Tired of your same old salad? Looking for a fresh, new taste for summer? Allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite chefs and cookbook authors: Joyce Goldstein. She takes salads to a gourmet level beyond the usual iceberg lettuce with tasteless, mass-produced tomatoes and some carrot pieces; all smothered in blue cheese dressing. After studying the foods of the Mediterranean region, Joyce Goldstein brings at-home cooks recipes for delicious one-plate meals that excite every taste bud into entirely different orbits of bitter, salty, acidic, and sweet. She complies all of this knowledge in her cookbook: Mediterranean Fresh. With recipes galore and information abound, anyone with this cookbook is sure to see salads from an entirely different perspective. Not as an accessory to some other main dish, but as the sole star of the meal.
Starting with the right ingredients is paramount to eating fresh. And every good cookbook should teach readers about the basics, Mediterranean Fresh is no exception. In her charming voice, Joyce offers explanations and descriptions about many necessary ingredients. She reveals that balsamic vinegar is often a misunderstood condiment which has lost most of its authentic taste in this age of mass production. Many cooks might be afraid of working with beets or eggplant, but that fear is dispelled by the down-to-kitchen instructions by Joyce. And for those who do not know what to do with seafood this cookbook which is steeped in the ocean-side traditions of the Mediterranean is full of wonderful seafood dishes. Although seafood is not traditionally thought of when searching for salad recipes, the dressings that can accompany shrimp, crab, and tuna are most certainly at home in this cookbook.
Mediterranean Fresh has a wonderful array of dressing recipes that are arrange in a most sensible way. The dressings are grouped into four main categories: vinaigrettes, citrus-based dressing, creamy dressings, and saucy dressings. Each dressing has variations and matched with a list of recipes that would go with the dressing. This way if a batch of a certain dressing is made; one could theoretically have a different recipe that goes with that dressing for each day of the week. How convenient and smart!
The possibilities seem endless when working with Joyce Goldstein's cookbook, Mediterranean Fresh. No longer will salads and one-plate meals seem boring and tasteless. A favorite recipe of mine, especially as the mint in my garden starts to grow, is Wheat and Vegetable Salad mixed with Mint vinaigrette. Another favorite is the Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette with Cannellini Beans and Shrimp. Both are just to die for. Why eat out when such good eats are available right from your own kitchen?
Nothing is healthier than eating fresh from your own kitchen where you are in control of the ingredients and portions. The Mediterranean region is known for good health and longevity for one main reason: good nutrition. A Mediterranean diet has long being known to prevent heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. With the help of cooks like Joyce Goldstein, the barrier between foods that are good for you and foods you love to eat can be removed.