Meze: Small Plates to Savor and Share from the Mediterranean Table

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9780688175115: Meze: Small Plates to Savor and Share from the Mediterranean Table

Now you can enjoy the food and fun of a meze feast. Meze, the small plates of just about everything from seafood, meat, and vegetables to handheld pies, colorful salads, nuts, olives, and cheeses, is the food of hospitality and conviviality, food meant to be shared with friends and family and savored with wines and spirits.

Here, in Meze, Diane Kochilas, the award-winning author of The Glorious Foods of Greece, chef, restaurateur, and cooking teacher, takes you on a spirited journey across Greece and the rest of the Mediterranean, exploring these simple and simply irresistible dishes. The recipes are robust, dear, and easy to follow. These uncomplicated dishes are charged with flavor and based on fresh, accessible ingredients. The results are spectacular.

Meze makes every meal a party, and no one knows how to throw a party better than the Greeks. Youll find tangy, skewered meats and juicy meatballs, delicious seafood dishes from simple steamed mussels to creamy ouzo-flavored shrimp. You'll find a healthful selection of aromatic bean dishes, and a recipe for the best fried potatoes in the world, Greek fries, which are hand cut and cooked in olive oil.

The convivial and festive nature of the meze table is reflected in Diane's warm, inviting style. The innate attractiveness of the food -- the colors, textures, and shapes -- are captured in brilliant photographs that evoke the sunny, warm Mediterranean dime. Whether you make just a few dishes for informal entertaining, or create an entire meal of meze, Diane Kochilas makes it possible to bring the spirit of fun and sharingthe essence of meze throughout Greece and the Mediterranean -- to your own table at home.

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Review:

To confuse meze with antipasto or tapas is to miss the point. These small plates of Greek deliciousness come to us from a Mediterranean world of mid-afternoon snacking, drinking, and talking. The pace is leisurely, the content simple, the effect extraordinary. Early on in Meze Diane Kochilas, award-winning author of The Glorious Foods of Greece, sets the prototypic meze stage: two village codgers holding down either side of a small table; two glasses and a carafe of raki between them; a plate with some bread, olives, air-dried anchovies, cucumber sticks, and cheese. They do not sit at the table so much as beside the table, the better to take in the world.

And thus it is with meze. It's not about sitting down to eat as much as being present to exchange ideas, enjoy a glass of wine or spirits, and snack on taste treats that enliven the palate and pull all the threads of the whole into one. Kochilas divides Meze into "Dips, Spreads, and Relishes"; "Savory Salads"; "Small Egg Dishes"; "Phyllo Pies"; "Finger Foods and Fried Treats"; "Vegetable and Bean Mezethes"; "A Sea's Bounty"; "From Meatballs to Kebabs"; and, the "Meze Pantry." She provides sources for ingredients. And she includes enlightening notes on Greek wine and spirits, perfect for serving with these small dishes. She is truly a master of it all and a delight to read. When was the last time you mixed garlicky yogurt with dried apricots, or baked figs with oregano? Put your hand in Kochilas's oven mitt. She'll take you to a new, delicious, life-invigorating territory. --Schuyler Ingle

About the Author:

The author of five cookbooks, including Meze and the IACP Award-winning The Glorious Foods of Greece, Diane Kochilas writes for Saveur, Gourmet, and the New York Times; runs the Glorious Greek Kitchen Cooking School on the Greek island of Ikaria; is the consulting chef at Pylos, an acclaimed Greek restaurant in New York City; and is the food columnist and restaurant critic for Ta Nea, the largest-circulation daily newspaper in Greece. She divides her time between New York City, Athens, and Ikaria.

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