Cookbook Review: The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook

Welcome back, Readers!

It’s time for another Cookbook Review post! And I am so excited to share this one with you. This is one my all-time favorite cookbooks!!

I discovered The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins a few years ago when I stumbled upon online articles discussing the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. The book sounded wonderful and I had to rush out to a bookstore to get it! Luckily the Barnes & Noble near by college campus had one in stock.

This cookbook continues to be one of the best cookbooks I’ve ever read because, to me, it reads like a novel. Jenkins does a great job of creating an Eat, Pray, Love style narrative about her family’s time in Italy.

Whether romanticized or not, I fell for it and wanted to be her! (Okay, I’ll be honest: I re-read parts of it to write this review and I STILL want to be her!)

One of the other aspects of this book that I like is that it is not just a cookbook. It also explains what the Mediterranean Diet is and how you can “Make the Change” to the lifestyle. Only after around 40 pages do you see any recipes.

But when the recipes do come, let me tell you…YOU WILL LOVE THEM!!

We all experience headnotes in cookbooks. These are the little paragraphs that precede the recipe that sometimes tell how a chef created the recipe or how it can be served. Headnotes in this book are no exception, but Jenkins includes beautifully written paragraphs that also teach the reader how to cook the recipe’s main ingredient, for example. Other times the headnotes are filled with wonderful anecdotes about her time in the Mediterranean region.

One of the positives of this cookbook is in the vegetables section, Jenkins takes the time and space to break down commonly used vegetables in the Mediterranean Diet. Each vegetable has 1 to 3 recipes that feature it, ensuring the budding Mediterranean chef how to incorporate them into their new diet.

Believe it or not, the Mediterranean Diet is not a big fan of the dessert course. I know, right? But this book does include more than a dozen sweet treats to satisfy your sweet tooth. While many are fruit-based, they will almost surely satisfy any sweet-tooth.

Writing this review has made me fall in love with it all over again. I’ll have to make something out of it soon!

Cookbook Review: Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?

If you are a long-time reader of this blog, then you know that it used to feature, almost exclusively, Ina Garten recipes and reviews. It was basically a lifestyle blog revolving around Ina Garten.

Even though I have decided to tweak things a bit (a move that I think will be much more enjoyable for me and my readers), I still want to pay homage to Ina Garten. So, the first Cookbook Review will be of one of her books.

This is not a new feature. I had previously reviewed the first six Barefoot Contessa cookbooks earlier this year. (Hint: on the homepage, click the Category “Cookbook Reviews” to view them.)

Okay, here it goes….

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Review of “Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics”

This is part of a 12-part series where I review each one of Ina Garten’s twelve cookbooks. The previous reviews can be found earlier in the feed of posts. They come out on Thursdays, usually for 1:30 PM. This is the sixth review in the series.

Who doesn’t love green as the main color on a book? It’s so vibrant and pairs nicely for a cookbook.

Ina Garten’s sixth cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics is another one of quintessential “TV Ina.” But that’s not a bad thing! This is another book that makes Ina related to the home cook, whether they are seasoned or just starting out.

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Review of “Barefoot Contessa At Home”

Garten’s fifth cookbook begins what I call “Quintessential Ina.” This was around the time I discovered and fell in love with her cooking show. And I think her best recipes stem from the next few books. The tagline “everyday recipes you’ll make over and over again” rings true for this book since Ina had finally settled into her target audience: untrained, home cooks.

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Review of “Barefoot in Paris”

This is part of a 12-part series where I review each of Ina’s cookbooks. A new review drops every Thursday at 1:30 PM. This is the fourth review out of the twelve.

This week I get to talk about my favorite Barefoot Contessa cookbook to date — Barefoot in Paris. This book is different from the others in a few ways. First, this is the only book (so far!) that focusing solely on one type of cuisine: French.

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Review of “Barefoot Contessa Family Style”

Welcome to the third installment of my Ina Garten cookbook review series. This is week three, so I’ll be reviewing Barefoot Contessa Family Style. This book, published in 2002 has a subtitle that reads: “Easy Ideas and Recipes That Make Everyone Feel Like Family,” and honestly, I think this book lives up to that statement.

Prior to Ina’s latest cookbook featuring comfort food, I would have to argue that this is her early take on that idea but with a twist that makes it elegant and “gourmet.” (As if we expected anything less!)

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Review of “Barefoot Contessa Parties!”

This is part of a twelve-part series where I review Ina Garten’s cookbooks. Check back each week for the next installment in the series! The reviews will drop every Thursday afternoon at 1:30 PM.

This week I’m reviewing Ina’s second cookbook: Barefoot Contessa Parties! which was published in 2001.

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Review of “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook”

This is part of a twelve-part series where I review Ina Garten’s cookbooks. Check back each week for the next installment in the series! The reviews will drop every Thursday afternoon at 1:30 PM.

We all love the Barefoot Contessa, also known as Ina Garten. The East Hampton, NY chef and lifestyle celebrity has been entertaining audiences since the early 2000s. But many fans of her Food Network show may not realize that she got her start as the owner of a specialty food store on Long Island. While the store has since closed its doors, the name, Barefoot Contessa, lives on through Ina Garten and her cooking show and cookbooks.

Ina Garten and Barefoot Contessa burst onto the scene in 1999 with the publication of her first cookbook entitled The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.

With a foreword by Martha Stewart, the cookbook quickly led Barefoot Contessa to become a household name. Within a couple of years, Garten’s cooking show began airing on the Food Network and here we are almost twelve cookbook later!

I would argue that this cookbook is different than the other ones in tone. It’s almost as though she was trying to impress her readers and live up to “The Hamptons” stereotype. The narratives are filled with pretentious sentences that I don’t think are reflected in her others books. It’s almost as if her intended audience with this book was exclusively for summer home owners on ritzy coasts.

Many of the recipes promote the “summer is perfect on the Hamptons” trope by mainly benefitting people who have grills or access to fresh seafood and local farmer’s markets. What is strange to me is I think if my first foray into Ina Garten had been this cookbook, I don’t think I would be as big of a fan. Granted, I have only cooked one recipe from this book so far (see here), but all the recipes just come off as too fancy and aren’t really relatable to me.

That said, now that I am older and have had more experience with “early Ina” I feel more confident with the recipes in this book. That said, overall many of the recipes are for more seasoned palates and cooks. Another difference between the recipes in this book and some of her other is that many of the recipes are designed to be used for entertainment, so the scale of the recipes is a lot larger (in fact, her first three cookbooks feature recipes that could feed a couple handfuls of people). Many recipes in this book feed 8 as opposed to the 4 to 6 that is common in the later books.

Some highlights from this book:

  1. Sun-dried Tomato Dip
  2. Gazpacho
  3. Grilled Salmon Salad
  4. Lobster Potpie
  5. Turkey Meatloaf
  6. Kitchen Clambake
  7. Potato-Fennel Gratin
  8. Outrageous Brownies
  9. Croissant Bread Pudding
  10. Maple-Oatmeal Scones

I can’t wait to try some more of these, however I almost feel obligated to wait until summer because the food just lends itself to that season.