Healthy, tasty cooking: The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook (review)

I can do this. I will do this! I plan to cook healthy, eat healthy going forward.

At least that's the plan. And I'll get loads of help — the idiot's way — from THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET COOKBOOK by Denise "DedeMed" Hazime.

The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook 

I say "idiot's way" because THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET COOKBOOK is one of the infamous "Idiot's Guides" books. Which means it features all the tips, info and extras that the Idiot's Guides are known for — and this time it's all about cooking, eating, and following one of the healthiest diets in the world.

I must admit that I've never been a health nut by any stretch of the imagination. My husband is even worse (he thinks French fries can be considered a vegetable, M&Ms for dessert adding colorful foods to a meal). But time is of the essence, thanks to a host of health issues we both face, so I look forward to making the most of the copy of THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET COOKBOOK that I recently received free for review.

The book is divided into chapters that make sense... to idiot's like myself, when it comes to healthy eating and cooking. There's a bunch of background info on exactly what the Mediterranean diet is, what ingredients are involved, why it provides such a bounty of health benefits including reducing not only weight but stress. All the good stuff one needs to know about utilizing the power of the Mediterranean lifestyle.

And, of course, there are the recipes. Two hundred recipes! Everything from breakfasts to dinners to desserts, with snacks and more in between. 

There aren't any pictures — pictures being my favorite part of cookbooks — but I finagled a few from the publisher to include with this review. I love many of the recipes in the book, including several kabob options, multiple hummus recipes, desserts galore (Chocolate-Peanut Baklava, anyone?) and so much more. But because I simply love the way these words roll of the tongue, I'm sharing here the recipe (and photo) for...

Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush
Yield: 3 cups

2 large eggplants
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 medium red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely diced
1/2 medium green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely diced
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3 medium radishes, finely diced
3 whole green onions, finely chopped

Preheat a grill top or grill to medium-low heat. Place eggplants on the grill and roast on all sides for 40 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Immediately place eggplants on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, let cool for 15 minutes. Remove eggplant stems, and peel off as much skin as possible. (It’s ok if it doesn’t all come off.) In a food processor fitted with a chopping blade, pulse eggplant 7 times. Transfer eggplant to a medium bowl. In a medium saucepan over low heat, heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Add white onion and sauté occasionally for 10 minutes. Add onions to eggplant. Add garlic, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and parsley to eggplant and stir well. Spread baba ganoush on a serving plate and drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over top. Sprinkle with cayenne, radishes, and green onions. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Two other recipes with great names — which surely taste just as fabulous as they sound and look — for which I secured photos to share are the Chicken Shawarma...

Chicken Shawarma 

And the Falafel (love that word!)...

Falafel 

Pretty pictures aside, what I look forward to getting out of THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET COOKBOOK is everything I need to know about how to cook and eat healthy without sacrificing flavor. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'll be cooking up more flavorful meals than ever before — and reaping the health benefits while I'm at it.

THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET COOKBOOK by Denise "DedeMed" Hazime has a suggested price of $18.95/$19.95 and is available wherever books (and Idiot's Guides) are sold. You can learn more about author Denise Hazime on her website, DedeMed.com.

Disclosure: I received this book free for review; opinions and anecdotes are my own.