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Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon (Anglais) Relié – 31 octobre 2006

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Zucchini FrittersIngredients:1 large onion, coarsely chopped3 tablespoons vegetable or sunflower oil, plus more for frying1 pound zucchini, finely chopped3 eggs3 tablespoons all-purpose flourblack pepper2 to 3 sprigs of mint, chopped2 to 3 sprigs of dill, chopped7 ounces feta cheese, mashed with a forkServes 4Fried onions, feta cheese, and herbs lift what is otherwise a bland vegetable. These little fritters can be served hot or cold. They can be made in advance and reheated. Fry the onion in 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat until it is soft and lightly colored. Add the zucchini and sauté, stirring, until they, too, are soft.In a bowl, beat the eggs with the flour until well blended. Add pepper (there is no need of salt because the feta cheese is very salty) and the chopped herbs, and mix well. Fold the mashed feta into the eggs, together with the cooked onions and zucchini.Film the bottom of a preferably nonstick frying pan with oil and pour in the mixture by the half ladle (or 2 tablespoons) to make a few fritters at a time. Turn each over once, and cook until both sides are browned a little. Drain on paper towels.

Présentation de l'éditeur

In the 1960s Claudia Roden introduced Americans to a new world of tastes in her classic A Book of Middle Eastern Food. Now, in her enchanting new book, Arabesque, she revisits the three countries with the most exciting cuisines today—Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon. Interweaving history, stories, and her own observations, she gives us 150 of the most delectable recipes: some of them new discoveries, some reworkings of classic dishes—all of them made even more accessible and delicious for today’s home cook.

From Morocco, the most exquisite and refined cuisine of North Africa: couscous dishes; multilayered pies; delicately flavored tagines; ways of marrying meat, poultry, or fish with fruit to create extraordinary combinations of spicy, savory, and sweet.

From Turkey, a highly sophisticated cuisine that dates back to the Ottoman Empire yet reflects many new influences today: a delicious array of kebabs, fillo pies, eggplant dishes in many guises, bulgur and chickpea salads, stuffed grape leaves and peppers, and sweet puddings.

From Lebanon, a cuisine of great diversity: a wide variety of mezze (those tempting appetizers that can make a meal all on their own); dishes featuring sun-drenched Middle Eastern vegetables and dried legumes; and national specialties such as kibbeh, meatballs with pine nuts, and lamb shanks with yogurt.

Claudia Roden knows this part of the world so intimately that we delight in being in such good hands as she translates the subtle play of flavors and simple cooking techniques to our own home kitchens.

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126 internautes sur 138 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Superior Culinary Travelogue from an expert. 12 décembre 2006
Par B. Marold - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
`Arabesque' by the distinguished Egypto-English culinary journalist, Claudia Roden is a culinary travelogue that, according to the subtitle, gives us `A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, & Lebanon'. Ms. Roden states that the choice of these three cuisines was based on the fact that in each of the three countries, there has been something of a Renaissance of ancient culinary traditions and techniques, backed up by the fact that the culinary traditions of all three centers of Arab culture were outstanding to begin with, going back to the eighth century for Morocco and Lebanon and to the even more distinguished background of the Ottoman Turkish cuisines, both original and borrowed from the earlier Persian traditions.

There is no question that these three geographical centers are tied together by their Moslem heritage; however it may be just a bit of a stretch to consider them all to be based on Arab traditions, as Morocco had a strong native Berber influence, as well as more recent French influences and the Turks were, I believe not really Arab. But I will not quibble, as Arab influences, especially in their traditions of hospitality show up in all three culinary histories.

It is important to take Ms. Roden's subtitle seriously in that this book is more of a taste than it is a `full course meal'. This book is much more like the `culinary travelogue' books `Hot Sour Salty Sweet' and `Mangoes and Curry Leaves' of Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid than it is like Roden's earlier works, `The Food of Italy' and `The New Book of Middle Eastern Food'. It is also certainly not like Paula Wolfert's excellent books of culinary anthropology such as `Couscous' and `The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean'.

And, this is not a book for the amateur tourist. I constantly run into obscure words or notions that are not explained, since the author seems to believe that we are revisiting some old haunts. If you have read your Wolfert and the earlier Roden books, you will know that `medina' is an Arab market and that souk is a center for spice dealers. If you are a hiker or camper, you will probably also know that a Primus stove is a light small single burner device which burns white gas. Oddly, I really sort of enjoyed being treated like a fellow insider for whom Ms. Roden didn't have to explain every little detail. Madame C. was much more interested in giving us a personal tour of her recent first hand experiences in Fez, Beirut, and Istanbul.

Consistent with the travelogue theme, the culinary explorations simply do not go very deep. While we are treated to three different methods for making the Moroccan specialty, salt preserved lemons, no time at all is spent on the details of making couscous or warka, the pastry used to make the other Moroccan national dish, bstilla. All recipes are made with pre-cooked couscous or commercially available fillo dough respectively. Ms. Roden doesn't even spend much time on cooking with a tagine. It turns out my suspicion about this cooking device was correct. It is simply too small, typically, to do a dish in a restaurant or for entertaining more than four people at a time. All tagine recipes are simply done as braises in much the same way that the French would do it in a low, broad braising dish or Dutch Oven.

Ms. Roden makes no excuse for the fact that many of the recipes in this book have appeared in her earlier books, and many of the recipes such as hummus, tabbouleh, shish kebabs, and pilafs may seem to be old hat to lovers of Middle Eastern cuisines. But Ms. Roden's new bottle cures much ennui.

If someone needed one strong reason to buy this book, it would be the wealth of recipes for lamb. They far outnumber the poultry and beef recipes, and it should be no surprise that there are no pork recipes to be found, as the Arabs share with the Jews a prohibition against eating pig. What's even better, most of the recipes use the less expensive, but more flavorful shoulder meat rather than the leg of lamb. Here is where a good relationship with your butcher will reward you. As someone who has wrestled with a bone-in lamb shoulder, I assure you that having your butcher fillet the shoulder (after he measures the bone in weight on which the price is computed) is far more satisfying than doing it yourself.

Of the three countries, Morocco gets the largest amount of space and recipes, followed by Turkey and Lebanon. This is fine, since there is far more overlap of ingredients and technique between Turkey and Lebanon than there is with Morocco. You will find no yogurt and little spinach or eggplant in Moroccan dishes. It is not surprising to find olives and olive oil in common between the Eastern and Western Mediterranean. What may be surprising is the universality of lemons. If you notion of Mediterranean cooking is heavily flavored by France and Italy, one can easily discount the importance of lemons. But, a quick overview of both Greece and the lands of the Madgreb (North Africa) reveal that this is almost as important as olive oil (I wonder if this is due to the prohibition against wine, and therefore the lesser access to vinegar?).

The book shares with those of Alford and Duguid a distinct charm based on a true love of these lands. Ms. Roden improves on Alford and Duguid in that the volume is less expensive and less ponderous on the gut as you read it late at night.

Needless to say, publisher Knopf has done the usually excellent job in designing the book. This is a great read and introduction to these cuisines.
29 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Fine, but just a light version of an earlier master piece 2 août 2011
Par Jackal - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This book is a modern version of the author's The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. In other words it contains a lot of amazing pictures and fewer recipes. This is also a book made at the request of the publisher. At the time the author apparently wanted to include Syria and Iran as well, but those were "axis of evil" countries and including them would reduce sales according to the publisher [interview available on the web]. The book is not bad, but I would stick to the author's original any day.

Finally, I really hate when the same author publishes similar books but doesn't tell the potential readers how they differ.
51 internautes sur 57 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
More great recipes 14 février 2007
Par E. N. Anderson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
One expects the best from Claudia Roden, and this book does not disappoint. Some of us remember how her "Book of Middle Eastern Food" burst like a great white light on the culinary scene, way back in 1968. (There is now an even better second edition, 2000.) The present book recycles some recipes from earlier works, but focuses on three particularly good areas, and has absolutely top-flight recipes from them, sparing you the problem of wading through a vast mass of text.

Just a couple of quick supplemental comments from some experience: First, there is one bad thing about this book: Ms. Roden's tolerance for bouillon cubes. Their metallic, rancid-grease taste ruins Middle Eastern food. Use homemade stock or just omit. Second, Turkish food isn't "Arab," it really does depend heavily on Turkic roots, plus Greek and Persian influences--only a few Arab ones. And the publishers have badly served the Turkish section by using dotted i's for undotted ones. These write different sounds: the dotted i is the "ee" sound, the undotted is approximately the "uh" sound. This could cause confusion if you ask for ingredients or dishes. One more note on Turkey: For Turkish food, especially the salads, you have to use not just extra virgin olive oil, but Turkish extra virgin oil, or something very similar (Lebanese or the finest Kalamata or Italian). Yep, it costs, so much so that one dish is named "The Imam Fainted" because--according to one story--he found out the cost of the oil in the dish (p. 168)!

Finally, Ms. Roden notes that argan oil, a wonderful if obscure oil from southern Morocco, is regarded as "aphrodisiac." Actually, a mixture of argan oil, honey, and ground almonds is called "Moroccan Viagra" in that part of the world. The reality behind this seems to be the combination of sugar for quick energy and protein plus easily digestible, nourishing oil for stamina. It's also used for kids, to make them grow better, and no one thinks it will turn them into sex demons, so we're talking nutrition here, not lust per se. Turkey has an equivalent: lukum candy made from grape juice and walnuts ("Turkish Viagra"--according to Istanbul market men).
38 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Tasty. 10 janvier 2007
Par Eric Oehler - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Roden is undeniably an expert on the foods of the Middle East and North Africa. Here she throws three fairly disparate cuisines from the region at us - Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon. There's some overlap in ingredients, but for the most part these are very different ways of looking at some of the same foods. That in itself is interesting, although her linkage between the cuisines - that they were all major imperial centers that traded with other cultures - is less interesting than the food itself.

There's some overlap with her other cookbooks, as a lot of the lebanese food was covered in her Middle Eastern tome, and a few other things like her recipes for preserved lemons seem lifted intact from the same book. There're also a few minor lingustic annoyances - no notes on transliterations, much of the Turkish is lacking the proper dotless-i's and circumflexed-g's, cedillas and umlauts (all of which I consider nice for pronunciation reasons). Nonetheless, the food itself is fascinating, as are her notes on the ingredients and preparations. It's particularly fascinating in her sections on Turkey and Morocco, which are areas that have been less covered by her other books (or in fact most cookbooks at all).

It's not a comprehensive book, by any means, but it does provide a very engaging overview of three major and very different world cuisines.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Like exploring the world without leaving your kitchen 5 août 2007
Par VTS - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
"Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon" shares a delightful collection of recipes, each of which makes you feel as if you are experiencing a vibrant part of another culture. From Talaş Böreği, which takes you into the kitchens of Turkey, to Moroccan Briwat Bi Tamr (Dates Rolls in Honey Syrup), spending time with this book is akin to taking a culinary trip around the Middle East. Each chapter includes an introduction to the cuisine & history of the part of the world it seeks to represent. It is in sections like these that we learn, for example, about Lebanon's history as a feudal state and how interactions between Sunni Muslim, Greek Orthodox and Ottoman culture influenced the cooking we recognize as Lebanese today. Such socio-historical tidbits are sprinkled throughout the book, while chapters are organized into sections about "starters & meze," "main courses," and "desserts." Many recipes are accompanied by mouth-watering color photographs, so that this well-bound, artistically presented book would make a lovely coffee table book when you're not using it in the kitchen. Most of the dishes I tried were truly delicious, opening my eyes to new spice combinations and flavors. It was not until this book, for instance, that I would have thought to add cinnamon, pine nuts and currants to a meat dish (vegetarian meat dish in our kitchen, but the principle is the same), nor would I have thought to add pomegranate molasses and cumin to a salad. On one or two occasions I wasn't thrilled by the final result, but one cannot expect to fall in love with every recipe in a cookbook, especially one that is composed of meals so dissimilar from what you eat on an everyday basis. Recipes do assume that you have a firm grasp of basic cooking principles but at no point is this a hindrance. With internet access just a step away it is an easy thing, after all, to verify what "stiff egg whites" look like (Alton Brown did an entire show about this) or what greek-style yogurt is. Overall this book is a worthy addition to any collection - if you buy it and want my advice, make the Briwat Bi Loz (Almond Pastries in Honey Syrup) first. Not only are they easy to make, but the combination of crispy fillo, crunchy almonds and sweet syrup is hard to resist. Variations with confectioners sugar & orange blossom water are included for even more delightful exploration of this Moroccan dessert.
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