Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - Cooking Techniques with Olive Oil

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Book Review - Cooking Techniques with Olive Oil

Cooking Techniques with Olive Oil

 photo disclaimer2_zps8af35ac1.jpg

About the Book
How often have you been at the store looking a bottles of olive oil and not know which one to buy? How many times have wished you had more uses for that expensive extra virgin oil you purchased other than a salad dressing or sautéing up a quick dish? A new book has come out that provides all the answers. COOKING TECHNIQUES AND RECIPES WITH OLIVE OIL (Two Extra Virgins/April 2014; hardcover/$26.95) by Mary Platis and Laura Bashar, provides easy yet detailed techniques for poaching, braising, marinating, infusing, and baking with olive oil -- everything home cooks need to know about olive oil: from purchasing to storage to delicious recipes.

Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet and largely responsible for making it one of the healthiest and delectable diets in the world. And, like a fine wine or exquisite cut of meat, olive oil is known for its dynamic and diverse flavor characteristics. But surprisingly, most people don’t really know how to cook with olive oil and have no idea what to look for when buying it.

Cooking Techniques with Olive Oil

“Our goal in writing this book is to teach people new ways to cook with olive oil and master fundamental skills,” the authors state. “The techniques in our book will sharpen skills in the kitchen and acquaint cooks at all levels with basic methods of cooking with olive oil.”

Beautifully photographed, the authors go into great detail explaining the various characteristics of olive oil and their flavors so home cooks know what to buy and how to use it. “It is our hope that by understanding basic olive oil profiles home cooks will feel inspired to experiment with new flavor combinations in dishes and try different ethnic foods and oils.”

The recipes in COOKING TECHNIQUES AND RECIPES WITH OLIVE OIL are cataloged by chapters that cover Lessons in Olive Oil, Poaching, Braising, Marinating, Steaming, and Baking. There is also a chapter on Other Techniques that shows how to infuse and preserve oils with recipes for confits, mayonnaise and mustards, dressings and more. Recipes in the book include:

  • Rosemary-Garlic Lamb Chops with Mashed Potatoes and Artichokes
  • Tuna with Citrus and Avocado Salad
  • Figs with Muscato Grapes
  • Greek Style Vegetables with Tomatoes
  • Beef Stew with Root Vegetables
  • Chicken Kabobs with Cucumber-Mint Barley
  • Sockeye Salmon with Spinach and Beet Greens
  • Stuffed Grape Leaves with Brown Rice, Kale and Fresh Herbs
  • Whole Wheat Scones with Blueberries and Lavender
  • Olive Oil Almond Cookies with Rosewater and Cardamom
  • Kalamata Olive Bread with Rosemary
  • Olive Oil and Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Watermelon Shooters with Persia Mint Syrup an Olive Oil

The authors also provide conversion charts and references and encourage home cooks to buy locally produced oil from farmers markets in their area if available.


Mary Platis, food writer and culinary teacher, discovered her passion for olive oil after visiting the Greek island Kythera. Mary’s Greek heritage introduced her to healthy and seasonal cooking, and now she shares her own recipes with culinary students, readers of her popular blog, California Greek Girl and, of course, her family. Mary is currently the olive oil spokesperson for Bragg Live Foods©, and owner of The Greek Gourmet© catering for more than 25 years. Mary and her recipes have been featured in a number of publications – including Olive Oil Times, Greek - American Magazine, October Unprocessed, Melissa’s Produce, and Meatless Mondays among others – and on Dr. John Westerdahl’s Health and Longevity Talk Show on Life Talk, and Author’s Corner with Neil Haley on Total Education. Mary sits on the board of the Les Dames d’ Escoffier San Diego and is a member of the Publisher and Writers of San Diego. As an avid gardener, her inspiration for recipes and writing begins with a morning walk through her seasonal garden. She is the mother of three grown children and lives in San Diego, California with her husband and dog, Hershey.

Laura Bashar is a former graphic designer and advertising account executive. Self-taught in HTML she started her very popular food blog, Family Spice in 2009 to share her love of family and Persian food. Laura regularly develops recipes for brands and companies, and her work has been featured on online sites such as: Huffington Post, Yahoo Shine, Katie Brown Workshop, Babble, The Kitchn, Olive Oil Times, Safest Choice Eggs, Newman’s Own, allParenting, PBS Parents and BlogHer. Combining fresh ingredients, contrasting flavors, exotic spices and multiple cooking techniques from all over the world continues to be Laura’s passion today. A stay-at-home mother of three, Laura lives with her husband and kids in San Diego, spoiling them all with wholesome, delicious food.

My Take on the Book
This has become my new favorite cookbook. It is not just because I love using olive oil, but the recipes are healthy and easy to use. You can just about taste the deliciousness as you read through the recipes and gaze at the accompanying photographs.

I enjoyed reading about the history of olive oil, uses, different kinds, methods of cooking with olive oil, storing olive oil properly and more. The authors have included so much valuable information about olive oil.

I prepared the WHOLE WHEAT SCONES WITH BLUEBERRIES AND LAVENDER. The combination was interesting as was the method of preparing the scone mixture for baking. The batter was flattened on a floured surface and you pressed the blueberries on half the batter. Then you cover the blueberry half with the last batter half and press more blueberries into it.

I plan to use this book often . There are so many wonderful recipes using meats, fish, poultry, desserts, vegetables, infusions, and even beverages.

If you enjoy using olive oil in your food preparation, I believe that this cookbook will become a valuable resource in your kitchen. Buon Appetito!

New to the Divadom or to Dad of Divas Reviews?
Please Subscribe to my RSS Feed! Subscribe in a reader
Questions? Drop me a line at

1 comment:

FamilySpice said...

I am so happy you liked the scones and our cookbook. Hope you are able to try the other olive oil recipes, too!