I received a gorgeous hardcover cookbook to review recently and I do mean gorgeous. Greek Revival: Cooking for Life is actually my first collection of Greek recipes and for someone who’s cookbook collection numbers in the hundreds, that’s saying something.
It’s not that I don’t love Greek food… I absolutely do. I guess I just never figured I could MAKE Greek food that tasted as good as it does when an actual Greek is behind the apron.
Greek Revival: Cooking for Life, however, makes each of these beautiful Greek recipes come alive, even in a non-Greek’s kitchen. The ingredients are common ingredients, the instructions are clear, and the pictures…. oh, the pictures are gorgeous!
Below is one of my favorite recipes from the collection. It’s a completely vegetarian dish and, with fresh vegetables, olive oil, and barley, it’s as healthy as it is delicious. That’s the beauty behind the recipes in this beautiful cookbook – they’re healthy and delicious. Food you’ll want to serve to your family that’s also food they’ll be delighted to eat.
Vegetables Stuffed with Barley – Gemista
2 cups barley
2 colorful peppers
2 onions, peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Cook two cups of barley according to the package instructions and set aside.
Wash the peppers, onions, and tomatoes. Cut off the tops and hollow them out. Discard the pepper seeds. Finely chop the insides of the onions and tomatoes and set them aside.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute’ pan over medium heat. Saute’ the chopped onion until it begins to soften and then add the chopped tomato and the garlic. Continue cooking until the onion is tender when pierced with a fork. Add the chopped mint leaves, parsley, and sea salt and pepper to taste. Stir the mixture and cook for just a couple of minutes to combine the flavors. Remove the pan from heat and stir the tomato-onion mixture into the cooked barley.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Brush the bottom of a heavy covered casserole with olive oil. Line up the pepper and onion shells in the pan. Brush each generously with olive oil and sea salt and pepper each shell. Fill the shells with the barley stuffing. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Cover the casserole and place it in the middle of the oven. Start the stuffed onions and peppers first as they will need about 40 minutes to cook. While the onions and peppers are cooking, stuff the tomatoes with the remainder of the barley stuffing. After about the first 20 minutes of baking time, add the stuffed tomatoes to the pan, cover again, and bake for 20 minutes more.
Allow the vegetables to cool slightly before serving. Gemista is one of those dishes Greeks often eat at room temperature, for as it cools the flavors are enhanced.
Serves 6 – 8 as a side dish.
Greek Revival: Cooking for Life is 209 pages filled with everyday, healthy Greek recipes and priceless antecdotes from author Patricia Moore-Pastides. The author is the First Lady of South Carolina, an accomplished cook, writer, and public-health professional. She teaches Meditrranean cooking classes in Columbia and has a master of public health degree from Yale University.
Sales of this gorgeous cookbook benefit the University of South Carolina Pastides Health and Sustainability Fund.
Order your copy of Greek Revival: Cooking for Life on Amazon.