Travel and Taste
with Saffron the cook booklet
By Bobbie Kitto
One of the more interesting cook booklets I have read lately is SAFFRON. Not knowing anything about the spice I was intrigued by the book as a cookbook dedicated specifically to a very expensive spice. In all of my cooking experience I am sad to say I have never tried to use this ingredient, but after reading this book by Sandor & Xenos I am looking forward to some interesting cooking and sharing with my Northwest Foodies.
Through these 12 recipes readers will become acquainted with how to use the spice and what flavor profiles it will greatly enhance either as a savory dish, a vinaigrette or a sweet treat.
In conjunction with this booklet, Melissa’s Produce has a YouTube video featuring one of the authors demonstrating two of the recipes in their book. In the first one Christina shows you how to prepare Saffron Tomato Chicken Thighs (page 35) and also how to make a Saffron Star Bread (page 27) which is another version of a pull apart bread.
The book explains why this spice is so expensive. It takes 150 saffron flowers to produce the 450 threads that make up one gram of spice. Since the flowers are only harvested once a year in a two week period late in October in Krokos Kozani, Greece they must be handpicked to insure the plants are not injured.
This book also takes you on a literal journey through the history of Saffron and the Saffron growing region of Krokos, Greece which is the third largest grower of this spice. Using text and pictures scattered throughout the book the authors give you a real feel for the use of this spice and why it is held in such high esteem. When you use this spice you get a connection to a people who have put their heart and soul into their life’s work and it can’t help but put something extra into your prepared dishes when used.
Author Emily Brooke Sandor is a professional food, travel, and cookbook photographer based in Los Angeles, Ca. She has won the Lucie award for her food and travel work.
Christina Xenos is a professional Chef and cookbook author. She is also a recipe developer for such companies as Ninja, Morningstar Farms, Athens Foods, and has appeared on the cooking channel’s Food: Fact or Fiction and NBC Leaf. In addition to all of this, Christina has her own company called Sweet Greek Personal Chef Services. Her company not only offers culinary services, she gives cooking classes and Greek-themed pop-up dining experiences.
I was given a copy of this book to review. The pictures are beautiful and the content very informative. It takes the mystery out of using Saffron and gives a lot of useful tips on how to get the best results when using this spice. Because this book is part travel book and part cookbook, I had to give it a 4 out of 5 rating. I enjoyed the dialogue and the pictures, but wanted more recipes included in future editions.
Take the book for a taste spin with this sensual recipe.
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Note: Roberta (Bobbie) Kitto is a freelance writer based out of Laughlin, NV. Her interests include travel, culinary pursuits and gardening. No fee was paid for this article, but she did receive a copy of the book to review . Her opinions are her own.
To make the best of each recipe, use quality ingredients! I highly suggest products from Melissa’s Produce, available at most markets.