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

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. 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

      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

        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

          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

            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

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

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

      11 Replies
      1. re: BigSal

        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: BigSal

          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: Gio

              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

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

                1. re: Gio

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

                    1. re: roxlet

                      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.

                2. re: jen kalb

                  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. 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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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. 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

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

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        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

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

                            1. re: Gio

                              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

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


                          1. re: JaneEYB

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

                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                              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

                                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.

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

                            1. 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

                                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

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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

                                        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

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

                                          1. re: buttertart

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

                                2. 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

                                    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. 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.


                                    1. So, am I the last to know that the follow-up, "Plenty More" is being release in rhw UK in Sept and in the US in October?


                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        I had read that..... they are building quite the cookbook empire!