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Chile Pepper Magazine's Review of Mediterranean Grains and Greens
Sharon Hudgins 
Chile Pepper Magazine
August 1998

    Paula Wolfert has done it again.  In Mediterranean Grains and Greens, her sixth cookbook, this best-selling author presents almost 200 hundred recipes for classic and contemporary dishes using ingredients essential to the healthful diet of the people who live in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

    Wolfert-- already a well-established authority on Mediterranean cuisines --- spent four years traveling through  Israel, Italy, France, Greece, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, and Turkey, discovering even more about the traditions and culinary secrets of native cooks in each region.  They welcomes her into their kitchens, recounted folk stories and taught her how to prepare the myriad grain- and greens-based dishes that have been passed down through the generations.  Wolfert shares these adventures in eating and cooking, offering versatile recipes for breads, pastas, bulgurs, risottos, polentas, pilafs, koftes and couscous, as well as leafy greens, edible wild greens, vegetables and fruits.

    Most of Wolfert's recipes have a story behind them, making this book as interesting to read as it is inspiring to cook from.  Recipes range from appetizers to desserts, including such taste-tempters as Sardinian Flatbread Baked with Cheese, Tomatoes and Eggs; Garlic Soup with Leafy Greens;  Red Risotto with Radicchio and Barolo Wine; and Spicy Beef, Olive and Caper Semolina Turnovers.  Chileheads will be pleased to find many recipes that use fresh, pickled or dried hot peppers, sweet or hot paprika, or pepper pastes.

    Throughout the book, Wolfert explains the historical and cultural significance of the dishes and ingredients, sharing both the traditional techniques for preparing them and adaptations for the American home cook.  She dispels several myths  about couscous and even tells you how to make your own couscous from scratch.  At the opposite end of the culinary-labor continuum, she gives a foolproof recipe for easy, no-stir polenta made in the oven.

Fans of Wolfert's previous cookbooks will definitely want to add Mediterranean Grains and Greens to their libraries.  And novices who've never read her other authoritative  and informative cookbooks will be delighted to discover the distinctive voice of this highly readable author, whose recipes are as dependable as the cooking tips and advice  she sprinkles throughout her latest work.  Mediterranean Grains and Greens  is yet another Wolfert cookbook that's destined to become a classic.

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