HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


May 2011 COTM, PLENTY: Pulses, Cereals, Pasta, Polenta, Couscous


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. This is the reporting thread for this Month's Cookbook of the Month, Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. The chapter is Pulses, Cereals, Pasta, Couscous.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gio


      once I finished slicing the peppers and onions and assembled the spices, this dish was easy.
      red peppers and onions are thinly sliced and sauteed in olive oil until soft. A few spoons of tomato puree, a tbsp of sugar, a tbsp of whole coriander seed, 100 g of currants and 2 tsp of pink peppercorn are added and sauteed for a couple of minutes. 400g of bulghur and 400 ml water are added (with some salt and pepper) when the dish comes to a boil, it is covered and taken off the heat to finish. (20 min covered) a garnish of chopped chives completes the dish (I used parsley, it was too hot to go out into the garden.

      This was really tasty and interesting with the nutty, flavorful bulghur and exotic spicing- we will definitely repeat.

      1. re: jen kalb

        Itamar's bulgur pilaf, p. 242 (UK ed.)

        I must concur with Jen: I thought this was terrific. The coriander seeds and pink peppercorns lent citrusy notes against the sweet onion and red pepper and earthy bulgur. I made a half recipe (which was a very generous amount), and used one red pepper and a medium-large yellow onion. Less olive oil, and didn't add the sugar. Lacking chives, I garnished with thinly sliced scallion greens.

    2. Freekeh Pilar (US pg. 241)

      Loved, loved, loved, loved this. I've made it twice and I can't wait to be able to use the herbs from my (still non planted) garden. But, this is lovely with bulger, which is what I've been using.

      I'm always looking for bulger recipes. I loved the ones I made from Roden's ME books. This is just as delicious and so fresh tasting.

      Saute onions with butter and olive oil until they are soft and brown. Add bulger, with cinnamon, allspice (and I also added cayenne or aleppo pepper) along with stock (I used chicken). Boil, cover and then simmer for about 10 minutes. Let it sit, covered for 10 minutes and then cool for 5 minutes, lid off.

      Meanwhile stir yogurt with lemon juice, garlic and salt. When the bulger is cooled, add chopped parsley, mint and cilantro. Dollop yogurt onto the pilaf. Lastly sprinkle some toasted pine nuts on top.

      The yogurt does add a little something something to the dish. But, if you don't have any, it's just as delicious as without. I also made this without any mint and just added more parsley and cilantro. The toasted pine nuts added a really great textural contrast.

      A great versatile recipe especially for the coming summer months.

      5 Replies
      1. re: beetlebug

        Can't wait to try this beetlebug, I love bulger as well. Here in T.O. we're just able to harvest our chives but like you, I don't have any other herbs at the moment. It seems as though my rosemary and thyme didn't make it through the winter so I'll have to plant fresh this year.

        1. re: beetlebug

          Freekah Pilaf, Pg. 241 (English Edition)

          Nothing much to add to Beetlebug's excellent description of this tasty recipe. We made it last night and loved it too. I used Bob's Red Mill bulgar and after reading BB's report I intended to add cayenne pepper as she did but forgot. Oh well, next time. Since I had a couple of corn tortillas left from the quesedillas I served the pilaf on top of a hot buttered tortilla. Nothing like a few extra calories to round out the week. Also served a tossed salad but made the slaw dressing from Sweet Winter Slaw on page 102. D

          1. re: Gio

            Editing glitch on my post just above... that D is the first letter for the word Delicious. I tried to add it but after hitting "Save" only the D appeared.

            1. re: Gio

              Could I use wheat berries in place of the bulger in this recipe?

              1. re: pagesinthesun

                I don't see why not. Google offers 90,800 results for wheat berry pilaf... Let us know how it turns out. Many here cook wheat berries regularly.

          2. Fried Butterbeans with sorrel, feta and sumac

            The recipe calls for 450g (or a lb for the metric-averse) of butterbeans, soaked overnight with bicarb and then boiled until soft. I didn't have any dried butterbeans so I used two cans, which I reckoned would be enough for about half a recipe. Ottolenghi has you fry the butterbeans in plenty of butter and olive oil, until the skins blister a little and go brown and a bit crispy. You then add garlic, sliced chilli (optional, but I used it), spring onions and sorrel and fry for a couple of minutes more. Tip the beans into a bowl, season, and when cooled add crumbled feta, lemon juice, a sprinkling of sumac and some soft herbs (he suggests chervil or dill, but I only had chives to hand).

            We quite liked this, but on reflection I think I cut the amount of butter and oil too much as the beans were a little dry and didn't really crisp up. The recipe calls for 4Tbsp of oil and 60g of butter - I used 20g of butter and 2 Tbsp of oil. I also think it would be much better to use dried beans because the canned ones were quite soft and broke down a little on frying. Nevertheless, it was a tasty dish and we enjoyed it with some simply cooked fennel and lemon sausages and a little homemade green tomato chutney. There wasn't a scrap left!

            I chose this recipe primarily because I scored some lovely sorrel at the farmer's market on Sunday - I do love sorrel and it's astringency went nicely here. I think sorrel soup is still my favourite though.

            1. Farro and roasted pepper salad, p. 234 (UK)

              Two red peppers are charred, left covered, peeled, and torn into pieces; he calls for using the broiler, but I roasted them over the gas flame on my stove, which is quicker and simpler, leaving the stem and seeds intact until after. I also used a knife to chop them.. Farro is cooked in boiling salted water until tender; my semi-pearled farro took 12 minutes. To the farro and peppers are added quartered black olives (I used Nicoise), sliced scallions, crumbled feta, and fresh oregano or thyme (I used oregano). This is dressed with a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, honey, garlic, ground allspice, smoked paprika, and salt.

              This was lovely for lunch today. The flavors all work very nicely together. Reading the recipe, I had thought that stirring in some baby arugula leaves would be a good addition, but in the instant I forgot about them. Next time.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                Farro and roasted pepper salad, p. 234 (UK)

                Thanks to Caitlin for including this in her 2011 COTM recipes worth repeating list. I made this with thyme instead of oregano and decreased the amount of honey slightly ( a bit less than 1 t of honey for a half recipe). I am now regretting not making the full recipe.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  Farro and roasted pepper salad, p. 234 (UK)

                  This had been on my list to make and when I saw BigSal bump this thread, it moved up the priority list. I made this with Israeli couscous instead of farro as I'm trying to work through a bag of it. It made for a lovely dish with leftovers that I actually looked forward to eating. Will make again.

                  1. re: TxnInMtl

                    Making it with Israeli couscous instead of farro makes it seem a lot more accessible to me - thanks for the tip.

                2. Qiunoa and Grilled Sourdough Salad (from PLENTY)

                  "Grilled sourdough" got my attention of course, and this turned out to be just maybe a perfect summer salad. My dill & chives are freeze-dried and I subbed celery leaves and oregano for parsley and mint, so your version could be even better & fresher. Thick slices of good sourdough bread are brushed with olive oil and pan-fried/browned. Then 10 minutes in the oven (to dry them into croutons?) I think this step is not crucial -- I'd like moist chewy-inside bread hunks just as well as crunchy. Tomatoes, cucumber, quinoa are in there too--and fresh herbs. I made the dressing-- olive oil and lemon juice and smashed garlic, salt & pepper. (Took 2 seconds!)
                  Very happy with this dish-- not exotic, I know, but a little extra and not ordinary tasting at all.

                  I rely on my (very basic) rice cooker to do the quinoa, and it is perfect every time.
                  I don't understand "1 garlic clove, crushed" -- OK, now I have a flat reeking piece of garlic--do I put it in the salad whole? I mashed it very well with mortar & pestle and mixed it into the olive oil.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: blue room

                    I *think* that when cookbooks ask for "crushed" garlic, they're asking you to put it through a garlic press. Not the clearest language, but I do believe that's the intention. Claudia Roden (Arabesque, New Book of Middle Eastern Food COTM author) uses the same terms, so I don't know if it is a British cookery thing. Not being a garlic press person, I just mince it as finely as I can.

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      Aha -- I don't have a garlic press either, and did not know (until looking at some online tonight) that they sort of pureé the clove, just as I did with the mortar and pestle. I just figured a garlic press...just pressed the garlic. I wasn't aware of the little holes...

                      In a cooked dish I mince, mash with fork, it doesn't matter so much. But this was raw in the dressing.

                      Thank you Caitlin, this isn't the first time you've educated me!

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        Yes, definitely put through a garlic press/crusher. It's a pretty standard instruction in British cooking - I think everyone would know what it meant.

                    2. Green Couscous p. 255

                      Striking green color and delicious flavors. Here's the recipe: http://wwwfamilycookbookcom.blogspot....

                      An herb paste made of parsley, cilantro, tarragon, dill, mint and olive oil is added to couscous. Then, fried onions seasoned with salt and cumin are added to the mixture along with chopped green onions, green chili (I used thai pepper), arugula and unsalted pistachios.

                      This was a delicious combination of flavors…even the Mr. agreed. Had I read roxlet’s and Caitlin’s earlier reviews on this, I would have added a touch of lemon and lemon zest. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7065...

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: BigSal

                        I don't grow any herbs, and the price$ of those little plastic boxes of fresh herbs at the grocery is often daunting. (5 X 3.95 = 20 bucks! and I *know* I won't use it all...)
                        HOWever, this "Green Couscous" sounds so good and so interesting (and pretty!) that I'll try harder to make it work. And if a man liked it...
                        I will remember the lemon.

                        1. re: blue room

                          Those little boxes of herbs do add up quickly. I started growing my own a few years ago, although I have not been successful with cilantro. I think this dish would work with parsley, cilantro and one more herb (cook's choice). There are a lot of flavors, I'm not sure if I could have picked all of them while tasting the final dish. roxlet omitted tarragon and dill in her version too.

                        2. re: BigSal

                          Green Couscous p. 255

                          I thought this was a fantastic side dish. So much flavor in all those herbs, arugula (rocket), green onions, chilli. It really is a lovely green color too. It is rather time consuming preparing all the herbs but the end result was definitely worth it.

                          1. re: BigSal

                            I made this recently for a large dinner party as a side dish. People were very complimentary and I liked the dish, but didn't love it. I did love the colour, the freshness of the herb paste (and it's gorgeous smell) and I appreciated the sweet/savoury note added by the fried onions. I did add some lemon juice as suggested by some posters. But I found it a bit under seasoned and bland. Next time I will make more onion, add more lemon (possibly some lemon zest) and season more assertively.

                          2. Socca Pissaladiere

                            In the cookbook, there is more chickpea flour and 2 whipped egg whites are added to the batter. I didn’t feel like fiddling with extra egg whites, so I stuck to the recipe online. The result of this is a thick, hearty yet still kind of light, nutty pancake that is smothered with silky caramelized onions with a hint of thyme and topped with oven-roasted cherry tomatoes. I liked how the flavours complemented each other so well. I had difficulties with my pancake sticking but otherwise I thought this was a great recipe. Best fresh.

                            Ultimate Winter Couscous

                            Enjoyed this dish but thought there could have been a bit more pizzazz. Otherwise a good solid flavour combination despite a long list of ingredients. It says serves 4 but more like 6-8.

                            1. Celeriac and lentils with hazelnut and mint, p. 216 (UK edition)


                              Hazelnuts are toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped. (He doesn't have you remove their skins, but as the skins on mine got a bit dark, I pinched them off partially with my thumb and forefinger, easy enough to do while they are hot.) Puy lentils are simmered until al dente in water with bay leaves and sprigs of thyme, drained, and dressed while hot with olive oil, hazelnut oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper. Meanwhile, sliced celery root is blanched until tender. The celery root, hazelnuts, and chopped mint are stirred into the lentils.

                              The one change I made was to reduce the amount of oil. He calls for 4 T. olive oil and 3 T. hazelnut oil, but I used just 1 T. olive oil and the 3 T. of hazelnut oil, which was certainly enough for the dish. Because I reduced the oil, I used 2 T. of vinegar instead of 3. This was a nice combination of earthy flavor from the lentils, nuttiness from the hazelnut oil and nuts, and brightness from the mint, complemented by the subtle flavor of celery root. He says you can serve this warm or cold; I had it warm when I made it and had the leftovers cold for lunch. It was delicious both ways, but I think I actually liked it better cold - perhaps because the flavors had time to marry overnight.

                              There are just a few changes from the online recipe. The book version calls for 60g hazelnuts, skips the lemon in the celeriac cooking step, uses red wine vinegar instead of cider vinegar, and calls for 4 T. mint.

                              Barley and pomegranate salad, p. 238 (UK edition


                              Pearl barley is cooked and drained, and while hot is combined with chopped celery and dressed with olive oil, sherry vinegar, garlic, allspice, and salt and pepper. Once this cools, the chopped celery leaves, parsley, fresh dill, and lots of pomegranate seeds are stirred in. While it's not pomegranate season here in N. America, Trader Joe's seems to carry little containers of harvested pomegranate seeds year round, currently from the southern hemisphere, and I used those.

                              This is another wonderful grain salad from Ottolenghi, with crunch from the celery, bright pops of fruity tartness from the pomegranate seeds, and freshness from the herbs. Beautiful, too.

                              Both these dishes would be terrific choices for picnics, buffets, and potlucks.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                Meant to say (reminded by JaneEYB's post below) that though the barley salad recipe says it serves 4, it's more like 8 side-dish servings.

                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                  this was an easy one - like Caitlin says it makes a huge salad. I thnk I might try a different vinegar - or lemon - and perhaps baharat rather than straight allspice next time round. Will see how the leftovers taste .

                                  1. re: jen kalb

                                    I thought the leftovers held up very well. Had it for a few days after I made it, and it stayed good. All his serving size estimates are crazy - every dish is a lot larger than what he indicates, IME.

                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                      I made a double recipe if the red rice salad with orange for a party - I was giving away quart sized containers afterwards!

                              2. Quinoa salad with dried Iranian lime p.245

                                Or rather Quinoa salad without dried Iranian lime as I didn't have any (and to be honest have never owned any). But the photo on page 247 was so appetizing I just had to make this, even without a key ingredient in the title. I didn't have mixed basmati and wild rice so I used basmati with the quinoa. I thought this was really good - the caramelized sweet potatoes, the mint, sage and oregano, the crumbled feta all provided a flavorful contrast to the rice and quinoa. I thought it made a lot - more like 8 servings than 4-6.

                                I will definitely make this again and will try to source some dried Iranian lime before that - anyone know where to get them? I served this with Roast chicken with sumac, za'atar and lemon on p.122 of Ottolenghi and Green beans salad with mustard seeds and tarragon p.196 of Plenty.

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: JaneEYB

                                  His grain salads all seem to be really good - generally great reviews for the various recipes in both books, and the ones I've tried are no exceptions.

                                  ETA, I just looked at the recipe for the quinoa salad and put a bookmark in it.

                                  1. re: JaneEYB

                                    Thanks for the review, I tracked down some dried Iranian lime to try and make this.

                                    1. re: BigSal

                                      Where did you track it down? I suppose it's only relevant for me if in Boston area or online but interested to know where I might find this.

                                      1. re: JaneEYB

                                        This was at a Middle Eastern/Greek Food Store in my area (MN). I wished we lived closer together because I had to buy a package that had about 8 in the bunch, more than I need. After readig your review, I am excited to try the recipe. I was tentative about trying it because of the sweet potatoes. I tend to veer away from recipes that are sweet (or sweeter). I suspect that you can find a local resource in Boston, but they are available online too http://www.amazon.com/AASAN-Dried-Lim... .

                                        1. re: BigSal

                                          Thanks, I should hunt out some Middle Eastern stores.

                                    2. re: JaneEYB

                                      You can get dried Iranian lime in Middle Eastern and Indian stores here in London.

                                      1. re: JaneEYB

                                        I've seen them labelled as dried lime, dried lemon, lumi, and omani. Good luck with your search!

                                        1. re: JaneEYB

                                          We made this one last summer, and liked it quite a lot! can order the limes from Kalustyan or persian online sources if you cant find locally at middle eastern stores.

                                          1. re: JaneEYB

                                            We made and enjoyed this quinoa salad this weekend - only alternations was all wild rice rather than wild rice and basmati. worked fine. We really enjoyed the grains and the contrasting plays against the earthy background - the savory fried herbs and garlic vs the fresh mint and scallions vs the dried lime and fresh lemon juice vs lastly the roasted sweatness of the sweet potato. great salad. The dried lime has a flavor very similar to the greek or moroccan preserved lemons, the latter could definitely substitute.

                                            ps - I guess all these quinoa pix look pretty similar!

                                            1. re: jen kalb

                                              Good to hear that you th ink preserved lemons are a good substitute. I can't seem to find Iranian lime and the only thing stopping me making this is that I'm not sure what to use instead. I've got a jar of preserved lemons made with the recipe from Ottolenghi. I'll try them with this salad.

                                              1. re: lilham

                                                the flavor of the dried lime is fairly strong - id start with the chopped up skin of one lemon but it could very well take more than that before you start noticing the flavor in the dish - this recipe makes a very large salad..

                                          2. Pasta and fried Courgette salad p. 254 (half recipe)

                                            Another nice dish, not as over the top good as the royal potato salad, but solid. Zucchini is fried in oil until golden brown (I only used 22 ml instead of 75ml suggested) and then put in a bowl with red wine vinegar. If I really wanted to make this lighter, I could have grilled the zucchini. This is mixed with strozzapreti, basil/parsley sauce (I used 22 ml instead of 37.5 ml of oil), capers, lemon zest, edamame and chunks of buffalo mozzarella. I found that I wanted a little more acid so I added a few more capers and vinegar.

                                            This is easy to put together and a recipe to go to again once I’m knee deep in zucchini this summer. Nice and light, might be interesting to try with other cheeses (feta or haloumi) too.

                                            1. Mango and Coconut Rice Salad p.244

                                              As gorgeous as this salad was, I felt underwhelmed by the taste.

                                              Red rice and jasmine rice are the base in this very pretty salad of mangoes, red pepper, lemons, chilies, coconut, scattered liberally with chopper cilantro, mint and basil. In addition to all of the textures going on here, roasted peanuts and crisp fried shallots are also in the mix. There was almost too much going on in this salad, texturally. It was just too busy. I tried to dress it up with additional lemon juice and chili, but that didn't solve anything. I have been making half-recipes of almost everything, but made the full batch for the salad, and I now have a huge bowl of leftovers that nobody seems to be touching.
                                              I couldn't locate camargue red rice, and used a red cargo rice instead. Maybe the camargue would completely change the outcome of my salad? Or perhaps I don't enjoy cold rice, unless in pudding form.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                                Well, it certainly is beautiful. Looks lovely in that bowl.

                                              2. Fried Lima Beans with Feta, Sorrel, and Sumac (the cheating version), page 214

                                                I had some limas in the freezer left over from a Persian recipe that required them. So I didn't go the soaking and boiling route, just used the frozen.

                                                After the beans are cooked they are lightly fried in oil and butter. Near the end of cooking, garlic, green onions (I used purple spring onions), chopped red chiles, and sorrel strips are added and sautéed briefly. The mixture is seasoned with salt. Before serving they are topped with lemon juice, feta, sumac, sorrel chiffonade, and other fresh herbs (I just used chervil). Olive oil is drizzled over.

                                                The flavors here are so interesting. The sumac and sorrel combination brings a lot to the dish, the dash of lemon juice brings everything out. I loved this dish. And, truth be told, I don't even like lima beans!

                                                1. Help! Not sure if anyone will see this, but I am planning to make the puy lentil galetts from pg 208 tonight.....but there's something in the recipe that mystifies me, he says to roll-out puff pastry to 1 1/4", that seems ridiculously thick to me, how does it strike others? I usually roll out my puff pastry (Julia Child's recipe, home made frozen in batches) to about a 1/4", am I misunderstanding something about Ottolenghi's instructions?

                                                  11 Replies
                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                    Qianning, pardon me for chuckling but I think that 1 1/4 feet is definitely a misprint. Roll out the puff pastry to 1 1/4 inches...

                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      Definitely my bad typing, now edited, the book says 1 1/4" thick, my usual is 1/4" thick.....advice?

                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                        OK... that makes sense... My usual is 1/4" too... Q. Go with your instinct. It's always best.

                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          Thanks for the encouragement....usually Ottolenghi is one author whose recipes I follow to the T, but this direction is going against the grain, so I'll just try it my way.

                                                      2. re: Gio

                                                        It does seem thick - maybe it's supposed to be 1 1/4 cm, or half an inch.

                                                        ETA: looking at the Guardian recipe, it says 3 mm, or 1/8 inch so this must be a problem translating from the metric.

                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                          Yes, the UK edition of the book says 3 mm, so it's clearly a misprint in the US edition.

                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                            thank you all! they are rolled out, i went with the 1/4" more or less,and resting now, can't wait to try the finished dish....Mr. QN's stuck in a bad traffic jam as I type, but I've been snitching from the lentils and the yogurt, and so far this is looking to be a real winner.

                                                      3. re: qianning

                                                        Puy Lentil Galetts pg. 208

                                                        Well, after all that these were marvelous, well worth some trouble, and many thanks for all the advice.

                                                        This is really a sort of a lentil salad on top of a puff pastry base. But what a lentil salad! Puy Lentils (in truth I used standard issue green lentils, they seem to be much fresher than any of the puy lentils I've found around here) are boiled with bay until tender, then drained. Meanwhile saute some minced onion in o. oil, adding some garlic toward the end. Mix this in with the drained lentils and allow to cool to room temp. The only problem with this was I kept snitching from them as they cooled, gosh they were tasty. I had no idea how wonderful lentils with just bay tasted, add the sauteed onion/garlic and I was just wowed.

                                                        For the "dressing", combine Greek yogurt with olive oil, lemon juice, toasted and ground cumin & coriander seed, chopped mint and cilantro, salt and pepper to taste. Mix this with the cooled lentils and baby spinach (in truth I had nice flat leaved Asian spinach and used that instead, quartering the leaves, which in retrospect I wish I had cut into eights, as it would have made the plating easier). This is served on top of puff pastry rounds, and what a delightful combination of flavors and textures. Wonderful! We had it with a simply grilled salmon filet to which a tiny bit of that compound butter from 150 best recipes had been added, and the combination was spectacular.

                                                        Now, the only real glitch in this recipe is the puff pastry proportions, which are all wrong, as discussed above the thickness and after making this I'm now convinced also the diameters. If you cut 3" circles you are going to waste a lot of puff pastry, and you are going to have way too much salad for what can possibly be mounded on top of the pastry after it bakes. If I make this again, and I think I will definitely keep it in mind as an excellent company worthy side for grilled fish, I would simply cut the raw puff pastry into rectangles in the 2.5 x 5" size, and definitely rolled 1/8-1/4" thick.

                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                          Thanks for the report/update, qianning. I wondered what the outcome would be. The lentils alone sound like something I'd like to make... perhaps serving them atop a lettuce leaf cup??

                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                            I had many spoonfuls of the lentils before they even got as far as the yogurt dressing; I think they'd be great w/ lettuce, or any sort of tender fresh greens/mescalin etc. or as a base with a piece of grilled fish on top. And once mixed with the dressing and spinach they were spectacular, I had lots that wouldn't fit on the puffs, and neither of us could stop taking seconds and thirds (yikes!) from the mixing bowl until it was all gone.

                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                              Oh yes fish would be a good accompaniment. I love lentils and this is a nice way to make them. I have the book so I'll look up the recipe ASAP. Plenty is a wonderful cookbook and I should be cooking from it more than I do...

                                                      4. CASTELLUCCIO LENTILS WITH TOMATOES AND GORGONZOLA, Plenty. page 222
                                                        In this salad recipe, the warm cooked lentils are combined with a sliced red onion which has been marinated a bit with red wine vinegar and salt, a crushed garlic clove and olive oil, fresh herbs (parsley, dill and chives are folded in and then the whole thing is presented layered with the crumbled cheese and previously prepared roasted semi-dry tomatoes, and some of the concentrated juice from the tomatoes is drizzled over.

                                                        We assembled half of the recipe and greatly enjoyed the contrasting deep flavors. considering finding some gorg for the second attempt. Definitely a winner.

                                                        Note, The tomatoes are the most involved step, they are drizzled with a little olive oil and thick balsamic and thyme branches strewed over. then there is an extended cooking time.-we used halved small campari small tomatoes rather than quartered Roma after the suggested 90 min at 250 they were still quite liquid so I recut them to release the juice and it took another 1.5 hour to get them to what I thought was an appropriate state of concentration.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: jen kalb

                                                          What cheese did you use instead of the gorgonzola, jen kalb. Looks like feta in your picture, which I imagine would go well...

                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                            yes it was greek sheep feta which worked out ok. Its such a good dish that I think we will be able to test a number of alternatives

                                                        2. Crunchy Papardelle (well, farro tagliatelle), Plenty, p. 252

                                                          this was a pantry clearing effort, since I had some farro pasta, broccolini and cream that had been hanging around a while, as well as a large container of mushrooms. We had two meals from the recipe and the reprise was, if anything, even more delicious than the first.

                                                          There are several prep steps - the broccoletti is cut up and blanched (I think any of the much less pricy and similar chinese greens could have been easily subbed). some panko crumbs are browned in a frying pan, and a seasoning combo of chopped parsley, a crushed garlic clove and the grated rind of one lemon is prepared.

                                                          then, sliced mushrooms are sauteed in olive oil til they color; white wine,, thyme stems and a bay leaf are add ed and the wine reduced to a third its original volume. Cream is then added (recipe calls for double cream so I reduced my somewhat watery ultrapasteurized whipping cream a bit. I then added the broccoletti and turned off the heat.

                                                          the pasta is prepared and then blended with the cream sauce (rewarmed), the broccoletti and half the seasoning blend; the other half is combined with the toasted crumbs which are sprinkled over all.
                                                          the whole made a deliciously creamy, mushroomy, lemony and herbaceous combo, nicely set off by the broccoletti. Im not so sure the crumbs were necessary - we didnt miss them this evening when we finished off the very flavorful leftovers.

                                                          1. Avocado, Quinoa and Broad Bean Salad, UK edition

                                                            I was inspired by the quinoa salad month on this board. Also I am always on the look out for more ways to eat non-meat protein. I saw this recipe while browsing through my copy of Plenty looking for inspiration.

                                                            It's a very easy dish but the flavours are punchy, feisty and definitely doesn't feel like a 15min dinner. Mix together avocado, lemon segments, shelled broad beans, radishes, purple cress, quinoa in a salad bowl. The dressing is a mix of lemon juice, cumin, olive oil, chilli flakes, salt and pepper. I was a bit taken back by the amount of cumin Ottolenghi specified in the recipe. (1 tbsp for 100g of uncooked quinoa). But I shouldn't have any doubt.

                                                            I made a few changes and substitution. The recipe asked you to peel the lemon with a knife and cut into segments. Instead, I just peeled and segmented the lemon by hand, and then squish it a bit with a fork. I don't think it'll make any difference, and peeling by hand seems easier than with a knife to me. I subsituted broad beans with frozen edamame since I have a bag in the freezer. The last substitution is chives for cress because my supermarket online delivery decided that chives is a suitable replacement for cress. (Which I disagree, but I have to use the chives in something, and a salad is as good as anything).

                                                            I believe this is the equivalent recipe online

                                                            1. The Ultimate Winter Couscous p.262

                                                              What a charming name for a dish. How was I to resist such a title when snow was swirling outside my windows and wind was whistling through the eaves. The promise of subtly spiced roasted vegetables and the lingering warmth of the oven was a siren's call I had to heed.

                                                              A myriad of cubed root vegetables and hardy squash adorned with cinnamon sticks, star anise, bay leaves and dusted with turmeric, hot paprika, ground ginger, and chile flakes go into the oven to cook. Parsnips, carrots, and shallots lay together in their dish, soon to be met with another friend, pumpkin, though sweet potato showed up in lieu of in this particular medly. When nearly softened through (recipe states 50 mins but it took at least another 20 for me)in goes an addition of chopped apricot and chickpeas until heated through. I omitted the legume, though added the extra liquid.
                                                              Meanwhile, a bowl of couscous is tossed with oil, saffron and salt, and boiling vegetable stock poured over. I threw together a haphazard veg broth while the roasting was going on, so it may not have been the greatest but was still not half-bad. Tossed in some ginger coins in accordance with the theme. When done, the couscous is then fluffed up wth butter (reduced the amt) and put aside until serving time.
                                                              To serve, stir chopped preserved lemons and harissa into the couscous, ladle over the vegetables and top with a generous ruffle of cilantro leaves.

                                                              I enjoyed this recipe very much. There was nearly a half-half ratio of vegetables to grains, which I loved but The Spouse wasn't fond of. Where's the couscous?, he asked.
                                                              The harissa used was not the finest of quality, next time I'll be sure to make some in advance or purchase the good stuff. Also, the cooking of the veg took much longer than called for, and I ended up covering my baking dish in order to speed up the process. I found the spices in the dish to be almost too faint, and would maybe add extra next time. I drizzled a touch of pomegranate molasses over my serving and loved the tart-sweet flavour it gave to the dish, and of course the flavours of it blended perfectly with its oft-paired partners.

                                                              I would make this again with those minor adjustments. It was a lovely, warming and filling meal using ingredients I almost always have on hand.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                This one sounds wonderful. There is a couscous with roasted vegetables in one of the Barefoot Contessa books that I made and loved, and this reminds me of it. Will have to try. Is adding more couscous one of the changes you'd make next time?

                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                  If I was making it for just my own enjoyment, no I wouldn't, but I always add extra vegetables to everything, if possible. My husband definitely wouldn't eat this again unless there were more grains added, on the other hand...

                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                    Gotcha. We're big vegetable (and carb) fans so I'd probably go with as written. Thanks for the input.

                                                              2. Don't know where I should put this, but here seems as good a place as any. I saw a trailer for a TV series by Yotam Ottolenghi last night. It's on C4 and is called "Ottolenghi's Mediterranean Feast". First episode is on Morocco.


                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                  We probably won't be able to view the program but I have to say the menu:
                                                                  a barbecued leg of lamb with almonds and orange blossom sauce;
                                                                  herb infused cous cous with grilled cherry tomatoes;
                                                                  sweet pastry 'cigars' with an almond and cinnamon filling
                                                                  sounds devastatingly delicious...

                                                                2. Spiced red lentils with cucumber yogurt, p. 221 (UK ed.)

                                                                  This is a flavorful dal, not spicy but well spiced, which became a good one-dish meal. It would be very luxurious if made as written with 4 T. oil for the cooking and 70g butter (that's about 5 T) to finish, but I reduced both fats drastically, using only about 1 T oil and 2 T butter.

                                                                  Split red lentils are soaked in water. The stems from a bunch of cilantro, onion, garlic, fresh ginger, and a mild green chile (jalapeño) are chopped in the food processor. Black mustard seeds are popped in a pot, then sunflower oil and the chopped aromatics go in and sauté for a while, followed by curry leaves and ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, and paprika. Then the lentils and their soaking water are added along with peeled, chopped (canned) tomatoes, a bit of sugar, and salt, and it all simmers until the lentils are cooked. As my lentils soaked a bit longer than the half hour specified, they had absorbed a bunch of water, so I added a bit more to the pot. At the end, chopped cilantro leaves, butter, and lime juice go in. I wanted to make this a more rounded meal, so at this point I also added a thawed package of frozen methi leaves I'd picked up recently at an Indian grocery (if I hadn't had it, I'd have used spinach).

                                                                  The cucumber yogurt is simply Greek yogurt with chopped cucumber and some olive oil. The amounts given are not much - enough for a small dollop on a bowl - so I made more.

                                                                  1. Yogurt flatbreads [with barley and mushrooms], p. 236 (UK ed.)

                                                                    I didn't make the mushroom-barley ragout, though I'd like to sometime, as it sounds good. Instead, I made just that flatbreads as a roti stand-in to have with the spiced red lentils.

                                                                    These come together easily: The dough is made from 140g whole-wheat flour, 140g plain yogurt (mine was low fat), 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and 3 T chopped cilantro. Mix it with hands - I started with a spoon, just to get the yogurt beyond the goopy stage, then kneaded with one hand in the bowl until the flour was incorporated and the dough was smooth. It gets wrapped in plastic and rests in the fridge for an hour, then is divided in six pieces, they're rolled into balls, and the balls are rolled out with a pin to a thickness (or thinness...) of 2mm. This made for fairly small, slightly irregularly shaped pieces. I rolled them out on a silicone mat, and it didn't need any flouring at all. They're cooked in a nonstick skillet in either clarified butter or a combo of melted butter and oil for a couple of minutes per side, until browned and a bit puffed. I used the combo, and spread it on the pan with a silicone brush to avoid using a ton.

                                                                    These are terrific. They've got an appealing nutty flavor and a great, tender texture, and they are so easy to make! I bet they'd be great with some finely chopped scallions in the dough. Again, they're pretty small, so one recipe is right for two or three people as an accompaniment in the way I used them but would be simple to multiply.

                                                                    Highly recommended!

                                                                    1. Sweet Corn Polenta -- p. 266

                                                                      Inspired by the recent discussion about old COTM threads in the September COTM nomination thread, I am ignoring my messy house and hungry family to tell you all about the #1 most requested meal from Plenty in this house. Many of us live in parts of the world where the best fresh local sweet corn is available for sale right now (or very very soon) and I would not want you to miss out on this great recipe:


                                                                      This polenta is *nothing* like what most people think of when they hear the word polenta; it's made from kernels of fresh corn, right off the cob, instead of from dried corn meal. It is pretty much the antithesis of that horrible stuff that comes in a plastic sausage-shaped tube. The texture is almost soupy, and there's absolutely no way you could cut it into slices. So as you contemplate this recipe, just put away your preconceived notions of "polenta".

                                                                      There are two ways to serve this polenta (each pictured on pp 268-269 of the US edition of Plenty) - straight up, with some butter and crumbled feta stirred in at the last minute, or you can also cook this fantastic tomato sauce with big chunks of fried eggplant and put a big dollop of that on top of your polenta. If you have time and are not eggplant-averse, be sure to do that because it really elevates the already awesome polenta.

                                                                      This isn't a quick meal, and it will make a big mess of your kitchen, but it is absolutely worth it because, honestly, hot buttered corn on the cob is delicious, but THIS is now my favourite way to eat corn. There's so much going on here - the intense sweetness of the corn balanced with the acidic but also sweet tomato, gorgeous soft oily chunks of eggplant, sharp and creamy nuggets of feta, that delicious fresh oregano flavour... it's a case of the finished product being way more than the sum of its parts, and if you're using really good local in-season corn it's basically late summer bliss on a plate.

                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                      1. re: geekmom

                                                                        geekmom, sincere thanks for your enthusiastic review of this dish, you inspired me to make it and although I didn't have time to make the eggplant sauce and, I had an execution issue with the corn, this was still the best tasting corn dish we've ever eaten!

                                                                        As you'll see from the pics below, my Polenta looks nothing like the dish in the Guardian article, nor did it resemble the texture of the polenta in the book. The texture of my polenta was ridiculously loose, more like a thick soup than the scrambled egg-like texture depicted in the Guardian shot.

                                                                        I know where I erred. At the point where you remove the corn from the pan with a slotted spoon, the book instructs you to "reserve the cooking liquid". (a step that's omitted in the Guardian article). The book then instructs you to add some of the water into the food processor bowl if the corn mixture becomes too dry during processing. FWIW, my well-drained corn wasn't dry at all and I didn't need to add any water to process it. Here's where I went wrong though. The book (and the article) say to add the processed corn back into the "water pan". I debated whether to pour out the water but I figured if YO wanted you to put it into a "dry pan" he'd have said so...why mention the water if you'd poured it out...right? Wrong! I stirred, I simmered, I raised the heat and stirred some more but try as I might, I had corn soup vs polenta.

                                                                        Nevertheless, as I mentioned earlier this was bar none, the most delicious corn we've ever eaten. The sweetness was remarkable and the salty bursts of feta added a perfect balance and, a welcome textural element.

                                                                        I will most definitely make this again next weekend and I'll keep my fingers crossed that I can still get terrific corn.

                                                                        One other thing I wanted to mention was that my 6 ears of corn yielded 2.5 lbs of corn. In the recipe YO notes "you want to have 1.25 lbs". I found that very interesting. Perhaps corn cobs are much smaller in the UK. Or maybe my Canadian cobs are just enormous!! geekmom I'd be interested to see whether you noticed this?

                                                                        Also worth mentioning, this was the first time I used the Fine Cooking bundt pan method (link below) for removing kernels from the corn cobs and it worked like a charm! I further simplified my clean up by lining my bundt pan with a compost bag so the pan didn't even get dirty.


                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                          OMG! That tip is amazing!

                                                                          IME, most things are bigger in the US - apples, chickens, peaches, boxes of popcorn, bags of crisps (chips), cars.... I know you're in Canada, but I wouldn't be surprised if your corn on the cob was bigger too.

                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                            Just reporting back to say that all was not lost with my delicious-tasting-but-far-too-soupy polenta. On day 2 I further thinned it out with a little chicken stock and a splash of cream. I added some steamed new potatoes to the pot along with some finely chopped tarragon. mr bc grilled up 2 lovely lobster tails. I then cut up the meat and served in the polenta-soup that I garnished with chopped green onions and Aleppo pepper. This was ridiculously good!!

                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                              Nice, BC - that looks quite delicious & seems like a great use of the leftover polenta-soup!

                                                                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                              BC, I don't have my book with me but I am in the UK on vacation and have been investigating, and I don't think the sweet corn here is all that much smaller than the stuff I buy at home. I almost never need the quantity of corn YO suggests in the recipe -- last time I made this, I doubled the recipe so I had a dozen ears of corn and only ended up needing 8. I guess they overestimate in case your corn is very small, or in case you are not able to get all the corn off each cob?

                                                                              By the way, thanks for posting that video with the bundt pan technique for removing corn kernels. I don't have a bundt pan, but maybe I need to get one just for this!

                                                                            3. re: geekmom

                                                                              Sweet Corn Polenta p. 266

                                                                              After reading geekmom's and Breadcrumbs's reviews, I knew I wanted to make this right away. So glad I did. The "polenta" was rich, sweet and full of summer corn flavor. I also made the eggplant sauce (pan frying the eggplant (briefly soaked in water) in just a T of oil for a half recipe). The eggplant sauce adds another dimension to the dish, but I'd be happy to lap up spoonfuls of the polenta by itself.

                                                                              -thanks to bc for clarifying what was meant by the "water pan."

                                                                              1. re: BigSal

                                                                                BigSal, thanks so much for your review and I'm glad you enjoyed this dish. I wish I'd had a chance to try it again but I've been travelling so much lately. We still have fresh corn in Ontario though so if time permits, I hope to make it this week.

                                                                            4. Puy Lentils Galettes (US p. 208)

                                                                              The idea of vol-au-vents wasn't very appealing but since YO said that lentils are delicious on their own I decided to give the recipe a try. Glad I did as they are indeed delicious :) A salad of sorts or a side to be served at room temperature.

                                                                              Lentils are boiled with bay leaves until soft. Cumin and coriander seeds are toasted and ground. Onion is fried in olive oil until soft and golden; then mixed with crushed garlic and spices. All is mixed with lentils and yogurt, spinach, cilantro, mint, juice of lemon and salt/pepper are added along with more olive oil. I didn't have spinach which would be wonderful in this dish and didn't think that extra oil is needed. Other than these two changes I followed the recipe.

                                                                              Creamy from yogurt, tangy from lemon, fragrant from freshly toasted spices this definitely will be made again.

                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                              1. re: herby

                                                                                I agree - it's a great recipe. I made it with the puff pastry & liked the contrasting texture, but the lentils on their own were so yummy!

                                                                                1. re: geekmom

                                                                                  Did you report on it? I was looking through the thread but didn't see any reports.

                                                                                  1. re: herby

                                                                                    Looks like qianning has a rave review above: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7819...

                                                                                    I also recall oakjoan loving these in the pre-COTM thread. The lentils sound fabulous, and I will certainly be making them. The whole deal with the puff pastry seems like it would be a good dinner-party dish.

                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                      I still love this dish, and have made it a few times since posting. And YO's directions on cooking the lentils with bay followed by the tempering with o. oil, onion, garlic has become my "standard" for simple lentils to be served with a simple yankee or euro style piece of fish, especially grilled blue fish or salmon.

                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                        The reason I missed it because it is indented - difficult to read line by line when there are so many comments.

                                                                                        I served it with cod - interesting how we both independently decided on fish :)

                                                                                      2. re: herby

                                                                                        Nope, you didn't miss my report. I am somewhat obsessed with this book and have cooked probably half the recipes in it; I wish I had time to write up reports for all the ones that haven't been covered already in these COTM threads.

                                                                                        BTW, herby, did you know you can hit control-F or command-F in your web browser, and a small box will pop up to let you search for all instances of a particular word on the page? I use that feature a lot to see if someone has already written about a recipe that I want to review.

                                                                                        1. re: geekmom

                                                                                          I did not know that - many thanks GM, great help that I will use from now on.

                                                                                  2. Kisir, page 239 [UK Edition]

                                                                                    New Year's Eve dinner turned into an Ottolenghi-fest with recipes from Plenty, Jerusalem, and Ottolenghi, and what a feast it was! I packed up my kitchen, threw it in the back of the car, and headed to a friend's house several hours away.

                                                                                    To begin, onion and olive oil are sautéed over medium heat, before some tomato puree is added. Next in are some tomatoes, diced, and then the water. When the water comes to a boil, remove from the heat and stir in the bulghar. Next, add pomegranate mollasses, lemon juice, parsley, spring onions, chillies, garlic, cumin and salt/pepper.

                                                                                    My friend, who had already consumed a "New Fashioned" or two from Smoke & Pickles, missed the water step, so we threw that in after all the aromatics. I used tomato paste instead of puree. Didn't matter a bit! This stuff was amazing! [This recipe took about 10 minutes to make assuming everything was measured and prepped. Great weeknight dish.]

                                                                                    The recipe calls for 400grams of bulgar to serve 4. I only brought 370grams and needed to feed 6. I don't know who Mr. Ottolenghi is feeding, but my 370 grams of bulghar created 14 servings easily.

                                                                                    To serve, I placed some Kisir into lettuce cups and then drizzled with olive oil. Totally forgot to top with the mint leaves and didn't have pomegranate seeds. Menu included Lamb Shawarma [Jerusalem], sweet potato gratin [Ottolenghi], Kisir, and a simple onion and tomato salad with a lemon dressing.

                                                                                    Lunch the next day, we ate the Kisir cold and it was still fabulous. Great find in a great book!

                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                                                      Sounds like a terrific meal! I've made Claudia Roden's kisir from TNBOMEF, and it sounds like I need to try Ottolenghi's as well. By the by, my understanding is that tomato purée is UK-speak for what we know as tomato paste on this side of the Atlantic, so you weren't actually altering anything. Oh, and it seems like many of the grain dishes in Plenty make twice the servings they claim, at least.

                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                        Thanks Caitlin! I plan to try Roden's version now. Kisir is going to move into regular rotation.

                                                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                                                          Just for kicks, I compared Roden's kisir recipes (in TNBOMEF and Arabesque) and Ottolenghi's, wondering if the latter would be a riff on the traditional. Roden doesn't include cumin, and lists pomegranate molasses as a variation, but otherwise the ingredients in all three are the same (Roden uses slightly different proportions of ingredients in the recipe in each book).

                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                            Just this weekend, coincidentally, I noticed yet another version of this dish in Martha Rose Shulman's Mediterranean Harvest.

                                                                                            1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                              Azat Tasci's bulgur wheat with red pepper paste (Kisir) from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian for a fourth version in the COTM archives.

                                                                                        2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                          Yes indeed tomato puree is that very thick stuff that comes out of a tube. It's what we would call tomato paste in NZ. I usually use passata in the UK when my kiwi recipes ask for tomato puree.