Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Create fresh and easy meals any night of the week with "Simply Zov"

Every home-cook hopes to create fresh and inspiring dishes for every meal. But what most of us lack is time. With Zov Karamardian’s new book, the tempting world of garden-fresh cooking is easier than ever without spending hours in the kitchen. As a follow up to her best-selling cookbook, Zov: Recipes and Memories from the Heart, the acclaimed chef and restaurateur has published SIMPLY ZOV: RUSTIC CLASSICS WITH A MEDITERRANEAN TWIST (Zov’s Publishing; January 2011; $39.00/hardcover; ISBN: 978-0-9759558-2-6). Offering a simple and easy approach to cooking, Simply Zov provides clean and satisfying meals for busy people.

“I wanted this cookbook to be perfect for someone who is busy with the family and on a budget, but want to use farm-fresh ingredients in their cooking,” Zov explains. “My recipes are easy and cost-effective; most of them can be prepared ahead of time, while introducing home cooks to new flavors.”

While the base ingredients in Zov’s recipes are items most home cooks already have in their pantry, Zov aims to introduce cooks to some new flavors and ingredients. “My pantry is never without some of my favorite herbs and spices, such as harissa, allspice, cayenne pepper, red pepper paste, garlic and ginger. But I never miss a chance to search through the spice isle at the supermarket because I never know what I may find. It is my hope that home cooks will feel that same sense of adventure when preparing recipes from the book.” Simply Zov combines the flavors and spices of Zov’s Mediterranean heritage with more traditional American fare.

Whether an experience chef or novice, Simply Zov will help anyone create fresh and delicious, affordable meals. Some of the recipes, each beautifully illustrated with full color photos, found in the book include:

- Leeks and Goat Cheese

- Ultimate Risotto with Fresh Peas

- Koufta

- Tuscan Eggplant Parmesan

- Spicy Pomegranate-Glazed Chicken Wings

- Spicy Ground Meat Kebabs

- Beef Brochettes with Garlic-Thyme Marinade

- Grilled Ginger-Lime Chicken Thighs with Harissa

- Seared Ahi with Edamame

- Zov’s Silky Macaroni and Cheese

- Simple Poached Pears

- Quince Coffee Cake

- Jewel Jam Cookies

Zov’s earliest memories are of her family seated around the dinner table sharing food, stories and love. All of her heartwarming recipes were created to bring that family togetherness to dinner tables everywhere. The easy-to-follow recipes have Zov’s “do-ahead” tips and kitchen notes for alternative ideas. This unique collection runs the gamut from breakfast to desserts; unique chicken, fish and beef entrées, to remarkable appetizers, soups and salads.

Simply Zov will take home-cooks on a journey where new and exciting culinary adventure awaits.


Throughout her 24 years in the restaurant business, Zov Karamardian has been lauded by some of the most prestigious culinary organizations in the country, including the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Zov burst onto the food scene in 1987 when she opened her first restaurant, Zov’s Bistro in Tustin, CA. Its phenomenal success launched the culinary career of a woman Julia Child called “a friend and colleague.” Zov considers herself a teacher, like her friend and mentor, Julia Child, from whom she learned much of her craft. She often hosts cooking classes at her restaurant and invites renowned chefs to share their knowledge. Guest chefs have included Emeril Lagasse, Jacques Pépin, Anne Burrell, and Julia Child. Zov loves to travel the world finding new spices, herbs and recipes to share with her fans. She has devoted much of her time and resources to causes she believes in. The State of California named her Chef of the Year and the American Diabetes Association named her Woman of Valor. Zov has been featured in numerous newspapers and magazines across the United States and is a frequent guest on radio talk shows and television sharing her love of food. Her first bistro has blossomed into restaurants in Newport Beach, Irvine, and in 2012, Zov’s Bistro will be opening in two terminals of John Wayne International Airport in Orange County, California. For more information on Zov, go to

Grilled Eggplant, Olive and Tomato Bruschetta

Serves 8 (makes 16)

This is one of those great stand-by appetizers for a summer barbecue that you can pull together quickly when company drops in. You will likely have most of the ingredients, and the flavors can be tailored to suit your taste. Try it with roasted red or yellow peppers, add sundried tomatoes for extra flavor or grill the bread, instead of baking it, for another layer of smokiness. The eggplant-tomato topping is also delicious spooned over grilled meats.

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
16 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices baguette
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Flat-leaf parsley sprigs, for garnish

Prepare the barbecue for medium-high heat. Brush the eggplant slices with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and grill the eggplant slices until tender and charred on both sides with grill marks, about 12 minutes. Set aside until cooled slightly. Coarsely chop the grilled eggplant and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the olive oil onto a baking sheet and dip both sides of the bread slices in the oil to coat lightly. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 12 minutes.

Do-Ahead Tip: The toasts can be made 2 days ahead; store in an airtight container at room temperature. The eggplant can be grilled and chopped 1 day ahead; refrigerate in an airtight container. Allow the eggplant to come to room temperature before using.

Toss the eggplant pieces, tomatoes, olives, basil, cilantro, capers, shallots, lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium bowl. Season the mixture to taste with salt. You will have about 3 1/2 cups of the eggplant mixture. Divide the mixture evenly among the toasts and sprinkle with Parmesan. Garnish with parsley sprigs and serve.

Zov’s Kitchen Note:Most of the ingredients can be prepared ahead, just make sure not to mix them together until you’re ready to serve. The herbs and tomatoes should be freshly chopped as oxidation alters the taste. Use any leftover mixture on grilled fish or chicken.

Spicy Grilled Salmon with Fresh Herbs and Ginger

Serves 6

The dining scene is changing as more people travel around the world seeking out new tastes and culinary adventures. Here is a delicious example of the complex, aromatic flavors found in authentic Asian cooking, as it represents the five basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent and bitter. It sounds intimidating, but it’s not. This dish can be prepared in less than half an hour. In fact, it’s a great last minute recipe for casual get-togethers with family and friends.

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons water
1-1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 Thai red chiles, minced
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
6 radishes, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat the barbecue (high heat). Stir the cilantro, mint, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, chili sauce, water, garlic, vinegar, Thai chilies, black pepper and salt in a medium bowl to blend.

Place the salmon fillets in a 13x9x2-inch dish. Spoon 6 tablespoons of the sauce over the salmon and let stand 5 minutes. Turn the salmon over and spoon 5 tablespoons of the remaining sauce over the salmon; let stand 5 minutes. Reserve the remaining sauce to serve with the salmon.

Brush the grill rack with oil to keep the salmon from sticking. Grill the salmon until char marks form on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Using a wide spatula, turn the fillets over and grill until the salmon is still pink in the center, about 4 minutes. The salmon will continue to cook as it sits. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Transfer the salmon fillets to a platter or individual plates. Garnish with lemon wedges, radishes and chives. Serve the reserved sauce alongside.

Zov’s Kitchen Note:This versatile sauce goes with a variety of dishes, and also works well as a dip. I love using it as a basting sauce for flank steak, rib-eye or any type of protein that requires Asian flare. You can also use it on chicken and other type of meaty fish.

Quince Coffee Cake

Serves 6 to 8

This is everything coffee cake should be: moist, tender and buttery. Quince jam adds brightness.

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 -1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup quince jam, stirred to loosen
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9-inch square baking pan.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the salt.

In a medium bowl, mix the yogurt and vanilla. In a small bowl, stir the vinegar and baking soda (the mixture will bubble and foam). Stir the vinegar mixture into the yogurt mixture (this mixture will bubble too).

Beat the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the yogurt mixture, beginning and ending with the flour and scraping down the sides of the bowl. The batter will be semi soft.

Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Spoon the jam atop the batter in five mounds, spacing evenly apart. Using a knife or skewer, swirl the jam decoratively through the batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with some crumbs attached.

Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the cake to room temperature. Sift the powder sugar over the cake. Cut the cake into squares and serve.

Zov’s kitchen Note: Sour cream can stand in for yogurt. If you don’t have time to make your own quince jam, use store-bought apricot or strawberry preserves instead.

When adding the vinegar and baking soda to the yogurt, the mixture will bubble and rise. This is the leavening part of the recipe. Anytime you use vinegar in dough, it always softens the mixture.

1 comment:

Teresa said...

Thanks for the recipe!!! Love it

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