cover image Greek Vegetarian

Greek Vegetarian

Diane Kochilas. St. Martin's Press, $24.95 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-312-14608-5

Kochilas, a chef and food writer (The Food and Wine of Greece) offers a delightful view into a cuisine whose ""backbone... has always been what is harvested, in either wild or cultivated form, from the earth."" Characterized by simplicity and purity of ingredients, these recipes for meat-free dishes promote an encouraging flexibility in terms of substitutions and meal planning that many home cooks will value. Creamy Orzo Casserole with Vegetables and a touch of cinnamon, while included in the Main Meal section might just as easily be served as a side dish; Giant Beans Baked with Honey and Dill could stand in for Boston Baked Beans. Many a family table or party buffet would be revitalized by the creative fusion of ingredients in such dishes as Small Tomatoes Stuffed with Eggplant Puree; Onion Pita (pie) with Dill, Raisins and Nutmeg; or Asparagus Frittata. Historical and cultural tidbits are included in recipe intros. Celebrating the joyful exuberance of Greek cuisine (the freshest of ingredients, fruity olive oil, crusty bread, olives, lemons), Kochilas also offers a deep appreciation for the historical and geographic development of its grain and vegetable tradition. Mail-order sources and bibliography are included; illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)