Modern Mediterranean: Easy, Flavorful Home Cooking by Melia Marden, who is the Executive Chef of the restaurant The Smile in New York City, is now one of my favorite cookbooks. I used it a lot this summer and was able to create colorful and flavorful dishes from the exotic destinations of Greece, Morocco, Spain, Italy, and even the south of France! I experimented with the clean flavors of sea salt, olive oil, fresh herbs, ripe tomatoes, and roasted meats. Cooking these dishes evoked aromas of wafting through the spice markets of Morocco. My kitchen smelled wonderful!
Marden expresses the feeling that "as the world becomes increasingly fast-paced, it's more important than ever to savor the simple pleasure of creating a good meal." The recipes from this book aren't difficult or time consuming, and they are great ways to take advantage of seasonal produce. The striking qualities in the ingredients will create an effortlessly attractive meal. Whether you have a taste for something crunchy, something sweet, or something creamy, this is the cookbook you should try. My favorite appetizer is the Fresh Fig, Honey, & Basil Crostini served with a Moroccan Champagne Cocktail. I like to serve this while waiting for my guests to arrive and then it's party time!
"Cooking isn't just a list of instructions, but an engagement with the process..." Making soup, for example, can be a process, but it's a casual process. Soup can be rustic, comforting, and soothing especially in the winter months. In the winter, soup can be made with squash, leafy dark greens, and sweet earthy vegetables. In the summer, soups can include zucchini and deliciously sweet corn. My favorite soup recipe from this book is definitely the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. This is a great autumn dish!
There are many palate-pleasing recipes in this book, but if you are unsure what to prepare, Marden offers suggested menus in the back of the book. If you are interested in learning more about the Mediterranean diet and cooking, try these other titles: The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: A Delicious Alternative for Lifelong Health by Nancy Harmon Jenkins, The Mediterranean Slow Cooker Cookbook by Diane Phillips, and Mediterranean Grilling by Diane Kochilas.
Recommended by Lisa Petrecca