Zov: Recipes and Memories from the Heart
Published by: Zov's Publishing
The author of this eponymous cookbook is the proprietress of a California bistro specializing in pan-Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-inflected dishes. Here, alongside a mini-autobiography and a laudatory introduction by Koontz, she provides the recipes for some of her favorite dishes. Though the cookbook is lushly photographed by Pornchai Mittongtare and cheerfully written, it has the self-indulgent feel of a vanity project. Nevertheless, some delicious ideas can be found in these pages, like an Iraqi Meatball Soup with Lemon and Mint, which is redolent of garlic, lemon and paprika, and simple Roasted Potatoes with Parsley and Thyme. Some of the recipes are labor intensive (like the Phyllo Purses with Chicken and Caramelized Onions or the Flatbreads with Spiced Ground Beef), but the results are worthy of a dinner party. And the desserts, while inspired by far-flung places, are uniformly delicious, especially the Jasmine Rice Pudding with Fresh Berries and a streusel-topped Armenian Tea-Cake called "khata," which is like a danish taken to the highest possible power. Restaurant stories and family reminiscences are interspersed throughout, but they serve as little more than a distraction. Itís the recipes, not the restaurateur, that really merit the attention.