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May 2011 Cookbooks of The Month: PLENTY AND OTTOLENGHI: THE COOKBOOK

bayoucook May 1, 2011 05:38 AM

Welcome to the discussion thread for PLENTY and a revisit of OTTLENGHI. We will use this thread for general commentary, recipe planning, links, and any other issues related to PLENTY. Since OTTLENGHI: THE COOKBOOK is a revisit, we will add new reviews to the existing reporting threads.

If you're new to Cookbook of The Month, you may want to visit the link below to see how it works:


The threads below are organized according to the chapters in PLENTY, but please post about online recipes in whichever threads are appropriate to the dish.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that 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 to Gio for her help with this thread!

Roots, Funny Onions


Mushrooms, Courgettes, and Other Squash


Capsicums, Brassicas, The Mighty Eggplant


Tomatoes, Leaves Cooked and Raw


Green Things, Green Beans


Pulses, Cereals, Pasta, Polenta, Couscous


Fruit with Cheese


ETA the original Ottolenghi thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/641730

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  1. Breadcrumbs RE: bayoucook May 1, 2011 06:40 AM

    Hi bayoucook, thanks for getting us off to a good, quick start to the month! I'm very excited as I wasn't here for the first round of "Ottolenghi" month so I'll be cooking from both books.

    If you still are able to edit, do you think you could add the link to the "Ottolenghi" COTM directly in your post above so folks know where to post those reviews? Caitlin also has some great info in there about conversions and ingredients/food names and cooking terms that might be useful for folks cooking from either book. Thanks so much bayoucook.

    Tonight we're having the Roast Chicken w Sumac, Za'atar and Lemon from Ottolenghi and I haven't yet decided on a starter or side(s). The chicken smell delish though, it's been marinating since yesterday evening!!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Breadcrumbs
      Gio RE: Breadcrumbs May 1, 2011 06:46 AM

      BC... You're going to Love that roast chicken. The flavors are soooo exciting. Once you make and taste the Za'atar you're going to want to use it on everything.

      1. re: Gio
        Breadcrumbs RE: Gio May 1, 2011 07:01 AM

        Thanks Gio, we're really looking forward to it. I was debating whether or not to make my own Za'atar and read the great discussions on the original Ottolenghi thread. When I went to my local Persian market the shop keeper highly recommended a mix they have from Jordan so I picked some of that up and thought I'd give it a try since it was so inexpensive. I do plan to taste it first as I'm cognizant of the comments around "bitterness" and I've noted that this mix does contain sumac. It really smells wonderful though!

        1. re: Breadcrumbs
          Allegra_K RE: Breadcrumbs May 1, 2011 08:06 AM

          Do you know in which thread I would be able to find the za'atar discussion? I was thinking of making my own from a recipe in 'Soul of a New Cuisine', but would love to read up some more info on the mix before I go that route. I've been unsuccessful in my quest for the za'atar conversation thus far, so a point in the right direction would be appreciated!

          1. re: Allegra_K
            Breadcrumbs RE: Allegra_K May 1, 2011 08:20 AM

            Sure Allegra, here's the link to the very first (non-COTM) Ottolenghi thread. The Za'atar discussion is in and amongst the conversation about the Chicken dish I'm making tonight:


            Then here's a link to a Za'atar recipe from Epi (which includes sumac):


            Another one I found that sounded yummy:


            And in case you're interested, a previous Chowhound thread on uses for Za'atar that I found:


            1. re: Breadcrumbs
              Allegra_K RE: Breadcrumbs May 1, 2011 12:48 PM

              Thank you for going above and beyond, Breadcrumbs! Good luck with your chicken; it sounds marvelous!

    2. BigSal RE: bayoucook May 1, 2011 11:39 AM

      Does anyone know if butter beans are lima beans or are they different legumes?

      11 Replies
      1. re: BigSal
        Breadcrumbs RE: BigSal May 1, 2011 11:44 AM

        Hi BigSal. Yes, butter beans and lima beans are the same. Here's a link to Epi's food def'n for Lima bean. You'll see their note that they are also referred to as butter beans:


        Happy cooking!

        1. re: Breadcrumbs
          BigSal RE: Breadcrumbs May 1, 2011 12:06 PM

          Thanks for the clarification!

        2. re: BigSal
          jen kalb RE: BigSal May 2, 2011 08:10 AM

          you might take a look at this more detailed explanation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaseolu...

          what I can buy frozen in my ny grocery store as butter beans (small white limas) for the US southern clientele are different I think from what Ottolenghi in the UK calls for. I think he is specififying larger white dry beans . thats what I used to make his bean salad recipe last year, anyway.

          1. re: jen kalb
            Gio RE: jen kalb May 2, 2011 09:30 AM

            Jen, do mean cannellini beans?


            1. re: Gio
              jen kalb RE: Gio May 2, 2011 09:40 AM

              no, the butter and lima beans are a rounder and flatter shape and a different species, from cannellinis.. the recipe could probably be made with cannellini but its not going to be exactly the same. I used some big flat beans from a polish grocery that seemed to correspond to the type Ottolenghi recommended. I think you can get goya or other large white dried limas at an average grocery store.

              1. re: jen kalb
                Gio RE: jen kalb May 2, 2011 05:57 PM

                Thank you. After a search I found that Gigantes beans can be bought on line here:

                1. re: Gio
                  BigSal RE: Gio May 2, 2011 06:56 PM

                  Thanks (to all) for sorting this out for me. I happen to have gigantes in the pantry.

                2. re: jen kalb
                  roxlet RE: jen kalb May 3, 2011 04:28 AM

                  I wonder if you can use favas?

                  1. re: roxlet
                    LulusMom RE: roxlet May 3, 2011 09:57 AM

                    Why not, right?

                    1. re: roxlet
                      jen kalb RE: roxlet May 4, 2011 12:05 PM

                      well sure but they are a very different bean. This recipe (if its the one I am thining about has you put fully cooked dried beans into a sauce. So any starchy bean you like could be tried.

                3. re: jen kalb
                  greedygirl RE: jen kalb May 2, 2011 09:44 AM

                  Butter beans are a large flat dried white bean - similary to the ones commonly used in Greek cooking, which are called gigantes, I think. I've never seen them fresh or frozen.

              2. Caitlin McGrath RE: bayoucook May 2, 2011 12:27 PM

                An awful lot of the recipes in Plenty are available online at the Guardian site: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                There are links to a majority of the recipes in Ottolenghi: The Cookbook in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/641703

                4 Replies
                1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                  Breadcrumbs RE: Caitlin McGrath May 2, 2011 05:32 PM

                  Thanks so much Caitlin. I hope folks find this, you really did an amazing job of pulling all this great info pertaining to the OTTOLENGHI: Recipe Lists, Cookbook Recipe Links, Paraphrases for the original COTM.

                  I have to admit, when I come to this thread, I have to really concentrate to remember how I get back to the original Ottolenghi posts, somehow it's just not immediately apparent this month. It feels a bit like a "Plenty" month.

                  1. re: Breadcrumbs
                    oakjoan RE: Breadcrumbs May 3, 2011 02:34 PM

                    Breadcrumbs: I hope it doesn't turn out to be mostly a Plenty month because I want to try at least a couple more MEAT recipes from Ottolenghi No. 1. I've made that za'atar and sumac chicken recipe a few times with great success, but it has been a while.

                    1. re: oakjoan
                      Breadcrumbs RE: oakjoan May 3, 2011 03:25 PM

                      That chicken was wonderful oakjoan, we just loved it. I hope you're right and Ottolenghi gains some momentum, so many great recipes!

                      1. re: oakjoan
                        Gio RE: oakjoan May 3, 2011 05:33 PM

                        I'm going to try to cook alternate weeks from the 2 books. We started with Plenty for the first week then next week we'll cook from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook... etc. There are so many recipes in each book that merit attention. Where Does the time go...?

                  2. j
                    JaneEYB RE: bayoucook May 3, 2011 07:02 PM

                    I've been MIA recently so I missed most of Dorie's month. But very excited to see Ottolenghi & Plenty are the May books, though I'm away for part of this month too. I was just over in London and went to one of the Ottolenghi cafes - it was fantastic. Everything looked just as wonderful as the pictures in the books and it all tasted amazing.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: JaneEYB
                      LulusMom RE: JaneEYB May 4, 2011 04:09 AM

                      Jealous! Can you go into more detail about what you ate? Anything that has shown up in either of the books?

                      1. re: LulusMom
                        greedygirl RE: LulusMom May 4, 2011 04:27 AM

                        I think l need to take one for the team and get myself over to Ottolenghi at some point this month. No excuse really, as I live in London - can't believe I haven't been there yet tbh.

                        1. re: greedygirl
                          Breadcrumbs RE: greedygirl May 4, 2011 04:34 AM

                          Oh yes, please do gg!! That would be wonderful!

                          1. re: greedygirl
                            Gio RE: greedygirl May 4, 2011 04:35 AM

                            ...and his new restaurant, Nopi:

                            1. re: Gio
                              greedygirl RE: Gio May 4, 2011 05:37 AM

                              The consensus on Nopi seems to be that the food is fabulous, but the prices somewhat less so - with wine you're looking at £100+ for two which is somewhat expensive. Mr GG is also allergic to the whole "small plates for sharing" thing, so I think we'll start with one of the delis!

                            2. re: greedygirl
                              LulusMom RE: greedygirl May 4, 2011 05:26 AM

                              Absolutely. We appreciate your willingness to put yourself in harms way for us ; )


                          2. re: JaneEYB
                            Breadcrumbs RE: JaneEYB May 4, 2011 04:12 AM

                            Oh yes Jane, do tell!! What did you enjoy there? I hope you had a fabulous trip!!

                            1. re: Breadcrumbs
                              JaneEYB RE: Breadcrumbs May 4, 2011 07:46 PM

                              We actually did a take-out as we had just had the most amazing 10 course lunch at The Ledbury (to make you even more jealous) up the road. The Ledbury has been voted best restaurant in London and was the highest new entry at 34 in the San Pellegrino Best Restaurants in the World a couple of weeks ago. Believe it or not, this was work as we were entertaining a v. important food journalist.

                              At Ottolenghi we bought rare sliced tuna which was delicious, a green bean & peppers salad, a couscous, herb and chickpea salad, aubergine (eggplant) with a tahini topping and we shared a rhubarb cheesecake. And yes we did manage to eat that in the evening even after 10 courses (very small!) at lunch!

                              1. re: JaneEYB
                                Caitlin McGrath RE: JaneEYB May 4, 2011 07:56 PM

                                Your eggplant sounds like it might be the marinated aubergine with oregano and tahini in Ottolenghi: The Cookbook. I only made the marinated eggplant (not the tahini sauce), as did several others when we did the first COTM go-round, and it was wonderful.

                          3. paulj RE: bayoucook May 8, 2011 02:18 PM

                            There's a segment on this book and author on the Splendid Table this week

                            1. Breadcrumbs RE: bayoucook May 18, 2011 04:56 AM

                              I have some good news for folks who don't have their own copy of Plenty or Ottolenghi! Yesterday, Eat Your Books - "EYB" launched a new feature on their website. In instances where cookbook authors have made some of their recipes available online, EYB is including a link to that recipe beside the recipe listing on their site. While this is a work in progress, they have included links for both Ottolenghi & Plenty.

                              You can access this feature whether or not you are an EYB member.

                              Here's a link to the recipes in Plenty. You'll see the online recipe link right below the "bookmark" button for the very first recipe on the list:


                              8 Replies
                              1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                herby RE: Breadcrumbs May 18, 2011 05:52 AM

                                Thank you for sharing, BC! Great feature, I will certainly use it especialy for books that I want to try before buying.

                                1. re: herby
                                  Breadcrumbs RE: herby May 18, 2011 05:58 AM

                                  You're welcome herby. I was thinking it will also be helpful if you're not at home to look at your book and need some quick inspiration for dinner. If you search by ingredients, now we'll be able to see some of the recipes too! Always helpful to know if you need to pick up an ingredient on the way home.

                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                    herby RE: Breadcrumbs May 18, 2011 06:07 AM

                                    You are right and recipe will tell how involved the dish is, so if you do not want to spend a lot of time you could choose another one. I am sure many of us will use it - excellent idea to add on-line recipes.

                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                      buttertart RE: Breadcrumbs May 18, 2011 12:10 PM

                                      Yay! I just joined, finally. I can make 15,400 things from the books I've entered and it's only scratching the surface.

                                      1. re: buttertart
                                        Breadcrumbs RE: buttertart May 18, 2011 12:17 PM

                                        Welcome to EYB buttertart and let me warn you . . . it's addictive!! I love watching my # of books, # of indexed books and # of recipes grow.


                                        oh, btw, don't know if you saw it but The NY Times ran an article today on Recipe Search Engines and EYB beat out Google Recipe and Bing!! Here's the link:


                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                          buttertart RE: Breadcrumbs May 18, 2011 12:21 PM

                                          I saw it and that was what got me to break down and do it. FINALLY! Let the games begin.

                                          1. re: buttertart
                                            smtucker RE: buttertart May 19, 2011 03:14 PM

                                            Welcome to the EYB family! It is amazing how often I use the site to help plan my meals.

                                            1. re: smtucker
                                              buttertart RE: smtucker May 20, 2011 07:59 AM

                                              It is really cool, I must admit.

                                2. s
                                  smtucker RE: bayoucook May 25, 2011 06:33 PM

                                  So funny. I bought some duck breasts today at the Market Basket since they were marked down 50%. As I often do when I have an ingredient without a plan, I went straight to EYB. Reviewing the possible recipes, I narrowed it down to Ad Hoc at Home or Ottolenghi. Being a good chowcook, I went straight to the Ottolenghi thread for meat and searched for duck. Oh my! The review of this recipe is by, you guessed it, ME! Evidently, I liked it.

                                  Thought you might all enjoy my senior moment with me. :-)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: smtucker
                                    Gio RE: smtucker May 26, 2011 04:45 AM

                                    50% off duck breasts @ MB ? I'm there....

                                    Seems you and oakjoan belong to the same club. Not that I've ever forgotten anything, you understand.

                                  2. Caitlin McGrath RE: bayoucook Sep 5, 2011 08:58 PM

                                    I want to buy a copy of the US edition of Plenty for my stepmother for her birthday, which is in a couple of weeks. I see that Amazon isn't currently stocking it (luckily I believe I know where I can buy it locally), but the reason I am posting is that Amazon's Look Inside feature includes extraordinary access for those who don't own the book: the blue-highlighted recipes in the contents pages (around half the total in the book) are actually clickable links that take you directly to that page in the book and the recipe therein.


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