Full disclosure: This book is written by two very good friends of mine, and I have watched and cheered them on throughout the process. I almost feel like it’s my book, and I was so excited to be able to buy two copies at the Temecula Olive Oil store. It’s just beautiful. And informative. I learned so much about olive oil, how to use it, and why to spend more money on local olive oil if it’s available to you. It’s available at Temecula Olive Oil stores in Southern California, and a host of other olive oil stores around the country. Ask your local olive oil store to carry it.
I’ve also had the chance to taste a lot of the recipes over the last two years, and these women can cook! Mary Platis writes California Greek Girl; you’ll find Laura Bashar at Family Spice. Mary, of Greek descent, and Laura, who is Persian, both cook updated Mediterranean dishes reflecting their heritage and their Southern California lives, so a book collaboration between them was perfect. Mary is a culinary instructor and caterer; Laura is the designer and photographer.
Layout and design:
Cooking Techniques and Recipes with Olive Oil was designed by the talented Laura Bashar, who also did the gorgeous photography and styling. Don’t skip the first chapter, A Lesson on Olive Oil, as it’s truly the core of the book. You will learn more than you ever thought possible about olive oil. Chapters include Poaching, Braising, Marinating, Steaming, Baking, and Other Techniques. They include conversion charts, references, and a recipe index at the back. The layout is lovely, with a flowery handwritten script for chapter headings, and a serif font for the paragraphs. The book is full color throughout, and every recipe has a photograph to inspire you.
Over the years I have tasted Greek Style Vegetables with Tomatoes, Mediterranean Vegetables in Olive Oil, Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Herbs and Bulgur, Basmati Rice with Potatoes, Dill, and Saffron, Olive Oil Sugar Cookies, Olive Oil and Vanilla Ice Cream, and Finger Lime Kamikaze Shots with Mint and Olive Oil. I just made the pork tenderloin, and even with all the changes I had to make for my special diet, it was amazing.
What I liked about the book:
Beautifully designed, informative, gorgeous. I completely trust their recipes.
I wasn’t so keen on:
Recipes are not coded for special diets. Nutrition information is not available on the recipes, which would be helpful for low-sodium and other special needs eaters.
Anyone seeking to eat more healthfully, as it’s a wonderful introduction to the Mediterranean diet; best for people without diet restrictions
Not recommended for:
Migraine sufferers, low-sodium diets, vegans, celiacs
A note about my cookbook reviews: In the past, I tested at least three recipes from each book, took photos, and described my experience. Due to my dietary limitations (extremely-low-sodium for my Meniere’s Disease and trigger-free foods for migraine relief), it is no longer possible for me to test the recipes and do them justice.
Required FTC disclosure: While I bought my copies of the book for review and to give away, the links in this post are affiliate links. I will earn a small stipend if you purchase the books.
I’ll be giving away one copy of this book on July 25th. Since this is an independently produced book, you can order it from them here only; it’s not available on Amazon. Ask your local olive oil store to carry it!