Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Middle East meets Med West

A just-released cookbook highlights recipes from the Middle East and Mediterranean regions that are made from ingredients readily available to American home cooks.

Great cooking stems from experimenting with readily available fresh foods, herbs, and spices — the kind of ingredients home cooks can find in supermarkets across the country.
“I believe it’s all about convenience and innovation. That’s the philosophy I have included in every page of my cookbook,” says Zov Karamardian, nationally recognized chef and restaurateur.

Her cookbook, ZOV: RECIPES AND MEMORIES FROM THE HEART (Pub March 2005; second printing March 2008; $35.00/hardcover; ISBN: 0-9759558-0-2), has just gone into its second printing.

Blending contemporary Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines and cultures, this unique collection of over 100 recipes, was inspired by Karamardian’s favorite family recipes, her extensive world travel, and the people with whom she has had the pleasure of cooking and eating.

“Many of the recipes in my cookbook reflect dishes I learned from my mother, grandmother, and the many generous people I have met during my world travels. My recipes fuse traditional techniques and flavors with modern trends in cooking in order to produce unique and delicious recipes.”

Each chapter begins with a short story about Karamardian’s culinary inspiration — from Syria in 1955 to Beirut in 1959 to Morocco and Vietnam in the last decade — including memories of her Armenian grandmother and other teachers from around the world. Beautiful color photos illustrate finished recipes. Karamardian has also provided a chapter on cooking techniques and pantry ingredients, making ZOV: RECIPES AND MEMORIES FROM THE HEART an informative and easy-to-use cookbook.

ZOV provides a complete dining experience with recipes divided into “Mezzas” (appetizers), Soups, Salads, Meat/Poultry, Seafood, and Desserts, many of which are served at Karamardian’s three bistros in Orange County, Calif. Recipes in the book include:

Grilled Eggplant and Baked Olives with Rosemary and Thyme
Fattouch Salad with Purslane and Sumac Vinaigrette
Cannellini and Garbanzo Bean Salad with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes
Angel Hair Pasta with Tomatoes, Feta, and Pine Nuts
Flatbreads with Spiced Ground Beef (Lahma Joune)
Roast Pork Rack with Sour Cherry Sauce
Jasmine Rice Pudding with Fresh Berries
Kataifi with Ricotta Custard and Orange Blossom Syrup
Apricot Coffee Cake

Karamardian is the chef/owner of Zov’s CafĂ©/Bakery in Newport Coast and Irvine, Calif., as well as her flagship restaurant, Zov’s Bistro in Tustin, Calif.

She received an Angel Award by the James Beard Foundation, and she also accepted the distinguished honor of serving as guest chef at the esteemed James Beard House in New York. Her recipes have been featured in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Sunset Magazine, Orange County Register and The Los Angeles Times. You can learn more about Zov on her website.