Monday, October 19, 2009

Review: How to Roast a Lamb (cookbook)

I was given the opportunity to receive a new cookbook titled "How to Roast a Lamb: New Greek Classic Cooking" by Michael Psilakis, thanks to my involvement at the Product Review Place. I jumped at the opportunity, since I live across the street from a fabulous Greek restaurant, and am always craving Greek food.

This is the most beautiful cookbook I have ever owned, and definitely one of the most interesting.  It's a large cookbook, with a beautiful cover and great family and food pictures throughout.  This cookbook isn't just full of recipes, it's full of stories from Michael Psilakis's life.  For example, the section on salads begins with a story about spending time in his father's garden when he was growing up. The word pictures that Chef Psilakis paints are beautiful. Reading through the essays I felt like I had been transported to a wonderful place full of sunshine and yummy food and family celebrations. I have to admit, I'm rarely interested in food beyond eating it, but this cookbook is so beautiful and the food looks so delicious that it makes me want to cook!

Then there are the actual recipes (this is a cookbook after all!). Many of them are accompanied by beautiful pictures of the food.  The pictures are so well done that you can practically smell the aromas coming off the page. I have yet to be able to look through this cookbook without having to have a snack right afterwards.  Some of the recipes are not what I, a beginner cook, would consider easy to make, but I have marked a number of recipes in the book that I think even I can tackle, given enough time free of interruptions from my small kids.   For the more advanced cooks, the cookbook includes a number of recipes from Chef Psilakis's restaurant, Anthos. The book jacket says that this book offers an approach to Greek food with "dishes that are easy to prepare, satisfying to share, remarkably healthful, and varied enough that they can be enjoyed any night of the week."

The recipes in this book are very detailed and look easy to follow- and at the beginning of the book Chef Psilakis includes a very useful section about the ingredients that he uses, along with possible substitutions, if the authentic Greek ingredients are unavailable where you live. There are 150 recipes in the book, including those for salads and side dishes, grilled meats, seafoods, and sauces, confits and vinaigrettes to go along with the foods.  I love the idea of bringing some new recipes and tastes into my family's usual menu, and this cookbook has a recipe that will appeal to everyone.

If you are someone who loves cooking and who loves Greek food, or who just wants to experience a new world of tastes, this cookbook would be a wonderful addition to your library.  It would also make a wonderful Christmas gift for the cook in your life!

Disclaimer: I was sent this cookbook so that I could write this review from personal experience.  I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions presented here are mine and mine alone.