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MAY 2011 COOKBOOK OF THE MONTH IS PLENTY

It was close, folks! PLENTY and revisit OTTOLENGHI for the month of May. We already have a volunteer who has the books to set up chapters and threads, and threads from the past. Happy cooking!

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    1. re: smtucker

      Thanks smtucker and hats off to Caitlin for such a thorough and incredibly helpful Ottolenghi COTM post at the link above.

      1. re: smtucker

        ...and there are 274 Ottolenghi recipes, many of which are vegetarian or from Plenty, here:
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/yot...

        Thanks Bayoucook, SMT and Caitlin...!

        1. re: Gio

          This is great! Thanks to all of you.

      2. Thanks bayoucook . . . this sure was a nail-biter!!

        For folks that are new to the COTM and interested in "How it Works" here's a link to the Historical COTM Archive which also lists all the COTM selections of the past:

        http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

        Happy Cooking!!

        1. I found the process from the start of nominations to the final announcement trully fascinating:) I am intrigued by Ottolenghi but will sit this month out unless I decide to cook from on-line recipes. Will be reading your reviews with great interest - happy cooking, everyone!

          1. For those without the books who are curious/interested in seeing recipes online, this thread from previous Ottolenghi COTM has links to a bunch of recipes from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, plus some paraphrased recipes: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/641703

            I am willing to bet that in the almost two years since Ottolenghi was COTM, more recipes from that book have found their way online. Note that the thread I linked in the previous paragraph lists the name of every recipe in the book. If you're curious about a recipe, you could always try googling it.

            ETA: I am taking my advice here and looking up more links to Ottolenghi: The Cookbook recipes online, which I will keep adding to the above thread. I think it makes sense to keep the links in that thread so they're easy for all to find.

            The original Ottolenghi COTM included that book plus any/all online recipes, so if bayoucook is down with that, May could be the same (in the original go-round, we just reported on those recipes in the most appropriate COTM thread rather than having a separate thread, so easy-peasy).

            1. First, thank you bayoucook, and also smtucker for making all this excitement possible!

              Second, I can't wait to see who first does this one: http://britishfood.about.com/od/adrec...

              5 Replies
              1. re: blue room

                That recipe is legend in the UK and loads of my friends have made it! One of them brought it to my birthday party last year as the vegetarian alternative to pulled pork - it was really, really good.

                1. re: greedygirl

                  Must be a sign that it's probably time for me to break down and make the Very Full Tart, I love the name of it.

                  1. re: buttertart

                    Well, including you, that's 3 amazing tarts already!

                  2. re: greedygirl

                    Legend? Oh my! Now I really have to try it. It was on my list anyway!

                    ~TDQ

                2. It seems like only yesterday (ok, it was yesterday!) that I was saying "oh, I don't own Plenty so the COTM will be a good way for me to see if the recipes appeal and blah blah blah"

                  So then today, as I'm minding my own business reading my daily news, what do I see in the Globe & Mail (Canadian Newspaper) . . . . oh, just a review of "Plenty" saying nothing but great things about it and, get this, they call it "one of the greatest vegetarian cookbooks of all times"!

                  So, what's a girl to do I ask? I'm fairly certain that the cookbook spirits were speaking directly to me and telling me to buy the book. Wouldn't you think?

                  I bought the book. I have no cookbook willpower what-so-ever.

                  Here's the evil, wallet emptying article:

                  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/f...

                  16 Replies
                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                    hahaha! I am SO glad I'm not the only one that the cookbook spirits go after. Enjoy!

                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                      Ha! I'm really glad that Bombay Kitchen didn't win, because even though I told myself I wouldn't be buying it, guess what - I probably would have as I have no willpower either!

                      1. re: greedygirl

                        Third in line of those with very little self discipline as far as cookbooks are concerned...I very nearly bought Bombay Kitchen as soon as I saw the fourth vote.

                        1. re: Gio

                          If you're interested in south Asian cooking at all (and I know you both are) it's a bit on the essential side as it covers a lesser-known cuisine, is very well-written and most engaging, and has super recipes. So there. Do it.

                          1. re: buttertart

                            I think I'm going to try a few of BK's on-line recipes first. From what I've read, albeit quite little, some of the ingredients are difficult to find, but if I can cook with what I already have in the pantry or can find locally, than I'll be more likely to buy the book. I'm tired of shipping costs for ingredients. I died and went to heaven when a Penzey's store opened realtively near me.

                          2. re: Gio

                            Well I'm happy to know that I'm not alone w this cursed addiction! Do you think we're cookbook "hoarders"?? !! ; )

                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                              Just think of the thousands we must own among this community alone!

                              1. re: buttertart

                                I know! Thank goodness for EYB, at least now I have a way to show mr bc that I'm not the only one who suffers from this affliction!!

                        2. re: Breadcrumbs

                          It's too bad they apparently didn't keep the squishy baby-book wipe clean padded plastic cover on the North American edition(s) of Plenty, it's the most fun cookbook to touch I've ever seen, and beautiful to boot...may be a bit late to order it from Amazon UK?

                          1. re: buttertart

                            Delivery took 11 days from the UK when I ordered Plenty right after publication. I used amazon.

                          2. re: Breadcrumbs

                            Hah! That's pretty amusing, Breadcrumbs! I had a similar experience today.....out shopping, I would 'casually' (by casually, of course I mean thoroughly scrutinizing every title, looking for The One) scan the cookbook sections in the stores, hoping for a sign from the cooking greats of yore. I was unsuccessful in my undefined quest, until I logged on to chowhound.com and found a link from a fellow Canadian for a super-awesome-must-buy-now review in the national paper. It was fate, I tell you! Plus, of course, since it seems to be a little tricky to get one's hands on said book, I had to jump on the chance while it was still available, or forever curse my procrastination!
                            So, thanks for the push, madame....err, the link!

                            1. re: Allegra_K

                              OMG, I have tears in my eyes I was laughing so hard Allegra!!

                              I'm so glad I was able to provide that community service and facilitate your being able to nab what most surely must have been one of the last remaining Plenty books on the planet! Whew...that was a close one!!

                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                Here's another fellow Canadian (still, even if expatriated by marriage to the States) who's tickled by your story too!

                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                              I swore I wasn't going to buy another cookbook but I *had* to read the review... I haven't actually acquired a new vege cookbook in 15+ years (if you don't count Flexitarian Table heh) so I can justify this purchase. I can see it now: "Yes dear I know but it's vegetarian so it's not like all those other cookbooks ..."

                            3. I just looked up Plenty on EYB and I see that Sarah MacLachlan has also written a cookbook named Plenty, so don't anyone buy that accidentally! ;)

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: sarahcooks

                                Also, I have a cookbook by Diana Henry (food writer for The Telegraph UK) titled "Plenty"... so don't buy That one either.

                                http://www.amazon.com/Plenty-Diana-He...

                                1. re: Gio

                                  What's that like Gio? I got another of hers recently in a closing down sale which focuses on simple cooking, and I really like it. Am quite tempted by the one you have as a result. :-)

                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                    I haven't done much with it GG, although I did make a roast something last year, IIRC. Wasn't wowed but it was satisfactory. I keep meaning to haul it out and use it to augment various meals but haven't done that either. . She does seem to favor simple cooking in this book too and more vegetables, I think. I'll take another look later in the day and see if I have anything to add...

                              2. So if we cook from an online recipe we should just make sure to identify its whereabouts, right?

                                Does anyone know if "Plenty" contains sweets/desserts?

                                I noticed in the review Breadcrumbs linked to that the "only cliché in the book" is a fava bean burger--had to laugh because at my steak-and-potatoes house that would be an exotic item indeed!

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: blue room

                                  There is a chapter in Plenty titled Fruit with Cheese... that's all.

                                  1. re: blue room

                                    No desserts or baked goods in Plenty, as Gio says. Over the next few days, I'm going to keep searching for more online recipes from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook to add to the thread I linked above. I added over a dozen more from the first few chapters on vegetables and meat yesterday, and found there are a lot to be found that weren't in 2009. I'm hoping there will be more around for the baked goods than were available then, as well, as we didn't so many the first time around. You do need a scale to do those correctly, however, as the dry ingredient amounts are all in grams.

                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                      Here's one I found for Ottolenghi last night dated 2010-- a few desserts, but maybe it's already included in the growing (thanks much to you) collection.
                                      http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                                      You know, when converting from metric, my math is not a problem--it's my mistakes!

                                      :)

                                      1. re: blue room

                                        Those ones aren't in the book, so I hadn't found them - I've just been looking for the ones in the book to add to that thread from COTM.

                                        My scale converts from ounces to grams, so no conversions on my parrt are necessary, thankfully.

                                      2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                        Ottolenghi's white chocolate and cranberry cookies have remained a family favorite. Looooove those cookies.

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          I'm intending to do the pistachio shortbread soon...

                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                            I loved the florentines from Ottolenghi.

                                            My cat loved the white chocolate and cranberry cookies--posted about my dippy mistake in the old Ottolenghi thread.

                                            ~TDQ

                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              Oh boy, something else to bake. Nice to see you here, little mommy!

                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                Oh, yes - we did too in our home! Finally, a COTM I have! I'm so excited!

                                                1. re: rln

                                                  Glad to have you with us this month, looking forward to cooking with you rin!

                                          1. Those in the US who are interested in buying Plenty but running into availability problems, if you have a local Barnes & Noble store, you might want to stop in (assuming you're willing to forgo the amazon discount). I was in a B&N today in my neck of the woods, and they had a stack of Plenty on the new/featured cookbook display.

                                            And FYI, though the NA edition's cover art is different, it *does* have that nifty, cushy padded cover!

                                            3 Replies
                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                Caitlin, thanks for the B&N tip....i finally got to see this book "in the flesh" yesterday at a b&n.....haven't succumbed yet, still hoping the library gets its copy by next week.....but if not i now know where to find it.....

                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                  I saw copies at Williams Sonoma store today in US

                                                2. Bayoucook & Caitlin McG - I adore Ottololenghi (the shop) as well as his 2 cookbooks. I'm not sure if I'm following the rules by posting this link here, so I apologize in advance since I'm a newbie COTMer.

                                                  Link to the amaretti cookie recipe from Ottolenghi - http://alpineberry.blogspot.com/2010/...

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: marysf

                                                    Welcome to you, Marysf. I hope you join us when we cook from both Ottolenghi books in May.
                                                    Many thanks for the link to those gorgeous cookies. That's one recipe I missed the first time we cooked from his cookbook. The cookies certainly look tempting.

                                                    1. re: marysf

                                                      Wow, *those* cookies will not go unbaked! Thank you, marysf.

                                                    2. So, the conversions for the recipes in Ottolenghi have been driving me batty. I like to know @ how much stuff I have to buy before cooking and had been doing the math, writing on the recipe and then making a list.

                                                      But, in the haze of my brain, I vaguely remembered seeing some sort of conversion chart. Apparently, the mental notes do kick in at times.

                                                      For those of you with the Hesser's NYT cookbook, the front flap has conversion tables. It includes all the liquid measures, weight equivalents, and most importantly, the oven temperatures. Apparently, it was compiled by Molly Stevens but I haven't checked ABB to see if they are in there.

                                                      I'm going right to the library to make a copy.

                                                      15 Replies
                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                        Those front and end pages in ENYT are the MOST useful conversion charts I''ve ever seen.

                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                          Thanks for the links. I've already gone to the library and copied the relevant charts. Then I made it into one page, (through the old fashioned method of scissors and tape), re-copied it and cut it down so it can easily fit in my book. This way, I can just flip to the inside flap without having to look at the computer for conversions. I'm quite pleased.

                                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                                            I need to do that! I'm really a complete luddite, and believe that that anything that can be written down on a piece of paper should be ... (so what am I doing on a website? Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself).

                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                              Little kids pick up second languages with ease, you could let little Lulu learn early -- then all the metrics and math won't be an issue when she cooks in a few years.
                                                              Even when I'm *pretty* sure how much butter equals 60 grams I still look it up -- pure lack of confidence! Think how convenient it would be if we had all been weaned on those funny numbers long ago.

                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                I cook with an electronic scale which has both oz and grams - it makes it all really easy. Actually, growing up in the UK we're a bit schizophrenic about metric vs imperial and lots of cookbooks have both measurements. The tendency is for metric only now though, I've noticed, but at work we still use imperial when talking about levels of snow or whatever - it really is bonkers!

                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                  I LOVE the idea of making Lulu learn metric! She loves helping cook, and this would be the biggest help she could give me (at least right now). Seriously great idea.

                                                                  GG, I remember being surprised that you still use miles in the UK. It does seem a bit schizophrenic. But at least you're aware of both ways of measuring.

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    Everything is in miles, and most people weigh themselves in stones and pounds and measure themselves in feet and inches. Temperatures though are generally in celsius these days - so go figure.

                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                      It's even more bizarre when car efficiency is quoted in miles per gallon, while you buy petrol in litres.

                                                            2. re: beetlebug

                                                              HiHo BB.. I use a very simple conversion chart that I've bookmarked on my task bar so it's easily accessible as I read a recipe:

                                                              http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/...

                                                              At the bottom of that page there's a link to their simple conversion calculator.

                                                              Makes everything easy peasy.

                                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                                And here's another one: http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/conve...

                                                                I know a lot of people love cooking that way, but I'm sort of stuck in my ways and like cups, teaspoons, etc. too.

                                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                                  My copy of ABB came with a handy laminated conversion chart which I've stuck on the fridge. It really is great.

                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                    Remind me again please which book is ABB? I was going to say All About Braising, but that's AAB...

                                                                    I would like a handy laminated conversion chart for my fridge!

                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                      Oops. It is AAB. But for some reason, I keep calling it ABB. Regardless, my copy of the Molly Stevens book did not come with the laminated conversion chart.

                                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                                        Sorry, yes, it is All About Braising. Perhaps it's because it was a US import and designed to help us metric types (although we're not that metric at all - see above). Whatever, it's mighty handy, especially for oven temperatures and the very confusing (for a Brit) and ubiquitous "stick" of butter.

                                                                  2. There's a nice profile of Yotam Ottolenghi, plus a few recipes from the NA edition of Plenty, in this week's NY Times Dining section, easy to find on the site. (I'm not linking because I don't want to unknowingly cause nonsubscribers to hit the new paywall for access above 20 articles/month.)

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                      Sorry, Caitlin -- I didn't see your post before I posted...

                                                                    2. Here's an article on Ottolenghi in today's NY Times. Trend surfing again, boys and girls...

                                                                      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/27/din...

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. Was there a post about set up for chapters that people will post to as they cook from Ottolenghi books? If there was, I missed and would be very grateful if someone will post a link over here.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                          herby, it's here, at the top of the Home Cooking board: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781954

                                                                          Note the link at the bottom to the Ottolenghi COTM thread; we're posting on the existing threads for recipes from that book.

                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                            Thank you, Caitlin! I do not have either book and moving at the ned of the month, meaning eating from the freezer as much as possible, but love to read about what others make and take notes for the future cooking:)