From grandmother, with love

The cook­book con­tains a vari­ety of Medi­ter­ranean dishes.

My fa­vor­ite kinds of cook­books are ones that have been in­spired by fam­ily re­cipes. I en­joy read­ing the stor­ies about the fam­ily mem­ber who pre­pared the dishes in the cook­book and try­ing the re­cipes that have been passed down from one gen­er­a­tion to the next. “Nahi­ma’s Hands: Unique Medi­ter­ranean Cuisine” by An­drea Cas­sell is a lov­ing trib­ute to her grand­moth­er (Nahi­ma) and her fla­vor­ful, Medi­ter­ranean re­cipes.

   What star­ted out as a grand­daugh­ter’s love for her grand­moth­er and a de­sire for her four chil­dren, and sub­sequent gen­er­a­tions, to carry on these cook­ing tra­di­tions is now a mov­ing trib­ute to fam­ily and Medi­ter­ranean cuisine.

   An­drea says that she wants people to read her cook­book and say “this looks easy and I can cre­ate this without a lot of work.” She also wants to en­cour­age fam­il­ies to come back to the table. She says that the cook­book is not just about food, but about “our her­it­age, friends and fam­il­ies com­ing to­geth­er through the food we eat.”

   An­drea’s Syr­i­an grand­moth­er, Nahi­ma (Abouid) Al­bert, im­mig­rated to the United States shortly after mar­ry­ing her hus­band, Ant­o­nio in 1926. They owned and op­er­ated a corner     gro­cery store in Miami. This is where young An­drea spent her child­hood days while her moth­er and fath­er went to work. It was there at Nahi­ma’s knee that An­drea says she learned about hos­pit­al­ity and cook­ing. Her grand­moth­er worked all day in the gro­cery store, and still found the time to cook din­ner for her par­ents to take home. An­drea wit­nessed her grand­moth­er’s self­less love and com­pas­sion daily. She was al­ways in the kit­chen help­ing her grand­moth­er pre­pare food. Nahi­ma passed away in 2009. She lived to be 101.

   Her grand­moth­er’s love and tal­ents with food in­spired An­drea to cre­ate “Nahi­ma’s Hands: Unique Medi­ter­ranean Cuisine.” While she in­cludes many of the Medi­ter­ranean dishes that she learned from her grand­moth­er in the cook­book, it also con­tains some of her ori­gin­al re­cipes that are easy to pre­pare.

   The cook­book con­tains a vari­ety of Medi­ter­ranean ap­pet­izers, soups and salads, rice and legumes, ve­get­ari­an, beef, pork and chick­en, slow-cook­er re­cipes, desserts and breads, and many more. Wine pair­ings are offered for sev­er­al re­cipes, mak­ing this cook­book a unique fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment guide. 

   “Shar­ing the love of cook­ing with your hands,” is An­drea’s motto. “I hold my grand­moth­er in my hands every­day with my cook­book, so I can nev­er for­get her.”

   You can or­der An­drea’s cook­book “Nahi­ma’s Hands: Unique Medi­ter­ranean Cuisine” for $19.95, plus ship­ping and hand­ling, at www.nahi­ or an­drea@nahi­

   Here is Nahi­ma’s re­cipe for Tab­bouleh, a tra­di­tion­al Middle East­ern salad with fresh herbs and to­ma­toes.

Nahi­ma’s Wheat and Pars­ley Salad

3/4 cup (No. 1 fine) bul­gur wheat

3/4 cup green onions, root ends re­moved, white and green parts finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

2 cups fresh, curly pars­ley, finely chopped

2 me­di­um to­ma­toes, chopped

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lem­on juice

1/4 cup ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil

1 tea­spoon salt

1 tea­spoon freshly ground black pep­per

1. In a me­di­um bowl, place the bul­gur wheat and cov­er it with cold wa­ter.

Let it soak for 20 minutes. Drain ex­cess wa­ter, as needed.

2. In an­oth­er small bowl, mix to­geth­er onion, mint, pars­ley, to­ma­toes, lem­on juice, oil, and the salt and pep­per. Pour lem­on mix­ture over bul­gur wheat. Stir gently to com­bine. Cov­er and re­fri­ger­ate. Serve cold. Serves 6. ••

   An­gela Shelf Medear­is is an award-win­ning chil­dren’s au­thor, culin­ary his­tor­i­an and au­thor of sev­en cook­books. Her new cook­book is “The Kit­chen Diva’s Dia­bet­ic Cook­book.” Her Web site is www.di­ 

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