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May 2011 COTM, PLENTY: Roots, Funny Onions

bayoucook May 1, 2011 05:24 AM


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  1. Gio RE: bayoucook May 1, 2011 07:16 AM

    This is the reporting thread for this Month's Cookbook of the Month, Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. The chapter is: Roots, Funny Onions

    1. roxlet RE: bayoucook May 1, 2011 10:58 AM

      I made the beet salad with oranges and oil cured olives for about the 3rd or 4th time. I love this salad, but I tend to add a bit more acid when I make it. I had some blood oranges that were on their last legs, so I used those as well as plain old endive. Everything turns bright red, so it's quite a vivid salad.

      1. beetlebug RE: bayoucook May 1, 2011 05:10 PM

        Spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad (US. pg. 14)

        We liked this a lot and I would make this again, esp when the summer and fall carrots start coming in. I would make some slight changes though. Overall, an easy dish and quite refreshing.

        So, slice and boil 2 lbs. of carrots. Then saute 1 chopped onion, until slightly brown, then add the cooked carrots. Lastly, add crushed garlic cloves, chopped scallions, 2 chopped chilis, and a mess of spices, preserved lemon and white wine vinegar. Right before serving, add cilantro and greek yogurt.

        Next time, I would add the green chiles, garlic, green onions, and all the spices at the end of the cooked onions. The garlic and chiles were a bit too raw for me. But, this recipe will be repeated.

        6 Replies
        1. re: beetlebug
          Breadcrumbs RE: beetlebug May 1, 2011 05:13 PM

          I know we'd love this too beetlebug, thanks for your enhancements, I've noted them in my book. I'd love to try this w fresh carrots from the market.

          1. re: beetlebug
            L.Nightshade RE: beetlebug May 9, 2011 08:09 PM

            We really liked this salad also. I made it when I made the lamb and apricot tagine from AMFT, thought the salad was better than the entree. I used whole baby carrots instead of slices. I added the spices part way through the onion saute as I think that really releases their aromas. I served the yogurt on the side. This recipe is rather similar to the Moroccan carrot salad in the ENYT Cookbook, with less time needed for marinating. I liked them both.

            1. re: L.Nightshade
              Zollipop RE: L.Nightshade May 11, 2011 06:47 AM

              Three cheers for this one! A great side - we ate it at room temperature one night and warm the next - it was great both ways!

              If you sliced the carrots smaller it would also make a great filling for a veggie sandwich!

            2. re: beetlebug
              Gio RE: beetlebug May 16, 2011 05:00 AM

              Spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad

              Made this last night to serve with the roasted chicken with saffron, honey and hazelnut from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook. T'was a Big Hit. I halved the recipe and cooked the onions and garlic till garlic was golden then added the spices. I used a large white onion, the 1 jalapeño for the chili, otherwise used all the listed ingredients. Loved the addition of the yogurt and cilantro served on the side.

              1. re: beetlebug
                sinjawns RE: beetlebug May 20, 2011 07:06 AM

                I took a test kitchen approach this time, after two previous Plenty failures (eggplant with pomegranate, and the controversial pepper tofu; see previous posts). Normally, I use my own judgement when reading a recipe, making substitutions, basically taking the recipe as inspiration rather than gospel. This time, I went by the book, doing the entire mise in advance, refreshing my spices and substituting nothing.

                Beetlebug and Nightshade areexactly right: those spices, including the garlic, need cooking before the carrots get tossed in or you will have spice grit and raw garlic chunks in there (the garlic is crushed rather than minced or made into a paste.)

                My opinion of the recipe as written: acceptable but not wowsie, gritty, lifted mainly by the yogurt preserved lemon and cilantro, which make almost anything taste great (unless you are a cilantro hater; there is more than 1/2cup per serving in this one). It tasted better to me at room temp and sitting a while than it did when still warm, and is best as a small component of a larger plate.

                1. re: beetlebug
                  Abby0105 RE: beetlebug Mar 27, 2013 09:42 AM

                  +1 for this dish, really enjoyed it. I will add that I followed the recipe and added the chiles, garlic, and spices with the carrots, rather than cooking them for a few minutes with the onions first, and didn't notice the rawness. The combination did sit in the frying pan with the heat off for 10-15 minutes while I finished dinner, so maybe this "cooked" the ingredients enough to take the edge off.

                2. Allegra_K RE: bayoucook May 1, 2011 07:16 PM

                  Two-Potato Vindaloo p.18

                  This recipe is a bit time consuming and the ingredient list is long, but it is absolutely worth it!
                  Whole spices are toasted and ground to make a lovely warm garam-masala type blend. Shallots are chopped and fried with oil ( I bet ghee would be nice) until browned. Recipe calls for 10 oz, I used just shy of 2 cups. Add 1 red chili, but I only had serranos on hand. I would add way more chilies next time; there was hardly any heat at all...or maybe toss in a plump crimson birds eye. This was my first time making a vindaloo, and when I poured in the cider vinegar, I thought that I had ruined the dish....have no fear, it all balances out in the end. The tomatoes (simmered with the masala blend and water after the onions are browned) disintegrate into the sauce, adding a sweet yet tart depth of flavour that is different from the acidity in the vinegar. So many tangy components in here all work together to create a very complex finished product. Diced red peppers and yellow fleshed potatoes combine with vibrant orange sweet potato for a beautiful palate of colours that is as pleasing to look at as it is to eat. The peppers and the sweet potato are a very welcome contrast in flavour; sweet and almost fruit-like when compared with the biting tart tones of the sauce. I thought that a dollop of yogurt on top would be too much, but it somehow works with the rest of the ingredients, yet leaves its own distinctive note singing above the rest of the dish. Served with basmati rice. A beautiful melody for the senses.

                  Mr. Ottolenghi suggests a sprinkling of cilantro or mint as the final touch, but I did not enjoy the cilantro with this and would next time try the mint. Also, the cooking time of the potatoes took at least twice as long as suggested, but that is more likely the fault of my warped pot that does not have a lid that conforms to its twisted frame. I'm sure if properly covered, the spuds would be done much sooner.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Allegra_K
                    Breadcrumbs RE: Allegra_K May 2, 2011 05:02 AM

                    So glad to read your review Allegra, I have this on my menu for either this week or next and I'm really excited to try it now I've read of your success. It sounds delicious and your photo is perfection . . . Indian fine dining at its best!

                  2. Gio RE: bayoucook May 2, 2011 05:35 AM

                    Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes with Caper Vinaigrette, Pg. 16 (English Edition)

                    This was so much more than the title suggests. Lots of vegetables and a hearty, complex dressing.

                    It will definitely make encore appearances throughout the month with a variety of vegetables.

                    We were fortunate in that our local supermarket actually carried Spring dug parsnips from a farm in the western part of the state. So semi-local. Surprise, Surprise.

                    The vegetables include: 4 parsnips/halved and chunked, 4 red onions/quarter wedges, a whole head of garlic/halved horizontally, 2 sweet potatoes/ halved and wedged, 30 cherry tomatoes/halved. (Yes, I counted as I sliced...LOL)

                    The dressing was made by whisking together 4 tablespoons small capers, lemon juice, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and S & P.

                    The parsnips and onions are tossed with EVOO, garlic, thyme, rosemary, S & P in a large bowl. Spread in a large roasting pan and place in a preheated 375F oven to roast for 20 minutes. During this time prep the sweet potatoes by taking off the tip and the "tail"... keep the skin on. Slice the potatoes in half crosswise then in 6 wedges each piece. At the 20 minute mark add the potatoes to the parsnips and continue roasting for another 40 - 50 minutes. It took 45 minutes for all the veggies to cook through. At this time add the halved cherry tomatoes and roast about 10 minutes. As soon as the vegetables come out of the oven pour the dressing over all and toss gently to combine. If you wish, sesame seeds can be scattered over top as a garnish. I didn't.

                    The photo on the page opposite this recipe really tells the story. Succulent vegetables, tangy dressing, completely satisfying. It went very well with the stuffed portobello mushrooms on page 56 and bruschetta.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Gio
                      smtucker RE: Gio Sep 17, 2011 05:04 PM

                      I bought some parsnips at the Farmer's market this week with the intention of finally trying this root. [I recognized it immediately. My mother used to put them under roasts.]

                      I made a half recipe since there are only two of us and reduced the amount of oil in the roasting pan by another half. We have enough left over for each of us to have another serving.

                      Gio outlined the process well. My few notes would be:

                      • next time I will cook the veggies longer, or cut them smaller. I had a few hard chunks and wanted a bit of browing.
                      • The open head of garlic didn't flavor the dish as much as I would have liked. Next time I will peel the cloves and throw them in whole

                      We both really enjoyed this dish and imagine it as a launching pad for any vegetable that looks good during our long winter.

                      1. re: smtucker
                        Gio RE: smtucker Sep 18, 2011 06:39 AM

                        Glad to read your report, SMT. I love parsnips and especially like them with roasted garlic. Did you squeeze the garlic out of their skins and smoosh it over the veggies?

                        Nigel Slater has a similar recipe for roasted root vegetables which I intend to make on Tuesday night. He uses a huge variety: beets, celeriac, parsnips, carrots, butternut squash, rutabaga, etc. In his version all the vegetables are peeled and chopped, water is brought to boil and all the vegetables - except the beets - are boiled for 10 minutes. Then all are tossed with thyme leaves and S & P and put into a 350F oven to roast for 45 minutes. I have a feeling, though, this is going to take longer than that. No dressing...

                        1. re: Gio
                          smtucker RE: Gio Sep 18, 2011 07:41 AM

                          Smooshing was done by the dinners on their own plates with less than perfect results. I bet adding the roasted garlic to the dressing and whisking it before throwing over the vegetables could help as well. I just don't think my vegetables had quite enough cooking time.

                          When I warm them up for lunch, I plan to throw them on a sheet pan and into the toaster oven for a half hour or so. I bet they will be even better than the first time!

                      2. re: Gio
                        jen kalb RE: Gio Nov 13, 2012 08:38 PM

                        We finally got around to making this wonderful dish last week, and everyone agreed that a big platter is NECESSARY for our thanksgiving dinner. We made the recipe basically as written,with parsnips, sweet potatoes, red onions and cherry tomatoes, but with an addition of some chopped parsley to the final dressing. I highly recommend

                        Notes, I cut the hard hearts out the parsnips. We also followed the instructions to roast til all the veg were cooked through and a golden color. This was longer than the 40-50 min predicted., and then the 10 min or so with the tomatoes followed, but the caramelization was definitely worth it.

                      3. blue room RE: bayoucook May 3, 2011 02:52 PM

                        Beetroot Fritters with Lemon and Saffron Yoghurt


                        I'm munching as I post, it's mid-afternoon and it's grey out so I thought I'd cook.

                        Roasted beets and (canned) garbanzos are mixed with chopped parsley, dill, mint. (No mint, I added *just a jot* of oregano.) Add green onions and lemon zest, tahini and cumin, salt and pepper. An egg. (My onions were plain yellow onions sliced thin and chopped.) Form into patties and fry 'til brown and crisp. They remind me of felafel, but the sweet beet (and the color!) makes them just enough different to stand out.

                        The yogurt sauce calls for

                        (about) 1 cup Greek yogurt

                        big pinch saffron threads

                        2 tsp olive oil

                        1 tsp lemon juice

                        salt --

                        My version is

                        sour cream, no olive oil, stingy with the saffron (saving it for hot foods), lemon juice and salt to taste.

                        Of course like all fritters they're best when hot and crispy.
                        Edit -- I don't know why this post is all spaced and spaced again -- must be a glitch, I can't remove the spaces. Same thing happened a few days ago, it was reported on "Site Talk".

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: blue room
                          L.Nightshade RE: blue room May 3, 2011 02:58 PM

                          Those look and sound great, I'd be munching too.
                          There are several interesting sounding fritter recipes in both books, I look forward to trying them. Thanks for pointing these out.

                          1. re: blue room
                            Breadcrumbs RE: blue room May 3, 2011 03:41 PM

                            Oh my goodness blue room, I don't know how I missed these; they sound (and look) tantalizing! I simply must give these a try . . . I'd love to do them when I can get golden and red beets!!! I just love beets so this holds such appeal for me! Thank-you!

                          2. sinjawns RE: bayoucook May 4, 2011 07:30 AM

                            Black Pepper Tofu, p44

                            One of my two failed exercises from Plenty... I see from posts a while back that there have been mixed results. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/706598

                            I had been keen to try it since seeing it made on this year's Mastechef UK. And I was charmed by Ottolenghi too...

                            Sorry handsome Yotam, but this is far too much labour and too many calories for the outcome.

                            I followed the recipe except that I used gluten free soy (for both the light and dark soy specified) and had to make my own kecap manis.

                            I confess to liking tofu. I also adore black pepper as well as heat, so was not put off by the spicing. I think, however, it would be too much for most people. The gobs of butter (2/3 cup for 4 servings) is just silly. And three kinds of soy sauce-- really?

                            Won't be making this one again.

                            28 Replies
                            1. re: sinjawns
                              Breadcrumbs RE: sinjawns May 4, 2011 08:30 AM

                              Wow, what a disappointment sinjawns, thank-you for taking one for the team on this one!! Thanks too for that link to an earlier Plenty thread. While I knew of the pre-COTM Ottolenghi cookbook thread, I wasn't aware there was one for Plenty as well. Thanks again.

                              1. re: sinjawns
                                lilham RE: sinjawns May 4, 2011 02:08 PM

                                The three soy sauces are all common in chinese cooking. (The sweet one is used on cantonese steamed fish. A common dinner dish). But I agree unless you have a very well stocked chinese pantry, it's a bit silly.

                                1. re: lilham
                                  Guenevere RE: lilham Apr 5, 2013 02:19 PM

                                  I made it and loved it. Loved it.

                                2. re: sinjawns
                                  BigSal RE: sinjawns May 8, 2011 03:54 PM

                                  Black Pepper Tofu p. 44

                                  Even after the less than stellar reviews, I was still tempted to make this for lunch yesterday. I made a half a recipe with a few adjustments. I used House brand atsu age (Japanese pressed and fried tofu), 3 bird’s eye chili peppers (instead of 4 mild red peppers), scant 2 T of crushed black peppercorns (instead of 2.5 T) and only 13 g (1 T) of butter instead of the 75 g (nearly 6 T).

                                  The dish was overwhelmingly peppery (even with the adjustments) and I can’t even imagine how it tasted with the original amout of pepper. In spite of this, I would try this dish again with additional adjustments. I found the atsu age too chewy and will try firm tofu (unfried) next. I will also use less pepper – maybe just a tablespoon this time. Even though the intensity of the pepper as I made it was a bit much, I did like the heat, spice and sweetness. I served this with brown rice and the taste of the sauce with the rice has me interested in trying a toned down version of this recipe.

                                  1. re: BigSal
                                    Breadcrumbs RE: BigSal May 8, 2011 04:00 PM

                                    Lovely photo BigSal, what a brave soul you are!! Thanks for taking one for the team here!

                                    Based on feedback thus far, I wonder if it's worth emailing Ottolenghi for comment on possible adjustments. Clearly this recipe is in need of editing. This dish interests me as well but I hate wasting time and ingredients. I don't have this on my menu for the next couple of weeks but will check back again and will send an email if no one else has done so by then.

                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                      BigSal RE: Breadcrumbs May 8, 2011 04:06 PM

                                      Hi Breadcrumbs,

                                      Good idea about emailing Ottolenghi. I will send one today.


                                      1. re: BigSal
                                        Breadcrumbs RE: BigSal May 8, 2011 04:30 PM

                                        Terrific, thanks Sally, I do hope they get back to you. From what I've seen of the books thus far, it strikes me that they do care about the integrity of their dishes and I can't imagine they'd want there to be an error in their book. Fingers crossed that you get a reply and thanks again!

                                      2. re: Breadcrumbs
                                        greedygirl RE: Breadcrumbs May 9, 2011 01:15 AM

                                        I think the recipe does need clarifiying. My reading is that you take 5T peppercorns and then crush them, rather than 5T of ground pepper. That way you end up with less pepper, I would think.

                                        1. re: greedygirl
                                          beetlebug RE: greedygirl May 13, 2011 02:39 PM

                                          The US version of this recipe (pg. 44) states that it's 5 T coarsely crushed peppercorns, I take that to mean that it is less then 5 T of whole peppercorns. Kind of like the cups of sift flour v. flour, sifted difference.

                                          1. re: beetlebug
                                            buttertart RE: beetlebug May 17, 2011 12:42 PM

                                            This is a little on the how many angels can dance on the head of a pin side of things, but wouldn't 5 Tb of crushed pepper be more than 5 Tb of whole peppercorns, since there would be less space between the particles?

                                            1. re: buttertart
                                              L.Nightshade RE: buttertart May 17, 2011 12:48 PM

                                              I agree. I've been thinking about this as I still plan to make the dish. I think that to make 5 T of ground peppercorns you would need 6 or 7 T of whole peppercorns. Again, yikes.

                                              1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                buttertart RE: L.Nightshade May 17, 2011 01:05 PM

                                                It would never fly in my house, I love pepper but he doesn't. And I don't think I could love it THAT much.

                                      3. re: BigSal
                                        blue room RE: BigSal May 8, 2011 05:03 PM

                                        Big Sal, can I ask about the bowl in this picture -- what pattern name/maker? I think the platter you used in the "Roots Pulses Grains..." recipe (with quinoa) was the same pattern. I'm curious and want a better look.

                                        As for this tofu dish it wouldn't occur to me that 2 1/2 tablespoons of pepper was NOT a typo.

                                        I noticed though that a previous poster, Sinjawns, *saw* the dish made on "Masterchef UK", a tv show I assume. So maybe... the spice is right ...


                                        1. re: blue room
                                          BigSal RE: blue room May 8, 2011 06:11 PM


                                          This set is called Natural Quartet from Studio Nova/Mikasa. It was a gift from my MIL, purchased in an outlet store about 10 years ago.

                                          You may be right about the spice being right. I have always thought of myself as a "spice abuser" (some of you may remember Mebby dubbing LulusMom one), but after balking at a toned down version of this dish, I am feeling like a spice wimp. :)

                                          1. re: BigSal
                                            blue room RE: BigSal May 8, 2011 06:41 PM

                                            Ah, charming dishes! (Looked them up.) I know Studio Nova--have a small set from them called "Off Center" (for obvious reasons.)

                                            I don't have either book this month -- there are so many of the recipes online. So I can't see this recipe for myself, but it will be interesting if Mr. Ottolenghi answers one of you.

                                            1. re: blue room
                                              L.Nightshade RE: blue room May 9, 2011 07:55 PM

                                              blue room - I love that plate! It is just off-center enough to make you look twice.

                                            2. re: BigSal
                                              mebby RE: BigSal May 9, 2011 12:29 AM

                                              I remember TDQ tried this dish in the pre-COTM thread and had a lot of problems with the amount of pepper too. Do you think it could also be related to the freshness of the black pepper...perhaps some are using the dulled-down supermarket pre-ground variety?! I am sure that your status as a spice abuser is secure (which as one myself I hope you know I only ever mean as a compliment!). I have also been tempted by the gorgeous photo despite the cautionary reviews.

                                              1. re: mebby
                                                Gio RE: mebby May 9, 2011 04:44 AM

                                                In that same thread, I think, someone posted that she had seen Ottolenghi himself on the telly explaining that he had used ordinary supermarket ground pepper for that recipe...or am I mis-remembering?

                                            3. re: blue room
                                              sinjawns RE: blue room May 12, 2011 06:07 PM

                                              That's right blue room; Masterchef is an amateur cooking competition that has spread it's way around the world. The UK episode with Ottolenghi was series 7 episode 7, in case anyone wants to look it up.

                                          2. re: sinjawns
                                            L.Nightshade RE: sinjawns May 8, 2011 06:41 PM

                                            Even after some negative reviews, I still want to try this recipe. BigSal's photo looks so appetizing, I just want to take a bite out of it. I am a tofu fan. I googled the recipe, a lot of people have tried it, and everyone seems to be using the 5 T of pepper. Yikes!

                                            1. re: L.Nightshade
                                              BigSal RE: L.Nightshade May 8, 2011 06:53 PM

                                              Please do report back if you try it...and if you can take the whole amount of pepper.

                                              Here's the recipe for those who want to try it, but don't have the book. http://tinyurl.com/6ydj9b

                                              1. re: BigSal
                                                blue room RE: BigSal May 8, 2011 07:04 PM

                                                OK, now I've read it, but even with a warning.. !!
                                                It does look good, in both pictures.

                                            2. re: sinjawns
                                              Zollipop RE: sinjawns May 11, 2011 06:54 AM

                                              I have to respectfully disagree! I made this dish last night with some changes to the original recipe, and it was a knockout!! (In a good way, not in an incendiary-from-all-the-pepper way). The alterations I made were:

                                              - substituted onion for the shallot (my grocery was out)
                                              - cut the amount of chiles in half
                                              - subbed regular soysauce for the kecap manis and added an extra tsp of brown sugar
                                              - used brown sugar rather than regular sugar
                                              - used half the amount of butter suggested

                                              My husband, who is a definite carnivore, adored it! The texture of the tofu was sexy! Perfect with brown rice and grilled corn on the side.

                                              1. re: Zollipop
                                                Allegra_K RE: Zollipop May 11, 2011 01:23 PM

                                                Thanks for putting this recipe back at the top of my list, Zollipop! I have renewed hope for it!

                                              2. re: sinjawns
                                                Allegra_K RE: sinjawns May 11, 2011 07:18 PM

                                                Since I had leftover tofu about to croak in the back of my fridge, and my previous dreams for dinner died along with the mouldy (!) rice vinegar I procured from the depths of the cupboard, I thought I would have to try this one as well.
                                                I really, really enjoyed this dish! I loved the bite of the crushed peppercorns lingering at the back of my throat combined with the pleasant burn of the birds eye chilies I used. It was a spectacular combination! I used the full amount of chilies and pepper, though my heart hurt just looking at the amount of butter in this recipe. I had to cut it in half. Not as saucy as I expected, probably due to said butter reduction. Added a touch of water to loosen things up a bit. Will definitely be making this again.
                                                Perhaps, not unlike cilantro, this is something you either love or you don't.

                                                1. re: Allegra_K
                                                  BigSal RE: Allegra_K May 11, 2011 07:33 PM

                                                  Woo Hoo! Success! Glad to see that you enjoyed the dish as written.

                                                  1. re: Allegra_K
                                                    Zollipop RE: Allegra_K May 11, 2011 07:36 PM

                                                    Brave you for trying the full amount of peppers! Maybe this dish is something you like or something you don't - or maybe Winnipeggers have a weird predilection for peppery tofu! Glad to see another Winnipegger on Chow!

                                                  2. re: sinjawns
                                                    nasilemak RE: sinjawns Jan 5, 2013 06:08 AM

                                                    Loved the recipe. It was my fave recipe i tried last year.

                                                  3. Gio RE: bayoucook May 5, 2011 05:21 AM

                                                    Royal Potato Salad, Pg. 20 (English Edition)

                                                    Made this last night and we loved it. As usual, I've learned to expect the unusual from Mr. Ottolenghi. This is a potato salad with a pesto dressing of basil, parsley, pine nuts, garlic and parmigiano blitzed in a miniFP with EVOO then tossed with vinegar, sorrel and blanched green peas. Finally, quail eggs which have been cooked to the semi-soft stage are halved then added into the mix and the salad is garnished with chopped parsley. Because we were having a spicy chipotle meatloaf as the main dish, and because there were no quail eggs to be found, I omitted those little cuties. But the finished potato salad was delicious on its own.

                                                    To start, cook the eggs. Blanch about a cup of green peas, frozen is OK. Cook the potatoes, We steamed them instead of boiling them and used Yukon Golds instead of Jersey Royals. While the potatoes are cooking the dressing is made. The cooked potatoes are mixed with the pesto, vinegar, sorrel and blanched green peas, the eggs are added then the garnish over top.

                                                    I supposed the quail eggs would have been the additional grace note but the salad minus the eggs hummed along quite nicely.

                                                    Here's a link to the on-line recipe:

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                      BigSal RE: Gio May 14, 2011 08:12 PM

                                                      Royal Potato Salad

                                                      Inspired by Gio’s post, we decided to give these a go and so glad that we did. We did include the quail eggs and cooked them a little longer than I wanted. The eggs cooked in 30 seconds, but took me much longer to peel. This salad is very rich and delicious…royal indeed. It’s a great twist on the classic potato salad and look forward to enjoying this recipe again.

                                                    2. w
                                                      Westminstress RE: bayoucook May 9, 2011 10:36 AM

                                                      Beetroot and Rhubarb Salad, recipe available here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                                                      Our local farmers market is just getting off the ground and has a limited selection of veggies at this time, but when I saw both beets and rhubarb I decided to give this salad a try. It was very easy to prepare and we loved it!

                                                      Beets are roasted, cooled, peeled and chopped into 2 cm pieces. (I roasted the beets in advance to facilitate weeknight preparation). Rhubarb is cut into 2.5 cm pieces, tossed with caster sugar (I used regular) and roasted for 10 minutes until soft but not mushy. A dressing is mixed consisting of sherry vinegar, maple syrup, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, allspice, and s&p. Sliced red onions are briefly marinated in the dressing, then in go the beets and a healthy amount of parsley. Just before serving, toss in the cooled rhubarb with its juices, along with crumbled gorgonzola (I used Mycella, a Danish blue, which was excellent). This makes a classic beet and blue cheese salad with a twist in the form of tart rhubarb and exotic flavors in the dressing. Outstanding!

                                                      This was my first Ottolenghi recipe, and my first time using rhubarb in anything other than a crisp. I loved it!!!! My one critique is that I would have liked to have cut my beets and rhubarb a little smaller. Possibly this was my error, as I'm not good with centimeters, so maybe I misjudged the directions. But for those considering this salad, note that the dressing is on the sweet side. It is perfectly counterbalanced by the rhubarb, but the salad is better if you can get rhubarb in each bite. So the pieces should be small enough to facilitate this, and there should be a roughly equivalent number of beet and rhubarb pieces. Note that if you cut the rhubarb smaller, you may need to reduce the cooking time accordingly. It is also OK if the beet pieces are somewhat larger than the rhubarb.

                                                      I broke out my kitchen scale, which is in grams as well as ounces, and I must say it was so easy and pleasant to measure quantities by weight. Another new experience, and a pleasant one. Now I have no reason to fear conversions! Based on the results from this salad, I'm looking forward to trying more of Ottolenghi's recipes this month, and if they all turn out this well, I will buy the books (though I don't believe this salad is in either book).

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Westminstress
                                                        greedygirl RE: Westminstress May 9, 2011 11:05 AM

                                                        So glad you had a good experience, Westminstress. I have to say, one of the great things about Ottolenghi is the way he combines flavours you would never have put together yourself. I mean, beetroot and rhubarb? Genius! Thanks for pointing this internet recipe out - will have to give it a try as the shops and farmer's markets are awash with rhubarb at the moment.

                                                        1. re: Westminstress
                                                          Karen_Schaffer RE: Westminstress May 15, 2011 10:48 PM

                                                          Beetroot and Rhubarb Salad, recipe available here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                                                          I made this for a garden party on Saturday, and everybody loved it. The allspice and pomegranate molasses are what really make this recipe standout from similar ones.

                                                          I was short on time, so I peeled and chopped the beets then microwaved them (tossed with a little oil first) to cook them. I used Roquefort for the blue.

                                                          My rhubarb seemed to mostly disappear. I think I overcooked it a bit -- the slices transition so quickly from too firm to mush. But it isn't a very tart rhubarb either. I added a little extra sherry vinegar to the dressing to compensate. I'd be perfectly happy making this again without the rhubarb, if I didn't happen to have any on hand.

                                                        2. greedygirl RE: bayoucook May 16, 2011 12:30 AM

                                                          Caramelised garlic tart, p38

                                                          Wow - this is a winner. Absolutely delicious and not too difficult to put together, as it uses ready-prepared puff pastry for the crust. Here's the original version of the recipe as it appeared in The Guardian - for the book he's tweaked it and omitted the butternut squash.


                                                          As I said, it's all pretty straightforward. Line a tart tin with puff pastry and blind bake. Then blanch a LOT of garlic (3 medium heads), then fry them in a little oil before adding water and balsamic vinegar. Reduce for about ten minutes before adding sugar, salt, thyme and rosemary and reducing some more until the garlic is deliciously syrupy and caramelised. Scatter soft and hard goat's cheese on your prepared pastry base, add the garlic, and a custard made with 2 eggs, creme fraiche and double cream. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. I baked mine for 30, and then reheated it later for about 15-20 minutes and it was perfect.

                                                          We had this as a starter with some lightly dressed lamb's lettuce and it was AMAZING. The garlic flavour is actually quite mellow and sweet, because of the blanching and caramelising and the flavours blend perfectly. Raves all round. Can't wait to make it again!

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: greedygirl
                                                            buttertart RE: greedygirl May 17, 2011 12:43 PM

                                                            Goodness that does sound good.

                                                            1. re: greedygirl
                                                              blue room RE: greedygirl May 17, 2011 01:27 PM

                                                              Oh oh and oh.
                                                              I've been eyeing this! Will do a half recipe for the 2 of us.
                                                              Thank you for posting this.

                                                              1. re: greedygirl
                                                                smtucker RE: greedygirl Jul 5, 2012 05:48 AM

                                                                Caramelised garlic tart, page 38

                                                                My dilemma this summer is cooking for a Mother who is immobilized and needs lots of protein to heal and a sister who is a vegetarian and has difficulty chewing. My Mother's house has a 60" professional Garland with broiler AND salamander [yes, I am jealous] but to save money, she has turned everything off except one oven and two burners. Turns out finding recipes that won't take all day to make with these limitations is a bit harder than I would have thought.

                                                                This recipe however, fit the bill perfectly! Greedy's narrative is exactly what I did but the Garland oven has a greater fluctuation of temps than I am used to so our tart cooked a bit hotter and faster than I would have liked. This was delicious! The recipe says "serves 8" so I cut the tart into small wedges and served with freshly husked English peas, mint, and shallots. The tart reheated in a toaster oven [convection] beautifully and provided us with excellent leftovers.

                                                                Will make this anytime it was so good!

                                                                1. re: smtucker
                                                                  Gio RE: smtucker Jul 5, 2012 06:00 AM

                                                                  That recipe sounds just the ticket and you most likely can change up the ingredients somewhat to provide various flavor profiles. I'm so sorry to read about your mother, SMT. I do hope she heals quickly.

                                                              2. L.Nightshade RE: bayoucook May 19, 2011 10:56 AM

                                                                Sweet Potato Wedges with Lemongrass Crème Fraîche, page 26.

                                                                Sweet potatoes are cut into 8 wedges, placed on a parchment covered pan, brushed with a little olive oil, then dusted with ground coriander and sea salt. They roast at 400 until done.

                                                                The dipping sauce can be made while roasting, but I made it early to let the flavors mix and mingle a bit. 3/4 cup crème fraîche is combined with 1/2 lemongrass stalk, very finely chopped, zest and juice of two limes, one inch of ginger, grated, and 1/2 tsp fine sea salt. I chopped the lemongrass VERY finely but it still felt gritty in the sauce. So I put the completed sauce into a tumbler and hit it with an immersion blender. Perfect. Tasty and oh so fragrant!

                                                                When the potatoes are done (and cooled a bit) they are sprinkled with a diced red chile and 1 cup of cilantro. The dipping sauce is served on the side.

                                                                This was an easy, tasty dish, nice for an appetizer or a side. It's quite colorful on the plate as well. The recipe for the dipping sauce makes quite a bit. All the better for me as I can just roast some more potato and have a nice little lunch!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                  qianning RE: L.Nightshade Apr 30, 2012 05:42 PM

                                                                  Sweet Potato Wedges with Lemongrass Crème Fraîche (Strained Yogurt), page 26.

                                                                  Had this for dinner tonight and it was a hit. I subbed strained low fat yogurt for the creme fraiche and added a little olive oil to add some body, which worked well. For the lemongrass I used the Vietnamese pre-grated lemongrass powder, which worked fine and eliminated any possible grittiness; but I should have chopped my lime zest a bit finer, or maybe used a micro-planer. The thing that amazed me was that the dip on its own was "meh" but paired with the potato wedges how it sang!

                                                                2. q
                                                                  qianning RE: bayoucook Sep 12, 2011 04:37 PM

                                                                  Leek Fritters, pg 36

                                                                  Wonderful! Who knew, leeks and cumin are a glorious combination? Not me anyway, but now that I'm in the loop it is going to happen again.

                                                                  So, I made this according to the recipe, except I halved it, and I didn't have parsley, so I used more cilantro than called for in the sauce, and ignored the parsley in the fritter. Still delicious. In fact, I might make it this way in the future, as neither of us is crazy about the cilantro/parsley combination.

                                                                  Anyway the recipe, saute chopped shallots with leeks that have been cut in 1" rounds until soft, take off heat and combine in a bowl with fresh chili, cumin powder, corriander powder, cinamon, sugar, salt; let cool. Beat an egg white to soft peak, mix it with the cooled veggies. Make a batter from self rising flour, baking powder, milk, butter; combine this with the veggie mix. Pan fry large spoonfuls 2-3 min/side in a skillet. Serve with a yogurt, s. cream, garlic, olive oil, cilantro dip. Wonderful!

                                                                  1. q
                                                                    qianning RE: bayoucook Aug 26, 2012 01:39 PM

                                                                    Beet, Yogurt and Preserved Lemon Relish, pg. 19

                                                                    Well, I haven't made this salad yet, though I hope to soon. But in the meantime in the head notes Ottolenghi provides a quick description of a simple saute for beet greens, and I did make that and it was fantastic. Two things about it caught my eye, first he suggests using caraway and garlic to flavor the greens. Caraway & garlic aren't two flavors that I really associate with each other, let alone with beet greens, but it was a wonderful deep earthy combination, and we both loved it. Second, he recommends serving the greens with a dollop of creme fraiche, I just happened to have some in the fridge. I topped my sauteed greens with sliced roasted beets, and topped them with a dab of creme fraiche, and all came together magically. Here they are on the plate with some grilled chicken we were having that night.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: qianning
                                                                      smtucker RE: qianning Aug 26, 2012 04:19 PM

                                                                      I could not agree more. Not in my wildest dreams would I think beet greens, caraway and garlic. Will make a note in my book.

                                                                      1. re: qianning
                                                                        Gio RE: qianning Aug 27, 2012 05:40 AM

                                                                        Once again COTM and I... perfect timing, Qianning. This is on my menu for tomorrow night after reading your report. We pick up our CSA basket on Wednesdays and I'm always in a rush the night before to cook those VGs that have languished, for one reason or another, during the week,. Many thanks for your timely report.

                                                                        1. re: Gio
                                                                          qianning RE: Gio Aug 27, 2012 06:07 AM

                                                                          If you're making the greens, hope you like it as well as we did. It was one of those wonderful quirky Ottolenghi flavor combinations, very earthy and we liked it a lot. As for the main relish recipe, I'm still hoping to get around to that sometime this week with the rest of my roasted beets, but if you get there first do let me know how it goes.

                                                                      2. h
                                                                        hyperbowler RE: bayoucook Feb 22, 2013 07:32 AM

                                                                        Fried leeks, p. 42

                                                                        The assembled item, the panko fried leeks topped with a creme fraiche and pickled peppers was an exciting appetizer. The leek's layers get a bit slippery, so each piece should be cut small enough to fit in your mouth in one bite.

                                                                        Ottolenghi gives good advice when recommends repurposing the pickled peppers for salads and such. Very good stuff. I might try a bit of champagne vinegar to give it some additional brightness next time.

                                                                        1. h
                                                                          hyperbowler RE: bayoucook Mar 17, 2013 10:08 AM

                                                                          Jerusalem artichokes with manouri and basil oil, p. US editions

                                                                          UK recipe at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                                                                          Jerusalem artichokes are roasted, tossed with sauteed/charred cherry tomatoes and golden brown fried manouri cheese and placed amongst endive leaves and topped with dabs of basil oil.

                                                                          Delicious. The basil oil worked great with most of the ingredients, but it tended to overpower and not quite jibe with the jerusalem artichokes. Unless I had some frozen basil oil, I'd probably skip it next time.

                                                                          He doesn't instruct you to halve the tomatoes before frying them, but the photo in the book shows them sliced in half, which we did. It's a good idea. They're whole in the linked UK article though.

                                                                          The recipe offers the alternative of haloumi to manouri cheese, but if you can get manouri, its softer texture works better with the other components of the dish than I'd expect from the more rubbery halloumi. Two inches of oil, as he suggests, wasn't necessary. We filled the pan about 1/2" high.

                                                                          1. melpy RE: bayoucook Jun 3, 2014 09:17 AM

                                                                            Sweet Potato Cakes pg 63 (I think)

                                                                            recipe happens to be available online here:

                                                                            Trying to use up some sweet potatoes from our CSA's winter storage. I steamed the potatoes in my wok and steamer basket and it took basically less than 15 minutes which was great. They were soft and pretty dry so I did not dry the potatoes for an hour due to a lack of time. I used a whole chili because we don' mind spice and I didn't want to have it leftover. I also used my falafel press to deal with the dough and keep my hands clean.

                                                                            Overall I was underwhelmed. I thought both the cakes and the sauce were a little bland. The texture of the cakes was similar to a mashed potato cake, which this essentially was. I am not a fan of those and would have preferred something more like a latke with grated potato and crispness.

                                                                            Tasted better cold for lunch the next day.

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