes were diced.
A small serving of turkey deli meat was shredded.
A handful of pine nuts were toasted.
Some vinaigrette was drizzled into a bowl. (My vinaigrette was made from about two parts extra virgin olive oil and one part Trader Joe’s orange champagne vinegar.)
Mix everything together gently with your hands or some salad spoons.
The pine nuts, I think, is what really makes this salad go from “boring” to “yum!” I would have put mozzarella cheese in it if I had any, but now that the salad has been made and devoured, I think the salad was probably better without it.