Cover image for The Mediterranean herb cookbook : fresh and savory recipes from the Mediterranean garden
The Mediterranean herb cookbook : fresh and savory recipes from the Mediterranean garden
Brennan, Georgeanne, 1943-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Chronicle Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
156 pages : color illustrations ; 25 x 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX819.H4 B6985 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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For centuries, the Mediterraneans have taken full advantage of a landscape abundant with fresh herbs to create their vibrant, colorful cuisine. With The Mediterranean Herb Cookbook, James Beard Award-winning author Georgeanne Brennan brings the intoxicating tastes and aromas of the Mediterranean right into your kitchen via easy-to-follow instructions on growing, storing, and, most of all, cooking delicious dishes with more than twenty-five popular herbs. From arugula to angelica, basil to borage, Brennan offers 120 healthy, imaginative recipes--including dozens of her favorite sauces, marinades, herbal vinegars, and flavored oils--inspired by such countries as Italy, France, Greece, and North Africa. No matter where you live, you, too, will be enchanted by the simple delights of cooking with herbs in the casual, relaxed Mediterranean style.

Author Notes

Georgeanne Brennan grew up in Southern California and attended the San Diego State University, the University of Aix-Marseille in Provence, and the University of California at San Diego.

After returning to California to start a teaching position, Brennan and a friend started a vegetable seed company that they promoted with a recipe-filled catalog. The pair struck success and began writing weekly columns for the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle. Brennan published Apertif: Recipes for Simple Pleasure in the French Style, which won the Julia Child Cookbook Award in the Food & Spirits Category and The Food and Flavors of Haute Provence, which won the James Beard Award in the International Category.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Moving beyond the French table (Potager: Fresh Garden Cooking in the French Style; The Food and Flavors of Haute Provence), Brennan explores the light and easy side of Mediterranean-herb-inspired fare. This collection of 120 recipes features simple-to-prepare yet flavorful dishes, ideal for "busy schedules that have little room for complex preparations." The book is organized into three main sections: "Using Culinary Herbs," "Growing Your Own Herbs" and recipes. The first section covers 27 different types of green and woody herbs, followed by kitchen techniques on cutting, cooking and preserving herbs. The encyclopedic entries that describe each herb often prove less than enlightening for readers, as Brennan digresses to the regional culinary uses of herbs (e.g., angelica, popular in Sicily, southern Spain and southwestern France, is carved into various shapes) instead of focusing on where and when American home cooks can find them. In contrast, beautiful photography by Grey Crawford showcases a winsome repertoire of appealing and healthful recipes, including Pork and Kumquat Skewers with Dried Thyme and Lavender, Green and Yellow Snap Bean Salad with Summer Savory, Pasta with Pressed Purple Basil Leaves and Blossoms, and Grilled Peaches Topped with Rosemary Marscapone. "Basic Herbal Recipes" deliver a tasty sample of herb-based butters, sauces, marinades and beverages. Brennan concludes by offering gardening tips to green thumb hopefuls in "Growing Your Own Herbs." In the end, Brennan's garden-fresh approach to dining will appeals to the senses. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Chapter One Potato-Parsley Pancakes Mashed potatoes, thickened with eggs and seasoned with herbs, are the basics of this rustic dish, which might be served as a tapa in Spain. Here, parsley is used, but lovage, dill, chives, or summer or winter savory would be equally good. Serve these golden brown cakes as a first course with sautéed apples, spinach, or chard or to accompany a main dish. They are also an appetizing choice for breakfast or brunch. 4 boiling potatoes such as White Rose, Yukon Gold, or Yellow Finn, peeled and cut into sixths 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon canola or other light vegetable oil, as needed     In a saucepan, combine the potatoes with water to cover by 2 inches. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Drain off all but 1/4 cup of the water.     Add 1/4 cup of milk and the butter to the potatoes and mash with a potato masher or beat on low speed with a handheld mixer until fluffy, adding more milk if needed to achieve the desired consistency. Stir in the eggs, parsley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper until a thick paste forms.     Sprinkle half of the flour on a large sheet of waxed paper. Dust your hands with some of the remaining flour, then scoop up a handful of the potato mixture and form it into a patty about 1/2 inch thick. It will be sticky. Place the patty on the waxed paper and continue until the mixture is used up. You should have 8 to 10 patties in all. Dust the tops of the patties lightly with the remaining flour.     In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium and slip as many patties into the skillet as will fit without touching. Cook on the first side until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook on the second side until golden, 2 to 3 minutes longer.     Remove to a platter in a warm oven and repeat with the remaining patties, adding more oil if necessary.     Serve immediately.     MAKES 8 TO 10 CAKES; SERVES 4 * * * Shrimp and Scallop Skewers with Yogurt--Wild Fennel Marinade In the Mediterranean, this dish is made in summer or early fall, when the roadside fennel stalks sport broad umbrels of yellow blossoms. By then, the flavor of the stems and leaves is fully developed, and the yogurt readily absorbs it. An alternative is to use cultivated fennel bulbs or feathery leaves and crushed fennel seeds. 1/4 cup plain yogurt 4 wild or cultivated fennel stems, each 2 inches long, crushed 1/2 cup wild or cultivated fennel leaves, chopped 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed, if not using wild fennel 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/2 pound medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined 1/2 pound bay scallops     In a small bowl, combine the yogurt; fennel stems, leaves, and seeds (if using); lemon juice; salt; and pepper. Mix well, then add the shrimp and scallops and turn to coat them. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for up to 4 hours.     Build a medium-hot fire in a grill. If using wooden skewers, soak 8 skewers in water to cover.     Thread the shrimp on the skewers alternately with the scallops. Place on the oiled grill rack and cook, turning once, just until the flesh is opaque throughout, about 1 minute on each side. Do not overcook.     Transfer to a platter or individual plates and serve hot.     MAKES 8 SKEWERS; SERVES 4 Pork and Kumquat Skewers with Dried Thyme and Lavender Pork is especially amenable to the resinous flavors that flourish on the Provençal hillsides, and in this simple recipe that affinity is further exploited by mixing it with the tart, tangy sweetness of whole kumquats, a citrus fruit that thrives in the warm climates of the eastern Mediterranean. Using the dried lavender leaves and seeds, as well as the dried blossoms, creates a herbal, rather than perfumed, flavor. Crumble them between your fingertips or process them in a spice grinder before combining with the thyme and pepper. 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crumbled 1 teaspoon dried lavender leaves, crumbled 1/4 teaspoon lavender seeds and dried blossoms, crumbled 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 3/4 pound lean pork, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 24 cubes) 24 kumquats     In a small bowl, mix together the thyme; lavender leaves, seeds, and blossoms; and black pepper. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper or aluminum foil. Roll the pork cubes and the kumquats in the mixture and wrap them up in the paper or foil. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.     Build a medium-hot fire in a grill. If using wooden skewers, soak 6 wooden skewers in water to cover.     Thread the pork on the skewers alternately with the kumquats. Place the skewers on the oiled grill rack and cook until browned on the first side, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn and cook until the pork is nicely browned on the second side and just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes longer.     Transfer to a warmed platter or individual plates and serve immediately.     MAKES 6 SKEWERS; SERVES 3 TO 6 Copyright © 2000 Georgeanne Brennan. All rights reserved.