Sunday, November 19, 2017

HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN Review: Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook by Theo Stephan & Christina Xenos

Title: Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook: Modern Mediterranean Recipes for Living the Good Life
Authors: Theo Stephan & Christina Xenos
Format: Paperback: 262 pages
Pub. Date: November 7th 2017
Source: Callisto Media Inc

Book Description:

Discover how rich a healthy lifestyle can taste with Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook

When you don’t have a Mediterranean breeze behind you, finding local ingredients for complex recipes can make it difficult to integrate Greek food into your lifestyle. With Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook you can spare yourself the odyssey of traveling just to eat fresh and flavorful food. Featuring easy-to-find ingredients for simple recipes, plus a regional overview of Greek food, Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook leads you on a culinary journey towards an appetizing and healthy lifestyle.

Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook contains:

90 Recipes for popular Greek dishes made with easy-to-find ingredients Greek Kitchen Tips including how to stock your pantry and kitchen with the right ingredients and equipment, plus cooking techniques A Regional Overview explaining Greek food from ancient times to modern day
Recipes in this Greek cookbook include: Kalamata Olive Spread, Greek Potato Salad, Spinach Rice, Vegetable Moussaka, Shrimp Santorini, Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Greek Yogurt Brandy Cake, and much more!

Join Greek chefs Theodora Stephan and Christina Xenos as they share their favorite recipes for you to feast on with Mediterranean flare in Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook.



Greek food is right up there in my list of favorite cuisines, perhaps only rivaled by Japanese food. Because of that, I'm always open to learning new recipes. I don't have any charming little old grandmothers to inherit Greek recipes from on account of being Polish- I count on cookbooks like this one! Overall, this book has a lot of really tasty things for a lot of different diets.

The book is divided by course type, including the sections: Understanding Greek Cuisine, In the Greek Kitchen, Mezzethes, Salads & Soups, Beans Rice & Pasta, Vegetable Mains, Seafood Mains, Meat Mains, Desserts, and a few finishing sections like a glossary and a menu planner for events and holidays. This is an easy way to find anything you need in the ook.

"Understanding Greek Cuisine" is a section that's a nice little 101 section on Greece and their food. It covers some basic culture information and history, information about the various regions and islands of Greece, common flavor schemes, and some of the natural health benefits. It's a good pocket of information to have if you've never had to cook Greek food before. It's written in a charming tone filled with stories from the two authors, so it's full of a lot of facts, but it's easy to get through.

The "In the Greek Kitchen" gives a nice little run down of common ingredients (and what they are), equipment used, and brief definitions of different cooking techniques. This section makes it clear that this book is approachable to even the beginner cook.

And then of course, are the recipes themselves. I found them to be incredibly well written. Each recipe gives the name of the dish in Greek, as well as in English, which I think is a nice touch. There's a little paragraph that tells a little about the recipe or a little anecdote about why it's included. Some were sweet, some were funny, and some were just plain interesting. In addition, each recipe has vital diet information; it's labeled as being vegetarian, nut-free, gluten-free, etc. This is super nice for people with diet restrictions, because you know just by looking at it if you can have it. There's also caloric/nutrition information, storage tips, and good advice on how you can substitute ingredients throughout.

The steps are numbered and short and sweet, making them easy to follow.

I also appreciated that the recipes might call for something a bit harder to find, like say kefalotiri cheese. Instead of just assuming that everyone has access to that, it suggests other, more common cheeses that will work, like Romano cheese in this instance. As someone who doesn't have a wide variety of grocer options, it's appreciated.

When a more complicated technique is used (like for wrapping grape leaves), there's little step by step drawn illustrations to help you out.

What disappointed me about this book is the lack of photos. There are some, yes, and the ones that are included look delicious. However, I've never made 90% of these dishes before. It'd be nice to have a reference to see if what I'm doing actually looks like what it's supposed to. I'm way more of a visual person than a literary one, so in that regard I think this book is lacking.

Anyway, back to the positives. There are so many amazing sounding dishes in this cookbook that it's hard to pare it down to just a few to highlight here, but I'll try my best. Some of the dishes I most look forward to include: Savory Baklava Rolls, Octopus with Figs and Peaches, Feta Crab Cakes, and Olive Oil Ice Cream with Feta, Cinnamon, and Basil.

All in all, I'm really happy with this book. If you've got food allergies, or are vegan or vegetarian, there are quite a few recipes in here for you, and more than are pretty easily adaptable. It's approachable with realistic ingredients, and full of plenty of recipes for those looking to lighten up their diet or simply try more Greek recipes.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.


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