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*August 2009 COTM* OTTOLENGHI: Vegetables, Aubergines, Greens

Our Chowhound August 2009 Cookbook of the Month is Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi; and all online recipes by the authors.

Please post your full-length recipe reviews here for dishes from the cookbook chapter Vegetables, pulses and grains sections Fresh fruit and vegetables, Mighty aubergine, Greens, and More vegetables, and online recipes with those ingredients.

Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the page number, or include a link to the online recipe, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe. Let us know if you would like to make the recipe again, and if you would change anything in the future, too.

Please see the main Cookbook of the Month thread for some useful links.

Lists of the recipes from these book sections, along with links where applicable, and the opportunity to request paraphrases, may be found at these links:

Fresh fruit and vegetables: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6417...

Mighty aubergine: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6417...

Greens: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6417...

More vegetables: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6417...

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Thanks for participating and enjoy!

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  1. Cucumber and poppy seed salad, page 20

    Seven people came to dinner the other night, and I decided to include this recipe. [Any excuse to make something with cucumbers since I am the only one in the house that will eat them.]

    I used regular American cucumbers bought at the farmer's market instead of the small cucumbers called for. Weight was the same however. Also had to substitute half vegetable and half EVOO for the sunflower oil. Threw all the ingredients together, and let them marinate in the fridge until about an hour before dinner.

    I put them out on lovely platters and was shocked to discover that the 1 and 5 year old had eaten almost all of the cucumbers before we even sat down to eat. This was delicious!

    There was lots of leftover marinade, so I simply added fresh cucumber for my own enjoyment the next day for dinner. [No pictures. With seven people, two under the age of 6, there was no time for a camera but the salad looked just like the picture in the book.]

    16 Replies
    1. re: smtucker

      Excellent. This is on my list to try (many cukes--the American kind-- in the CSA box right now!) I was wondering how it would work with American cucumbers, so, thanks for reporting back on that.


      1. re: smtucker

        I also tried the cucumber and poppy seed salad on page 20... I regret to report that I didn't love this dish. I thought it was bland, and way too heavy on the oil. I could have easily used 1/3, maybe even 1/4 the oil the recipe called for and been happy. I think I've been spoiled by Vietnamese cucumber salad, which I prefer, I guess. Still, I need things to do with cucumbers this time of year, so, I might experiment with the peppers a little (I notice that Candy, in her Ottolenghi thread, mentions she used a very sweet red pepper and was happy with the results) and cut back on the amount of oil and see what I think. I followed the recipe exactly, except that I used regular American cukes. I scooped out the centers before weighing them.

        I should also mention I'm not feeling great tonight. In fact, I'm specifically cooking to keep myself distracted and "awake"--otherwise, I would have gone to bed at 4pm today! HA! Anyway, that could be affecting my judgment/tastebuds, although, my husband wasn't enamored with this dish either.

        I served this with the Roast chicken with saffron, hazelnuts, and honey, which I will report on in the appropriate thread.

        I do have a photo though!


        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          Whoops! My photo was too big. Let me try attaching it again, now that I've shrunk it.


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Hmmm, I have to say this worries me a little. I have planned to make it this week. Like you, I'm pretty sold on asian cucumber salads, although I do tend to love all cuc. salads, so we'll see. I'll be sure to cut back on the oil.

            1. re: LulusMom

              I love cucumber as well and have a couple waiting in the fridge at home. I think I'll try and make this at the weekend.

              1. re: LulusMom

                It's quite possible that the amount of oil is a conversion from metric to standard problem or something and I blew it, but I don't think so...

                It's not that it was awful or anything. It's just that it's got that sweet/vinegar-y thing going on and I think similar Vietnamese versions I've tried work out better. I do think the kind of pepper you use can make a difference. You might consider consulting Candy's thread where this recipe was discussed to see if you can glean any tips from that.

                Oh, and I should probably mention that I didn't use caster sugar. I just used regular granulated sugar. I meant to put it through the grinder but forgot. Maybe that made a difference, too.


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Got to the grocery store with your review in mind and looked at the (fairly lame looking) cucumbers and said ... nah. Maybe next time.

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I made this for lunch today and we really liked it. So much so that we managed to eat two whole (English) cucumbers between us! Mr GG kept stealing it from the bowl before the meal was ready. Served with grilled steak and my favourite broad bean and radish salad, also Ottlolenghi, made with what I fear may be the last of the broad beans. It's not dissimilar to an Asian cucumber salad, but the poppy seeds give it a bit of a twist.

                    1. re: greedygirl

                      Hmmm...I just didn't love it. I wonder if I did something wrong, though, it's so simple, I can't imagine what. Did you use sweet or spicy peppers (I used "medium" spicy")? And did you find the amount of oil to be overwhelming?


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        I used my regular chillies, which are the relatively mild ones like long fingers (cayenne) and halved the amount of dressing. You leave a lot of that behind anyway.

              2. re: smtucker

                I made this cucumber and poppy seed salad last night. I discovered that I was out of cilantro (had used it for a cold avocado soup earlier in the day, forgetting I needed some for the salad) so used parsley instead, rationalizing that parsley would go better with my italian pasta main course anyway :) I used a red bell pepper for color and a jalepeno for some bite since "mild red chilis" are not really available for me.

                I used half the oil called for.

                This was just ok for me. The poppy seeds were interesting and made it more than a regular cucumber salad, but this just didn't grab me. Maybe the cilantro was the key ingredient, who knows, but I don't think I'll make this again.

                1. re: smtucker

                  I had bought some cucumbers from the farmers market last weekend, and was put off by the reviews. Finally when the cucumbers were not fresh enough, I though WTH, let me just make the salad and then throw it.

                  I had already made up my mind that I am not going to follow the recipe as as, so I was carefully tasting along. I peeled the cucumber as the skin felt hard to me. Again I used my green chutney, instead of cilantro-mint. For chiles, I used fresh serranos and crushed them in food processor, as I thought I would like that more. I added white poppy seeds as that is what I had in my pantry (surprisingly a great addition). Instead of 125 ml of oil, I stopped at 25 ml (it is so much of fun to weigh and measure everything). I tasted the mixture it was as the recipe describes it to be, very pickly (I think that's what it says). Then I put the cucumbers in my tupperware and off to the picnic!

                  I highly recommend this dish.

                  1. re: cpw

                    Did you use less vinegar as well - 25 ml of oil is barely 2 Tbsp, so you would have ended up with a very vinegary dressing otherwise. I'm not surprised it was pickly!

                    1. re: greedygirl

                      You have a point there, but somehow vinegar was not overpowering even with 25 ml of oil. After mixing everything, oil was the last thing I added before the cucumbers, and since at 25 ml it tasted fine to me, I did not any more.
                      Maybe the sugar balance it out (I used regular granulted sugar, instead of caster-which is quite expensive here in whole foods), or maybe the green chutney balanced it out.

                      1. re: cpw

                        If you simply take regular table sugar and throw it in the food processor or your spice grinder, you get caster sugar. A simple [and cheap] fix!

                  2. re: smtucker

                    Made the cucumber and poppy seed salad. This time I chose the rice wine vinegar since I had just bought a special vinegar at the Japanese store.

                    Darn do I love these pickles. Guests rated them at an A+.

                  3. Marinated aubergine with tahini and oregano, page 26

                    I love roasted eggplant and this looked like just the thing for the same dinner mentioned above. I haven't ever roasted eggplant in the oven before, having always used a grill in the past. I used baby eggplant, doubling the recipe.

                    The eggplant slices took far longer than the stated 15-18 minutes to reach the soft stage. They marinated for about 6 hours. Before serving, I brought them to room temperature and drizzled the tahini sauce.

                    I really wanted to love this, but I thought it was just okay. I didn't use anywhere near as much tahini dressing as indicated and still found the flavor a little too overwhelming. I will try this again, making the eggplant on the grill, but will reduce the oil amount dramatically.

                    In fact, everything I have made from the book would taste just as good with a little less added fat.

                    21 Replies
                    1. re: smtucker

                      This is a very good dish, without the tahini, Serious editing problems with this recipe: states that this is one of their few salads not calling for garlic, then calls for it. The tahini sauce is just not right here. (But, it's darned good on fish.)

                      1. re: pikawicca

                        Yea? I have lots of fish [sustainable share] and plenty of that tahini dressing in the fridge. Any fish, any preparation? I would love not to waste that much tahini.

                        1. re: smtucker

                          I've put it on halibut, salmon, and catfish, so I think you're good to go on anything. I add lots of Greek-style yogurt and lemon juice when serving this as a sauce for fish. The quality of your tahini is paramount: Try to find fresh; if you don't have local access, try buylebanese.com.

                        2. re: pikawicca

                          We made the marinated aubergines last night without the tahini .... we loved the ease of preparation and the end flavor....pungent and spicy. Served them on grilled naan as a side with a fish salad made with left over CSF. Like SMT's they did take a few minutes longer to reach the "soft and creamy" stage but in the end they were very tasty. FWIW: I always use less oil or fat any recipe calls for. Never seems to make a vast difference.

                          1. re: Gio

                            Local eggplant should be hitting the markets any day now. I am absolutely going to make this another time with locally grown eggplant, and skip the tahini just to really taste the base recipe.

                            [What is this fish salad?]

                            1. re: smtucker

                              Last week I made the endives with fresh breadcrumbs and Serrano ham. The endives are cut in half and put cut side down into a pan with some butter and sugar (I used oil and some butter to make it just a tad less rich) which has been allowed to caramelize. After they are browned, they're removed to a baking dish and sprinkled with a mixture of fresh breadcrumbs (my own sourdough breadcrumbs - nerny nerny nerny! or is that neener neener neener?) mixed with cream (I used milk) and some seasonings. That is piled onto the cut sides of the endive and the Serrano ham slices are draped over the whole thing. They're then baked until the endive is cooked through and the whole dish browns.

                              Wow! This is rich and absolutely delicious. The caramel taste mixed with the slight bitterness of the endive and the saltiness of the ham work perfectly together.

                              I'd provide the page number, but foolishly I lent my Ottolenghi book to a friend last Saturday night. I'm already wondering if it's too soon to call her and ask for it back.

                              1. re: oakjoan

                                Carmelised endive with Serrano ham, page 49

                                1. re: smtucker

                                  Caramelized Endive with Serrano Ham: More Vegetables, Pg. 49

                                  Made this as a side dish last night and as with all the other vegetable dishes we've made so far it was wonderful. Oakjoan describes the procedure and like her we made some substitutions. Instead of whipping cream we used 1/2 & 1/2 and used panko which I made finer with my rolling pin. Slightly sweet, salty, and bitter made a great flavor combination.

                                  Served the endive with pan-fried whiting with Ottolanghi's Green Olive, Celery Salsa.

                              2. re: smtucker

                                The eggplants I used came from Tendercrop Farm in Newbury MA. They were a little larger than the regular Asian eggplants we usually see, and they were a light lavender color, and....Sweeeeetttttt!!!!!

                                (The fish salad was actually a tacos filling from Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday cookbook. That was yummy too. Made with leftover CSF share. I'll post it on that board eventually.)

                                1. re: smtucker

                                  I too made the marinated eggplant and skipped the tahini dressing. I loved the ease of preparation for this dish. I split my eggplant in 1/2 lengthwise, roasted it for about 20 minutes at 400 F. and then poured the marinade over it. It was absolutely delicious. I am not sure why but I felt like mint would be a nice addition. I think I will try this next time.

                                2. re: Gio

                                  I made the marinated aubergines as part of our appetizer today. They were spicy and very strong flavoured and we loved it.
                                  My eggplants were fatter than described in the book, but I tried to keep them the same size as described (I liked the fact how the recipe describes to cut the eggplant). Still I had had go few extra minutes to cook them.
                                  I marinated for just an hour before serving them with crostini. Also I have admit that I added extra olive oil as it seem to be required (!) with crostini.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Another iteration of marinated aubergines without tahini dressing. I used four Japanese eggplants, which I cut into 16 or so wedges. Because these were smaller than what the book indicated, they were fully soft in 15 minutes or so. I discovered I had neglected to get chiles when buying produce, so I added a few healthy shakes of Aleppo pepper to the marinade. I didn't measure the marinade ingredients, just eyeballed the herbs, minced a fat garlic clove, squeezed a lemon, etc.

                                    I had my doubts when I put it together; eggplant looked a bit dry (I used very little oil to brush, since eggplant is such an oil sponge), marinade a tad harsh. But after three hours, I ate, and it was really tasty: creamy eggplant and assertive flavors in the marinade that had meshed well. Next time, I might add some minced capers, which would complement the lemon and oregano well.

                                    I ate mine with some Bulgarian feta, and along with a glass of Côte du Rhône rosé, that was dinner.

                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                      Capers sounds good. I am going write in my notes for next time.

                                  2. re: pikawicca

                                    I'm a bit confused by your comment - in the book, it's the next recipe on page 27 which doesn't have garlic, not this one. No editing problems as far as I can see.

                                  3. re: smtucker

                                    I made the Marinated aubergine with tahini and oregano the other night; I really liked it, but used only a tiny bit of the tahini sauce as a drizzle. I used some more of the tahini sauce with some chickpea "burgers" another night. I think perhaps he just called for a full recipe of the tahini sauce for "convenience" rather than that you are supposed to use it. But I loved the flavor of the eggplant. Like others, I cooked it longer than the recipe called for.

                                    1. re: smtucker

                                      Marinated aubergines with tahini and oregano was a big hit in my house. I cut two large eggplants into about 16 pieces each. Roasted in the oven for 22 minutes. Marinated for 3 hours at room temperature. Served with the tahini on the side, along with toasted pita wedges, as an appetizer for 8 people. No leftovers!

                                      1. re: smtucker

                                        I made this again and the eggplant with marinade is so good, a tripled recipes disappeared on the first go-round the table. This time I used a Lebanese tahini and the dressing was so much improved. It was thinner and didn't completely take over the flavors.

                                        Wish I could read the label to tell you what kind of tahini it was.

                                        1. re: smtucker

                                          Marinated Aubergine with Tahini and Oregano, page 26.

                                          I started the eggplant on a grill pan for char marks, so it only took about 10 minutes to finish in the oven. The amount of green herb called for in the recipe is insufficient to make it look like the photo in the book, I'd multiply them next time to assure herbs in every bite. I marinated the eggplant for about eight hours in the refrigerator, brought it to room temperature before serving.

                                          I think I slightly prefer the warm eggplant with sesame dressing from the ENYT reviewed here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7632...
                                          but that dish has a more asian taste. This one works well with Mediterranean flavors, so it worked in our dinner which included Roasted Butternut Squash with Burnt Aubergine and Pomegranate Molasses (reviewed downstream somewhere), and Turkey and Sweetcorn Meatballs, reviewed here:

                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                            The board is acting very funny and wouldn't let me make links or post photos, so trying again...

                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                              Lovely photos LN, looking forward to reading about those meatballs as I'd flagged that recipe for next week. ... fingers crossed that was a hit!

                                            2. re: L.Nightshade

                                              Marinated aubergine (eggplant) with tahini and oregano p.26

                                              I thought this was so delicious I couldn't stop myself sneaking pieces every time I passed the dish as it was marinading. I made the tahini sauce and although it was good I think I preferred it without the sauce. There seemed to be a lot more herbs in the photo in the book than I had but I thought it was great as it was. Half the recipe was left over (cannot get my kids to eat eggplant) so I'll see if it's even better tomorrow.

                                          2. Saffron Cauliflower

                                            Recipe link:

                                            This was a delicious side dish to Sortun's Crispy Lemon Chicken with Za'atar. I'm a big fan of the savory sweet/salty flavor profile and this was a great combination. Cauliflower florets are tossed with red onion (I used shallots), saffron, green olives (I used local Queen Creek olives), bay leaves, s&p, olive oil, and sultanas (which I think are yellow raisins; I used brown), and then baked covered for about 45 minutes. To serve, add fresh chopped parsley. Most of mine was wilted, so I also added thinly sliced scallions. I meant to try it drizzled with tahini as suggested, but forgot. It was just as good at room temperature as it was warm, and I'm going to use the rest tossed with pasta for lunch tomorrow.

                                            9 Replies
                                            1. re: Rubee

                                              I get a lot of cauliflower in my veg box (not at this time of year though) and am always looking for new ways of preparing it. This looks just the ticket - gorgeous.

                                              1. re: Rubee

                                                Oh, Rubee, I was loving the idea of this recipe until you mentioned sultanas. I cannot stand raisins. It's one of two foods I really dislike. Are they essential to the dish or would it be good without?


                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  I liked the sweetness and thought the raisins balance the flavors. However, E isn't a big fan of raisins either, so I left them out of his serving and he still really liked this dish. If you do try it without, be sure to report back!

                                                  Added some chicken stock, a little butter, and tossed the leftovers with orecchiette for lunch today. Delicious. I've decided this is one of my favorite cauliflower dishes. E picked out all the raisins ; )

                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                    Hmmm...maybe I should try it with the raisins, just in case... But, I do like pikawicca's dried apricots suggestion! I can't wait for my CSA cauliflower!


                                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    I'd try subbing chopped dried apricots.

                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      You probably have tried both but I think the golden raisins are so much better tasting than the standard. The texture is softer and less sugary too.

                                                    2. re: Rubee

                                                      I made this delicious saffron cauliflower as a side to lamb chops. I think this dish would have been much more tastier if I did not burn it!
                                                      Only now looking at Rubee's post I see that you were suppose to bake it -COVERED! I had missed out this detail in my print out. While the dish was in the oven 25-30 minutes, I decided to check on it, and all the raisins had charred and the olives were dark brown. So I took all the darker looking stuff out and let the cauliflower roast another 15 minute. And after 15 minutes when the cauliflower came out, I mixed the darker stuff black, which was definitely edible, just not presentable. Since it was just three of us in our picnic, I did not hesistate to take it along.

                                                      Even though it was a great dish, it was not such a great accompaniment to the lamb. They kind of worked together like tapas.

                                                      1. re: cpw

                                                        Oh no! Such a small, but important detail. Good thing you checked on it and were able to mostly salvage it.


                                                      2. re: Rubee

                                                        Saffron Cauliflower

                                                        Rubee summarizes it well above. I made this last night for a dinner party. Very easy to mix up and bake ahead of time. I left it covered with the foil to keep it warm. I didn't have enough parsley, so I used what I had on the Lamb Meatballs in Tahini sauce, since they needed the dash of color more than these did. Frankly, I think the parsley would almost be lost in this dish, it had so many lovely flavors going on. Definitely a winner.

                                                      3. I made the Roasted Aubergine with Saffron Yogurt (page 29) the other night. I followed the recipe quite closely except I didn't have the pomegranate seeds. I did a half recipe since it was just for my husband and myself. I cut everything in half, including the garlic, but I still thought the garlic was *too* overpowering in the saffron sauce (and I love garlic). Since it's raw it really stands out. Personally I liked the marinated egglplant recipe on page 26 better.

                                                        40 Replies
                                                        1. re: DGresh

                                                          DGresh, I was eyeing this recipe but the on-line version does not list lemon juice as an ingredient although it mentions it in the directions. Does the book list lemon juice, and if so, how much? When I see raw garlic called for I often soak it briefly in lemon juice to tame it a bit and that's what I planned on doing here, all the more so because of your comments.

                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                            I just made this recipe for the second time, and we really enjoy it - the contrast between the crispy roasted eggplant and the cool yellow sauce is outstanding. I think the basil is also a fine contrast. re the garlic, we are garlic likers - I suspect it matters very much what garlic you are using and how big the cloves are. I actually put two cloves in this last time and the balance of flavors - tart, garlicy, fresh herbal and salty-roasty was fine. I bet it would be improved by the additional contrast of the sweet-tart pomegranate seeds.

                                                            Note, I have no idea how much eggplant 3 med aubergines are - I used 5 oriental eggplants the last time.

                                                            1. re: jen kalb

                                                              I just picked up some local eggplant to make this today. Garlic can be really industrial these days. I try to avoid buying garlic from China, which always tastes nasty to me. Lately I have had the greatest success with Mexican and Argentinian varieties. Can't wait for the local garlic harvest!

                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                smtucker: I agree about not buying the Chinese garlic, although I just find it pretty tasteless, not bad-tasting. Luckily, in the past month Berkeley Bowl has been getting Mexican garlic which is really great - pungent and fresh without those rotten or dried-out cloves throughout.

                                                              2. re: jen kalb

                                                                pomegranates are not to be found in my neck of the woods in the summer-- too bad he uses them in a lot of the recipes!

                                                                1. re: DGresh

                                                                  DGresh--I agree about the pomegranates. Many of the recipes in the book that call for pomegranates also call for ingredients that aren't available the same time of year as pomegranates, (at least, not in my neck of the woods.)

                                                                  However, I have noticed that on a couple of occasions they've suggested dried cranberries or sour cherries in lieu of the pomegranate seeds or said that the pomegranate garnish was optional. I don't think that subbing dried sour cherries for the pomegranate seeds would work in say, the bream dish, but I could see that it might possibly work in this "roasted aubergine with saffron yogurt "dish.

                                                                  jen kalb, if one couldn't get ahold of fresh pomegranate, do you think subbing dried cranberries or sour cherries for them might work in this dish? Thanks in advance.


                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                    Love the dried cranberries sub suggestion (somehow I'd missed that).

                                                                    Hope you feel better soon.

                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                      Oh, thank you! But, not to worry, I'll be fine. I've just been a little sleep deprived and my system is out of whack. I'm sure I'll whack it back into place this weekend with a little rest (and some exercise wouldn't hurt either!)

                                                                      I'm going to try the "fennel and feta with pomegranate seeds and sumac pg 17" tonight or tomorrow night (it looks like my Ottolenghi night of cooking tonight might be pushed to to tomorrow night...) using either dried sour cherries or cranberries (and my gorgeous CSA fennel) and will most certainly report back on how the substitution works.

                                                                      Is sorrel in season? I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never cooked with it and, therefore, have not even noticed whether it's in the markets right now. I have some lovely CSA new potatoes and want to try the "crushed new potatoes with horseradish and sorrel" on page 63. (I see you can substitute arugula if I can't find it.)

                                                                      In other news, on my inaugural use of this cookbook, I managed to get sunflower oil on my lamb pages. Boo!


                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                        That salad is good, I seem to remember. I made it an age ago. Good to see you cooking along again.

                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                          Ok, reporting back. Want the bad news first or the good news first? How about the bad news

                                                                          fennel and feta with pomegranate seeds and sumac pg 17--oh my, we hated this, both of us. It was just too bitter and I thought the fennel and the tarragon did not complement each other at all. Instead they echoed each other and completely overpowered. I used fresh currants instead of pomegranate seeds and I actually think they were a pretty good substitution, even though they aren't very sweet. But, I don't think they were the problem. I couldn't even put a bite of the fennel in my mouth without thinking yuck.

                                                                          Anyway, this is the second vegetable salad recipe from Ottolenghi that neither my husband nor I have not liked (we didn't hate, but didn't love the cucumber and poppy seed salad), so, unless there's a salad out there that's getting universal love, I'm probably going to skip all of the vegetable salad recipes in the book. I don't know if they are just different than our tastes or if I'm doing something incredibly wrong. I'm trying to be as faithful as possible. to the directions, so, I don't think it's the latter.

                                                                          "crushed new potatoes with horseradish and sorrel" on page 63--these were great, but, oops, I see I'm supposed to post about these in the roots thread. Follow me to the roots thread!

                                                                          Photo below!


                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                            Fennel is quite bitter generally though and lots of people hate it for that reason, and the slightly anise taste. Do you like fennel normally?

                                                                            I think the pomegranate seeds in this dish are probably key - they give that lovely sweet-sour taste and "pop" in your mouth.

                                                                            Sorry this didn't work out for you, TDQ. But you liked the green bean dish, so all is not lost!

                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                              LOVED LOVED LOVED the green bean dish.

                                                                              You know, sometimes I do like fennel, but I don't always like it. I think the real miss here was the tarragon. And, it's true that the pomegranate would have added some sweetness (that I'm not sure the currants added, even though the currents added the sour+pop) but, even so, I just don't see how you could get a bit of pomegranate in every bite. But, if the pomegranate is essential to making this work, then I can seldom have this dish because we seldom have access to fennel bulbs here when the pomegranates are in the stores. :( Perhaps this is just not the dish for me. Such is life, eh! I'm getting plenty of winners out of this book, so I am definitely not despairing!


                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                TDQ: So this fennel dish had pomegranate seeds, feta, sumac AND tarragon? Seems like too much of a mush of flavors.

                                                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                  Yep, all of that. I agree, too much going on. Now, to be fair, I used fresh currants because I had no pomegranate seeds, and fresh currants have little to no sweetness (although they do have tang and they do have a nice, fresh, "pop"). It's quite possible that was the fatal problem... Alas, my husband and I each took one bite (this is on top of my sampling in the kitchen, of course), and he pushed his dish away... We threw it all out, which is something I seldom do.

                                                                                  It's also possible that there was a proportion problem--maybe fennel in the U.S. is bigger than in the UK and that proportion was off? Also, it called for 1/2 a pomegranate and I just used about 1/2 cup of currants, so, again, how does one know the equivalent amount? It's very possible that this dish only works when you use exact measurements...

                                                                                  I'd like to try this fennel seafood salad, but am a little nervous now!


                                                                              2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                Wow, I don't think I've heard anyone describe fennel as bitter before! But I wonder if it's a time of year thing. I grow fennel in the winter, and that's also when I see it in the stores around here. So I could believe that fennel grown in the summer could get bitter. I do let some fennel reseed itself and grow in the summer because it attracts beneficial insects, but I never harvest it because the bulbs always look shrunken and dry compared to the thick, succulent winter fennels.

                                                                                1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                  Karen: I agree. To me fennel more licorice-y and that's what it's usually described as in the recipes I've read.

                                                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                          im not sure. It seems to me that a dried cranberry or cherry would be too large and intense vs. the cool light pop of the pomegranate in the eggplant dish. In heavier dishes, like with grains , or in salads,I think these subs or maybe chopped dried apricots would work just fine..

                                                                          Im trying to think what fresh fruit would work - maybe haved seeded grapes?

                                                                          1. re: jen kalb

                                                                            Hmmm...interesting point. Grapes sound pretty close, or, maybe just chopped sour cherries? I'm trying to think of a fresh fruit that is a little tangy like pomegranate seeds are. I think something like gooseberries would be good, but we're slightly out of season for those. We'll, I'll see what I come up with and definitely report back!


                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                              Pomegranates are not native to England at all and are always imported, so you can pretty much get them all year round, although they are more common from September and especially around Christmastime.

                                                                          2. re: jen kalb

                                                                            I remember from Simon Hopkinson month that there were some issues with just how much produce was called for. He'd call for 2 onions and I'd have a TON too many onions. I think most produce is a lot smaller in the UK.

                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                              I can give you approximate sizes of various vegetables if you like. It could be a fun game and distraction from work!

                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                Too funny. Eggplants really run the gamut here ... some of them are almost the size of a football (oops, that crazy thing we americans call a football). Most are somewhat, but not hugely, smaller than that. How big does the average british eggplant run? And how about cucumbers? Ours are probably around 5-6 inches long.

                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                  Your average aubergine, as we like to call them, is probably about six-eight inches long. I'm talking about the shiny purple Italian variety here.

                                                                                  An English cucumber is about ten inches or so. You can also get Lebanese cucumbers, which are about half the size and ridged or knobbly. They usually need peeling first.

                                                                                  Will people think I'm weird if I take a tape measure to the greengrocer?

                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                    Weird not be the first thing that springs to mind ...

                                                                                    How is the girth of those aubergines? Are they as fat as ours, or more like what we call Japanese eggplant?

                                                                                    I'm guessing your lebanese cucs are the same as our regular ones.

                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                      I'd say they're quite fat. Definitely on the portly side. And very shiny and a lovely purple colour. Here's a picture:


                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                        And here's an English cucumber.


                                                                                        If you have any other vegetable inquiries, please don't hesitate to ask. ;-)

                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                          "Greedygirl - there for all your vegetable inquiries." I can see the sign outside your office.

                                                                                          We do get "english cucumbers" here, usually at a much higher price.

                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                            Your English cucumber is exactly what's sold in the US under the name "English cucumber" [g], always with a plastic wrapper. Our standard American cucumber is shorter and fatter, has a higher water content and more seeds (the seeds are often scraped out for recipes), and a thicker skin, which is commonly waxed for sale and so usually peeled.


                                                                                            Your aubergine looks to be the same length and color as our standard "globe" eggplant, but not as wide at the wide end. If you consider yours portly, I suppose ours are obese!

                                                                                            (most are actually not quite as fat as this one):


                                                                                            We can often find many other varieties of eggplant, but the chief alternative is Japanese eggplant: http://www.elysianfarm.com/images/lgJ...

                                                                                          2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                            Pretty much looks like our aubergine, although I'd say ours are often fatter.

                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                              I agree. gg's photo looks too slim for an American eggplant! Hey, they say we're a nation of fatsos! We like them thar eggplants BIG! I'd say an "American" eggplant is about 8 inches around and can be bigger. gg's photo looks a bit like what we call "Italian" eggplant.

                                                                                          3. re: LulusMom

                                                                                            the british cukes are usually those long hothouse ones - like we get wrapped in plastic, or the similar burpless varieties we can go.

                                                                                            The lebanese cukes are much smaller than american cukes - 3-4 in, long and slim - you can eat the skin much of the time - costco carries them here (NYC area) in bags and they also available at Fairway Sahadi and other stores catering to mideast populations.
                                                                                            they grow very well in the garden too.

                                                                                            1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                              jenkalb: I've grown addicted to what are called "Persian Cucumbers" out here in Califa. They're more expensive, but so good that I hold my breath and buy them. Lately, I've also discovered them at Trader Joe's at a much lower price.

                                                                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                yes, these mideast types seem to be all over the place now - but too expensive. I hope the one cuke seed that came up in my garden this year proves to be one of these.

                                                                                  2. re: jen kalb

                                                                                    I reviewed the recipe and realized that we have not added the specified olive oil in the yogurt sauce either time - I think I am glad not since the main food value of the dish is the yogurt sauce - we used whole milk TJ greek yogurt and there was certainly no need for the additional fat. We didnt view this as a "dressing" - poured the whole recipe over the fried eggplant and it was perfectly fine.

                                                                                  3. re: DGresh

                                                                                    My turn tonight. Last night, we were grilling chicken and zucchini on the charcoal grill, so I prepared the eggplant to grill at the same time. I used six Japanese eggplant since that is what is being harvested here right now. Created thin strips of the eggplant, rubbed with olive oil and seasoned before lining them up in a single layer on a grill mesh tray.

                                                                                    Today I made the yogurt dressing after lunch to give the flavors time to blend. Only made half since we have found the amount of dressing to be too much. Took out the eggplant an hour before dinner to bring them to room temperature, harvested some basil and toasted some pine nuts.

                                                                                    I really like this, but also found the garlic a little overwhelming. Loved the saffron flavor. The dining partner really loved this, and doesn't even really like eggplant. He tried some of the dressing on the steamed green beans and proclaimed this a successful experiment.

                                                                                    As with other recipes, we found the amount of dressing in the recipes to be far too much. As you can see in the picture, I served it in a separate bowl, and I would say we each had about a teaspoon.

                                                                                    1. re: DGresh

                                                                                      Photo was too large... trying again.

                                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                                        Interesting! Especially your comment about the dressing in the recipes to be far too much. I found the oil in the cucumber salad I tried last night to be too much, or, at least the oil in it. My instinct was to cut back, but, since it was my first night cooking from the book, I decided against it. But, maybe next time I'm just going to follow my instincts based on your observation and my own gut feeling.

                                                                                        Thanks for reporting back!

                                                                                      2. re: DGresh

                                                                                        I made this again last night. I had three different kinds of eggplant from the organic farm. It was quite beautiful with dark purple, white and lilac colors all intermingled. I cut the 6 eggplants into wedges and made them a little bigger this time so that the meat to skin ratio was more pleasing. Once again, I cooked the eggplant on the charcoal grill. For the dressing, I used a local organic garlic and it was fabulous! None of that overpowering garlic taste at all.

                                                                                        I thought I had made enough for two meals, but only a few eggplant wedges went into the fridge at the end of the meal.

                                                                                      3. Radish and broad bean salad, p16

                                                                                        This is one of my favourite recipes in the book, and a simply brilliant preparation for broad beans (favas), which I get a lot of at this time of year.

                                                                                        Cook the beans for a minute or two in boiling water and double pod them. Cut the radishes into wedges and mix with the broad beans, onion, coriander, preserved lemon, lemon juice, parsley, olive oil and cumin. Season to taste.

                                                                                        He says to serve this with green tahini sauce and pitta, but I always serve it as a side dish. It's just yummy. Do try this if fava beans are still in season round your parts.

                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                          Quick (and perhaps stupid) question: What does "double pod" them mean? Sorry, and thanks!

                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                            Favas need to be peeled twice, once to remove them from the actual pod and the second time to remove the outer shell from the bean. It's a pain, but well worth it. The second shelling is somewhat easier to do if the favas have been parboiled, but I love raw favas in a salad with salami and Pecorino (Zuni Cookbook) so happily suffer through whatever is necessary to get to the kernel of goodness beneath all the packaging.

                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                              As Joan says, a fiddly job, but I always take the trouble unless the beans are very young.

                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                And I have never met a fava bean that I've liked raw, so I always parboil and peel.

                                                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                  Wow, MMR, you don't like raw favas? My friend has lots in her garden and we just sit at the table in spring and eat them, second pod and all with a bit of pecorino romano.

                                                                                                  I guess the favas have to be realllly fresh for the raw thing to work.

                                                                                          2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                            I made the fava bean and radish salad for dinner tonight. Both are in season here, and were purchased from my farmer's market. So, when I started creating the dressing, I noticed the preserved lemons in the list, but didn't have any in the house. I substituted some lemon zest. And then, it turns out I had finished all of my cilantro, so I only used the parsley. A little extra to try to make up for the now gaping holes in my bowl.

                                                                                            I have never eaten, much less cooked, fava beans. I popped the beans out of the pod, blanched for 2 minutes, dropped them into an ice bath and peeled the beans. The results are a bit mealy. When I rubbed a few to dry them, they split into two pieces. Is this normal, or were these beans too mature?

                                                                                            Since I had the tahini dressing already made for last week's eggplant, I served it in a side bowl.

                                                                                            I really liked the flavor of the salad. The dressing was bright, the radishes with a slight bite against the beans. I just had some issues with the texture of those beans. My guests finished it, so at least a few people were able to rise above this small issue.

                                                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                                                              It's quite late in the season now for broad beans, so that probably accounts for the mealy texture. Mine were a bit mealy as well yesterday. It's normal for them to split into two pieces. I think they probably need a bit more than two minutes when they're mature, or that's what I thought yesterday about mine.

                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                Thanks. All of our farm produce is running about about 2-3 weeks late. Lots of rain and clouds during the month of June, meant that plants were not maturing and the fields were flooding. I did like the flavor, so I am not discouraged. Thanks for your thoughts.

                                                                                            2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                              Radish and broad bean salad:

                                                                                              We made this today for lunch, and loved it. Such a beautiful salad, and I loved the original combination of flavours. I also enjoyed the tahini sauce, it is a nice alternative to thicker, denser hummus. Instead of regular radishes, we used the milder French radishes, which worked fine. My thumbs are a little sore from peeling all the fava beans, but it was worth the effort.

                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                Radish and broad bean salad, p16

                                                                                                Loved this salad! My radishes were pretty hot, but were great in the salad with all of the other flavors. I'm not a cilantro fan and my parsley isn't big enough to harvest, so I chopped a combination of mint and lovage instead. We're not huge lemon juice fans, so I skipped the juice. For the preserved lemon, I chopped a wedge of it, keeping the flesh and that yummy thick, salty pectin juice that clings to it. The preserved lemon and the cumin are what transform this dish.

                                                                                                Really delicious! I'll definitely make this again next year when favas are back in season.

                                                                                              2. Chargrilled broccoli with garlic and chilli, p41

                                                                                                I am loath to review this, as I ruined the recipe I think by trying to cut down on the oil too much. But I think if you made it as written, it would be pretty terrific.

                                                                                                Anyway, I cut two heads of broccoli into florets and parboiled for two minutes. Refresh in iced water and then pat dry. Toss in olive oil and season liberally. Heat a griddle until very hot and grill the broccoli so you get nice charred bits on each side. At the same time, heat more olive oil and sauté sliced garlic and chilli in the oil. Once the garlic has started to turn golden, add to the chargrilled broccoli and toss.

                                                                                                The recipe calls for 125ml of olive oil - I cut that to 2 Tbsp which just didn't work. The broccoli tasted good, but didn't grill properly, really, and the spicy oil was too spicy as there was too much chilli to oil ratio! It was still quite tasty, though, and I enjoyed it but you definitely need a lot more oil than I used. I think it would be really lovely if you did it properly, though, and I will try again when it's not just me for dinner! As he says in the intro, a good way to spice up a boring vegetable. It would be even better with purple-sprouting broccoli, I think.

                                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                  I made these a couple of times a few months ago: CAULIFLOWER FRITTERS

                                                                                                  I usually don't like cauliflower on its own (love it in soup, though), but these fritters are very delicious. It's just a bunch of chopped up cauliflower parboiled and then mixed with a batter with flour, eggs, chopped shallots, parsley, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. The cauliflower should be broken down a bit with. I used my hands to mix the batter and squish the cauliflower some. I served it with yoghurt mixed with lime juice and a few grates of zest, some of the parsley, garlic and s and p. Oh, and a pinch of some Greek oregano.

                                                                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                    Those sound good. Cauliflower has been on sale lately for $1.00 a head, and this might be the next recipe I try. How accurate is this recipe link below? Thanks!


                                                                                                    1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                      Pretty close, but not exact.

                                                                                                      (about) 320 g cauliflower
                                                                                                      120 g plain flour
                                                                                                      3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped, plus some tender leaves to finish
                                                                                                      1 garlic clove, crushed
                                                                                                      2 shallots, finely chopped
                                                                                                      4 free-range eggs eggs
                                                                                                      1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
                                                                                                      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                                                                                                      1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
                                                                                                      1 1/2 tsp salt
                                                                                                      1 teaspoon ground black pepper
                                                                                                      500 ml sunflower oil for frying

                                                                                                      He also includes a lime sauce for dipping
                                                                                                      300g Greek yoghurt
                                                                                                      2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
                                                                                                      grated zest of one lime
                                                                                                      2 tbsp lime juice
                                                                                                      2 tbsp olive oil
                                                                                                      salt and pepper

                                                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                        Thanks so much! Can't wait to make it.

                                                                                                        1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                          The recipezaar seems to be pretty faithful, but doesn't include the lime sauce which is great. The cauliflower is sweet and smooth and needs the kick of the sauce.

                                                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                            Cauliflower Fritters

                                                                                                            I made these for dinner, served with Ottolenghi's lamb meatballs baked in tahini. Great use of cauliflower. The fritters were nicely seasoned too with the cumin and cinnamon, although I left out the turmeric since E doesn't like it. I agree about the sauce, glad I made it - definitely a key component. It was also good on the meatballs. I didn't have coriander so added fresh chives instead. I think I may have made the fritters too thick though, they didn't stay crispy for long. Also, next time would leave the cauliflower a little chunkier.

                                                                                                    2. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                      Cauliflower and cumin fritters with lime yoghurt

                                                                                                      I made this in the weekend to serve with freshly cut tomatoes and pitta bread. It's delicious and also very toddler friendly. My daughter ate a couple of them on her own, which is amazing considering it's mainly cauliflowers in the fritter. I made the recipe pretty much as written. The only exception is using more lemon juice than specify, and omitting the zest. (We have some juiced lemons in the fridge already). I chop the parboiled cauliflower roughly on the chopping board before mixing into the batter, instead of trying to squish them in the batter as instructed.

                                                                                                      Rubee mentioned how hers didn't stay crisp for long. Are they supposed to be crispy? Mine came out quite soft, but it could be because my fritters are quite thick with the chuckily cut cauliflowers. But the end product is very very taste none the less.

                                                                                                      Also agree with Oakjoan that definitely need the lime (lemon) yoghurt for the zesty kick.

                                                                                                    3. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                      Made the Chargrilled Broccoli with Chili and Garlic last night and it was definitely not as spicy as GG's version. The recipe said "mild red chilies" and that's what I used. Having already gone through the blanch/ice/dry/grill routine several times now, we had that down pat. The dish was just OK as far as I was concerned. Served it with a grilled (on the Weber) whole cod stuffed with a mixture of 5 different herbs, lots of garlic, dried cranberries, raisins and ground macadamia nuts. Now....That was terrific!!

                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                        The chargrilled broccoli with garlic and chili was delicious. I made it using broccolini and red Fresno peppers. I was too timid with the peppers; next time I will use all three, because they really "made" the dish. I had bought the broccolini thinking that I could use the long stems as well as the florets, but I probably won't do that next time, as the stems were too tough and not as flavorful as the florets.

                                                                                                        I didn't have a ridged saute pan, so I just pulled out the ridged pan that came with my oven and stuck that on top of my burner. It worked just fine and gave the broccoli a nice, deep, smoky flavor.

                                                                                                        The dish was a little oily for me, but the oil in both steps does seem necessary. The next time I make this (which will be soon), I plan to try sauteing the chili and garlic first, then using the same oil to coat the broccoli before grilling it -- thus cutting the total amount of oil in half.

                                                                                                        This was my first time blanching a vegetable. It seemed clear that it would take the broccoli forever to dry on its own, so I eventually just wrung the little suckers dry (and went through a bunch of paper towels in the process).

                                                                                                        1. re: GEC

                                                                                                          As long as it's just blanched and still firm, you can use a salad spinner to dry it off.

                                                                                                          1. re: GEC

                                                                                                            I've made this several times since I posted my review. It's always delicious. The only drawback is that chargrilling inevitably sets off my smoke alarm. Once it's warm out, I'll try using my outdoor grill.

                                                                                                          2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                            Chargrilled broccoli with chile and garlic, page 41.

                                                                                                            Greedygirl nicely describes the technique for this recipe above. I didn't measure the oil for this, just eyeballed what looked like enough. I used a red jalapeno for the chile. My broccoli did not really char much on the hot grill pan, but I didn't want to overcook it, so I just took it off. But still delicious! Very easy, and compatible with many main courses. I used it to accompany the Spanish shrimp in olive oil from the December COTM, and it was a lovely pairing.

                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                              Chargrilled broccoli with garlic & chilli

                                                                                                              Very late to the party, but noticed that nobody up-thread had mentioned adding anchovy (per Ottolenghi's headnote) to the garlic-chili-oil, which for us made the dish. Also my broccoli was Chinese (kailan), and having no grill pan, I used a grill. Skipped the optional lemon and almonds because we were having it with the sumac chicken, which has lemon and pine-nuts. I could eat this veg several times a week. I really loved it.

                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                Chargrilled Broccoli with Garlic and Chili, p. 41

                                                                                                                I made this over the weekend using a charcoal grill. I had to sub dried chilies for fresh, and I think I could have par-cooked the broccoli a minute longer (it charred up pretty quickly on the grill, and I would have liked it just a smidge more tender). But overall I did really enjoy this dish, especially the parts that sat around longer in the oil at the bottom of the bowl. I think this dish would be a good candidate for making ahead because the broccoli tastes better after marinating for a bit and is perfectly good at room temperature. I added lemon slices to mine, next time I'll try anchovy too, or the dash of fish sauce suggested in this month's COTM (Radically Simple).

                                                                                                              2. Chargrilled Cauliflower with Tomato, Dill and Capers: More Vegetables, Pg. 51

                                                                                                                Another tasty dish exploding with flavor. After reading the recipe 3 or 4 times I restrained myself from simplifying the method thinking he must have a reason for the double cooking with a drying period in between and I'm glad I did. The finished dish was wonderful. At a local farm on Wednesday I had picked up a small white and a small lime green cauliflower. The recipe calls for cherry tomatoes but I bought Pearl tomatoes from Maine...trying to be as locavore-ish as possible. Other than these deviations I followed the recipe as written.

                                                                                                                The dressing is made first and consists of drained and chopped capers, a tablespoon of whole grain mustard, crushed garlic, cider vinegar, and olive oil. All this is blitzed in a processor with the oil drizzled in at the end. I ended up using about 1/4 cup of EVOO. Cauliflower florets are simmered for 3 minutes in boiling salted water, drained, iced immediately, drained again and left to dry for a bit. In the meantime baby spinach is washed and cherry tomatoes are halved, or in my case the pearl tomatoes were quartered. These were a little larger than cherry toms, bright red and Very sweet. A grill pan is heated till very hot and the cauliflower is grilled till charred in batches. The cauliflower is added to a bowl along with the spinach, tomatoes and chopped fresh dill. The dressing is poured over, veggies are tossed and salt added if necessary. We added a few grindings of Tellicherry black peppercorns. We loved the dish. It's a good accompaniment for just about any main.
                                                                                                                I must say the combination of white and green cauliflowers, red tomatoes and dark green spinach was very festive.

                                                                                                                We served this with grilled spicy turkey sausages and home made rolls from the farm bakery. DH declared, "I love this guy." I guess that says it all.

                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                  Have you received your book now, Gio? So glad this is working out for you.

                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                    Yes...I have received the book, GG. I love it. Originally I thought it would be too complicated since we're a cooking team here... but so far everything is working out very well. Plus I like using vegetables in new and various combinations. Tonight will be the 4th consecutive recipe we will have made. (French beans & mangetout)
                                                                                                                    Never did that from COTMs before!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                      I bet your hubbie is a bit of a pro by now though! I got some French beans in my box today so I may join you in making that one.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                    We made the cauliflower dish past weekend and did not like it that much. The combination of dill and capers with cauliflower did not work for us. I followed the recipe as is, except instead of spinach added arugula as both of us do not like spinach. No harm done, we still finished it, just weren't crazy about it.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                      I made this the other night to accompany a simple roast chicken, and just enjoyed the leftovers for lunch. The blanching and char-grilling really elevates the humble cauliflower to something special, especially when combined with the caper-mustard dressing. Yum.

                                                                                                                    2. I made the Aubergine-wrapped ricotta gnocchi with Sage Butter (page 28) last night. This is a really good cookbook for eggplant, which I keep getting in my CSA box!

                                                                                                                      I really liked this; the gnocchi were incredibly flavorful. The eggplant doesn't "add" a whole lot other than to hold the gnocchi together and look good.

                                                                                                                      It was just for three of us, including a teenager who doesn't eat much. I made a single recipe and it was just right with generous sides of bread and tomato salad. I could only get 7 "lumps" of reasonable-sized gnocchi out of the batter, not the 8-12 it talks about. My eggplant was a smallish italian type, and was big enough for this use; I cut a few of the middle ones in half lengthwise so that each of the "belts" was about an inch to an inch wide.

                                                                                                                      I don't have a scale so used google to tell me what 35 g of flour is; I used 1/4 cup, or 4 T. I think I needed more flour as while the gnocchi held together while boiling, got a bit limp while draining. I was able to carefully pull them back together and get the eggplant around them but it was a little awkward. They also tended to stick to the paper towel I was draining them on. Not sure if there's a better way to drain them (he said to use a tea towel but all my dish towels have a bit of a scent of fabric softener (I don't use them for dishes) and I didn't want to use them)

                                                                                                                      It took quite a bit longer than advertised to roast the eggplant slices, even though mine were probably thinner than the recipe calls for. Finally put my oven on the convection setting to get them golden.

                                                                                                                      The sage butter was very nice-- all in all a quite elegant and delicious presentation.

                                                                                                                      1. French Beans and Mangetout with Hazelnuts and Orange: Greens, Pg.36

                                                                                                                        Rolling right along we made this quick and easy dish last night and Loved it. A delightful component of our vegetarian Friday meal. French beans and snow peas from the farm, (I eliminated the hazelnuts), and a delicious dressing combined to create a tasty side dish. I halved the recipe.

                                                                                                                        The beans and snow peas and trimmed, blanched separately, iced then dried. Orange zest, chopped chives, a crushed garlic clove, EVOO and hazelnut oil (I used peanut) S & P are combined for the dressing. Everything is tossed together and served.

                                                                                                                        The second dish was Israeli couscous - sorry oakjoan - into which I mixed leftover caramelized onions and cauliflower from the night before, and wilted baby spinach. Loooovely.

                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                          Gio, I've been thinking about making these with only green beans, but no snow peas, since I have boatloads of CSA green beans right now (but no snow peas). Do you think it be too one-dimensional without the snow peas?


                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                            No I don't think so, TDQ. As you know there is a difference in flavor of the beans and the peas, but I think it would work. Luckily I had chives in the garden but if you don't you could finely slice an onion or shallot. You might have to reduce the oil though. I wish I had..... next time I will for sure. There's 3 Tablespoons of olive oil and 2 of hazelnut. Too much in my estimation.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                              Thanks for the tip on reducing the oil! I just went to the grocery store where I bought the ingredients so I can make the green beans (without the snap-peas), the fennel salad with pomegranate, the turkey/corn meatballs, the florentines, the crushed horseradish potatoes, and I've already got the lamb marinating. Lots of Ottolenghi on the docket for this weekend!


                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                Good luck with all of that TDQ! I'm making my 5th consecutive recipe tonight....the fennel and tomato gratin. I didn't think I'd like this book at all. How wrong I was! As Julia would say, "Aren't we having fun?"

                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                  Funny how things work out! I'm glad you're enjoying the book! Did I tell you I broke down and bought BAY'A, too? HA! We always have fun! Well, I'd better go cook now!


                                                                                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                            French Beans and Mangetout with Hazelnuts and Orange: Greens, Pg.36

                                                                                                                            I tried this, but instead of 400 grams each of green beans and snap peas, I used 600 grams of green beans. I used walnut oil instead of hazelnut oil. On Gio's advice, I cut back the amount of oil: 1 TBSP of evoo and 2 tsp of walnut oil, which seemed like the perfect amount of oil to me.

                                                                                                                            I liked this a lot (as did my husband), even without the snap peas. It's a good use of green beans at a time of year where I'm running out of ideas for using up green beans. Super easy, too.



                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                              Oh gosh that looks so good TDQ! Good for you! Picture perfect.....

                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                I made a half recipe of this last night and it's such a nice side dish. I used a tbsp of olive oil and the same of hazlenut. We loved it.

                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                  We loved this dish too. We made half a recipe with 1 T of olive oil and 1 T hazelnut. I used roma beans from my container garden (thanks to those that helped me) and snow pea pods. Yum! I

                                                                                                                              2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                French Beans and Mangetout with Hazelnuts and Orange, p. 36

                                                                                                                                I used about three-fourths the given amounts of French beans and snow peas. I cut the beans in half for easier fork-only eating. I found his blanching times (4 minutes for the beans, 1 minute for the snow peas) to be perfect. I used almost 3 tablespoons of hazelnut oil, but no olive oil at all, and added the juice of half an orange, as I thought a touch of acidity would be a good addition. The salad was delicious and I won't hesitate to make it again.

                                                                                                                              3. Fennel, Cherry Tomato and Crumble Gratin: More Vegetables, Pg. 53

                                                                                                                                Delicious. Absolutely delicious. To begin, I'll state my substitutions which were 1/2 & 1/2 instead of whipping cream, Pecorino Romano instead of Parmisano, and because I couldn't find castor sugar I blitzed granulated in a grinder. The rest of the recipe was made as written.

                                                                                                                                First The Crumble. Flour, sugar and unsalted butter. Er, crumbled together. This is now my go to gratin topping. The gratin is created by halving fennel bulbs (I used 1 large) then thinly slicing the halves, Into a bowl they go with olive oil, thyme leaves crushed garlic cloves (I chopped them), salt & pepper. This is tossed together then poured into a baking dish, cream poured over, 1/3 of the crumble scattered over top and the cheese on top of that. (The rest of the crumble was put into a zip lock freezer bag to be used later. Mr. Ottolenghi says it will keep indefinitely there...) The dish is covered with foil and baked in a 200 C oven for 45 minutes. I preheated the oven to 400F. That worked very well. The foil is removed after this first baking and cherry tomatoes and thyme sprigs are scattered over. The gratin is then baked for 15 minutes more or until the topping is golden brown. The gratin rests for a few minutes then chopped parsley is sprinkled on the top. We loved this! The fennel was soft and slightly sweet which was complimented by the crumble. The tomatoes mediated that sweetness. Will definitely make this again.

                                                                                                                                The main dish was pan-fried whiting with Moroccan spice. Great combination.

                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                  Oh Gio, I'm glad you tried this as I've had my eye on it for a while. The photo is so inviting.

                                                                                                                                  I'm taking a day off from Ottolenghi to make chiles rellanos. I got some gorgeous Poblanos and have already charred the skins on the bbq. So the crumble will have to wait until tlater in the week.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                    Chiles rellanos. Yum! OJ...do try that crumble! It's even good cold and now that I think about it, this is a very good way to introduce fennel to someone who thinks s/he doesn't like it.... I ate the last spoonfull for lunch yesterday. Still good after all those hours. I'm going to try the crumble mix as a fruit cobbler topping. The sweetness would work well with fruit I think.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                      In the cookbook, the same crumble is used to top blueberry muffins and other baked goods. It was surprising to me to see it in a savory recipe!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                        Tonight I made a sweet onion and tomato gratin from A New Way To Cook and topped it with some of the Crumble I froze. What a revelation this is. I can't wait to try it on some of the desserts. Thank you Mr. Ottolenghi!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                          I have my eye on the pear amaretto crumble cake - but I guess that's for another thread! I've passed over the gratin recipe because it sounded so odd to me; I'm used to this mixture in baking, and just couldn't imagine it translating, but you do have me reconsidering, Gio.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                            You've convinced me, I will be trying the crumble for my next recipe. Thanks Gio for the great review!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                              Caitlin and dkennedy:
                                                                                                                                              Make no mistake, the Crumble is slightly sweet. But, If you're using it on something like fennel, or Vidalia onions it does work. He also says that if you work the mix with a blender or FP it becomes like cookie dough in which case you roll it out and use it like a top pie crust. I used my fingers to do the mixing. There's still a goodly amount in the freezer and I'm waiting for the opportunity to plunk it on something else. Maybe something with sweet corn......

                                                                                                                                2. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                                                                                                                                  Vine Leaf, Herb, and Yogurt Pie

                                                                                                                                  Made this for dinner last night, and we really enjoyed it. I cut the butter/oil by about 30%, added approximately 1/4 cup crumbled good quality feta to the filling, and served it with a sauce made of about 2/3's Fage 2% yogurt and 1/3 tahini. Had some fresh pita and slice heirloom tomatoes to round out the meal. Perfect meal for a hot summer day.

                                                                                                                                  The leftovers were great for lunch today, although no longer crispy.

                                                                                                                                  1. Chargrilled Asparagus, Courgettes, and Manouri: Greens, Pg. 33

                                                                                                                                    For our vegetarian Friday night dinner we had this wonderful dish and baked potatos. Perfectly satisfying. We're loving this book!

                                                                                                                                    First things first: Cherry tomatoes are halved then drizzled with EVOO and sprinkled with salt & pepper. They are roasted in a 350F oven for 50 minutes then set aside to cool. In the meantime, asparagus and zucchini are prepared for pan grilling by cutting the zucchini in very thin length-wise strips and removing the woody ends of the asparagus. Each vegetable is seasoned with olive oil and S & P then grilled. Next comes the Basil Oil: EVOO, garlic, fresh basil leaves, S & P are blitzed together in a food processor... a mini will do here. The tomatoes, asparagus and zucchini are arranged in layers on a platter starting with a few arugula leaves. I had to leave off the fried manouri because DH couldn't find any after trekking to 4 stores, so I used crumbled chevre and a lovely sweet gorgonzola instead. When finished with the vegetable layers the basil oil is generously drizzled all over. Wonderful dish with tons of flavor. I thought I might want steamed jasmine rice with this but DH decided on the baked potatoes. Good match!

                                                                                                                                    As an aside:
                                                                                                                                    Funny he puts this in a "Greens" section. We always think of greens as leafy vegetables.....

                                                                                                                                    15 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                      What is Manouri? Is it similar to Halloumi? Do you think I could substitute to similar effect?

                                                                                                                                      Hmm, this sounds so simple but good. I love roasting tomatoes, such a great flavour booster. I've really been into vegetarian dishes these days. His recipes are quite inspiring. Starting to cave... may need to buy book soon....

                                                                                                                                      1. re: moh

                                                                                                                                        Hi Moh.....
                                                                                                                                        Manouri cheese is a fresh semi-soft cheese made from whey drained from feta production combined with cream and/or milk....it's less salty than Haloumi. Usually cheeses like cream cheese, feta, ricotta salata, mizithra, mozzarella, and farmer’s cheese are used as substitutes. Mr.Ottolenghi says that Haloumi can be substituted in this dish, but DH came home empty handed thus my crazy substitutes.

                                                                                                                                        If you do buy the book you won't be disappointed. Don't think of it as caving, though, Think of it as opening the door to a new way to cook. There's so much going on in his recipes it's amazing and even tweaking the recipes a bit still brings enormous satisfaction.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                          Thanks Gio for the very helpful answer!

                                                                                                                                          Re: cookbooks, the problem is that I have a bunch of cookbooks I have been eyeing recently, including the Diane Kennedy Mexican books, anything by Marcella Hazan and Fuschia Dunlop... I am super behind on cookbook purchases as I am very new to the cookbook collecting scene. I have been getting so many ideas from this board! I'm embarrassed to admit I don't even own anything by Julia Child... But this cookbook is bouncing up the list of must-buys very quickly.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                              I am itching to get my sticky little fingers on a Dunlop book. I borrowed one from a friend to take a look, and boy, what a great read! She is a fabulous writer, and the recipes had me drooling.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: moh

                                                                                                                                                I can see LLM jumping up and down on the couch...LOL
                                                                                                                                                The Dunlop month Was a terrific month. Although both of her books were used, I prefered Land of Plenty... not wanting to influence you or anything....

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                  Same. LOP, in my opinion, has superior recipes to RCC. Dunlop studied at Sichuan University and then in a cooking school in Chengdu. She had all these connections to various chefs there and her love for the area shows in the book. She ran into a lot of difficulties when she was writing RCC, including language differences which made getting the connections (guanxi) much harder.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                    Oh yeah, I was jumping alright. And if forced to pick, I'd agree to go with Land of Plenty, although the shrimp with chinese chives and the cilantro salad in RCC are both big favorites here (but at least the first of these is available online).

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                      EEK! My cookbook budget is about to implode!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: moh

                                                                                                                                                        I hear you. We're having to open up bookshelves in another room to free up space.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                  Yes indeed - anyone interested in Chinese cooking should have these. I find I use RCC more because there is not as much Hunan food in NYC as Sichuan (Hunan House in Flushing being a recent godsend). Her recipes are simple and the food they produce has zhen wei (the real taste). Brava Fuchsia, hope you have aniother book in the works - hope it's about Yangzhou cuisine...

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                I also made the char grilled veggies and haloumi salad. I have a little different opinion about this dish - I found it to be a little flat. I really enjoyed each veggie right off the grill, they all were seasoned perfectly.

                                                                                                                                                I anticipated that adding the basil dressing would really tie the whole thing together - but I didn't find it that way at all. If anything, it made it too oily and did not impart enough additional flavor to warrant adding it to the salad.

                                                                                                                                                Next time I think I will skip the haloumi (which was breaded then fried) and instead add parmesan to the basil oil, making it a pseudo pesto. I think that will pep things up.

                                                                                                                                                My next recipe I am hoping to get to is the Swiss chard cakes with sorrel yogurt sauce. I haven't seen a post about these yet so maybe I will be the first!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                  DK... Perhaps the difference are the cheeses I used: Chevre and Gorgonzola, unfried but crumbled over the veggies. That changed the taste dramatically!

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                              Just made this dish tonight and served it with grilled lamb chops and basmati rice. What a great dinner! I was unable to find manouri cheese, so I used haloumi (we grilled ours). I thought the haloumi might have been too salty for this dish, but mixed with the vegetables it worked. I also sliced the cheese a little thinner than suggested and after grilling I cut each slice into quarters. We enjoyed the basil dressing, but used a light hand. If I really wanted to cut down on the oil, I might try a basil chiffonade and maybe add minced garlic to each of the grilled vegetables. Great flavors and even my veg averse fiancé went in for seconds.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                Asparagus is in season so I decided to make this, having enjoyed the char-grilled cauliflower dish so much the other day. This was even better. I can get manouri quite easily but already had halloumi, which is a suggested alternative.

                                                                                                                                                This dish is quite a bit of work, but so, so good. Loved everything about it. We fired up the BBQ for the first time this year (yay) so I grilled the halloumi on that. The courgettes and asparagus were grilled on a griddle.

                                                                                                                                                Am falling in love with Ottolenghi all over again. This book never disappoints.

                                                                                                                                              2. Peaches and Speck with Orange Blossom: Fresh Fruit and Vegetables, Pg. 13

                                                                                                                                                Send a man out for Speck and he comes back with Prosciutto. Oh well, yet another substitution which I think turned really well. We'll have to make this again with the speck but without the orange blossom water which made an off note, IMO.. We had some lovely peaches from a local farm and the orange blossom water comes from a new-to-me on-line site, The Savory Spice Shop:

                                                                                                                                                After removing the stone the peaches are sliced into 6 wedges, tossed with EVOO and S & P and grilled till char marks appear. A dressing is made with orange blossom water, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and EVOO. I used white Belgian endive, mesclun and prosciutto for the salad which is layered on a platter with the peaches and speck. The dressing is drizzled over all. I did like this very much even though I thought the OBW gave it an overtone of an unusual flavor I can't quite name,

                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                  Chargrilled Asparagus, courgettes and manouri, p. 33.

                                                                                                                                                  Okay, as do many of us, I changed the ingredients because I didn't have asparagus but did have a small aubergine.

                                                                                                                                                  This was a big success. My husband made several exclamtions about how delicious it was.

                                                                                                                                                  The cherry tomatoes (these were small so I left them whole - they say to halve), yellow crookneck squash instead of zukes, and manouri cheese are sliced. He says the zukes should be sliced on a mandoline, but I was too lazy. My squash was from the CSA box and I cut them into chunks. I put all this in a bowl with some olive oil, garlic and salt and mixed it around to coat all the ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                  Ottolenghi says to roast the tomatoes in the oven, but I put them on the grill along with the other vegs and the sliced manouri.

                                                                                                                                                  I used the Weber kettle, letting the coals cook way down. While the coals were turning gray, I grilled some wonderful COSTCO New Zealand lamb chips which I also coated with the garlic oil and sprinkled liberally with pepper.

                                                                                                                                                  I then put all the ingredients on the grille and roasted them. The cheese doesn't bubble or stick or even fall apart if you handle gently. It develops a wonderful brown crust on each side.

                                                                                                                                                  After all the vegs are cooked you pile them on a plate and serve. The recipe also called for basil oil, but I didn't have the time and so just chopped up some wonderfully fragrant basil I had and sprinkled all over the grilled vegs, along with some cracked pepper.

                                                                                                                                                  He serves it over rocket/arugula, but I just made a salad using mostly arugula and served it alongside. I'd never had manouri cheese before and really liked it...espec. browned on the grill.

                                                                                                                                                  This was quite delicious and also good for us. I'll certainly make this again...as I say about almost every recipe in this wonderful book.

                                                                                                                                                  A friend went to London last week and I told her she had to eat at an Ottolenghi shop. She did and just emailed me saying it was "fabulous."

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                    Tonight I made the butter beans with sweet chilli sauce and fresh herbs (page 72). Wow! We both liked it a lot. It's different from any of the other recipes I've tried in the book as the flavors are Asian. It's made of dried beans. I used limas. The beans are soaked and cooked in the usual manner. You have to monitor them a bit so that they keep their shape. The sauce is made of sweet chilli sauce (I didn't have this, but did have hot chilli sauce to which I added a dash of honey), sesame oil, soy sauce. crushed garlic, and lemon juice. I love the combo of soy, lemon and sesame oil.

                                                                                                                                                    After the beans have cooled a bit, you dump them into the sauce and mix. 2 red bells are cut into chunks and 4 spring onions are chopped. Chopped coriander and parsley are added along with some chopped mint leaves. Coarse sea salt and black pepper are sprinkled over.

                                                                                                                                                    This was really good, but I think that the limas were a bit too big. The beans in the photo were smaller, but I couldn't find anything like them except for the limas at Berkeley Bowl.

                                                                                                                                                    We ate this salad with the harrissa chicken which I'll report on in the appropriate thread.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                      we made this a couple months back and people really loved it. I am not sure the mint added anything, however - think it could easily have been made with cilantro as the only herbal seasoning.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                                                                        jen: I actually liked the parsley addition. I used Italian parsley and it was pretty fresh. It actually has a taste which is more one can say for most curly-leafed parsley. The one exception was the curly parsley I got in my CAS box a few weeks ago. Very tasty.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                        Sounds like a great recipe. Never before have I put parsley and cilantro in one dish and they seem to go well together. There are some amazing combinations in this book right from the pantry/refridgerator!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                          I made this with a bag of frozen baby limas. I thought the amount of dressing might not be sufficient, but if anything there was a high dressing-to-vegetable ratio. Using the baby limas made a pretty, pale-green-and-red salad. It was pretty tasty and the textures of the peppers and beans contrasted well together. I think it would go well in a bento.

                                                                                                                                                          I didn't have any cilantro on hand, so I used flat-leaf parsley instead. The reason I had no cilantro is because I would never buy something that is made of PURE EVIL. :-) I would say the cilantro is definitely not essential to the dish, and next time I won't even bother adding parsley.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                            Butterbeans with Sweet Chili Sauce and Fresh Herbs, Pg. 72

                                                                                                                                                            Others have weighed in with their reports of this unusual salad so I'll just say that I loved it but G thought it was only OK. Earlier in the day I had made a fresh pot of Jacob's cattle beans so used those, included the cilantro but not parsley nor mint, and had all the other necessary ingredients for the dressing. It was part of a vegetarian meal which included a bulgar pilaf dish from Mark Bittman's Food Matters Cookbook and an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink antipasto salad. The pilaf wasn't too much of hit either...

                                                                                                                                                      3. Pomegranate Alert!!!

                                                                                                                                                        If you've been subbing other items for the pomegranate seeds, look for them now in your grocery store. I found my first of the season at my local (Indiana) health food store today.

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                          I also notice pomegranate (seeds not the whole fruit at FAIRWAY yesterday) $5 for a container is a bit steep but I guess in line with other small fruits.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                                                                            Portobello Mushrooms with Pearl Barley and Preserved Lemon, p. 56

                                                                                                                                                            First of all, l should say that I didn't have a couple of the ingredients (fresh thyme, radish sprouts, purple basil sprouts (or any basil sprouts for that matter - subbed regular basil leaves chopped)) for this dish and that certainly compromised the dish.

                                                                                                                                                            I'd be glad to hear about anybody else's experience with this.

                                                                                                                                                            We had mixed feelings about this. The barley was absolutely delicious and I nibbled quite a bit while putting the recipe together. It's just onion and garlic sauteed, barley and stock added and the whole thing simmered for about an hour until the barley is tender. My barley never got tender, but I didn't mind because I love it slightly crunchy.

                                                                                                                                                            While the barley is cooking you put the mushrooms on a baking tray covered with butter, with dabs of butter. The recipe calls for fresh thyme leaves to be scattered over the pan with the mushrooms on top. I only had dried thyme. You put the remaining butter onto the caps, sprinkle sliced garlic over the caps, and pour white wine and stock. He calls for veg. stock, but I'd just run out of Marigold stock mix and so used chicken broth. The caps are seasoned with s&p, covered with foil and baked for 15-20 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                            Feta cheese is added to the barley along with preserved lemon. I skipped the lemon because when I looked at my handy jar (which I'd made about a year ago) the lemons were just mush and I was a bit scared they had gone bad. They didn't smell bad, but the texture was icky. Luckily, I have some almost ripe Meyer lemons in the back yard and can start another batch in a week or so.

                                                                                                                                                            When the mushrooms are done, the barley mixture is spooned into the caps along with some of the cooking juices from the mushroom pan. Basil leaves are scattered over the top as garnish.and olive oil is drizzled over the whole dish.

                                                                                                                                                            This dish was just pretty good. I actually loved the barley and would serve it alone next time. Maybe my portobellos were old or something, but they didn't add much to the dish in the way of taste and were generally mushy.

                                                                                                                                                            I think maybe it'd be good with just some sauteed mushrooms added to the barley mixture. I could eat a whole big bowl of that barley, though. Wonderful with the feta.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Marinated peppers with buffalo mozzarella

                                                                                                                                                          I loved this and it's very easy to put together. Drizzle olive oil over your romano peppers, season, and roast in the oven for 10-15 mins, until soft and just beginning to char slightly. Then marinate for a couple of hours at room temperature in a dressing made of EVOO, cider vinegar, garlic and chopped coriander and parsley. Just before serving, rip up a ball of buffalo mozzarella and scatter over the peppers. Delicious. I think it's important to serve these at room temperature, to allow the flavours to develop properly.

                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                            That sounds delish!! I am going to make that one tonight. Thanks Greedy Girl!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                              I made the herb salad a couple of nights ago. I can't find my book right now and will have to give a general idea of the dish. It's lots of parsley and herbs chopped up, tossed together and dressed with lemon juice and almonds sauteed in butter. The almonds are roughly chopped after browning in the butter. It's verrrrry intense, but goes well with dishes that are not too intense. A little goes a long way, but we both liked it a great deal. I used fresh tarragon, arugula, dill, Italian parsley, oregano and I'm sure some other herbs. Will fill in when I locate the book.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                The herb salad recipe is on p. 23 and the full name is Etti's herb salad. I also used cilantro, basil, salt and pepper and olive oil.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                  Danielle's Sweet Potato Gratin, p. 68

                                                                                                                                                                  Wow, this was great. It's also simple to make. The sweet potatoes are not even peeled!

                                                                                                                                                                  You slice them into as uniform slices as possible. You then add some chopped garlic and some sage (I only had dried, but it worked out fine). along with some sea salt and ground pepper. The sliced potatoes are packed together in the baking dish. It's covered with foil and baked in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                  After the initial baking, the foil is removed and cream/half and half/mild is poured over. The dish is returned to the oven and baked for an additional 25 minutes. I found that they were done before an hour was up and so turned off the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                  My sweet potatoes were fresh from my CSa box and, although they had lots of blemishes and black spots, they were fabulous. We could have eaten another whole dish of this. Wonderful. The sage and garlic really goes with the sweetness of the spuds. I'd even serve this for Christmas dinner.
                                                                                                                                                                  Ottolenghi calls for 25 ml. of cream to be poured over the sweet potatoes, but I just couldn't do that. I subbed a bit of half and half with some 1% milk.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                    We had this yesterday with our Boxing Day ham. I thought it was really fabulous as well. So simple, too, as oj says. As it's Xmas, I used double (heavy) cream and it was rich but not cloying. For everday eating, I'd probably use single cream.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                      Danielle's Sweet Potato Gratin, p. 68 [UK Edition]

                                                                                                                                                                      I know I have made this before [once] but it appears I never reviewed. OakJoan has given comprehensive procedures above, so I won't repeat.

                                                                                                                                                                      Throwing the potatoes and herbage into a bowl is a total waste of time. Almost none clung to the potatoes and I ended up tucking all the garlic and fresh sage into the gratin pan. Plus, then your slices are all mixed together and you have to restack them to make it pretty in the gratin pan. I was serving this gratin with the Lamb Shawarma from Jerusalem which requires a 325º oven. These need a 400º. So i did some math and guessed at how much longer my potatoes would need.

                                                                                                                                                                      In the end, I much preferred the lower heat version! The potatoes were cooked uniformly; no hard undercooked bits even with slices that were not exposed. Since it was NYEve, I splurged and used real cream from a real farm. Now that is a once-a-year treat!

                                                                                                                                                            2. French beans and mangetout with hazelnut and orange, page 36

                                                                                                                                                              Darn do I love this cookbook! Every page has a new gem just waiting to be discovered!

                                                                                                                                                              I used French beans and snow peas. Blanched the beans for 4 minutes, and then the peas for one. They went into an ice bath immediately. I kept them separated in the fridge overnight and then created the dressing the next day. My husband loves this salad. There are leftovers in the fridge and he keeps reaching in to snack, and it has been part of both lunch and dinner.

                                                                                                                                                              This is a very subtle recipe. It was perhaps a bit too subtle for the meal and was overpowered by other strong flavors. However, all by itself it is a really special salad. This is going into the regular rotation.

                                                                                                                                                              [Aside, the smallest hazelnut oil container available was pretty big. Any suggestions for dishes that will use some of it?]

                                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                This has become one of the most requested salads at chez smtucker. Just last weekend, I made 3 lbs of this salad for a graduation party last weekend with a bunch of 20-somethings. Not a bean was left.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                  To answer your question of three years ago: virtually any roasted vegetable is wonderful with hazelnut oil and a little S & P. It makes a tasty vinaigrette as well.

                                                                                                                                                                  I used peanut oil when I made this salad, report upthread, and we both loved it. Haven't made it since. Must correct that ASAP.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                    I don't know how I missed your post Gio. I'd wanted to make this but am hesitant of buying yet another oil with limited cupboard space. I'm going to add this to my to-do now.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                      Lilham, Ottolenghi uses hazelnut oil in his recipe for Hazelnut cupcakes in this cookbook. And, The Zuni Cafe book has many recipes using hazelnut oil, as does Sunday Supper at Lucques.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                        I'm sure I can use butter for the cupcakes :) And don't start tempting me with another cookbook! I've already bought 6 since christmas. If I can hold out on not buying anything next month, I might come down to just one book a month...

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                        Store your hazelnut oil (all nut oils) in the refrigerator!

                                                                                                                                                                2. Roasted Butternut Squash with Burnt Aubergine and Pomegranate Molasses, page 46.
                                                                                                                                                                  This recipe is also online here:

                                                                                                                                                                  It was a revelation to me that I didn't have to peel the butternut squash, all the time I've wasted in the past! The skin is pretty edible after roasting. I was a little to conservative with the olive oil, you can see that my slices look a little dry. But we thought this was very tasty. I like the nuts, seeds, and basil scattered over the top. I can't really say that I could taste the nigella in such a small amount, I might up the volume a little next time. It is basically a very easy dish. Burning the eggplant takes a little time, but I did mine under the broiler so I didn't have to tend it constantly. You need a sauce if you want the nuts and seeds to cling to a bite of squash.

                                                                                                                                                                  I might try a variation by just tossing the squash first in olive oil, and then in the same toasted nuts and seeds but coarsely ground.

                                                                                                                                                                  I served this along with Marinated Aubergine with Tahini and Oregano (reviewed above somewhere), and Turkey and Sweetcorn Meatballs (reviewed here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6417... ).

                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                    That looks really good LN - it's on my list to do before the end of the month. Tonight I made:

                                                                                                                                                                    French beans and mangetout with hazelnut and orange p.36

                                                                                                                                                                    As reported above in years gone by, this was a fabulous dish. Very easy to make but the flavors were lovely - nothing was very strong, it was just a great combination of flavors. I had planned to serve it with Roasted pork belly on p.114 but hadn't allowed for the 3 hours that dish takes. So ended up doing Nigel Slater's A pork roast (with roast potatoes) from Appetite, which went very well with the veggies. My 18 yo son who hates most vegetables loved this so it will be appearing again (got to use up that expensive can of hazelnut oil I bought to make this recipe).

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                                                                                                      Hazelnut oil, sherry vinegar, and gorgonzola dolcelatte makes the best salad dressing on the planet.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Chargrilled cauliflower with tomato, dill and capers p. 51

                                                                                                                                                                    Loved this and it was just as good cold the next day as a salad. I ran out of time so didn't dry the cooked cauliflower florets and char-grill them in a griddle pan. I will try to do that next time but even without that step I thought this was a fantastic vegetable dish. The dressing of capers, wholegrain mustard, garlic and cider vinegar plus the dill made for a really flavorful dish. And the red, white and green of cherry tomatoes, cauliflower and spinach was so pretty.

                                                                                                                                                                    I will definitely be making this again. This time I served it with Marinated turkey breast with cumin, coriander and white wine on p.126.

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                                                                                                      This sounds lovely, I can just picture it, in bright color. I'll put it in my queue, thanks for pointing it out!

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Fennel and feta with pomegranate seeds and sumac p.17

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I have never cooked with sumac before. That will now be rectified as I have a little jar from Penzey’s and I will definitely make this salad again. TDQ and LulusMom didn’t like this at all when they made it in ’09 but I thought it was great. I followed the recipe to the letter – although pomegranates are out of season I was able to buy one of those packs of the seeds (ridiculously expensive but hey, what I won’t do for COTM). The balance of the licorice-ish fennel and tarragon, the creamy feta and the tangy pomegranate plus the tartness of the sumac, made for a really interesting mouthful. I wonder whether it was the sumac that the previous testers thought was bitter? The only thing I might do differently when I make it again is leave out the tarragon as that flavor was a bit dominant.

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm a bit unclear whether '11 posts should be at the end of the thread or posted after when the recipe was originally made back in '09.

                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                                                                                                        I much prefer it when all posts regarding a single recipe can be found in one section of a thread. Or, if that's not possible or practical for some reason, that a link be posted to the previous comments. I usually assume, often incorrectly, that when I've found the first instance of a review, all subsequent reviews will follow. It's hard to find them when they don't.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks Joan, I'll do that for futire posts.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                                                                                                          I've made this before and really liked it too.

                                                                                                                                                                        3. Sweet Broccolini with Tofu, Sesame and Coriander, Pg. 39

                                                                                                                                                                          Our main course last night was this delightful combination of sweet tofu and bitter greens. The slices of tofu are marinated for half an hour with kecap manis which is a sweet soy sauce, chili sauce, and sesame oil. In the meantime prep the greens (broccoli rabe) by trimming the ends, slicing the stems and florets, then rinsing them very well. The greens are blanched a couple of minutes them immediately iced down to stop the cooking. Sesame seeds are now toasted 5 minutes then crushed a bit in a mortar and pestle.

                                                                                                                                                                          The next step is to carefully place the tofu into peanut oil that has been heated in a wok. This does spit a bit so be aware. Fry the tofu till golden then turn over to the other side to fry as well. Remaining marinade is added and then cooked broccolini with a bit of chopped cilantro. Next in are some of the sesame seeds. Everything gets stirred together and pan is taken off heat. Taste for seasoning, add the rest of the sesame seeds and serve. The other dishes were stir-fried bean sprouts from "Every Grain of Rice" by Fuchsia Dunlop and steamed jasmine rice.

                                                                                                                                                                          Broccoli rabe had to be used in place of the broccolini because that's what the market had on offer. These greens were sweeter than usual and they were a very good substitute. I loved the difference between a the sweet tofu and slightly bitter rabe. The stir-fried bean sprouts is a simple dish and was a perfect counterpart. There's not a drop of anything left!

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                            Gio that sounds so wonderful. I was salivating as I read about the tofu marinade and I can imagine how wonderful the sweet and bitter would taste together. I'll have to remember this one for one of those rare nights when my tofu-averse mr bc isn't joining me for dinner. Great review.