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January 2013 COTM: JERUSALEM -- Vegetables; Beans & Grains; Soups

blue room Dec 31, 2012 11:13 PM

Please report here for these recipes:
Vegetables 24 - 93
Beans & Grains 94 - 129
Soups 130 - 149

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  1. f
    Frizzle Jan 1, 2013 02:39 AM

    Conchiglie with yoghurt, peas & chilli pg 111 UK edition

    This was delicious. Tasty, filling and refreshing. It's a perfect summer weather pasta dish. This is definitely a keeper and the husband has request that I put it on 'the rotation'. It's a very quick to make so can easily be a weeknight meal.

    Yoghurt, peas, garlic and olive oil gets processed. Cooked pasta is added to this sauce, some more cooked peas, feta, basil, salt and white pepper are then added and gently tossed.
    Finally pine nuts and chilli are fried and poured on top (some wonderful sizzling here). I had my husband cooking the pine nuts as I was assembling and tossing the salad so when it got to our plates the yoghurt sauce was still warmish from the pasta.

    We did make a couple of alterations. We halved the amount of garlic as it's raw in the dish and we didn't want to be too pungent on a weekday. Secondly we doubled the amount of pine nuts and chilli (and a bit more oil for frying them) as they sounded so delicious we wanted extra on our plates.

     
    26 Replies
    1. re: Frizzle
      L.Nightshade Jan 5, 2013 01:00 PM

      (Pasta rags) with Yoghurt, Peas & Chile, page 111, US edition.

      Last night Mr. NS grilled lamb chops that I had marinated in harissa and preserved lemon. Thanks to Frizzle's report, and beautiful photo, this dish sprung to mind as the perfect side. I had the usual ragamuffin pasta scraps leftover from cutting ravioli, so I used that in place of the conchiglie. I followed Frizzle's lead, and added extra pine nuts and chile (I used Urfa biber).

      This was delicious, and different. A perfect accompaniment to the spicy lamb. It could easily stand on its own for those of us who don't need meat with every meal.

       
       
      1. re: L.Nightshade
        f
        Frizzle Jan 5, 2013 01:11 PM

        I'm glad you like it. Your photo looks wonderful. We had this again last night, my husband is obsessed with it now I think. This time I used a low fat yoghurt in and attempt to be healthier and the sauce (unsurprisingly) was a lot more watery than with full fat Greek yoghurt.
        We can't get many different types of chili here in Australia due to strict bio-security rules. No aleppo even. So I use some very generic chili flakes with the addition of smoked paprika as suggested by the book.

        1. re: Frizzle
          L.Nightshade Jan 5, 2013 02:53 PM

          I think the chile flakes with smoky paprika sounds like a great solution. Urfa biber is a bit smoky, and the smokiness really does add something to the dish.

          I didn't realize it was so hard for you to get the variety of chiles there! But I have an old friend who started a Mexican food and salsa company in Australia, and I do recall that she has to grow all her own chiles!

        2. re: L.Nightshade
          greedygirl Jan 5, 2013 04:02 PM

          This is another dish I've had in Turkey a lot. It sounds wrong but is lovely.

          1. re: greedygirl
            f
            Frizzle Jan 5, 2013 05:58 PM

            My father used to attempt to replicate his Syrian mother's version of the pasta and yoghurt combo and still laments that he can't get it tasting quite right. He recalls eating it cold from the fridge on a hot day rather than having it warm like this recipe. I'm going to email him this version to try to see if we can't get him closer to the flavour of his mothers.

            1. re: Frizzle
              JungMann Jan 8, 2013 12:15 PM

              This recipe for pasta and yogurt with chiles and peas had piqued my interest particularly because I also love the macaroni bil laban that your father seems to crave.

              1. re: JungMann
                f
                Frizzle Jan 8, 2013 05:58 PM

                He used macaroni too - I wasn't sure if it was because that was the same pasta as what his mum used or if it was because there was limited choices of pasta styles in New Zealand in the 80s. I think he just mixed crushed garlic into the yoghurt with s&p. Maybe some olive oil. If you have a recipe that differs to this I would love to get it to pass on to him.

                1. re: Frizzle
                  JungMann Jan 9, 2013 06:48 AM

                  Macaroni (with allowances for different pronunciations) is the generic Arabic word for pasta so both your father's elbows and my rotini can be called macaroni bil laban. The sauce for the dish consists of nothing more than full fat strained yogurt with garlic paste and salt. It is important to crush the garlic in a mortar or mash it with salt to get a smooth sauce. Toss your pasta with the garlic yogurt, drizzle with beurre noisette (not olive oil) and top with Aleppo pepper (or your closest approximation) and serve. If you want to gild the lily you can add dried mint, parsley and/or toasted pine nuts. If you chill the pasta overnight, the flavor of the raw garlic will mellow out so you may want to add another clove depending on your taste preference.

                  1. re: JungMann
                    f
                    Frizzle Jan 9, 2013 04:47 PM

                    Thank you JM!

        3. re: Frizzle
          w
          Westminstress Jan 8, 2013 08:17 PM

          Fusilli with Yogurt, Peas and Chili

          Made this tonight and loved it. This is a fantastic weeknight meal for a few reasons. 1. It is super fast - everything comes together in the time it takes to boil water and cook pasta. 2. It is actually satisfying as a one-dish meal. You really don't need anything else with it except for maybe a simple salad, and even this would just be for the sake of textural variety in the meal. 3. With hothouse basil and frozen peas this dish can be made year round with great success. If you skip the basil it would still be good and is a total pantry meal.

          The tangy, garlicky yogurt and feta are so good in the pasta and the sweet peas and herbal basil offset it nicely. Crunchy pinenuts on top add good contrast. Yum.

          1. re: Frizzle
            lilham Jan 12, 2013 04:35 AM

            Conchiglie (Macaroni) with yoghurt, chilli and peas, UK iBook edition

            This is a very easy but satisfying one dish meal. It's very toddler friendly too (if your little one only eats pasta, fritters and eggs). Because everything is mixed in at end, the toddler got a serving without chillied pinenuts. If yours younger, you can also the salt in the yoghurt sauce for the baby.

            I substitute the Turkish chilli flakes with Indian chilli flakes and a pinch of smoked paprika. I will also make more of the chilli pinenuts next time as they are really moreish. Also I wasn't organised enough to have defrosted frozen pea for the yoghurt sauce. So I cooked the entire amount of peas required in water and used cooked peas for the sauce.

            It is more suitable as a summer dish as the pasta is stirred into cold yoghurt and feta, but it's ok today as it isn't too cold.

            1. re: Frizzle
              JungMann Jan 15, 2013 05:42 PM

              Rotini with yogurt, chilli and peas

              As everyone else has stated, this is quite a satisfying, easy to assemble, one-pot meal. Yogurt and pasta is an Eastern Mediterranean favorite of mine, but several things set this recipe apart. Firstly though the recipe is simple, the interplay is really quite complex. There is sweetness from the peas contrasted against the heat of the chilli and pepper which is tamed by the cool flavor of the basil. The toasted nuts (I used almonds) add textural interest while the feta adds a briny element that keeps the dish from being too one note. I can imagine that made with fat summer peas, this will be a very popular supper to pull from the fridge on the weekdays.

              1. re: Frizzle
                LulusMom Feb 1, 2013 03:40 AM

                My turn on the Conghili with yogurt, peas and chili. Big hit with all of us - so much better than it sounds. But I have to say - awfully rich. So rich that I doubt I'd make again. Still and all, delicious.

                1. re: LulusMom
                  lilham Feb 1, 2013 05:02 AM

                  Is it rich taste wise? Or do you mean it's very high in fat? Would it help if you switch to low fat or 0% fat greek yoghurt?

                  1. re: LulusMom
                    Gio Feb 1, 2013 05:11 AM

                    What could be so "rich" about this dish, LLM? Yogurt, peas, pinenuts, feta, chilies... I'm making this tonight. Yup, I am. Using left over macaroni too. JungMann used almonds instead of pinenuts and I like that idea. I'll let you know how it all turns out...

                    1. re: LulusMom
                      LulusMom Feb 1, 2013 05:18 AM

                      Yes, used full fat yogurt (someone upthread had mentioned that it wasn't as good with nonfat; should have gone half-fat). Then there is the feta, and the olive oil that the nuts are cooked in. Absolutely delicious, but I paid for it in the middle of the night.

                      1. re: LulusMom
                        Gio Feb 1, 2013 05:26 AM

                        Ah yes. Full fat yogurt. The second time Frizzzle cooked the the recipe she used nonfat yogurt, that's what I'm going to do but I'll drain it first to reduce the liquid. It's a shame you were distressed after the meal, LLM...

                        1. re: Gio
                          LulusMom Feb 1, 2013 05:42 AM

                          I learned my lesson on the full fat (hangs head in shame).

                          1. re: Gio
                            w
                            Westminstress Feb 1, 2013 08:22 AM

                            I think the full fat yogurt is what contributes to making this such a satisfying dish! I'd at least use 2% (the 2% greek yogurt is usually acceptable to my mind). I'd be worried about wateriness/sourness with nonfat yogurt.

                          2. re: LulusMom
                            lilham Feb 1, 2013 07:01 AM

                            I can't think of anything that's better with the low fat version. But sometimes we just have to!

                            1. re: lilham
                              LulusMom Feb 1, 2013 07:34 AM

                              Exactly - especially with so much of it (and the cheese, and the oil).

                            2. re: LulusMom
                              beetlebug Feb 1, 2013 08:43 AM

                              I forgot to post that I made this pasta dish as well. I used 0% fat greek yogurt from TJs and I thought it tasted delicious. I also added a head of kale in with the pasta cooking water so that probably cut down on the richness as well. We really enjoyed this, esp the pine nut/chile flake oil part. This would be a great dish in the summer when my basil is in full bloom.

                              The problem I have with dishes like this is that I need a more solid protein. I'm blanking on what I served this with though. Maybe a roasted chicken? No clue whatsoever.

                              1. re: beetlebug
                                Gio Feb 1, 2013 09:02 AM

                                0% fat Greek yogurt from TJ's... That's exactly what I have!! (I have a little every morning w a small drizzle of local honey.) perfect. Thanks for posting BB...

                          3. re: Frizzle
                            Gio Feb 9, 2013 05:18 AM

                            Conchiglie with Yogurt, Peas and Chile, Pg 111, US Edition

                            At long last. We made this recipe last night. I borrowed from each of the people who made it before me. Used Trader Joe's 0% fat Greek yogurt and Israeli feta, almonds, reduced the amount of oil. I'm probably forgetting other adaptations but those are incidental anyway, and nothing was substituted.

                            My husband is still raving about it. He Loved everything about the dish. I liked the combination of ingredients and didn't think it was too "rich". However, it didn't thrill me for some reason. Expectations are so high for these COTM recipes that when we finally get to taste the end product if there isn't instant wow-ness we - read I - feel let down somehow. Silly I know but there it is.

                            We were able to have a warm not cold dish so perhaps that took something away? There's some left in the fridge that I'll taste later today and see if I feel differently. The side dish was Gordon Hamersley's sweet and sour cabbage. The dishes didn't play off each other as I had wished but it was a solid satisfying meal.

                            1. re: Frizzle
                              Savour Aug 8, 2013 01:01 PM

                              I made this with fusilli - I also screwed up and blended all the peas into the yogurt, so the sauce was pretty soupy. Used Aleppo pepper so the spice was pretty mild. We enjoyed it - I'm not generally a big pasta fan but this was different enough that I'll make it again.

                              1. re: Frizzle
                                j
                                Joburger Sep 8, 2013 05:18 AM

                                After months of ogling this recipe (and doubting it could taste as good as claimed) I finally made it for my meat loving family of teenage boys. And they liked it. And husband and I loved it! Used low fat 2% Greek Style yoghurt and loved the pale cool green of the pea yoghurt puree, the creamy crunchy spicy warm pine nuts, salty feta and fresh basil. It seems to me that like many Ottolenghi recipes it's best to include the ingredients as he specifies or the tastes might not come together as well as intended.

                              2. Allegra_K Jan 1, 2013 05:15 AM

                                Fava Bean Kuku (half recipe) pg 39

                                Happy New Year, everyone!

                                I kicked off the NYE celebrations last night by delving deeply into Jerusalem's mezze-style dishes, and this lovely frittata/tortilla-like dish was the first to catch my eye.

                                To start, barberries are briefly soaked in a simple syrup. I haven't yet gotten to the Persian market, so used the suggested chopped dried sour cherries, soaking those as well, tho perhaps I shouldn't have as they were sweet-ish already and I've heard that the barberries are quite tart and perhaps need that treatment more than the cherries.

                                A cream/water mixture is heated with saffron and left to infuse with flavour for 30 mins. Meanwhile, onions and then garlic are cooked and then blanched fava beans get tossed in to the blend. I could have sworn that there was a bag of fava beans in my freezer, however I was only able to locate edamame--same coloured bag. Oops. Edamame kuku it was.

                                Eggs are beaten with flour, baking powder, mint, a good-sized handful of dill, s&p and the saffron cream, the barberries and then the cooled onion/fava mix. All this gets poured into a pre-heated oven-proof nonstick pan and cooked until eggs are just set.

                                Since this was a half recipe, I didn't have the right sized non-stick pan, so I wet and crumpled up some parchment to fit my (8 inch) hot pan and poured the egg mix over it. This seemed to work quite well and prevented that browned bottom that I so dislike with egg. Reduced the cooking time accordingly.

                                I really enjoyed this dish. I was concerned that the dill would overwhelm the other flavours but it really mellowed out, mingling with the mint and letting the other components sing. There was a surpising sweetness to the kuku, from the cherries no doubt, perhaps not so much with the original ingredient, but I liked it just the same. Served this at room temperature cut into wedges. Well recieved by all. A great introduction to this book!

                                 
                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Allegra_K
                                  geekmom Jan 7, 2013 01:15 PM

                                  Broad Bean Kuku (aka Fava Bean Kuku) - p 39 (UK ed)

                                  It's back-to-school day here, and I wanted to give the geeklings something healthy and substantial for lunch to help encourage their brains to get back into learning mode. This dish fit the bill.

                                  Please refer to Allegra_K's summary above on how to make this dish.

                                  In spite of soaking the barberries in a sugar/water syrup as instructed, they were still extremely tart and really dominated the flavours in the kuku. I should maybe have done a better job ensuring they were evenly distributed in the pan, but because you pre-heat the pan in the oven that means when you pour in the mixture it immediately starts cooking, and I didn't want to mess with it too much. This resulted in some sections of the kuku with lots of barberries, so they were quite sour. A big dollop of greek yogurt helped to tame the sourness (not to mention the extremely potent garlic flavour -- I only used 3 cloves, but this was still REALLY garlicky! Not a problem for us but I feel badly for Mr Geek when he comes home from work, haha.)

                                  Also, for the broad beans, I used frozen beans in the pods. The recipe doesn't specify whether you should pop them out of their skins after you blanch them. I decided to go ahead and do this. They really lost a lot of their texture by the time they made it onto the plate - to be honest, they were kind of mushy - and I would like to try this again with fresh beans to see if they might be a little more toothsome.

                                  On the whole this was an interesting dish and made a lovely hot lunch but I would definitely make some changes next time to create a more balanced flavour profile.

                                   
                                   
                                  1. re: Allegra_K
                                    delys77 Jan 8, 2013 11:31 AM

                                    Fava Bean Kuku Pg. 39 (UK ed)

                                    I seem to be playing catch up with some of my reviews these days. I made this recipe a few days ago and I am just getting around to posting about it now.

                                    Overall it was pretty good, but I have to say I was a little underwhelmed. It may simply be the result of user error on my end, and I am glad to see that both Allegra and Geekmom enjoyed the dish, but for us it was a little ho hum. There is quite a bit of onion, garlic, and dill, plus you have the barberries to punch up the tang, but for some reason when you put it all together it seemed like there were far too many fava beans, so much so that it was almost a fava cake lightly bound with egg. While I like fava beans, I found they dominated the recipe, and not in a good way.

                                    My other quibble with the recipe is the saffron infused cream, which again due to the amount of fava beans you really can't detect. Saffron is a lovely, and very pricey ingredient, when I use it I expect it to contribute at least some colour if not some flavour to the the dish, but in this case the dominant colour was the pale green of the favas with flecks of crimson from the barberries, and again the flavour of the saffron was lost.

                                    It is entirely possible that the lack lustre results were my fault. While I did try my best to execute the recipe correctly by weighing the ingredients and following the directions closely, we all know user error could also be the issue.

                                     
                                    1. re: delys77
                                      geekmom Jan 8, 2013 11:52 AM

                                      I agree about the saffron flavour, actually, and forgot to mention that yesterday. In our case it was the very potent garlic flavour that was the dominant taste so I couldn't really taste either the beans or the saffron. I really have a hard time judging how much garlic to use because the Red Russian garlic that I get from the farmer's market is so damn potent.

                                      Did you leave your broad beans in their pods?

                                      1. re: geekmom
                                        delys77 Jan 8, 2013 11:59 AM

                                        Yes I did leave them in their pods as he didn't instruct to do otherwise. In the Meatball with Fava and Lemon recipe he did provide instructions to do so, therefore I assumed that since he hadn't specified in the Kuku recipe that it wasn't necessary.

                                        I suspect that it might help as the it would cut the volume of the beans in the recipe quite a bit.

                                        Garlic wise I used the standard hard neck garlic and it wasn't overpowering, but I do recall getting Red Russian Garlic from the Okanagan last year, and it was quite potent indeed.

                                      2. re: delys77
                                        Allegra_K Jan 8, 2013 12:58 PM

                                        Now I wonder if I would have liked it as well as I did if I didn't use substitutions. It looks wonderful, though!

                                        1. re: Allegra_K
                                          delys77 Jan 8, 2013 01:19 PM

                                          Thanks, it did come out nicely! I definitely think Ottolenghi and Tamimi do a good job of creating recipes withe excellent visual appeal.

                                    2. Allegra_K Jan 1, 2013 05:17 AM

                                      Pureed Beets with Yogurt and Za'atar p.53

                                      Never having had the yogurt-beet combination before, my taste buds were in for a pleasant surprise! This shockingly hued dish certainly added some vibrant colour to the mezze spread with a taste to match.

                                      Roasted beets get processed to a smooth paste with garlic, chile, and greek yogurt, and then mixed with olive oil, salt, date syrup, and za'atar. Garnish with green onions, chopped hazlenuts and crumbled goat cheese (which I omitted).

                                      This comes together very quickly, especially if one roasts the beets the day before as I did. I love the way this is served: smeared out on a plate and sprinkled with various colourful toppings, then drizzled with additional olive oil. It looked absolutely beautiful. Tasted great, too! It was sweet with just a hint of heat in the background, slightly tangy from the yogurt and musty from the za'atar. I served this with plenty of flatbread for hearty dunking. My spouse really loved this dish and declared it the winner of the evening.

                                       
                                      23 Replies
                                      1. re: Allegra_K
                                        roxlet Jan 7, 2013 03:32 PM

                                        How do you think this would be without the date syrup? I wouldn't mind this less sweet, I think...

                                        1. re: roxlet
                                          herby Jan 7, 2013 06:31 PM

                                          I made this beet dish too and liked it. I did not use date syrup because I did not have it then but now that I do have and love it, I think date syrup will add another amazing layerof flavour. The dish was great without it but next time date syrup is going in for sure!

                                          1. re: roxlet
                                            d
                                            DebHo Jan 18, 2013 07:42 AM

                                            I found that maple syrup is a good substitute for date syrup.

                                          2. re: Allegra_K
                                            beetlebug Jan 11, 2013 08:21 AM

                                            Pureed Beets with Yogurt and Za'atar p.53

                                            This dish was ok. It was very pretty but it didn't do much for me and I'm a beet lover. My version was more watery so it didn't seem like a dip. I'm not sure why that happened but I may have over processed the dip in the food processor. My beets were cooked but maybe should have cooked longer since the dip wasn't smooth. I could see bits of it everywhere.

                                            I'll likely revisit this dish because I do love beets and yogurt. I make the one from Wolfert's Arabesque in the summer and it's refreshing.

                                            1. re: Allegra_K
                                              bunnylicious Jan 15, 2013 07:42 PM

                                              I made a salad version of this recipe, basically chopped the beets and used the other ingredients for the dressing. Didn't use goat cheese. Used maple instead of date syrup. Fantastic, though if I make it as a salad again I will reduce the amount of yogurt a bit.

                                              1. re: bunnylicious
                                                w
                                                Westminstress Jan 16, 2013 12:51 PM

                                                What a great idea! I think beet salad would go down better than beet purée. In making the dressing, did you follow the proportions as given by YO?

                                                1. re: Westminstress
                                                  bunnylicious Jan 16, 2013 03:03 PM

                                                  I followed the recipe as written minus the goat cheese. Combined everything as a salad dressing for the beets. Worked out great but I would reduce the amount of yogurt.

                                                2. re: bunnylicious
                                                  c
                                                  cheesecake17 Jan 16, 2013 01:43 PM

                                                  I just boiled beets today for dinner tomorrow night. I'm definitely going to make the salad version of this.

                                                  1. re: cheesecake17
                                                    c
                                                    cheesecake17 Jan 18, 2013 01:34 PM

                                                    Update... We loved it! No cheese, since I also made a mushroom and cheese tart. The dressing was delicious. Definitely will be repeated

                                                    1. re: cheesecake17
                                                      bunnylicious Jan 23, 2013 07:58 AM

                                                      Glad you liked it :)

                                                      1. re: bunnylicious
                                                        c
                                                        cheesecake17 Jan 24, 2013 03:25 PM

                                                        I've been eating it for a week now! I actually prefer the dressing with Pom molasses, the sweet tart flavor is delicious

                                                  2. re: bunnylicious
                                                    w
                                                    Westminstress Jan 31, 2013 07:18 PM

                                                    Just checking in to say that I finally got around to the salad version of this dish tonight. We LOVED it! I could not get over this fantastic combination of favors - wow! One of my favorites from the book. I followed the recipe as written except I cut the beets into small cubes. Also I skipped the garnishes. I didn't have hazelnuts or goat cheese, and I skipped the scallions bc my garlic was pretty potent. Oh and for the chili I used my chopped salted chilies (love those!)

                                                  3. re: Allegra_K
                                                    g
                                                    greeneggsnham Jul 28, 2013 06:44 AM

                                                    Pureed Beet with Yogurt and Za'atar p. 53

                                                    PSA: Do not try to make this dish in a Vitamix.

                                                    This was one of those times when I thought I was being clever, but really just prove that I'm a blockhead.

                                                    I had made hummus in my (brand new) Vitamix for a casual dinner party with friends. Frustrated with not being able to get the last couple tablespoons of hummus out of the Vitamix, I was thinking about if I could make another spread type thing that wouldn't mind a little hummus mixed in. Remembered the beet spread from Jerusalem and figured a little chickpea and tahini would go unnoticed in the final product. Luckily, I had some cooked beets in the fridge as well as all the other ingredients on hand. Threw it all into the Vitamix and let 'er rip. Of course, in no time flat, it completely liquified into beet soup. No way you could spread it on a plate. It also turned a very mauve color, not the vibrant red of the book.

                                                    I decided to serve it anyway though, without the cheese and hazelnuts as they would have just sunk to the bottom. It tasted pretty good, although it was in no way a "hit." Live and learn.

                                                    1. re: greeneggsnham
                                                      Gio Jul 28, 2013 06:57 AM

                                                      You have no idea how many COTM blockhead moments I've had, GENH, so thanks for this warning.

                                                      1. re: greeneggsnham
                                                        JoanN Jul 28, 2013 07:10 AM

                                                        Very definitely NOT a blockhead. (Or at least, if you are, so am I.) I've had my Vita-Mix for more than a year now and I'm still underestimating how powerful it can be. A couple of weeks ago I was making the Thai Vinaigrette to accompany the Quick-Sauteed Squid and Bacon Salad in "Smoke & Pickles" and without thinking, followed his instructions to "blend on high until well combined." It was "well combined" all right. It was Thai mayonnaise. Live and learn indeed.

                                                        1. re: JoanN
                                                          g
                                                          greeneggsnham Jul 28, 2013 07:33 AM

                                                          Yes, the VitaMix is a bit of a different animal than a run of the mill blender, huh? Thanks for the fair warning about the "Thai mayonnaise." Love that :)

                                                        2. re: greeneggsnham
                                                          Breadcrumbs Jul 28, 2013 07:25 AM

                                                          I'm glad it tasted good genh...as you say, live and learn. Better it happen when it's a casual dinner party rather than a high stakes event.

                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                            g
                                                            greeneggsnham Jul 28, 2013 07:34 AM

                                                            Yes, I was certainly glad it was a casual affair. And it turned out our guests were Vitamix owners as well, so we got to share our Vitamix hits and misses.

                                                            1. re: greeneggsnham
                                                              herby Jul 28, 2013 08:16 AM

                                                              I did scape pesto in Vitamix recently and though not a disaster it certainly tastes better when made in FP. Basil pesto turned out nice though.

                                                              1. re: herby
                                                                g
                                                                greeneggsnham Jul 28, 2013 08:20 AM

                                                                Why do you think the scape pesto was suboptimal in the Vitamix, but the basil pesto wasn't? I am still trying to figure out what to put in there...

                                                                I was thinking about doing an arugula/chive pesto for dinner tonight. I was going to try it in the VM, any advice?

                                                                1. re: greeneggsnham
                                                                  herby Jul 29, 2013 05:15 PM

                                                                  Sorry, Green, have not stopped by the thread earlier. I think some "pestos" are better as a condiment than a paste and this is the case with scape pesto for me. My daughter who loves it on anything did not like it as much either. When done in FP, a certain amount of texture remains and the mouthfeel is more pleasant. That could be also because this is how I've always done it in the past :) Somehow basil pesto is just fine as a paste. I would do arugula/chives in the FP again because of the texture. VM for me is great when I want to liquefy everything: tomato soup, fresh tomato pure for freezing, kale smoothie, etc. There is a booklet, almost a book that come with it - many good ideas there that I have not explored. Wonder if there is a thread on VM somewhere - would it be useful?
                                                                  Let us know how your pesto turns out!

                                                                  1. re: herby
                                                                    g
                                                                    greeneggsnham Jul 30, 2013 12:54 PM

                                                                    Thanks, herby. I ended up doing my pesto in the vitamix (I have the vitamix fever in a bad way). It was very smooth and paste like, almost creamy mouthfeel. I used hazelnuts (allergy to other options) as well as 2/3 arugula and 1/3 chives and we really enjoyed it. My husband loves arugula and the peppery bite really came through. I used it to dress pasta and the texture was great we thought in that application.

                                                                    Will continue the experimentation and seach for a vitamix thread to stop high jacking this one!

                                                                2. re: herby
                                                                  roxlet Aug 9, 2013 05:23 AM

                                                                  I have found that the basil pesto that is made in the VitaMix tends to brown more easily than that made in the FP. I think that there might be some heat that's generated in the VM.

                                                        3. Allegra_K Jan 1, 2013 06:14 AM

                                                          Spiced Chickpeas & Fresh Vegetable Salad p.56

                                                          Haphazardly threw this salad together after realizing that it would go perfectly with the falafels and pita on the new year's eve mezze table, and that nearly everything else was heavy and fried. I am so glad I tried this one, as it was a welcoming and refreshing addition to the party.

                                                          This is a gloriously crunchy fresh salad consisting of chopped tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, red pepper, and red onion topped with a generous amound of cilantro and parsley. A tangy dressing is made up of olive oil, lemon zest and juice, sherry vinegar, garlic, and sugar, and tossed with the veg.

                                                          Cooked chickpeas (I had some pre-cooked ones sitting in the freezer) get tossed with a heady mixture of warming spices -cardamom, allspice, and cumin- and fried lightly with olive oil for a few minutes. The chickpeas get served alongside the vegetables, with the option of spooning some greek yogurt over the top.

                                                          Even though this was so simple, it was one of my favourites of the evening, and made me long for summer and all of its wonderful produce. This would be even better with sun-warmed, perfectly ripe vegetables. The chickpeas were nice as well. I did enjoy the spices mixed with them, but in the future it will be the salad I crave and not the legumes.

                                                          Despite the fact that I made a half recipe and we (a family of four) picked at this one all night, I have a pile of leftovers, so keep that in mind.

                                                           
                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: Allegra_K
                                                            Allegra_K Jan 4, 2013 06:56 AM

                                                            Just a quick addition here to say that the salad holds up surprisingly well the next day. There is a bit more liquid on the bottom, as would be expected, but all the veggies retained their addictive crunch and it was still very good.

                                                            1. re: Allegra_K
                                                              jpr54_1 Jan 5, 2013 02:19 PM

                                                              I made this tonite to go with grouper with veracruz salsa-
                                                              a cross cultural dinner

                                                              1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                g
                                                                greeneggsnham Jan 6, 2013 05:37 PM

                                                                I made the Fresh Vegetable Salad portion of this recipe and really enjoyed it. The radishes were a surprise delight in this salad for me. I am not terribly fond of radishes in general, and usually omit them. But I decided to pick some up ( trusting the source) and I was happy I added them. The salad really benefited from their slightly water crunch.

                                                                All in all a winner and I suspect I will make this again, maybe even with the chickpeas.

                                                                1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                  Gio Jan 7, 2013 06:55 AM

                                                                  [Spiced Chickpeas and] Fresh Vegetable Salad, Pg. 56, US Edition

                                                                  The vegetable salad without the spiced chickpeas is the suggested side dish for the Kofta B'siniyah on page 195 which was our main dish. It consists of chopped tomatoes, radishes (I used a daikon), cucumbers, red pepper, and red onion. I had to omit the cilantro but did include parsley and substituted apple cider vinegar instead of sherry vinegar in the dressing. We thought the variety of vegetables combined with the mildly sweet yet tangy dressing was a perfect foil for the very well seasoned koftas as each taste sensation enhanced the other.

                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                    r
                                                                    rasputina Jan 20, 2013 10:51 AM

                                                                    I made this today for lunch and everyone thought it was wonderful. I loved the combination of the warm chickpeas and the cool salad. The vinaigrette was really nice and well balanced.

                                                                    This salad is a nice change of pace from our usual Arab salad that doesn't have chickpeas but includes chopped lettuce ( Claudia Roden's New Book of Middle Eastern Food). I really wanted to add fresh mint, since that is usual for me, but I stuck with the recipe since it was the first time making it.

                                                                    As a chickpea fanatic I see myself adding the spiced chickpeas to other salads I make.

                                                                    I made the whole recipe and there was maybe one serving left after the three of us gobbled it down lol.

                                                                  2. JoanN Jan 1, 2013 06:31 AM

                                                                    Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds (page 30, US edition)

                                                                    This wonderful salad has already been reviewed a number of times in both the original “Jerusalem” thread and on the main thread, so I’ll just report my experience with it.

                                                                    Other than halve the recipe (which is very easy to do and served one for dinner) and use a whole wheat pita, I made this as directed. Unlike some others, I had no problems with the thin pieces of pita becoming soggy; they remained crisp until the salad was finished. Nor did I think the vinegar marinade at all too strong. The quartered dates were too much sweetness in a single bite for me so next time I make this I’ll either slice the dates more thinly or perhaps even chop them so they are more evenly divided throughout the salad. Also, when the recipe called for “chile flakes,” I automatically reached for my regular medium hot crushed red pepper. I don’t know whether I didn’t stir it into the pita/nut mixture well enough or whether I thought it just too powerful, but I’m making a note to go with crushed Aleppo chile next time. This is a great salad, one I’m sure will be in regular rotation for many of us for years to come.

                                                                     
                                                                    24 Replies
                                                                    1. re: JoanN
                                                                      bunnylicious Jan 2, 2013 11:53 AM

                                                                      Agreed! This salad presents the perfect contrasts of sweet, tart, crunchy and soft. Loved it.

                                                                      1. re: JoanN
                                                                        Gio Jan 6, 2013 05:52 AM

                                                                        Baby Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds, Pg. 30, US Edition

                                                                        Stunningly delicious, this salad. Like JoanN I halved the recipe, used whole wheat pita which did not get soggy, and used the white wine vinegar which we didn't think was too strong. Unlike Joan I used my "regular crushed red pepper flakes" but didn't think they were too hot.

                                                                        I served the Shakshuka on page 66 along side. These two dishes convinced me that Mr. Ottolenghi is a genius when it comes to combining flavors.

                                                                        1. re: Gio
                                                                          delys77 Jan 14, 2013 12:47 PM

                                                                          Baby Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds Pg. 30

                                                                          This salad was so interesting, and so flavourful. I have to say it is likely one of the best salads I have had in a long while.

                                                                          There are some very strong flavours in the dish with the sumac seasoned nuts/pita that have been toasted in oil and butter (I let my butter go a bit so that the pita/nuts would have a slight brown butter taste), and the pungent pickled onion offset by the sweet dates, all coming together with the tender greens. Great balance, great flavour, interesting texture, a winner all around.

                                                                          The picture below is of the salad and the turkey burgers which I served alongside.

                                                                           
                                                                        2. re: JoanN
                                                                          herby Jan 12, 2013 01:10 PM

                                                                          Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds - page 30.

                                                                          I made all components of the salad to serve for dinner tonight with regular spinach since my produce storedidn't have baby spinach. I am making the whole recipe and strted my marinating slivered dates and sliced red onion in vinegar but there 1t specified wasn't enough to even moisten date/onion mixture. I added another T and there was nothing to pour off after 20 min.

                                                                          My next issue is with frying pita pieces and almonds together. Almonds were done but pita (I used fat white pita) was nowhere crisp and golden-brown. So I had to fish the almonds out (not an easy task!) and continue with pita.

                                                                          All looks and smells delicious and I can't wait to taste it. Did anyone had similar issues?

                                                                          1. re: herby
                                                                            pikawicca Jan 13, 2013 07:14 AM

                                                                            I've been making this salad a lot lately. I don't bother marinating the dates (didn't see that this step added anything), but I do chop them up. I also fry the almonds and pita separately.

                                                                            1. re: pikawicca
                                                                              herby Jan 13, 2013 08:30 AM

                                                                              The salad was incredible - everyone loved it! I'll put a bit less pita next time - I didn't weigh pita and sure that I used more that the recipe calls for. My almonds were slivered and I cut dates into a similar shape. Marinating added a lot to change taste of both, dates and onion, in a good way. Vinegar mellowed onions taking the raw edge off and dates became almost savoury - worth while doing, IMHO.

                                                                              1. re: herby
                                                                                j
                                                                                janeh Jan 16, 2013 07:17 PM

                                                                                The salad was truly incredible. I used kale instead of spinach, and it was as delicious (and not soggy) on day two.

                                                                          2. re: JoanN
                                                                            greedygirl Jan 27, 2013 02:14 PM

                                                                            Made this for a Jerusalem dinner party last night and we all absolutely loved it. An incredibly good salad.

                                                                            1. re: JoanN
                                                                              Caitlin McGrath Jan 28, 2013 09:30 PM

                                                                              Baby spinach salad with dates & almonds, p. 30 (US ed.)

                                                                              Not much to add to the previous raves for this salad. I loved it, and I am not the biggest fan of dates. It's so well balanced. I chopped the dates up to roughly the size of the almonds. I didn't use the pita because I didn't have it or an equivalent, and so I cooked the almonds, sumac, and (Aleppo) pepper flakes in 1 T butter only, and used 1 T olive oil when I mixed up the salad.

                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                w
                                                                                Westminstress Jan 29, 2013 07:07 AM

                                                                                This is good news! I have all the ingredients for this salad except the stale pita and I've been holding off on making it for that reason. I'm sure I'd love the pita but good to know the salad works without it -- I'm going to go ahead and make it without.

                                                                              2. re: JoanN
                                                                                LulusMom Jan 29, 2013 05:25 AM

                                                                                So glad I'm finally getting around to this book (and here it is the last week of the month). I made this salad last night to go with the turkey and zucchini burgers and loved it. Thanks to JoanN's discussion about the dates I cut mine up very small (like Caitlin, probably about the size of the almond slivers) and probably didn't use the whole amount. None of us are big on fruit in our savory. But I thought the date parts worked really well (cut up - I wouldn't have wanted them any bigger), and we absolutely *loved* the pita croutons. I used Aleppo pepper. Not much to add - just another "wow, this is a great salad."

                                                                                1. re: JoanN
                                                                                  L.Nightshade Jan 31, 2013 02:18 PM

                                                                                  Baby Spinach Salad with Dates and Almond, page 30.

                                                                                  This may be my new favorite salad! We loved it. I had no trouble cooking the almonds and pita together; they both came out toasty brown at the same time. I was surprised at how the hot pan sizzled and smoked a bit when I tossed in the sumac. The flavors in this salad are so nicely balanced and complementary.

                                                                                  I served the salad with the turkey burgers, as others have done. It's a perfect paring.

                                                                                   
                                                                                   
                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                                    delys77 Jan 31, 2013 03:16 PM

                                                                                    Lovely presentation!

                                                                                    1. re: delys77
                                                                                      L.Nightshade Jan 31, 2013 03:53 PM

                                                                                      Why, thank you delys! Those rectangular plates make it easy.

                                                                                    2. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                                      LulusMom Jan 31, 2013 04:32 PM

                                                                                      I normally really dislike the mouth feel of raw spinach (kind of squeaky), but this salad has made me a believer. I loved it. Glad it was a hit for you too.

                                                                                    3. re: JoanN
                                                                                      j
                                                                                      JaneEYB Feb 1, 2013 08:55 PM

                                                                                      Baby spinach salad with dates & almonds p.30

                                                                                      This was a great salad as everyone before me has proclaimed. An inspired combination of tender greens, crispy pita, crunchy nuts. spice elements from sumac & chile flakes, sour notes from lemon juice and sweetness from dates (which I slivered smaller as was suggested). I will definitely make this again. I served it with Roasted butternut squash & red onion with tahini & za'atar on p.36.

                                                                                      1. re: JoanN
                                                                                        p
                                                                                        pavlova Feb 3, 2013 06:24 PM

                                                                                        I finally made this salad tonight and we loved it. I'll be making this again and again.

                                                                                        1. re: JoanN
                                                                                          w
                                                                                          Westminstress Mar 10, 2013 07:51 PM

                                                                                          Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds

                                                                                          Finally got around to this salad tonight, and it was just as wonderful as everyone promised. I left out the pita (and cut back a bit on the butter and oil) and it was fine. Heeding advice here, I chopped the dates so they were similar in size to the almonds. Delicious. I haven't used this book much since January, it was fun to be reminded how truly wonderful it is, and I have a few more recipes I want to try in the coming weeks.

                                                                                          1. re: JoanN
                                                                                            Caitlin McGrath Jun 12, 2013 09:42 PM

                                                                                            This past weekend, I made a big bowl of the spinach salad to serve a dozen or so people, and it was a huge, huge hit. While all the dishes at this dinner were appreciated, this salad, with its unexpected and fabulous combination of ingredients, was the thing nobody could stop talking about.

                                                                                            Because I needed to prep all the components much earlier in the day, I ended up using only olive oil to fry the almonds (I didn't use pita), because I was afraid the butter would congeal as the mixture sat. Otherwise, made as written save for chopping the dates smaller.

                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                              g
                                                                                              greeneggsnham Jul 28, 2013 06:47 AM

                                                                                              Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds (page 30, US edition)

                                                                                              Agree. This salad is a total winner. I made this for a casual dinner party with friends and it was the stand out of the night as well.

                                                                                              This one has definitely earned a place in the permanent repertoire.

                                                                                              1. re: greeneggsnham
                                                                                                LulusMom Jul 28, 2013 07:27 AM

                                                                                                Every time this thread pops up I am reminded about this salad and it makes me want to make it again. So thanks to everyone who tries it and puts it back into my mind. Really great salad.

                                                                                                1. re: greeneggsnham
                                                                                                  Allegra_K Jul 28, 2013 08:56 AM

                                                                                                  Wow, there are so many fantastic reviews from this recipe I can't believe I still haven't tried it yet. Thanks for putting it back at the top of my list!

                                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                    LulusMom Jul 28, 2013 04:46 PM

                                                                                                    Try it. Seriously.

                                                                                              2. re: JoanN
                                                                                                Savour Aug 8, 2013 01:03 PM

                                                                                                I liked this, but next time I'd cut down the onions and/or pickle them longer. (I've had a raw onion aversion since my last pregnancy). I loved the "pickling" of the dates and will remember that as a technique for other salads.

                                                                                              3. Allegra_K Jan 1, 2013 07:08 AM

                                                                                                Latkes pg.92

                                                                                                These lovely little potato pancakes were a fantastic addition to the table. Even snacking on the cold, somewhat soggy leftovers this morning, they are still wonderful.

                                                                                                Grated potatoes are rinsed and drained, then spread out to dry out completely on a towel. The spuds get tossed with grated parsnips, chopped chives, egg whites, cornstarch, salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Small mounds are removed by hand from the bowl, squeezed to rid it of some liquid, and pan fried with a mix of oil and butter.

                                                                                                It took me few batches to get the hang of this; at first I was a touch overzealous with the liquid removal, and the latkes were very dry and wouldn't hold together in the pan. Once I got that sorted out, the shreds clung to each other with relative ease, tho occasionally I did have to press with a spatula or add a couple drops of eggy liquid to tame the rogue edges.

                                                                                                These were just marvelous. I loved the woodsy flavours of the parsnip with the potaoes and the peppery bite of these crunchy morsels. Dipped these in Sour Cream & Sumac Sauce (p 200); a great match.

                                                                                                 
                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                  blue room Jan 1, 2013 07:31 AM

                                                                                                  What a feast you put together, I'm in awe!
                                                                                                  Beautiful.

                                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                    BigSal Jan 1, 2013 07:52 AM

                                                                                                    Very impressive spread. Everything looks gorgeous!

                                                                                                    1. re: BigSal
                                                                                                      Allegra_K Jan 1, 2013 08:34 AM

                                                                                                      Thank you, ladies! It was a busy night in the kitchen, that's for sure.

                                                                                                    2. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                      Breadcrumbs Jan 2, 2013 04:29 PM

                                                                                                      Stunning presentation, such a lovely meal. I wish I could have been there Allegra!! ; - )

                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                        Allegra_K Jan 2, 2013 05:39 PM

                                                                                                        Aw shucks, thanks Breadcrumbs!

                                                                                                    3. Allegra_K Jan 1, 2013 07:59 AM

                                                                                                      Falafel p.98

                                                                                                      These spiced chickpea patties were my favourites of the evening. Their irresistable crunchy exterior with the soft and delicate insides were a fantastic addition to the mezze platter.

                                                                                                      Chickpeas that have been soaked overnight get pulsed in a food processor (or, ideally, put through a meat grinder) with onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, and spices such as cayenne, cumin, coriander, cardamom and a touch of baking powder, flour and water. This mix is blitzed until it is finely chopped and holds together well. I found that my mix wouldn't keep together too well at first, so I sprinkled in an additional tablespoon of flour and blended it all a hair longer, which did the trick. All gets chilled for at least 1 hour or until ready to serve,

                                                                                                      The falafels, once shaped into balls or patties with wet hands, get rolled in sesame seeds and then deep fried to a nice and crispy golden brown. Since I'm cheap....err, thrifty....I shallow-fried instead, turning when necessary.

                                                                                                      I made the lovely lemony tahini sauce to go with, and then some. Pita, Yogurt w/Cucumber (p 299), chopped veg salad all paired fantastically with these enticing guys. I really doubted that this recipe would be better than the one I already used, but oh, they were. They were softer, crunchier, and more about the chickpea flavour than about masking it, what with the subtle spicing and restrained use of herbs. I just loved these.

                                                                                                      Whether eaten alone, dunked in tahini sauce, or given the royal treatment--stuffed into a pita with all the fixin's--, they were just great. My go-to falafel recipe from now on.

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      23 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                        BigSal Jan 1, 2013 09:15 AM

                                                                                                        Another tantalizing dish. I haven't tried making falafel at home yet and have bookmarked recipes to try, but I will start with this one first. Curious to know what your previous go-to version was?

                                                                                                        1. re: BigSal
                                                                                                          LulusMom Jan 1, 2013 09:48 AM

                                                                                                          Like Big Sal, I've been meaning to make falafel at home for ages, and just haven't gotten around to it. Until Jerusalem the Mighty Spice version was the top of my list to try. Feeling a little conflicted.

                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                            lilham Jan 1, 2013 09:54 AM

                                                                                                            I have two falafel recipes I fall back on. One from mighty spice, one from the river cottage baby and toddler. I prefer the river cottage one.

                                                                                                            I wasn't going to try this one, but now I'm intrigued!

                                                                                                            1. re: lilham
                                                                                                              LulusMom Jan 1, 2013 10:42 AM

                                                                                                              Thanks lilham. Can you tell me what makes the river cottage one better? How could I tweak the Mighty Spice one to bring it up to snuff? Or should I just go for the Jerusalem one?

                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                lilham Jan 1, 2013 02:16 PM

                                                                                                                The river cottage one has dried apricots so I don't think it's a very traditional recipe. It's strange for a falafel to be sweet but it works and quite moreish.

                                                                                                                But given what Allegra said about using uncooked chickpeas makes falafels less crumbly and soggy, I will say give the Jerusalem one a try first. I agree with her my falafels are a tad crumbly.

                                                                                                              2. re: lilham
                                                                                                                The Dairy Queen Jan 5, 2013 07:27 AM

                                                                                                                Pardon my interruption, but lilham, I have that River Cottage Baby and Toddler Book. Would you mind listing your other favorites from that book?

                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                            2. re: BigSal
                                                                                                              Allegra_K Jan 1, 2013 01:04 PM

                                                                                                              I had tried a few falafel recipes from various online sources, always with tinned or cooked chickpeas, always with soggy, crumbly, sub-par results, until I came across a version in Cook's Illustrated's Best International Recipe, using dried, soaked chickpeas-no cooking but for the frying. This is probably old news for most, but to me it was a revelation in falafel-world. I've just stuck with that recipe since then, and even though I have accumulated better, more thorough Middle Eastern cookbooks since then, I've never tried another until now.

                                                                                                              1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                blue room Jan 1, 2013 03:21 PM

                                                                                                                Allegra_K, you're the first best thing to come along this year.
                                                                                                                Thank you!

                                                                                                                1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                  Allegra_K Jan 2, 2013 07:57 AM

                                                                                                                  Hah, glad I could finally be of some use on these boards!

                                                                                                                2. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                  alkapal Jan 10, 2013 02:20 AM

                                                                                                                  allegra, your falafels look so fabulous!

                                                                                                                  my new lebanese cookbook uses the soaked, dried chickpeas, pulsed in the processor. the author uses, however, quite a bit of parsley in hers,,,so the interior was green. i think she noted that was why she loved that recipe. (i saw you had commented on the low-key herbal component of your falafel).

                                                                                                              2. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                geekmom Jan 1, 2013 03:09 PM

                                                                                                                Wow - you just moved this recipe way up on my to-cook list from Jerusalem. Thank you for your detailed reports, Allegra_K! I love the sound of your NY feast!

                                                                                                                1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                  tcamp Jan 4, 2013 06:38 AM

                                                                                                                  I finally got my copy of Jerusalem from the library and the falafel recipe is the one I'll make first. I've made another recipe with soaked, uncooked chickpeas and it is definitely my preferred method.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                    BigSal Jan 6, 2013 06:22 PM

                                                                                                                    Falafel p.98

                                                                                                                    Thanks to Allegra for highlighting this recipe! I tried the meat grinder method and this confirmed that I need another food grinder. Once I worked through the kinks, the grinder created a wonderful texture. The aroma of the ground chickpea mixture took me back to my colleague years when I first tried falafel. A friend from Saudi Arabia introduced us to it (I was a vegetarian at the time). One taste and I was hooked.

                                                                                                                    These were crunchy, savory, addictive. I had never made falafel previously, but would make this again without question.

                                                                                                                    1. re: BigSal
                                                                                                                      Allegra_K Jan 6, 2013 06:25 PM

                                                                                                                      Oh, phew, I'm glad you liked them as well as I did!

                                                                                                                    2. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                      lilham Jan 7, 2013 07:22 AM

                                                                                                                      Falafel, UK iBook edition

                                                                                                                      This makes the driest and cruchiest falafels I've ever made. Like others have already said, the falafels made this way is a lot less soggy then using cooked chickpeas.

                                                                                                                      I made a half recipe. I used a food processor and blizz in three batches. The mixture would not hold together when I dropped them into the pan. After three failed falafels, I added an egg into the mixture. (I couldn't remember what others did to make their falafels stick together and it's a bit late to look at chowhound with a pan of hot boil oil). That seemed to do the trick. Ottolenghi said to use oil at 180C. I don't have a thermometer so I can't tell the temperature of my oil, but it's definitely far too hot. My falafels were a bit on the blackish side after 3 min in the oil.

                                                                                                                      Next time, I'll try adding more flour (like Allegra_K), but it's delicious enough with the egg. I'll also pan fry them because I just can't control the temperature without a deep fryer. I have a electric stove so adjusting is a very slow process.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                        herby Jan 10, 2013 06:17 AM

                                                                                                                        Falafel
                                                                                                                        I made falafel a couple of days ago but didn't get around to actually cooking it until yeterday. I did not deep fry and next time will try deep fried. Shallow fried they were still very tasty. Mine looked different from Allegra's - they had greenish hue from the fresh herbs that possibly intensified from seating in the fridge for a couple of days. Another winner!

                                                                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                          m
                                                                                                                          MelMM Jan 13, 2013 11:46 AM

                                                                                                                          Falafel, iBook ed.

                                                                                                                          I made these as a finger food to server for football-watching. The basic method has already been described. I used the meat-grinder method. The instructions are to pass the mixture of chickpeas, onions, garlic and herbs through a meat grinder on it's "finest setting". My one and only quibble with this recipe is that it doesn't define what that means. Meat grinders come with plates with different diameter holes, and different models will come with different plates. So "finest setting" could mean very different things, depending upon your grinder. For the record, I used a 3/16" plate. You pass the chickpea mixture through this twice, then add spices (I ground mine in a mortar), and a small amount of flour (I subbed rice flour to make this gluten-free) and water. The mix is refrigerated for an hour or more before shaping and frying.

                                                                                                                          I used a spoon to help shape the falafel, so mine came out kind of football-shaped. Appropriate enough, for the occasion. I weighed the first couple to make sure I was making them the right size. Final yield was 23 falafel. Fried at the temperature recommended in the recipe for the time recommended, and that worked perfectly.

                                                                                                                          Served as finger food with the tahini sauce and zhoug for dipping. These were, in a word, fantastic. The best I have made, and as far as I can recall, as good as any I have eaten. In both flavor and texture, these are perfect. This one is worth the price of the book.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                            geekmom Jan 22, 2013 08:19 AM

                                                                                                                            Falafel - p 98

                                                                                                                            Got a chance to make these last night & I wanted to add to the chorus of approval for this recipe. I used the food processor method, and the falafel balls held together extremely well (it really helps to have wet hands & keep wetting them if you need to while you're forming the balls). I didn't plan ahead so I used the quick-soak method - earlier in the day I covered the chickpeas in water in a saucepan, brought to a boil, then immediately removed from the heat. I was also pressed for time so I didn't leave the mixture in the fridge for an hour; anyone have an idea why the recipe suggests this? Does it help to flavours from the spices permeate the mixture?

                                                                                                                            The result was wonderful. Crispy and nicely browned on the outside, held together wonderfully, lovely and not overpoweringly spicy flavour. This recipe is a winner.

                                                                                                                            Instead of serving the falafels in a pita with all the trimmings as described in the book, we made a batch of the roasted butternut squash & red onions with tahini & za'atar, doubled the tahini sauce from that recipe, and dotted the plate with falafels. This worked extremely well and was very simple for a weeknight dinner.

                                                                                                                            1. re: geekmom
                                                                                                                              lilham Jan 23, 2013 01:44 AM

                                                                                                                              That's a very good idea. Serving the falafels with the roasted butternut squash with tahini sauce!

                                                                                                                            2. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                              Emmmily Feb 19, 2013 08:25 PM

                                                                                                                              Mine turned out dry inside. What did I do wrong?

                                                                                                                              1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                jen kalb Jan 18, 2014 04:52 PM

                                                                                                                                Well Im a real laggard in my participation in this COTM.
                                                                                                                                Made the falafel this week and it is truly fantastic. Ive only made felafel from dried mix and it has always paled vs the most excellent felafel I can find here in NY. This felafel was on the level of the best!

                                                                                                                                I used the kitchenaid meat grinder to grind the soaked chickpeas, herbs onions and garlic (I threw in some crushed cilantro seeds since thats a component of some of my favorite street felafels) I seem to have only one grinder plate so that solved the issue of locating the finest...
                                                                                                                                Since Ottolenghi talked about felafel seasoned with hawajej (p. 226), I made some and modified the spicing somewhat to include it - also added a sprinkling of aleppo pepper since often his seasoning is a bit timid (see below)

                                                                                                                                Forming this into balls was not a problem - I used a cookie scoop and made sure the size of the finished ball was correct. It was a little moist but held together when it hit the oil - my biggest fear was that it would disintegrate.

                                                                                                                                We had two meals from this recipe (5 adult servings altogether) - served with chopped israeli salad, hummus with tahina (Ottolenghi's tahina recipe - great) and zhoug (p.31) - this I modified to add some ground caraway, since his online recipe as well as an alternative recipe I was looking at used it. For the second meal (3 days later) I found that the zhoug had lost some of its zip - I added some hawayej (basically the seasoning spices in the original and a good sized spoonful of indian green chlle paste and it came back from the dead.

                                                                                                                                I think the zhoug recipe calls for too little chile - It just calls for 1 or 2 whereas alternative recipes call of a multiple of that. I would have started with a higher number if I had been thinking but the sauce was so lovely and aromatic when freshly made, that I did not miss the extra chiles.

                                                                                                                                Now that I understand how this goes together, will definitely make again!!!

                                                                                                                                1. re: jen kalb
                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                  Siegal Jan 18, 2014 07:29 PM

                                                                                                                                  Wow you really made an Israeli feast there!
                                                                                                                                  I have to do it one day soon too.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Siegal
                                                                                                                                    jen kalb Jan 18, 2014 07:58 PM

                                                                                                                                    It was wonderful! We fed this to a vegetarian who had lived in NY for 50 years without trying a felafel and she fell in love with the flavors and crunch.

                                                                                                                                    Its really very easy - the 4 min frying is the only actual cooking step involved

                                                                                                                              2. Allegra_K Jan 1, 2013 08:30 AM

                                                                                                                                Swiss Chard Fritters (half-recipe) p.54

                                                                                                                                Although not much to look at, these deep green fritters were indeed delicious.

                                                                                                                                Wilted chard leaves, stalks removed and thoroughly squeezed dry, are processed until smooth with more greenery like parsley, dill, cilantro, and then nutmeg, sugar, flour, garlic and eggs. Once blended, crumbled feta is stirred in by hand. Shape into flattened rounds in a hot pan and fry until slightly coloured.

                                                                                                                                I found that my mix wouldn't blend properly as it was, perhaps due to my half-batch, so I tossed in an extra egg yolk that I had lying around, which loosened things up greatly in the food processor. Also, since I apparently have problems reading a recipe all the way through, I didn't realize that it called for only the leaves of the chard until it was time to cook them, so I had to add some beet greens to make up the additional weight. No matter, as I was using ruby chard anyway and the colour was already pretty intense.

                                                                                                                                These were really nice served with the suggested lemon wedges, or even dipped in the Sour Cream & Sumac Sauce on pg.200. Luckily they tasted much better than their appearance, which was a very dark-almost black-green, lacy sort of 'round'. The briny feta paired well with the earthy flavours of the greens. I did think that the finished product was a touch dry and may add an extra egg for next time, but we did enjoy as is.

                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                  LulusMom Jan 1, 2013 08:54 AM

                                                                                                                                  Um, where do you live Allegra? I ask because I'll be buying an airline ticket to visit next Dec. 31st ...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                    GretchenS Jan 1, 2013 09:18 AM

                                                                                                                                    Allegra_K, what a knock-out feast you made! I had marked many of these recipes to make and I thank you for your careful and helpful notes on them. Happy New Year!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                      f
                                                                                                                                      Frizzle Jan 1, 2013 12:39 PM

                                                                                                                                      I've made this too but subbed spinach for the chard. If using spinach you don't wilt it first. I found my processor struggled with the mix also so the extra egg yolk could be the way to go. In saying that I was using a poor quality mixer. I also added more feta than called for because there was a small amount left over and I get sick of having small bits of feta in the fridge that inevitably go off.

                                                                                                                                      I loved these too. They're not pretty - a scary dark, almost black shade of green. But the taste is wonderful. Earthy spinach with the salty feta and then the dill coming through. I had them cold the next day for lunch too and still enjoyed them.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                        bunnylicious Jan 15, 2013 07:45 PM

                                                                                                                                        Agree, the colour was rather unexpected, but mine turned out light and fluffy and my 11-month old went nuts over them. I served them as a main dish for meatless Monday, but would serve as a side dish next time.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                          geekmom Jan 17, 2013 09:20 AM

                                                                                                                                          Swiss chard fritters - p 54 (UK ed)

                                                                                                                                          These were a bonus side dish yesterday as I was making the beetroot, leek and walnut salad and the only beets available at our supermarket came with the greens still attached. So our fritters were beet green fritters.

                                                                                                                                          These are incredibly easy to make, particularly if you're in the kitchen anyway doing something else. Removing the stems from the leaves is the most taxing part. The finished product is as others have described - a lovely strong green flavour from the greens, the blend of fresh herbs and a great tang from the bits of crumbled feta. The suggestion of serving with lemon wedges was great - those little squirts of lemon juice really helped to build the flavours in the fritters.

                                                                                                                                          The only change I made was to omit the flour. I forgot to add it to the mix as we were cooking three other dishes and got distracted. The mixture didn't seem to be lacking much, though it may have been a tad runny, but once in the pan it held together just fine and tasted lovely.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: geekmom
                                                                                                                                            Goblin Jan 25, 2013 05:31 PM

                                                                                                                                            Swiss Chard (Spinach) Fritters, p. 54.

                                                                                                                                            I'm going to try these again as Geekmom did, with beet greens, which I have left over from the beet and walnut salad.

                                                                                                                                            I had made them last night with spinach instead of chard, and I have to say that the almost black color of the sautéed spinach fritters put me off, to the extent that I couldn't really appreciate their taste. I kept thinking of something more suitable for a Hallowe'en dinner--sorry! I'll try them with beet greens and see if they stay a bit lighter in color when sautéed.

                                                                                                                                        2. p
                                                                                                                                          pluralofcow Jan 1, 2013 12:22 PM

                                                                                                                                          Root vegetable slaw with labneh (page 49)

                                                                                                                                          I made this on Thanksgiving. You cut beets, carrots, celery root and kohlrabi into thin matchstick strips. This is definitely the time consuming part of the recipe! Then you prepare a dressing: heating lemon juice, olive oil, sherry vinegar, sugar and salt until everything is dissolved. Douse the vegetables in the dressing and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Before serving the salad gets a topping of chopped mint, cilantro, parsley and lemon zest. The book calls for serving this with labneh on the side, but we skipped that part.

                                                                                                                                          This is a refreshing way to eat root vegetables in the winter. The flavors are bright and the slaw is versatile. I stuffed the leftovers in some turkey tacos and threw it in some pitas withi hummus as well. Next time I would make slightly more dressing--perhaps my vegetables were larger than the norm, I but I had to add extra vinegar and lemon juice after refrigerating. It tasted a bit flat before.

                                                                                                                                          1. lilham Jan 1, 2013 02:26 PM

                                                                                                                                            Na'ama's Fattoush, UK iBook edition

                                                                                                                                            Pikawicca has already summarised the recipe here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8691...

                                                                                                                                            I made the buttermilk using Greek yoghurt and semi skimmed milk the day before. I substituted tomatoes with baby plum tomatoes, lebanese cucumbers with normal cucumbers (seeds removed) and naan with tortilla. There is a lot of dressing so I will reduce it to 3/4 or 2/3 next time.

                                                                                                                                            I have only had fattoush from mighty spice before. This version is creamier and moister and I much prefer this. Very very easy too.

                                                                                                                                            Edit: I got the feeling that the proportion of milk and yoghurt given by Ottolenghi vs Nigella Lawson is very different. Lawson says 200ml yoghurt and 50ml milk. I thought Ottolenghi is equal proportion of milk and yoghurt but it turns out I misread it! It's 200g yoghurt not 200ml. I also just eyeballed a cup of yoghurt, so the amount of dressing is probably quite far from what the recipe intended.

                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: lilham
                                                                                                                                              Allegra_K Jan 5, 2013 08:34 PM

                                                                                                                                              Na'ama's Fattoush pg 29

                                                                                                                                              I absolutely loved this version of fattoush. It had all the tangy and refreshing flavours of regular fattoush, but with a creamy twist from the buttermilk dressing. The pita held its own in the sauce despite not being toasted and was able to mop up some of the excess liquid while retaining its chew. I made a half recipe, and if I hadn't also made another dish to go alongside it, I would have been able to polish off the bowl on my own. It could make a really great meal by itself. True, there was plenty of dressing near the bottom of the bowl, but it was nothing a few extra swipes with a pita couldn't fix.

                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                              1. re: lilham
                                                                                                                                                delys77 Jan 8, 2013 11:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                Na'ama's Fattoush Pg. 29

                                                                                                                                                I have made fattoush only once before, from a recipe that I found on epicurious years ago, and I had forgotten how delicious it can be. I love the crunch bits of bread with the tangy sauce, and the varied veggie/herb flavours. Extremely refreshing, and quite filling given the bread.

                                                                                                                                                I quite enjoyed the dairy in this version, but then again I am a sucker for dairy. My only quibble is that I went with the buttermilk in the dressing, and for me it was a bit too much. I already cut it back from 400 ml to 300, and next time I might just go with 200 ml. Also, for my partners taste I would cut back the vinegar a little. As is you end up with about 5 tb of acidic ingredients (vinegar and lemon) in about 4 tb of oil, which for some people might be a bit too much. I like astringent dressings, but for those of you who don't you might want to pair back the acid a bit.

                                                                                                                                                I also like the crunchy effect this salad often has so I toasted the bread before it went in. For us that was just right!

                                                                                                                                                I will definitely be repeating this one.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: lilham
                                                                                                                                                  bunnylicious Jan 23, 2013 08:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                  I love traditional fattoush salad. If you omit the yogurt/ buttermilk, and toast the bread, you will essentially have a fantastic version of the traditional salad. The yogurt transforms it into a whole new delicious salad. I toasted the bread but otherwise followed the recipe. I too felt there was a lot of dressing, but it was delicious so it wasn't a big problem :)

                                                                                                                                                2. p
                                                                                                                                                  pluralofcow Jan 1, 2013 06:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Parsley and barley salad (page 80)

                                                                                                                                                  The name off this dish masks how spectacularly good it is. Some crumbled feta is mixed with olive oil, za'atar, coriander and cumin. While that sits, chopped parsley (I used one bunch), a chopped green bell pepper and a few chopped scallions are mixed with about 3/4 cup of cooked pearl barley, and a handful of crushed toasted cashews. The feta is mixed in and the salad is dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of allspice.

                                                                                                                                                  Lots of flavors here, and they all work well together. We ate this alongside the chicken roasted with clementines and arak. It was a nice counterpoint to the sweetness, and I think it would also work very well with richer or heavier dishes.

                                                                                                                                                  20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pluralofcow
                                                                                                                                                    Allegra_K Jan 2, 2013 07:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for pointing this one out, cows! I have always skipped past this recipe, but now will have to give it a good look. It sounds lovely.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pluralofcow
                                                                                                                                                      f
                                                                                                                                                      Frizzle Jan 3, 2013 04:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                      I made this tonight as a last minute salad but didn't add the cashews or the green pepper as I had none at hand. I also reduced the amount of green onion as I knew it was going to be mainly eaten tomorrow and I find green onion gets quite overpowering after a day in the fridge.
                                                                                                                                                      Even without all the ingredients it's a lovely salad. I loved the spongey/slightly chewy texture of the barley in particular.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pluralofcow
                                                                                                                                                        abby d Jan 5, 2013 04:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                        This is my most made recipe from the book and i love it. It's forgiving depending on the colour of your pepper , happy to keep in the fridge for a few days and tonight i made a version without feta which was fine. Well worth making.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pluralofcow
                                                                                                                                                          blue room Jan 6, 2013 04:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Parsley and barley salad p. 80-81

                                                                                                                                                          I can't wait for summer so I can sneak some tomato into this. It's another delicious idea from this book -- I used more barley and less parsley than called for, and red bell pepper rather than green. Did use cashews and feta, and za'atar and coriander and cumin, fresh lemon juice, allspice, garlic, green onion -- oh this is good! I think it would be a natural for a potluck, everyone will want the recipe.
                                                                                                                                                          A+

                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pluralofcow
                                                                                                                                                            p
                                                                                                                                                            pavlova Jan 6, 2013 06:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                            I made this tonight as part of a 'Jerusalem' dinner and it was a big hit! The only change I made was to use red onion instead of scallions (hate green onions). It was fantastic and there is very little left. Will make a note to double the recipe next time.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pluralofcow
                                                                                                                                                              w
                                                                                                                                                              Westminstress Jan 7, 2013 08:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Question on this dish .... do you think it would be a good thing to bring to a potluck baby shower?

                                                                                                                                                              If so, I'd be interested to know whether I should make a double recipe, and if it could be partly or wholly made ahead and still taste good enough to share with others.

                                                                                                                                                              TIA!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Westminstress
                                                                                                                                                                f
                                                                                                                                                                Frizzle Jan 7, 2013 12:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                The leftovers taste great, the parsley gets a bit limper but still holds up. The only thing I would say is that feta is a soft cheese and some pregnant ladies won't eat it due to health concerns.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Frizzle
                                                                                                                                                                  greedygirl Jan 7, 2013 12:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  It's usually made from pasteurised milk though which I think makes it safe to eat while pregnant.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl
                                                                                                                                                                    w
                                                                                                                                                                    Westminstress Jan 7, 2013 01:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Health recommendations in the U.S. say to avoid all soft cheeses, even if pasteurized, because of the risk of listeria. I personally chose not to do this the second time around as the risk is miniscule and I love cheese, but most pregnant women this side of the pond will not eat soft cheeses unless heated bubbling hot, and sometimes not even then.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Frizzle
                                                                                                                                                                    w
                                                                                                                                                                    Westminstress Jan 7, 2013 01:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    That's true, I had forgotten about the cheese thing! I think I will prepare the salad ahead except for the fresh herbs and add those the morning of. And I will bring two versions, one with cheese and a smaller portion without.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: pluralofcow
                                                                                                                                                                  j
                                                                                                                                                                  JaneEYB Jan 8, 2013 07:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Parsley and barley salad p.80

                                                                                                                                                                  This was a great salad and since I usually have all these ingredients in stock this will be a good standby dinner. Actually I missed out the green pepper as I didn't have (and never have) that but it seemed fine without it. It was very fresh tasting and the marinated feta added a good texture and flavor contrast.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pluralofcow
                                                                                                                                                                    BigSal Jan 12, 2013 03:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Parsley and barley salad p. 80

                                                                                                                                                                    Add me to the list of those who think this is a great salad. The combination of spices combined with the freshness of the parsley and the varying textures of the barley, cashews, green peppers and feta, make every bite full of flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pluralofcow
                                                                                                                                                                      Caitlin McGrath Jan 17, 2013 09:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Parsley and barley salad, p. 80

                                                                                                                                                                      Another very satisfied customer here! I loved how this tasted very fresh and green, yet also salty and savory, with lots of crunch. All the spices give it a fairly complex flavor, too.

                                                                                                                                                                      I used the proportions specified, making it, like classic tabbouleh, a parsley salad first and foremost - a big pile of green, as you can see. I weighed the parsley, and one large bunch supplied the 80g called for. Food processor made quick work of chopping it all finely. I inadvertently doubled the amount of coriander seed, but to no detriment.

                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                        herby Jan 18, 2013 05:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        The salad looks beautiful, Caitlin, and the plate is stunning!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                                          GretchenS Jan 18, 2013 08:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          everything herby said!!!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                                            Caitlin McGrath Jan 18, 2013 10:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you. The serving plate is from Tunisia - I couldn't resist buying it when I was shopping at the Spanish Table during our Food of Spain/Moro COTM last year.

                                                                                                                                                                            I ate some of the salad for breakfast, and it held up perfectly overnight.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                            L.Nightshade Jan 24, 2013 02:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            This beautiful photo, and all the great reports, inspired me to make this dish yesterday. Very happy I did!

                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: pluralofcow
                                                                                                                                                                            w
                                                                                                                                                                            Westminstress Jan 20, 2013 12:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Parsley and Barley Salad

                                                                                                                                                                            So my friend's baby shower was today, and I finally got around to making this dish! As it turns out, I didn't cook anything ahead but put it all together in the morning before leaving. I made a double recipe, using proportions as written except that I omitted the green pepper (I don't care for them) and used 3 instead of 4 raw garlic cloves. I unfortunately have a cold that is interfering with my sense of taste, so it's hard for me to comment on the salad. I *think* it was very good, but I couldn't tell you for sure! The salad was mostly eaten up and I got a few compliments so it couldnt have been too bad anyway! Seems like a great salad option for winter and I would like to try again when my sense of taste returns!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pluralofcow
                                                                                                                                                                              L.Nightshade Jan 24, 2013 02:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Parsley and Barley Salad, page 80.

                                                                                                                                                                              I had glanced in the vegetable drawer and I thought I had scallions, but when I went to make the salad, I discovered that they were baby leeks! I sliced them thinly and used them instead of scallions. I also used a red pepper, as I'm not too fond of green pepper. Everything else was done as written.

                                                                                                                                                                              What a wonderful salad! We loved the spices on the feta, the crunch of the cashews, the bright fresh taste of the parsley. And it's so very pretty too. Definitely goes into the do-again file.

                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                                                                                                                                Goblin Jan 25, 2013 05:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Parsley and Barley Salad, p. 41.

                                                                                                                                                                                I loved this salad too-- so reminiscent of tabbouleh in its green freshness, but different enough to deserve its own category. Easy to make and providing more than a hint of summer even without the usual chopped fresh tomatoes of tabbouleh. I served it as a side with the Roasted Chicken with Clementines and arak/Ouzo. The chopped toasted cashews and marinated feta cheese were inspired additions.
                                                                                                                                                                                Leftovers were great, too.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. f
                                                                                                                                                                              Frizzle Jan 2, 2013 03:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              Mejadra

                                                                                                                                                                              You can find the recipe here: http://m.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/...

                                                                                                                                                                              Another winner from this book. Sweet onion, cinnamon, the occasional crunch of a coriander seed. I'm generally useless at cooking rice but this came out perfect. Admittedly the onion does take some time to fry, I did maybe 6 or 7 batches. I managed to pull this off on a weeknight with a couple of cheats detailed below.

                                                                                                                                                                              The recipe goes like this. Cook lentils. Fry sliced onion until golden and crispy. Fry cumin and coriander seeds, add rice, turmeric, allspice, cinnamon, sugar, lentils and water. Cook covered for 15 mins. Remove from heat, cover with a tea towel and lid and sit for 10 mins. Stir in half the onions and use the other half as garnish.

                                                                                                                                                                              I cheated somewhat by doing the rice in a different pot to the onions at the same time rather than use the same pot as instructed by the recipe. I also used tinned lentils. A search on the Internet gave an indication that 250 gram of dry lentils would yield about 750 gram of cooked lentils, so two 400 gram tins went in after rinsing.

                                                                                                                                                                              We ate this with just some chopped up Lebanese cucumbers as a side. I think it would go well with a fish or chicken dish too. Also, the dish itself is vegan so if you are like me and struggle when you have a vegan over this is a great option for something filling and tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                              40 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Frizzle
                                                                                                                                                                                lilham Jan 2, 2013 03:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                I've overlooked this one. I will adopt your method and use a rice cooker (further simplifying this). It sounds like a great vegan rice dish. I think I'll serve it with vegetables like you have too.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Frizzle
                                                                                                                                                                                  Breadcrumbs Jan 2, 2013 04:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  So glad to hear this worked out well Frizzle, it's a dish that immediately appealed and I'm looking forward to making it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Frizzle
                                                                                                                                                                                    herby Jan 4, 2013 06:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    I made Mejadra too with a few modifications. I used cooked leftover brown basmati rice and black lentils bc that is what I had. The onions took a long time to caramelize properly and were delicious. A bit of flour made them clump up together somewhat but this did not take anything away. While the onions cooked, the lentils were boiled. Then I put everything together in a frying pan as Frizzle explains above; instead of water I added lentil cooking water (there wasn't much of it, maybe 1/2 cup) just to moisten everything and distribute spices through the dish. I had it by itself and with chicken with jerusalem artichokes and lemon. I made half of the recipe and even that was a lot but wonderful to have in the fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                                                      herby Jan 7, 2013 06:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Here is a picture (finally got photos off my camera!)

                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Frizzle
                                                                                                                                                                                      BigSal Jan 5, 2013 12:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Mejadara p. 120

                                                                                                                                                                                      This made for a tasty lunch today. I made a couple modifications (I only fried the onions in 1 T grapeseed oil (for a quarter of a recipe) and a 1 t of oil to coat the basmati), but otherwise followed the recipe as written. Even though I missed out on the crispiness of the onions but not frying them (my choice to make it lighter), this was a very flavorful meal. Fragrant, savory, and some sweetness from the onions.

                                                                                                                                                                                      As a side note, I have never had better luck cooking basmati. His recipes have worked spot on for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Frizzle
                                                                                                                                                                                        Breadcrumbs Jan 6, 2013 05:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Mejadra – p. 120 (Canadian Edition)

                                                                                                                                                                                        Fabulous! This is a dish that I’ve enjoyed in variations on a number of occasions when dining out and as much as I love it, I’d only made it at home on one occasion prior to this. I’m delighted to report that this recipe produces outstanding results. We thoroughly enjoyed this dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Big thanks to Fizzle for doing such a terrific job of describing how this comes together and, for sharing a link to the online recipe. It’s definitely worth making if you’re a fan of these ingredients. I did modify the preparation of this dish so I’ll share my changes below:

                                                                                                                                                                                        Since I have (and love) my Zoji rice steamer, I decided to do the rice in there. I toasted the seeds as described and placed them, along with the remaining spices into the rice cooker along w the Zoji suggested amount of water. The aromas coming from Zoji were so enticing. The combination of spices infused the air with such a sweet, exotic fragrance that had everyone commenting how lovely the house smelled. While the rice cooked, I boiled the (green) lentils as set out in the book and once they were drained, I tossed them into the cooked rice along w approx 1 tbsp of EVOO. I didn’t feel any additional oil was needed after doing a quick taste test.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Since this recipe yields quite a large quantity and we planned to serve it over a couple of nights, I decided to fry the onions to order so I just did enough for this meal. I used my All-Clad Windsor pan to fry the flour-dusted onions. I have another recipe that requires a similar preparation of leeks and I find this pan gives me the depth of oil without having to use a large quantity. It’s perfect for frying small batches due to its high sides. If I’m doing larger quantities, I use my wok. I also find that it helps to let the thinly sliced onions (I used a mandoline) drain a little on paper towel before tossing w flour to ensure they don’t get too “gloppy”. I also dump them into a sieve and give them a quick shake to remove excess flour before adding them to the oil. I know it may be tempting to skip the onions but, IMHO, it’s the onions that take this dish from good to great. They really are delicious and, added a nice crunchy texture.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I’d wholeheartedly encourage everyone to make this truly yummy and versatile dish. I’ll be enjoying some for my breakfast tomorrow w a lovely, runny egg atop and a little Sriracha stirred in. For those of you who may have missed it, I’m pasting a link to TorontoJo’s thread in praise of this dish:

                                                                                                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/744475

                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                                                                                          Allegra_K Jan 6, 2013 06:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Lovely! If I didn't have so many veggies to use up first, this would be on the menu tomorrow....in fact your review was so enticing that I may just have to cut my losses with the water spinach and have a go at this anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Frizzle
                                                                                                                                                                                          Allegra_K Jan 8, 2013 02:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Mejadra

                                                                                                                                                                                          This is quite a gussied-up version from the usual 'peasant' dish that I enjoy so much; a rendition fit for company, no doubt. I liked the extra crunch that the flour-dusted onions provided, though I prefer the onions without it, mainly because they clump less and aren't as messy. Mr. Allegro, on the other hand, kept stealing into the kitchen to pick at these crispy alliums until I had to ban him from entering the room lest they disappear completely.
                                                                                                                                                                                          I didn't use as much oil to fry the onions, but for the third batch I fried in olive oil, dumping both the browned onions and the flavoured oil into the pot of lentils to give it an unctuous mouthfeel as per Paula Wolfert's recipe.
                                                                                                                                                                                          I served this with Na'ama's Fattoush, and the excess dressing pooled around the mejadra and was happily blended into the rice; a great replacement for the yogurt/mint/garlic sauce I usually dribble over it. A very nice dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                            BigSal Jan 8, 2013 07:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Adding the onion flavored oil sounds great! Which Wolfert recipe (and book) are you referring to?

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: BigSal
                                                                                                                                                                                              Allegra_K Jan 9, 2013 06:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              It's from The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, Rice & Lentil Pilaf Megadarra. I believe it's an adaptation from Roden's ME classic book. It's more of a simple recipe, the predominant spice being pepper, but it's absolutely wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                              g
                                                                                                                                                                                              greeneggsnham Mar 11, 2013 01:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Mejadra

                                                                                                                                                                                              Count me as another fan, I finally got around to making this dish last week. I followed Allegra's method of frying the last batch of onions in olive oil and then adding that oil to the rice/lentil mix. I thought this was comforting and delicious. I made it to pack in lunches for my husband and I and added a bit of siracha for some heat. Every time I was eating it, I kept thinking, "I need to make a chopped salad to go with this" but actually never got around to that.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I am trying to convert my family to more of a mediterranean diet, so I imagine I will be putting this into the regular rotation. In the future I will probably skip flouring the onion, because it caused a messy crust to form in the bottom of my pan.

                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: Frizzle
                                                                                                                                                                                              lilham Jan 10, 2013 03:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Mejadra, UK iBook edition

                                                                                                                                                                                              I made this last night, but forgot about the yoghurt with cucumber. (The authors suggested serving it with yoghurt with cucumber, or just plain greek yoghurt). I loved it and didn't find it too dry without the yoghurt, but mr lilham did. So definitely remember to get some non-flavoured yoghurt (or a tzatziki) to serve with this. I served this with a carrot salad with an oriental style dressing - fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil. They go really well together.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I used a rice cooker for the rice, instead of doing it on the stove top. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds on a pan, then add to the rice cooker with the rice and spices. Boil lentils for about 12min. Coat onions in flour and salt, and fry until crisp. I used only one tiny onion (was making half recipe), so I did all the onions in one batch. All of these can be done while the rice is in the rice cooker, with time spare to cook some veg (and probably make the yoghurt with cucumber as suggested).

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Frizzle
                                                                                                                                                                                                m
                                                                                                                                                                                                MelMM Jan 15, 2013 07:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Mejadra - iBook ed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't need to describe the prep in detail, since that has already been done. So I'll just say that I pretty much made this according to the directions. In the future, I would cook the rice separately, as others have done. That would be a big timesaver.

                                                                                                                                                                                                My big problem with this recipe is the onions. If you're like me, you'll have to make three times the amount called for. Otherwise you'll just eat them all right out of the pan and have none left for the finished dish. Who can resist a crisp fried onion? Not me, that's for sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I liked this dish just as much as everyone else did. The seeds that were left whole added a lot to the dish, as every now and then you bite into one and get an explosion of spice. Leftovers were breakfast this morning, topped with a fried egg and the last bit of Zhoug (must make more Zhoug).

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Frizzle
                                                                                                                                                                                                  delys77 Jan 24, 2013 11:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mejadra Pg. 120

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm sorry to say I can't report that this was a total success for us. A co-worker of mine is originally from Egypt and he often talks of a dish very similar to this so I was quite excited to try it. I believe I followed the instructions precisely, yet the flavours were a little underwhelming and the dish was too dry for my taste. I even cooked the rice in a pot as directed, avoiding my usual predilection for the rice cooker, but it was just a little ho hum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Don't get me wrong, the onions were delicious. Every bite that had a good amount of onion was fabulous, but without the onion I found the rice and lentils a little one note despite the spices. Next time I might lightly crush the spices to see if that releases more flavour, plus when I have my leftovers I am going to up the yogurt garnish quite a bit to try and moisten the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Perhaps a light shot of something astringent, like lemon or maybe pomegranate molasses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm sure it is just me as most of the reviews are very positive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                    geekmom Jan 24, 2013 12:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    We had a similar reaction when I first cooked this dish (pre-COTM). The bits with onion were fabulous, and rice and lentils on their own were dry and not very flavourful. I've had this dish at a Palestinian restaurant since then and it was not at all dry; I'm not sure what I need to do differently to get that effect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: geekmom
                                                                                                                                                                                                      w
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Westminstress Jan 24, 2013 12:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I haven't tried the Ottolenghi version, but when I make this dish (a very simple version, just rice, lentils, onion, s&p, olive oil) I cook the unfloured onions in quite a bit of olive oil, then stir onions and olive oil into the rice and lentils. The soft onions and oil provide plenty of moisture for the rice and lentils.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Westminstress
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Allegra_K Jan 24, 2013 12:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes! That's the way I do it as well. And I make a yogurt sauce with a bit of garlic, dried mint & lots of pepper to spoon over top. Can't imagine the dish without a side of dairy-based sauce! That's why I enjoyed this version so much with their rendition of fattoush on the side.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Westminstress
                                                                                                                                                                                                          delys77 Jan 24, 2013 08:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ah yes, the addition of the flavoured oil would probably be delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: geekmom
                                                                                                                                                                                                          delys77 Jan 24, 2013 01:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The actual lentils probably don't absorb much water once they go into the pot with the rice as they are already cooked, so it may simply be a question of upping the liquid a bit (maybe chicken broth) so that there is still some moisture when the dish is done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I believe the recipe calls for about 12/3 cups of water to go with the 2 cups of rice, which while it worked is likely the culprit for the dryish result.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                          roxlet Jan 28, 2013 05:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Your Egyptian friend is referring to koshary, which is a dish of lentils, pasta, chickpeas and rice all served with crispy onions on top. In Egypt, they do ladle a light tomato sauce over the whole thing, and serve hot sauce and lemon juice at the table to spice it up according to your taste. Maybe this would help give this dish a little more oomph, though to me it was, like a lot of Egyptian food, kind of bland. We referred to Koshary as a salute to carbohydrates!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                            delys77 Jan 28, 2013 09:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            That is precisely what my friend was referring to. There is definitely a similarity with this dish and I expect dressing it up with some "wet" garnishes might help. I have to admit I have a little bit in my fridge that I am going to have to eat soon and I don't particularly feel like it since the time in the fridge has definitely not helped it on the moist front. We are trying to waste less food as part of our new year's resolutions, so it is going into someone that is for sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                              geekmom Jan 28, 2013 10:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Time for a liberal application of sriracha to those mejadra leftovers. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: geekmom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                delys77 Jan 28, 2013 12:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That is a good idea. I think I'm going to load it up with a little lemon and Sriracha.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                pikawicca Jan 28, 2013 12:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Whirl it all together in the food processor, add lemon juice and minced garlic, thin with tomato juice (or even water) if needed. Garnish w/chopped parsley and za-atar if you have it. Serve room temp w/pita.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  delys77 Jan 28, 2013 02:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hm very interesting suggestion. Have you done this before, I've never processed cooked rice before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    pikawicca Jan 28, 2013 02:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yep, I've done this with all kinds of grains and legumes (meat, too). It's an experiment every time, but with judicious seasoning, you can usually produce a tasty dip/spread. Don't know that I've done rice on its own, but rice/beans, yes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      delys77 Jan 28, 2013 02:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Good to know, thanks so much Pika.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Savour Aug 8, 2013 01:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              When I made this I made it with a LOT of onions, so there weren't many onion less bites. I also tried the trick of mixing in some of the olive oil from frying the onions. I did like it - not flavorless. Greek yogurt was also a good mixin. This is great, toddler food, BTW.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              '
                                                                                                                                                                                                              As a shortcut, I'd use the fried onions sold by Trader Joe's around the holidays (not sure if the French's style would work, though I did top leftovers with some I had in the cabinet.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: Frizzle
                                                                                                                                                                                                              herby Sep 1, 2013 03:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I plan to make Mejadra for a large gathering - probably four recipes - and wonder if I make caramelized onions in the oven instead of frying would it turn out well. Any thoughts? Or should I just bite the bullet and fry? And if I do, can I fry them 2-3 days ahead of time and keep in the fridge?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Many thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                                                                                JoanN Sep 1, 2013 05:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Take a look at this link and follow down for specifics. I never caramelize onions any other way. At least not when I'm doing a large batch. Works perfectly. And yes, they will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3611...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Breadcrumbs Sep 1, 2013 05:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Joan, thanks for the reminder about your post. I'd completely forgotten where I'd read your post. For some reason I thought it was during a Spanish month. I've pasted both your posts into a Word doc so they'll never go missing again! I love this technique. Thank-you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    JoanN Sep 1, 2013 06:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You could well be right about that, BC. I've posted that method so many times here I might well have repeated it during a Spanish month. This was just the first reference that came up when I searched earlier today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    herby Sep 1, 2013 05:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thank you JoanN! The technique that I was going to follow calls for 5lbs onions, 1/4C veg oil, 1T each salt and sugar. Cook covered in 400F oven for 2 hours. I like your idea of butter instead of oil though YO recipe calls for sunflower oil. Do you cover? I am also concerned that they'll burn at 400F.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      JoanN Sep 1, 2013 06:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      No, I don't cover and no, they don't burn. The pieces of onion that creep up the sides of the pan can caramelize more than you'd want, but if you just keep an eye on it and toss the onions with tongs every half hour or so they will not burn. Guaranteed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        herby Sep 1, 2013 06:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'll do it your way then - at 350F not covered:) Thinking of doing it tomorrow for serving on Sat as part of Mejadra. We have 130 people for BBQ and I the primary prep cook (two grillers are hired) - trying to do what I can ahead of time without sacrificing the quality. Do you think 5 days in the fridge will be OK?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          JoanN Sep 2, 2013 06:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Never tried keeping them for that long and I'd be a little hesitant to do so. If I needed to keep them for 5 days I'd freeze them. I've frozen smaller amounts with great success, but never tried to freeze as much as, say, 5 pounds. Don't know why it shouldn't work, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            herby Sep 2, 2013 06:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I am hesitant too, that's the reason for all the questions:) I'll make onions on Thursday for Sat, that should be fine and do not need the oven then, just the slicing will take a while. I did notice that you cook onions at 350F and will do the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you for all your advice, JoanN !

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        JoanN Sep 2, 2013 06:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        By the way, as noted in the link I posted above, I cook mine at 350F, not 400F.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Savour Sep 3, 2013 08:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think the caramelized onions are MUCH sweeter than the fried ones, and will change the character of the dish. Instead of a slow caramelization, I might try a quicker roast for the flavor, and fry a batch for the crunch. I'd also consider using something like commercial crunchy onions. Probably not French's, because the texture is TOO crunchy, but maybe something like Onion Crunch? I'm waiting for Trader Joe's to come out with their fried onions (a seasonal product) so I can make lazy man's mejadra.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Savour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        herby Sep 8, 2013 05:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The onions were not sweet but it took three hours in 350F oven to get them to the brownish caramelized state. Maybe my daughter's oven is not calibrated correctly but I baked a cake next day and it came out well and on time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I quadrupled mejadra recipe and it didn't turn out as well as single recipe does. It still tasted good and was spiced well but the texture was a bit mushy. No one complained though :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. delys77 Jan 2, 2013 11:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Basmati Rice and Orzo Pg. 103

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    He is quite correct that this may very well replace my standard steamed rice accompaniment, at least when it comes to Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The interesting thing for me is that this dish brought back a great food memory that had all but been forgotten. Something that had been buried in the recesses of my aging brain that came right back into my conscious memory when I first read the recipe. I'll spare you a long story, but about 10 years ago I was living with a good friend of mine who was of Armenian origin and on a blustery winter day he made this lovely little lamb stew that his mother used to make for him, something he had raved about to me in the past. While I was impressed with the dish I remember thinking that the best part of the meal wasn't the stew, but the rice he had served it on. Having grown up in a home where Uncle Ben's was the rice of choice I was truly taken in by these long grains of basmati, robed with a little bit of butter, and in his case, lightly fried pieces of vermicelli. The rice had texture, colour from the toasted noodles, and above all it had flavour all on its own. For me this was a revelation because the rice of my childhood was bland, textureless and utterly boring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I had forgotten about this moment, until I came across this rendition with orzo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I must admit that I hate cooking rice in a pot, so I modified the recipe a touch. I cooked the rice in the rice cooker with chicken stock and then I simmered the toasted orzo in about 3/4 cups of stock which I reduced down over about 8 minutes. Once the orzo was done I tossed in the cooked rice and added a touch more butter and a pinch of salt. Voila, flavourful rice with the nutty aroma of the toasted noodles and butter, and with the familiar texture of perfectly cooked basmati.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A real winner for us!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    PS forgive the reminiscences above

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      geekmom Jan 2, 2013 11:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's a cool story, delys77 and I'm glad you shared it. It's amazing how we can store food memories away like that & with one bite or smell of some long-forgotten flavour it all comes back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: geekmom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        delys77 Jan 2, 2013 12:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For me, it is one of the best parts about eating and talking food!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Allegra_K Jan 2, 2013 01:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What a great story and review! I enjoy your food details very much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          delys77 Jan 2, 2013 03:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks very much Allegra.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Caitlin McGrath Jan 2, 2013 01:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Great story! I made this dish last fall (reported in the pre-COTM thread), and followed the recipe's instructions for cooking the orzo and rice together, then letting it sit off heat covered by a tea towel, and the result was perfectly cooked basmati and orzo. I also used only around half the oil and butter called for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            delys77 Jan 2, 2013 03:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Excellent. I always have bad luck with either over cooking or undercooking rice when I do it in a pot, but I might try it given that others have managed just fine using his technique.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            greedygirl Jan 3, 2013 10:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is the rice they always serve on Turkey and which I love. Can't wait to try this recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              abby d Jan 5, 2013 04:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Lovely dish which I'll make again. I used broken spaghetti as my pasta which was great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                JoanN Jan 10, 2013 05:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Basmati Rice & Orzo (page 103 US edition)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you, delys77. I was going to make this with brown jasmine rice and was unsure the timing in the book would work so followed your lead and made the rice with stock in a rice cooker, sautéed the orzo in ghee, and added stock to cook the orzo. Once the orzo was cooked, I added the cooked rice and some more stock and simmered them together for a bit. I added salt as directed, but needed no additional butter. Great dish. Couldn’t get over how much flavor it had. And I used boxed, not homemade stock. I made this as a side for the Lamb-Stuffed Quince with Pomegranate & Cilantro ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/884302 ) and it was a perfect pairing. A winner indeed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  g
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  greeneggsnham Jan 12, 2013 12:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Basmati Rice and Orzo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I made this dish to pair with the Roasted Chicken with Clementines, or actually I should say my husband made it. This was great as a side to the chicken and we loved soaking up the delicious chicken juices with this pilaf. My husband made it as directed in the book and the timing seemed perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  JaneEYB Jan 14, 2013 10:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Basmati Rice with Orzo p.103

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I made this to go with the beef meatballs with broad beans & lemon on p.196 and it was perfect. It made a big difference in the cooking time of the rice to soak it for 30 minutes first. The addition of toasted orzo made the rice more interesting and didn't add much time to the cooking process.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Gio Jan 24, 2013 04:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Basmati Rice and Orzo, Pg. 103, US Edition

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Throwing all caution to the wind, and overlooking the advice of others who made this recipe before us we prepared and cooked the recipe exactly as written. Normally I too would have cooked the rice separately from the orzo by our method but this time after washing the Basmati well it was set aside to soak for 30 minutes. Butter was melted and orzo toasted. Stock added, cooked 5 minutes,then the drained rice and salt were added and all was simmered for 15 minutes. Uncover pan, place tea towel on pan, leave for 10 minutes. Shoulda been Rice-a-Roni. Wasn't. The flavor was wonderful but the rice was undercooked. Absolutely Never had that happen before. I have made similar rice and orzo recipes in the past with no trouble at all. We were disappointed in this one. Roasted butternut squash and onion was served along side and saved the day...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Goblin Sep 2, 2013 05:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Basmati Rice and Orzo, p. 103. US edition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I just noted Gio's review while surfing back through the COTM entries this morning and I wanted to say that I too had her experience the first time I made this dish using the method and proportions as given. My rice was also somewhat underdone--I would it describe it as "all too al dente."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Otherwise, everyone liked the flavor and attractive appearance with the golden-brown orzo, so I decided to give the dish another chance and this time I just increased the amount of chicken stock from 2 1/2 cups to 2 3/4 cups. This worked fine. This recipe is now my 7-year-old grandson's favorite "starch" and he asks me for it whenever I serve rice (and sometimes when I don't!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. delys77 Jan 2, 2013 11:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tomato and Sourdough Soup Pg. 103

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I made this soup on New Year's day as my partner and I were craving one of our favourite hangover cures, grilled cheese with tomato soup. Luckily there was an open market nearby so I picked up a few of the things we were missing and the soup was ready to go in just a little over half an hour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I usually worry about tomato soups made with fresh tomatoes since we rarely have any good tomatoes around here in Vancouver, even less so in the dead of winter. That being said, I wanted to try the dish as he suggested since he was cutting the fresh tomatoes with canned tomatoes and I was curious to see what the results would be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In the end, while my tomatoes weren't stellar, the addition of a can of lovely San Marzano's and a good touch of sugar yielded a soup that had good, if more muted tomato flavour, than my usual rendition. In addition, the use of whole cumin and the sourdough provide other strong flavour notes that make for a much more interesting tomato soup than many others I have tried. My conclusion, unless you are using excellent fresh tomatoes this recipe will yield a soup that doesn't have a very pronounced tomato flavour, but for me this was a very nice change from the usual. Plus, it allowed me to appreciate the supporting cast so to speak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am not sure if this was his intention, as I suspect Jerusalemites have luscious and very flavoursome tomatoes to work with, but for me it was a pleasant surprise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      geekmom Jan 2, 2013 11:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'd been thinking about putting off any and all recipes in this book that call for fresh tomatoes until late summer when we will have access to all those amazing ripe flavourful tomatoes from the farmer's market. You're right, the tomatoes available in Vancouver are pretty sad specimens this time of year but it sounds like your result was quite tasty regardless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: geekmom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        delys77 Jan 2, 2013 12:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was thinking the same thing, but I am glad I tried it after all because the results were still good. Different, but good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        cheesecake17 Jan 2, 2013 12:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm happy you tried this! I bookmarked it, but didn't have a chance to make it. Hopefully next week

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cheesecake17
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          delys77 Jan 2, 2013 12:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Best of luck

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          blue room Jan 2, 2013 01:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This soup is on page 142 in the US edition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "...sourdough soup" ? Ok!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            greedygirl Jan 23, 2013 08:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We had this soup for lunch today and loved it. I actually thought the tomato flavour was pretty good, given that tomatoes are never at their best in January. I added a good squeeze of tomato purée to help things along a bit. Loved the cumin, and the sourdough gave it a nice texture, as well as making it a bit more hearty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cheesecake17 Jan 3, 2013 10:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm preparing two recipes for dinner tonight-

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Butternut squash and tahini spread
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            US edition page 68-69

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Planning on half recipe, since we are only 2.5 people eating
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I used delicate squash instead of butternut. Hoping to go out later to get date syrup, otherwise I'll use pomegranate molasses. Final report on the dish later tonight!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Shakshouka
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            US edition page 66-67

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I made this before as written. This time, I added an onion to the beginning step of sautéing the peppers. For the red peppers, I used frozen fire roasted chopped red peppers. Prepared the sauce earlier, and will heat it up and cook the eggs right before dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Caitlin McGrath Jan 3, 2013 10:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Swiss chard with tahini, yogurt & buttered pine nuts, p. 88

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is a slightly different variation on the usual sauteed chard with garlic and pine nuts that was very nice. Sliced chard stems and leaves are blanched briefly, drained, rinsed, and squeezed. The recipe calls for almost 3 pounds of chard, and I used three bunches - quite a lot, really - that weighed something like 2 pounds. Pine nuts get sauteed in butter and olive oil, then set aside. Sliced garlic goes in the pan till golden, followed by a little white wine. That reduces, then the chard is stirred in until hot. I used considerably less butter and oil then called for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The chard is topped first with a sauce of tahini, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and water, and then with the pine nuts. I used a smidge less tahini and yogurt then called for and only used enough water to achieve the smooth paste described, but I wished I had thinned it more so that it could be mixed into the chard more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                r
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                reiney Jan 10, 2013 03:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I made this with collard greens instead, only 1 bunch, but otherwise followed the recipe quantities and instructions. Delicious and simple (but not in an insulting way). Accidentally over-reduced the wine: I'd recommend watching this to have enough to coat the leaves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree about making sure to thin the sauce, too - tasty but a bit too thick otherwise. Leftover tahini-yoghurt mixture makes for a great general topping/dressing/dipping sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  corneygirl Jun 16, 2013 08:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I made this last night for the first time with a couple of changes. I only had a small bunch of chard from the farmers market, so I supplemented with asparagus. This actually worked quite well and I think the basics of the recipe would work nicely with other greens and broccoli as well. I also have been subbing slivered macadamia nuts for pine nuts. They have the richness of a pine nut and are half the price, plus available in bulk. I really love this recipe as did B - definitely to be repeated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. beetlebug Jan 4, 2013 05:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Onion with tahini and za'atar (US pg. 36)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This was delicious and a different way to eat butternut squash. I generally roast squash with leeks and fresh herbs. This was a great change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I did make a slight change. The recipe has you cutting the squash and leaving the skin on. I did peel the squash since I don't like the skin. Other than that, I followed the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Roast the squash and onions until cooked through. Meanwhile, prepare the tahini sauce (mix tahini with lemon juice, water, garlic and sauce). Fry the pine nuts with olive oil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When the squash is finished, drizzle the sauce over and scatter with the pine nuts, za'atar and parsley.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Note: my husband assembled the finished dish. He used a deep bowl which made drizzling a bit more difficult. Also, the tahini had thickened up so he just glopped it on to the dish. I forgot to tell him to thin it, if necessary. Regardless, the recommended platter is the better way to go. It will look nicer since stirring the squash with the sauce did cause some breakage in my squash.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  23 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    aching Jan 4, 2013 11:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've made this recipe several times recently - I really love it (and I don't particularly like squash). There's something about the creamy tahini and the sweet flavors of the squash and onions that really works for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      pavlova Jan 6, 2013 06:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I made this tonight and it was fantastic! I have made a similar Ottolenghi recipe in the past so I was really looking forward to this one. The only thing I omitted was the pine nuts, as I discovered I didn't have any at the last minute. It was still great without it. I used a platter, taking beetlebug's advice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        bunnylicious Jan 8, 2013 05:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        +1 We were blown away by this one. Hubby isn't a huge fan of squash, but he loved this combo, and so did I!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Caitlin McGrath Jan 9, 2013 10:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Roasted butternut squash & red onion with tahini & za'atar, p. 36 (US ed.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm joining the rest who loved this dish. Roasted butternut squash can get a bit cloying in its sweetness, but the toppings were a nice contrast. I heeded the platter advice, and I'm glad I did because it really allowed good distribution of the toppings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I took the shortcut of using pre-cut squash, so the pieces were smaller than the recipe indicates. I cut the onion smaller so the size would work well together, and roasted just until done, a little less than 25 minutes, I think. I used only enough olive oil to film the vegetables (way less than called for), and also dry-toasted the pine nuts (used less than called for, too).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LulusMom Jan 10, 2013 05:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've been thinking of doing this with pre-cut squash - glad to hear it works, and will use your timing, etc. when I do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              lilham Jan 10, 2013 06:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Want to add I have also made this with pre-cut squash. It's a really really nice way to serve winter squash. We all loved it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lilham
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Dairy Queen Jan 11, 2013 03:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Heh, I'm glad I'm not the only person who was thinking of using pre-cut squash. I was actually thinking of using pre-cut frozen squash...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              corneygirl Jan 14, 2013 08:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I tried this tonight as well. I really enjoyed how the earthiness of the tahini played with the sweetness of the squash. I used some sort of pumpkin or something I had on hand from a farmers market in the fall and subbed the toasted seeds for the pine nuts. I also like that it is easy and can be served at room temperature - perfect for guests or nights when I'm trying something new and I don't know the timing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                jen kalb Jan 18, 2014 04:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Just wanted to add (I may have mentioned this on a vegan thanksgiving thread) that we made this dish for thanksgiving using sweet potatoes rather than squash and it was amazing. Made it again for my Christmas party buffet and it was a crowd favorit. Have yet to try it with squash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                geekmom Jan 10, 2013 01:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Roasted butternut squash & red onion, etc (p 36 UK ed)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In the spirit of using up things I already had in my pantry, I made this for lunch today & served it with a gigantic flatbread from a Persian bakery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My only change was to use two delicata squash instead of butternut. They proved to be a very attractive substitute for butternut squash with their striped skins and half-circle shape.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I liked this dish a lot, but found it was too salty for me. There is a whole teaspoon of salt mixed with the veg pre-roasting, then there is salt in the tahini dressing and salt in the za'atar and salt on the pine nuts. I will omit the salt from the squash & onion pre-roasting next time, to allow the natural flavours of the vegetables to shine a little more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My "I don't like squash" kid ate a significant amount of this, claimed that it was "just okay" but then as she was wandering through the room after lunch I saw her grab another piece of squash off the platter and scarf it down. I cannot tell you how happy I am to be able to serve squash to my kids and have them willingly eat it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: geekmom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  beetlebug Jan 10, 2013 02:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't remember what the recipe calls for. But, I usually sprinkle kosher salt on to the roasting vegetables. I find this is a bit less salty and more flavorful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    geekmom Jan 10, 2013 02:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, that's a good idea. Now that I look more closely at the recipe it says to use Maldon sea salt, so obviously if I had done that the crystals are so large that there would have been a lot less salt in the teaspoon (I used the regular old sea salt).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: geekmom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    blue room Jan 10, 2013 02:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tonight for me!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    (My "I don't like squash" kid is 60 1/2)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      geekmom Jan 10, 2013 02:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hah! :-D I look forward to hearing how this goes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LulusMom Jan 10, 2013 04:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        How is it possible that you're 29??? : )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          blue room Jan 11, 2013 02:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh LulusMom I just saw this comment.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And I thank you from the bottom of my really hot twenty hot nine hot heart.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      blue room Jan 11, 2013 02:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Onion with tahini and za'atar (p. 36 US)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My turn for this dish. I cut the squash in biggish pieces to roast -- fully intending to cut off the peel later, which I did. The red onions were fine, but could have been yellow or white onions, I think, and just as tasty. Easy to mix up the tahini sauce -- (Mr. blue room fears tahini, I fear pine nuts, so the dish was divided but delicious in the end.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I would make this good very good dish as part of a dinner meant to be Arab-Israeli, like the book "Jerusalem", but both tahini and butternut squash have better applications, to me. Nevertheless, a good plateful of food, a success!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        g
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        greeneggsnham Jan 13, 2013 10:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Roasted butternut squash and red onion with tahini and za'atar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I made this using the pre-cut butternut squash from TJ's. I also subbed sliced almond for pine nuts due to an allergy. I was pleased with how easily this came together. I wasn't blown away with the final product, however. Maybe the subbing out the pine nuts was a bad idea. In the end, I thought the squash and red onion combo was good, but I didn't love it with the tahini sauce. And I felt like the nuts and parsley seemed just like garnish rather than really integrating into the dish. That being said, I think my husband liked this dish better than I did. I served this with the Roast Cauliflower and Hazelnut salad (reviewed downthread) and my husband preferred the butternut squash. I preferred the cauliflower.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greeneggsnham
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          w
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Westminstress Jan 17, 2013 07:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i was going to join the camp of people for whom this salad didn't quite gel. I just wasn't blown away by the squash-tahini combo. However, I just realized that I totally messed up the recipe! I got confused with my two new spices and used sumac instead of Zaatar! As I have noticed that YO's recipes often seem a bit unbalanced until every element is accounted for, I will withhold judgment until I can try it with Zaatar. For future reference though, the sumac-coated pinenuts were really delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        BigSal Jan 16, 2013 07:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Onion with tahini and za'atar (US pg. 36)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Just adding to the chorus of accolades. I have a strong preference for savory dishes and my Mr. prefers sweet. This dish worked for both of us. The tahini sauce helps balance out the sweetness of the squash. I also enjoyed the woodsy notes from the za'atar and the crunch of the pine nuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          mebby Jan 22, 2013 09:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Add me on to the list of fans of this dish. Made a half-recipe for a simple but satisfying solo lunch yesterday using TJ's precut butternut squash and loved the way all the flavors played off of one another. My tahini was a bit thick, so I also added significantly more lemon juice and a bit of water and liked the tang it brought to the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Will definitely make again, but I may take a cue from Caitlin and reduce the oil next time around and see if I can make it friendlier to my new year's resolutions without a major impact on flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ETA: the za'atar flavor didn't really come through for me, but it had been hanging about in the pantry for a while, so probably not the freshest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Gio Jan 24, 2013 07:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za'atar, Pg. 36

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I do not have much to add except my kudos with the long line of folk who cooked this recipe and loved it. Funny, but like many others it's not unlike the way most of my vegetables are roasted with the exception of course of the delightful tahini sauce and za'atar. The timing was right, and the end result was terrific.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I left the skin on and omitted the pine nuts as usual. I included a small fennel bulb, sliced like the onions, I wanted to use up. G plated the vegetables and drizzled the sauce over top., then the za'atar, etc., over that. It worked out well for us. The flavor was sweet, tangy, and slightly exotic...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              JaneEYB Feb 1, 2013 08:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za'atar, p.36

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've been reading so many great reports on this recipe and I finally made it. What a fantastic dish. I think next time I will cut the squash into smaller pieces as I like more caramelized edges but apart from that I would change nothing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I served it with the baby spinach salad with dates & almonds on p.30.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Allegra_K Jan 4, 2013 06:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Saffron Rice with Barberries, Pistachio, and Mixed Herbs (Workaday variation) p. 105

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I didn't follow the recipe fully but instead used the simplified version that the authors suggested in the headnotes, which was a delicious yet much less extravagant version of the full recipe pictured in the lovely photo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              To start, basmati rice is coated with melted butter in a saucepan and then boiling water is poured atop and covered until nearly cooked. After a time, a small amount of saffron-infused (Ottolenghi calls for 1 t. of saffron but I just couldn't part with such a vast amount and thus used a scant 1/2 t) water is poured over a small section -about a quarter- of the rice, which is then re-covered (dish towel between pot and lid) and left to finish steaming. The white part of the rice is then spooned into a mixing bowl and the other components-barberries, pistachios, dill, chervil, tarragon- are stirred in. In my version I left out the barberries and nuts and added cooked fava beans (well, soybeans--still haven't found any favas), and left out the chervil and tossed in a small handful of chopped parsley. At this point the bright yellow saffron rice is gently fluffed into the mix. Serve, like most everything in this book, warm or at room temperature.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Really liked this very attractive dish. The brightness of the fresh herbs lifted the often-heavy rice up into refreshing territory, but the butter added a note of luxury. I could see this simple variation as a constant side and am looking forward to trying the no-holds-barred version.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                w
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Westminstress Jan 4, 2013 08:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What a pretty dish, Allegra. I had written off this particular recipe as too complicated for me at this time of life (plus I can't find barberries), but your workaday version seems very doable, and quite nutritious also. Guess I have to add another one to the "to make" list!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Westminstress
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  jpr54_1 Jan 4, 2013 09:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  there r several places to buy the barberries on line-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i listed 2 on another link on Home Cooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  delys77 Jan 4, 2013 11:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow Allegra, that looks delicious! I think I am going to try and add this one to my ever expanding list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    JulesLP Jan 6, 2013 07:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also made the saffron rice w/ barberries, pistachio and mixed herbs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I did my bet to follow the instructions but was unable to find barberries, did not have currants so used dried cranberries which I cut into smaller pieces so the chunks weren't so large. I also was unable to find the chervil so that was left out. Everything else I did according to the directions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I thought that this came together pretty quickly. And paired it with the turkey and zucchini burgers as suggested in the book. Would definitely make this again and would like to find the barberries or use the suggested currant substitution.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Breadcrumbs Jan 9, 2013 04:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Saffron Rice with Barberries, Pistachio and Mixed Herbs – p. 105

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      More praise for this dish that tasted as enticing as it looked. Thanks to Allegra and Jules for covering how this comes together. I did make some adaptations which I’ll share here:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • No pistachios at the market so I omitted the nuts all together. I wasn’t too concerned about this since we were serving this dish w the Meatballs & Favas p.196 and we’d have plenty of contrasting flavours and textures from that dish.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • I used my Zoji rice steamer to cook the rice. I also opted to use Tilda brown basmati since I’m committed to making healthier choices this year, especially when its easy to do so. As a result my brown rice didn’t produce the same visual interest of contrasting colours in the finished dish but I was still pleased that you could easily differentiate the saffron-infused grains from the “naked” ones.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • I used flat Italian parsley, fennel fronds and dill as my herbs since that’s all I had on hand and our market never seems to carry chervil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is the first time we’ve ever eaten barberries and we really liked them. Not as substantial as dried cranberries but certainly substantial enough in flavour to add a citrusy pop to the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The rice was sensational and I’d like to make it again and add some legumes, lentils perhaps as I think it would be fabulous as a vegetarian meal. This is one of my favourites from the book thus far.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        bunnylicious Jan 13, 2013 05:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Made this tonight for an iranian-inspired dinner. What a lovely dish. It's beautiful to look at and makes a pleasant side . It was fresh and tasty, with sour notes from the barberries, green from the herbs, and crunch from the pistachios. My only change was to add extra tarragon as I did not have chervil (never seem to have it at the grocery stores I shop at). Perfect complement to chicken kebabs, spinach yogurt, and tomato-cucumber salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. blue room Jan 4, 2013 10:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad p. 62 (US)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Almost sure someone here has already written about this, but I can't find the person or post!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is terrific, we both raised our eyebrows on the first taste --
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'd make it again for sure.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's cauliflower tossed with olive oil, S&P, and roasted 'til browned in spots. Then roast some hazelnuts too, at a lower temp. Mix with sliced celery and parsley and pomengranate seeds. (My pomegranate seeds took the form of a few chopped sections of tangerine, not as pretty but still little bits of fruit juice.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The dressing (not a lot) is exactly right! Olive oil, sherry vinegar, maple syrup, cinammon, allspice, S&P. Wow -- *again* I'm impressed with this book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        33 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          pluralofcow Jan 4, 2013 12:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've made this three times since I purchased the book. It's my new favorite way to eat cauliflower--and it's good without the hazelnuts as well. In fact, I have a head of cauliflower in my fridge now--I was intending to try the other cauliflower recipe in this book but I'm finding it hard to resist this salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I served it at Thanksgiving and it prompted half of the family to purchase the book as well!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pluralofcow
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            geekmom Jan 4, 2013 12:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            After reading the reviews here, and looking at the photo in the book, I'm trying to convince my husband to make this (it's his turn to cook supper tonight) - but I may just bite the bullet and make it myself. And maybe eat it all myself, too. LOL!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pluralofcow
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              f
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Frizzle Jan 4, 2013 07:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've only cooked the other cauliflower dish from the book (three times now) and love it so much I have not tried this one. It sounds like there are two winning cauliflower recipes in the book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Frizzle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Dairy Queen Jan 5, 2013 08:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Frizzle, according to EatYourBooks, the other cauliflower recipe is Fried cauliflower with tahini. Below I've linked Ottolenghi's Fried Cauliflower
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                recipe from the Guardian, which apparently appeared in Plenty. The only difference in the ingredient lists for the Fried Cauliflower in Plenty vs. Jerusalem is garlic (in the Plenty version).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Two questions:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Is this the same winning cauliflower recipe you love from Jerusalem, except for the garlic?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I'm not big into frying right now due to my child constantly underfoot. Do you think this recipe would work with roasted cauliflower instead?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  blue room Jan 5, 2013 08:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hello Dairy Queen, as I have the book right here--
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the Guardian link ingredients and the ingredients in "Jerusalem" are the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Dairy Queen Jan 5, 2013 09:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Terrific, thank you! Now the only question is, is fried cauliflower essential to this recipe, or would roasted cauliflower do?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      f
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Frizzle Jan 5, 2013 12:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think it would be nicer with fried but still good with roasted. You will probably lose some texture with roasting. I'm imagining the roasted cauliflower would be softer to begin with and adding the wet tahini sauce to it will make it even softer. It's worth a go. The frying is a pain as you're standing over the stove for ages doing it in batches so I would love to find out if roasting works too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My other tips for this recipe are about the deep fried bits of green onions. I'm not sure how you would do this without frying but if you figure out a way let me know. The recipe tells you to cut then into quite long pieces, I found these very chewy. The second time I made it I chopped them small. It was much nicer but the onion in the leftovers became overpowering the next day. The third time I cut them small and kept them in a separate bowl to be a garnish for the meal and for leftovers. Much better, we just mixed it in as we ate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Frizzle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Dairy Queen Jan 5, 2013 06:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for your thoughtful response. I'll let you know how it turns out, though it might be a month or two! I've not been too speedy with new recipes lately.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    w
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Westminstress Jan 5, 2013 08:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm sure roasted would work. One of our favorite take out spots has a chef from Jerusalem. She makes a fantastic cauliflower salad with roasted cauliflower in tahini sauce ... sounds a lot like this recipe. I would test it but we eat that salad so often I have no desire to replicate it in my own kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Westminstress
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Dairy Queen Jan 6, 2013 03:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Great encouragement, thank you! Do you think I need to thin the tahini at all?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        herby Jan 6, 2013 06:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        TDQ, I made this salad with the roasted cauliflower and it was very good when freshly made. On the second day it turned soggy and what was left after that went into the dust bin. Next time I make it, I would dress only a portion that will be eaten right away and leave the remainder roasted cauliflower separate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You need to thin the tahini so that the consistency is of a salad dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Dairy Queen Jan 6, 2013 06:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Excellent info herby, thank you. What did you thin the tahini with?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            herby Jan 6, 2013 06:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just water, a little at a time until the consistency is right for you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                BigSal Jan 6, 2013 06:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad p. 62 (US)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This started off rocky for me, but was well worth the effort. I burned the first batch of roasted hazelnuts- I found the 17 minutes recommended too be too long (I missed blue room's note on this). This was also my first time working with pomegranate. So off to the cloud I went to find out how to deseed it. I ended up cutting the pomegranate in half horizontally and put a half under water and pushed the seeds out under water, This worked well and kept the membrane and seeds apart. Is there a better way?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This was a surprising and delicious flavor combination. The sweetness of the roasted cauliflower,combined with the nutty hazelnuts, crunchy celery, and the brightness of the sweet/tart pomegranate seeds (which also adds another texture) is fantastic. This delicious combination worked well with the dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm discovering so many new flavor combinations from this book. I can't wait to try more recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: BigSal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Breadcrumbs Jan 6, 2013 06:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sounds lovely BigSal. I don't know of an easier method to de-seed but, my supermarket now sells POM brand cups of fresh pomegranate seeds at a pretty reasonable price so for the frequency that I purchase pomegranate, this is my top choice for convenience. Prior to that I was buying bags of frozen seeds...not expensive at all (maybe $2.99/kg).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    BigSal Jan 6, 2013 06:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks Breadcrumbs, I'll be on the lookout for the POM cups when I need a time saver.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: BigSal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Caitlin McGrath Jan 6, 2013 07:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you have Trader Joe's in your neck of the woods, they have packets of pomegranate seeds with the produce. Very convenient.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And in my experience, the underwater method is the best if you do it yourself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: BigSal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    beetlebug Jan 6, 2013 06:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Plenty has a wonderful roasted cauliflower with yogurt and pomegranate seeds. Those seeds really do take it to the next level.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      BigSal Jan 6, 2013 06:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for mentioning it. I'll have to try that one to see which I prefer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: BigSal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        beetlebug Jan 7, 2013 05:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry BigSal, I was thinking of the Melissa Clark recipe. I think it's in Cook This Now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        w
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Westminstress Jan 6, 2013 08:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        BB, are you thinking of the Melissa Clark recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Westminstress
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          beetlebug Jan 7, 2013 05:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ooops. I think I am. I got confused because the flavor profiles were so similar yet different.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: BigSal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        JulesLP Jan 6, 2013 07:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bigsal,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I made this tonight and for my pomegranate I used something I saw on iron chef. Which was to cut the pomegranate in half or quarters and hold over a bowl and hit the skin with a wooden spoon. This worked pretty good, and was easier then trying to get the seeds out by hand. I did this for the whole thing, and for the seeds I didn't use I dried and froze on a sheet tray so I have about two cups for the next time I need them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hope this is helpful. Jules

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JulesLP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          herby Jan 6, 2013 07:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is how I do it too - cut in half and bang on the skin over a bowl - the seeds come out nice and it is fast. I am planning to make this salad next week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JulesLP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            BigSal Jan 7, 2013 03:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks Jules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          bunnylicious Jan 7, 2013 09:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I made this last night, expecting to be wowed. The idea of all the contrasting flavours and textures really appealed to me. I made the recipe as written, except that I was not "generous" with the cinnamon and allspice. I'm disappointed to say that I wasn't wowed by this dish. It was fine, I certainly had no problem eating it, but I wasn't planning when I would be making it again like I have with every other dish I've made from this book :) My husband enjoyed it more than I did. I think the allspice flavour was just a bit to strong for me. I would consider making this again, but with a sharper dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bunnylicious
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            geekmom Jan 7, 2013 09:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            bunnylicious, that was my experience too. I made this salad for lunch on Saturday. Also failed to note other CHers' helpful comments about the roasting time, so I burned the first batch of nuts (my 11yo son had no problem eating them, though - go figure). Overall, the salad was tasty, crunchy and I enjoyed eating it but it didn't have the Ottolenghi wow factor for us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: geekmom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              bunnylicious Jan 7, 2013 12:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, 17 minutes is just way too long! I think I took mine out after 10 min or so. Glad I'm not the only one who didn't fall in love with this dish. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            JoanN Jan 11, 2013 05:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad (page 62 US edition)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I thought this was just delightful. Not surprising since cauliflower is one of my favorite roasted vegetables, and I love both pomegranates and hazelnuts. Made this without celery because I didn’t have any and I can see that the crunch would have been a welcome addition. Very happy to have such a delicious and satisfying main course salad for this time of year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              g
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              greeneggsnham Jan 13, 2013 10:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I made this last night as part of a meat free dinner along with the Roasted butternut squash and tahini salad and the basmati rice and orzo pilaf. This salad was my favorite part. I really enjoyed the combo of tastes and textures with the sweet pomegranate seeds, rich hazelnuts, savory cauliflower and fresh parsley all playing off the warm cinnamon and allspice in the dressing. I only wish I had cut my cauliflower florets smaller for roasting as some of my pieces were rather large and didn't mix well with all the smaller components of the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My husband, however, was not very fond of the dish (he didn't like the cinnamon with the cauliflower) and all children refused to eat it. Oh well. I may not make this again anytime soon, but I probably will make it again sometime for myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                beetlebug Jan 15, 2013 12:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad p. 62 (US)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not much to add other then that I loved this salad. It's amazing how just a few ingredients can elevate a dish. In this case, it's the hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds. Thanks for the warnings about the timing of the hazelnuts. I had skinned nuts and roasted for about 7 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Caitlin McGrath Jan 17, 2013 09:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad, p. 62

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've never had a bite of roasted cauliflower I didn't love, so I was really looking forward to this after reading all the reviews here. I was not disappointed; it was as delicious as I'd imagined. Great interplay of sweet and earthy. I think it would be great to serve to guests, but I'd have to multiply it - I could eat the whole bowl myself. I left out the parsley because I was serving it alongside the parsley and barley salad. I did use but a fraction of the oil for the cauliflower.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    painperdu Jan 23, 2013 11:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We made this to go with the slow-cooked veal shanks (p. 206). Maybe too much of a good thing! There is so much going on here, I would serve it again as a main on its own, or a side to a less complex main. Pomegranates are out of season now in our grocery stores, but the POM cups are around. Yay! And i really liked the thinly sliced celery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hazelnuts at 17 minutes worked well for me. They had a nice deep flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. ChrisOfStumptown Jan 5, 2013 09:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgur and Yogurt (p 59)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Served with grilled chantarelle and wild mushroom barley pilaf. To start with, not the right pairing as the red pepper flakes with the chermoula did not mesh with the creamy mushrooms. However the mushroom was in use-it-or-lose-it state.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This recipe was a partial success due to poor ingredient selection: I used Chinese eggplant which is not meaty enough for the bulgur. Other than that it was excellent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Notes:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1) the spice mix, chermoulla, is excellent. Tasty enough to lick the scraps out of the mixing bowl. Two things though: finely chopping preserved lemon peel was too coarse for my liking (see photo on finished eggplant). I would puree next time. The red pepper flakes resulted in a very inconsistent level of heat in the finished dish. I am really on the fence whether to substitute cayenne powder to get a more even heat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2) Although the chermoula had the consistency of wet sand, I thought the eggplant looked a little dry and it cooked dry. Not a big deal as it was easily corrected by adding more oil near the end of cooking, which of course the eggplant absorbed like a sponge.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3) The bulgur mix was wonderful. It calls for almonds, I toasted raw almonds at 350 for 15mins and smashed with a rolling pin. I am so glad I did, the mixture had a heady almond aroma. Don't buy sliced almonds, you will regret it. Regarding the olives, I bought some cheap but quite good whole olives (ie, with pits) at a Lebanese grocery and wish I had bought pitted olives. It was a real time sink. Large slices looked bad so I finely diced them. The big shreds in the photo in Jerusalem are much more attractive.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4) Olive oil: the recipe specifies one quantity but uses it in two spots: in the chermoulla, and for finishing the final result. I'd use a cheap mild oil in the chermoulla and a medium high grade for finishing. The final result is quite busy, so no point using an extra special oil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Final note: Use of Chinese eggplant changed dish from eggplant with bulgur into Eggplant under bulgur mountain. In fairness I knew this as I shoveled bulgur mix onto the slender vegetables. They're underneath, trust me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Very nice recipe, would make again, but better next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      f
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Frizzle Jan 9, 2013 02:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thank you for the great review. We made this tonight and found it to be a stunning meal. It's such a lovely mix of flavours. The preserved lemon came through the most and everything else supported it. We will be making this again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I did a couple of alterations to the recipe. I reduced the spring onions from three to two. Mine were large and leafy so two seemed ample.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I took the advice to not use flaked almonds on board and toasted sliced, blanched raw almonds in pan on the stovetop. I also slivered my olives. The halves seemed too big for the topping and out of scale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I used whole cumin and coriander seeds and pounded them up in a mortar and pestle. Store bought ground spices here tend to be tasteless. The chermoula was just as Chris posted. Bowl-licking good. My preserved lemon was store bought and quite soft so the fine chop worked fine.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I also thought the aubergines were looking dry in the oven but I didn't add extra oil, they turned out fine. I guess it may depend on the individual aubergine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you like North African flavours then please try this. I can't wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        greedygirl Jan 28, 2013 01:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This was a main course for my vegetarian friend, who absolutely love it. Haven't had a chance to try the leftovers yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Caitlin McGrath Jan 28, 2013 09:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chermoula eggplant with bulgur and yogurt, p. 59 (US ed.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I enjoyed this very much. I made a half recipe, and I only used about half the proportional amount of oil called for in the chermoula, and another drizzle in the bulgur, and that was fine. I did need to add a bit more water (and time) than indicated to fully hydrate the bulgur. I coarsely chopped the olives. Only when I was cleaning up after lunch did I realize I completely forgot the golden raisins. Oh, well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            pavlova Feb 3, 2013 06:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I made this tonight, but I didn't serve it with the bulgur topping. I used Chinese eggplant and it was delicious. We ate the eggplant with the spinach salad, the chicken with clementines and arak and some rice. All in all, a fantastic dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              w
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Westminstress Sep 12, 2013 07:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgur and Yogurt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We had this for dinner last night and thought it was just delicious. With presliced almonds and pitted olives (and I didn't bother to plump the raisins either) it was surprisingly easy to put together and very, very good. Preserved lemons are a magical ingredient for me -- they seem to make everything taste good. A keeper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Gio Jan 6, 2013 06:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Shakshouka, Pg. 66, US Edition

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This was the best version of eggs and tomatoes I've ever had, and I've made several versions: Mario Batali's Uova in Purgatorio, Fuchsia Dunlop's Stir-Fried Eggs with Tomatoes, and others. The sauce is star here but fresh free-range eggs are pretty important too, IMO. The recipe calls for 4 eggs plus 4 egg yolks but I used only the eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Make the sauce first: In hot olive oil heat harissa, tomato paste, garlic, large red peppers cut into strips, cumin, and salt. Fry and stir in till peppers are soft. Add chopped tomatoes and simmer till you have a thick sauce. Make little indentations in the sauce and drop the eggs into them, being careful not to break the yolks. Simmer till whites are set but yolks are still runny. Serve with Labneh...I simply served Greek yogurt, the alternative.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The spinach and date salad on page 30 was the side dish. Crusty bread was used to mop up the spicy, aromatic sauce and runny yolks of the Shakshuka. Absolutely delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Allegra_K Jan 6, 2013 06:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That sounds just fantastic, Gio! I was planning on making this for brunch one of these days. Have you tried the version of shakshouka in Plenty? Another amazing recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Breadcrumbs Jan 6, 2013 07:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This really does sound delicious Gio...high praise indeed. Looking forward to trying this one. Thanks for your enticing review!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Gio Jan 6, 2013 10:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks Allegra and BC...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I Think I made the shakshuka from YO's Plenty but I can't remember now. I do know there were several recipes from COTMs and "Nons" I've cooked, though...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Allegra_K Jan 6, 2013 02:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Shakshuka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Inspired by Gio's glowing report above, I rushed to the fridge immediately and started gathering ingredients to make this for brunch. And what a delightful Sunday meal it was.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I used harissa from a tin that I picked up in a Middle Eastern market instead of making my own, and perhaps should have tasted it before adding the full amount; the spicy capsaicin zip was quite a way to wake-up! I added in some coloured bell pepper halves that needed to be used as well as the two red peppers, and so increased most other ingredients accordingly. Used a 28 oz tin of tomatoes, plus a couple handfuls of frozen Israeli cherry tomatoes leftover from the garden; a most fitting end for those lovelies. Instead of 4 extra egg yolks, added two extra whole eggs. This was eagerly eaten with some leftover toasted pita.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There is enough sauce leftover for me to reheat this for an easy brekkie tomorrow after adding a couple more eggs. A wonderful version on what is quickly becoming a favourite dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      herby Jan 7, 2013 06:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I love Shakshuka! I used to make a similar dish that I came up with on my own; it was great but not spectacular as are all Shakshuka versions in Ottolenghi books.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        MelMM Jan 17, 2013 07:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Shakshuka, iBook ed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I love eggs and tomatoes in pretty much every incarnation I have tried, so this recipe was a no-brainer for me. Gio has already described the process, so I'll just add my notes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My edition of the book says to cut the peppers into 1/4" dice, not strips, so that is what I did. Using freshly ground cumin, straight from the mortar, I reduced the amount just a bit to account for the increased flavor as compared to store-bought ground cumin. Like Gio, I left out the egg yolks. In my case it was unintentional. I just didn't notice the "plus 4 egg yolks" on the same ingredient line as the whole eggs. The Harissa I used was from a jar, Mustapha's brand. Strong enough to give quite a kick to the sauce. Like Gio, I used Greek yoghurt alongside. I added a couple pinches of smoked paprika to my sauce to gild a lily that didn't really need gilding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Delicious is right. Spicy sauce, eggs, bread to mop everything up... what's not to like? The yoghurt also went really well, balancing the spiciness of the sauce with a cooling, tangy richness. This makes for a satisfying meal at any time of day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          beetlebug Jan 17, 2013 07:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Shakshouka, Pg. 66, US Edition

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I made this for dinner last night and loved it. I haven't made his other versions yet. This version seems simpler to prep with less ingredients which is why I made it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Like Gio, I only made four eggs with no yolks. I did have a fair amount of sauce leftover which I'll eat for breakfast soon (with either more eggs cooked in the sauce or a straight fried eggs).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          One slight change, I wanted some greens so I blanched kale and added it into the tomato sauce while it thickened. I really liked the addition and it felt more complete to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I served this over rice which went well with the sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            d
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DebHo Jan 19, 2013 04:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I finally made this last night and absolutely love it. Being of the spicy persuasion and first I wanted to kick it up a bit more but in the end I am glad I did not as the spice was rich verses the heat I am used to. My guest loved it as well and I am making it again for dinner this week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I would not change a thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              bunnylicious Jan 23, 2013 07:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So happy to have made this shakshouka. Followed the recipe except I reduced the amount of Harissa so that my 11 month-old could eat some of the sauce too (no eggs just yet). I overcooked the eggs a bit but still found this just wonderful. I topped half with yogurt as suggested in the recipe, and the other half with feta and zaatar. Loved it both ways.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bunnylicious
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                cheesecake17 Jan 24, 2013 03:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My toddler likes the tomato/ yogurt mixture with an omelette on the side.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cheesecake17
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  bunnylicious Jan 24, 2013 08:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Can only hope that our little ones keep their adventurous palates! :) will try with omelette for next time. This time she ate the sauce with yogurt and bread and couldn't get enough!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Caitlin McGrath Jan 28, 2013 09:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Shakshuka, p. 66 (US ed.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This made a great lunch. I made a half recipe, and used two eggs, no extra yolks. I actually made the sauce a few days ago and stuck it in the fridge, so it took only a few minutes to bring it to a simmer and then cook the eggs. Next time I'll make the full amount, so it can be on hand for more than one quick solo meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  JaneEYB Feb 3, 2013 12:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Shakshuka p.66

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Like everyone else above, I loved this. I had it for lunch today and can see this becoming a regular. I made 1/2 quantity of the sauce and have enough left over for another lunch. When I tasted the sauce while it was cooking I thought it was very spicy but when eating it with the eggs, labneh and some warmed pita bread, the spice level was perfect. Like several others, I didn't add the extra egg yolks. I'm not sure I see the point of that as it is quite a rich dish already, especially if adding labneh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    w
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Westminstress Feb 8, 2013 06:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Shakshuka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Like everyone else, we loved this dish. For my family of four (2 adults, 2 under 3) I made 5 whole eggs. I had a bit of trouble getting the whites to cook through before yolks set too much -- I think I should have scrambled them into the sauce more. But, absolutely delicious. We loved the sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      g
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      greeneggsnham Jul 28, 2013 06:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Shakshouka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I made this for a casual dinner party with some vegetarian friends last night. I wanted something that I could prep ahead of time since my husband was going to be at work all day leading up to right before the party. So with 3 little kids underfoot, I knew I wouldn't be able to get much cooking done that day. This fit the bill in that I made the sauce the night before and only had to rewarm it and crack the eggs when our guests arrived.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The only down side to this plan was that the timing is a little finicky. Everything worked beautifully except that once it was done and on the table (I served it in the large skillet I cooked it in), it took another few minutes for everyone and the kids to make it to the table. By the time we ate, the eggs were a overdone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I really liked this dish, although I have to admit I wish it were a little more richly spiced. I think if I make it again, I would add some onions and up the harissa (or perhaps go ahead and make the home-made harissa or pilpelchuma). It may be that my store-bought harissa is lacking. My husband was not a fan and said it tasted like salsa and eggs. Our guests said it was great but may have been just being nice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greeneggsnham
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Siegal Jul 31, 2013 07:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We make shakshuka all the time as my husband is israeli and they are like obsessed. Anyway the trick to perfectly done shakshuka with really raw runny yokes is to separate the eggs. Cook the whites in the shakshuka and then after they are done drop in the yolks and just let them heat through a bit at most.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Allegra_K Jan 6, 2013 07:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Basic Hummus p.114

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The method for making this fabulous hummus yields the smoothest batch of chickpea spread that has ever come out of my kitchen, a method I won't hesitate to use again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The soaked chickpeas, once drained, get mixed with baking soda in a pot over high heat -no water- and vigorously stirred for several minutes before adding the water. This baking soda fry really seems to loosen the skins of the chickpeas, and after a few minutes in the boiling water, the skins start to rise to the surface. I stood over the stove for a while with a small sieve, removing the skins as they appeared and stirring every so often to encourage the other, more stubborn legumes to release their casings. In the end probably only about 10% of the chickpeas had their skins still on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      On top of the skinless chickpeas, another reason the spread is so creamy is because of the vast amount of tahini called for in the recipe, plus the fact that it is blended in a food processor for five minutes with icy water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I did really enjoy this hummus, but for everyday use, I would add extra lemon juice, less tahini, and a touch of olive oil. This version reminds me of the kind one would have in a ME restaurant: very rich, very smooth, very extravagant. I would make it this way again for sure, but I'll need to make sure that I have a full jar of tahini. The hummus found its way into the recipe on the following page, Hummus Kawarma with Lemon Sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Breadcrumbs Jan 6, 2013 07:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yum! Sounds wonderful Allegra. As you say, quite different from the usual Hummus and undoubtedly nice for a change of pace. It's nice to have a range of options for making a dish and this one sounds like a keeper, even if reserved for special occasions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          g
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          greeneggsnham Jan 6, 2013 05:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Basic Hummus, pg 114.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I made the basic hummus as well. I was actually a bit puzzled by the baking soda fry, but I bet you are right that it helps to loosen the skins. My chickpeas also lost their skins very rapidly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was shocked by the amount of tahini I put into the hummus (over a cup!). I have made hummus many times in the past and never even approached this amount of tahini in a batch. I completely agree with Allegra's final assessment as well, very rich, very smooth, very extravagant. So much so, that we only ate a relatively small portion of the full batch and have a lot in the fridge as leftovers. I also thought it could use more lemon juice, and will probably add a bit to the leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          For me, I prefer a slightly less extravagant hummus, I think. The Hummus Kawarma sounds divine, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greeneggsnham
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            shaebones Jan 12, 2013 11:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Basic Hummus, pg 114.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I didn't like it. :( I thought it was bland and there was something off about it. There was a bitter aftertaste. The tahini and garlic were both fresh so not sure what went wrong. I was bummed. Thats a lot of hummus to dump.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: shaebones
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mrsleny Jan 16, 2013 07:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Did you taste it again the next day? Sometimes I find it's much better after it sits for a day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mrsleny
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                shaebones Jan 16, 2013 11:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, still off flavor,,,had to dump it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            delys77 Jan 20, 2013 11:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hello all

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My plan was to prep this hummus tonight and then to do the rest for the Hummus Kawarma tomorrow. I just reviewed the recipe a bit more closely and I had a few questions I hoped some of you might be able to help me with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I was actually supposed to soak the chickpeas last night but after a few glasses of wine it slipped my mind. I have them soaking now and I just assumed that overnight meant 8 hours or so of soaking, which would mean I could drain them around 5pm (8 hours after I put them in). Do we think this will equate to an overnight soak? Also, once they went into the water, how long did it take them to soften after their overnight soak. YO/ST say approximately 40 minutes to an hour, did you find this accurate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. One of my New Year's resolutions is to lose a little weight (getting married in August) so I am a being slightly more careful of calories. I'm not calorie counting mind you as I am doing quite a bit of exercise, but I also don't want to eat unecessary calories. It sounds like the general concensus is that the suggested amount of tahini is a bit on the high side. Since he calls for a cup I thought I might cut it back to 1/2 a cup. What do you all think this might do to the consistancy and the flavour? I've done a little research in the books I have at home and the average for 600gr of chick peas seems to be about 1/2 a cup. Which leads me to assume my approach might yield a slightly more average hummus, but still something that has a good balance of tahini flavour. Thoughts?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks in advance all for any help.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              herby Jan 20, 2013 12:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Delys77, when I am in a hurry to soak beans, I bring them to a boil and leave for a couple of hours off the heat; drain, rinse and cook as directed. I like my chickpeas on the soft side, one hour cooking is usually enough but taste a bean to see if it is to your teaste. The same with hummus - add 1/2 cup of tahini and taste - if you like a bit more, add a tablespoon or two. I do not like a lot of tahini in hummus and probably would go with 1/2 cup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: herby
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                delys77 Jan 20, 2013 01:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks Herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                delys77 Jan 23, 2013 10:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Basic Hummus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Allright, I actually finished the hummus on Sunday evening but we didn't really have any till Tuesday when we ate it as part of the Hummus Kawarma. Loved this hummus! I soaked for about 9 hours and then simmered for about 30 minutes and the beans were very tender and wizzed up perfectly in the processor. I did cut back to about 1/3 and 1/2 a cup of tahini and I thought that was just right for us. While I like tahini, I also don't want it to be the dominant flavour note in the hummus. With this amount the hummus was still very smooth, rich, nutty, but with a good balance between the tahini, chickpea, garlic, and lemon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The texture this process yields is extremely smooth, as other have stated, mostly likely due to the elimination of many of the skins and the long processing with the drizzle of ice water. I have made hummus from other recipes before but have generally not found that there was much difference between those recipes and commercial hummus, this recipe however yields a far superior product.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Would definitely repeat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                r
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                rasputina Jan 28, 2013 11:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Basic Hummus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I made this today, with dried chickpeas I soaked and cooked last week. So I didn't do the baking soda fry to skin them. I skinned them by hand like I usually do. Hummus is a staple at our house and it's usually made by my husband who lived in Israel for a few years and learned to make it there from his aunt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have to admit that I was a very surprised at the amount of tahini the recipe called for but I followed it as written. This is terrific hummus. I think the key's are the amount of tahini and also the extended processing time. I know we've never processed it before, for the 5 minutes after it's all come together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Also this recipe has a perfect balance between the garlic, lemon, chickpeas and tahini.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've always skinned my chickpeas, and it's so time consuming that I often just resort to canned out of laziness. Next time I'll try the baking soda fry method.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'll be making this recipe again though. I just wish my husband wasn't out of town until Friday so I could get his opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rasputina
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  greedygirl Jan 28, 2013 12:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I cooked my own chickpeas using the recipe but a lot of the skins stayed put. It was a very creamy hummus nevertheless. A revelation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Savour Aug 19, 2013 01:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I made the Basic Hummus this weekend. My chickpeas were a little more loathe to give up their skins, but the final result was very creamy, albeit a little dense, almost sticky in texture. I ended up adding a little more lemon and another 4-5 T ice water to add fluff before serving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Allegra_K Jan 6, 2013 07:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hummus Kawarma with Lemon Sauce (half recipe) pg.118

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A hummus that knows how to party! This luxurious version of hummus is topped with a fantastic spiced lamb mixture and a generous drizzle of intensely flavoured lemon dressing, and is as Ottolenghi states, "one of the most sensational things you can put in your mouth". I wholeheartedly agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For the kawarma, finely chopped lamb is marinated in a mixture of black & white pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, za'atar leaves (oregano as a sub), white wine vinegar and fresh mint and parsley. After a time, the lamb is cooked in olive oil and butter until barely done.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A gloriously tart and slightly spicy lemon sauce is made up using parsley, fresh green chile, lemon juice, white wine vinegar and garlic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hummus-the recipe from page 114- gets spread out to individual plates and the lamb topping is divided up amongst it. A liberal amount of lemon sauce is poured atop the mix and the whole thing is scattered with reserved whole cooked chickpeas, flat leaf parsley, and toasted pine nuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This was irresistible! The lamb had such a lovely spice mix that really elevated the hummus to extraordinary heights, and the addition of the lemon sauce went so perfectly with all the other ingredients that I found myself adding extra at the table. It was greedily eaten at once with blisteringly hot pita, fresh from the oven, and a side of Na'ama's Fattoush. The items together made for a very delicious and hearty dinner, the kind that has you reflecting on the meal with pleasured satisfaction long after the dishes are put away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  29 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    blue room Jan 6, 2013 08:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thank you again Allegra_K, this one will haunt me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Breadcrumbs Jan 6, 2013 08:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Beautiful Allegra, sounds divine!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        q
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        qianning Jan 6, 2013 09:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        wow...now I really do wish my library copy would show up soon....that dish sounds absolutely fabulous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          JoanN Jan 6, 2013 10:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Read both your reports and went right out and bought chickpeas. Lamb already in the freezer. Soon. Soon. Looks and sounds irresistible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            GretchenS Jan 6, 2013 10:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fabulous report, Allegra_K, I can almost taste it! You write as well as you cook! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Gio Jan 6, 2013 10:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I wish I didn't dislike chickpeas as I do. Your report of the Kawarma with Lemon Sauce sounds wonderful. So, I wonder if I could use another bean preparation instead of hummus. I made so much hummus in the past that I really don't care for it now, even though I see that YO's recipe is quite different...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I need another think about this. Off the top, I'm thinking a fava bean puree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1sweetpea Aug 9, 2013 11:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Gio, I know this reply is several months late, but there's nothing wrong with substituting any other bean that is thin-skinned. By that I mean not a red kidney bean or lima bean that has a skin that doesn't break down when processed. Pinto beans would work well, but will deliver a brown hummus. Any white or pale colored bean should do. In a moment of raw vegan insanity, I made hummus out of raw zucchini, raw sesame tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt and cumin and it was surprisingly good. The water content of the zucchini allowed for less tahini/olive oil, but intensified the garlic's pungent notes. I wouldn't do it as a standard, but it's an option.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: 1sweetpea
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Gio Aug 9, 2013 11:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you very much 1sweetpea! Very doable suggestions... I like that. Another might even be cannellini beans. Your zucchini hummus sounds intriguing, to say the least...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                BigSal Jan 6, 2013 10:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sounds amazing! I am adding this to the growing list. Inspired by your previous post, I am having falafel for lunch. The minced raw ingredients smell amazing, can't wait to try it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: BigSal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Allegra_K Jan 6, 2013 12:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A warm thank you to all above for your kind words; it's a real pleasure to come back here and find such encouragement. My day has been brightened because of it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    blue room Jan 6, 2013 12:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047522/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  biondanonima Jan 6, 2013 03:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Beautiful! I have been lurking on these threads because I don't have the book and (mostly) haven't been tempted to buy it - however, this recipe is beyond tempting! Luckily I was able to find it online, over at Serious Eats. http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20... Can't wait to try it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    JungMann Jan 9, 2013 06:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also made the hummus kawarma. The lamb meat is, to say the least, delightfully spiced. It is a series of bursts of flavor from the vinegar, herbs and spices. The hummus, however, I thought fell completely flat. It somehow managed to be watery while leaning too heavily on the tahini. The lemon sauce definitely added the zing that was missing from the hummus, but if you were not lucky enough to scoop up some garlic and lemon, you were just getting a bite of fabulous lamb with chickpea mash. The kawarma is a keeper, but I will be sticking to the bright, garlicky bite of Lebanese hummus recipes to compliment. There are plenty of ways to make a delicious, decadently smooth hummus, but I don't this basic hummus recipe is one of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      beetlebug Jan 11, 2013 08:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hummus Kawarma with Lemon Sauce pg.118

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I made this last night for a dinner party. This was the dish I was most eager to try and it didn't disappoint. Not much to add, but if you love spicy lamb bits and hummus, you must try this combo. I did divide the hummus into two portions since there was one vegetarian at the table. I drizzled some of the lemon sauce on to the non-lamb one and it elevated that hummus as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I can't wait to eat my leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Breadcrumbs Jan 11, 2013 08:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I like your idea of serving the hummus w the lemon sauce for the vegetarians beetlebug. Sounds delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1sweetpea Aug 9, 2013 11:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think you could easily do a sauteed veggie topping for the veg version that would be a knock-out. If you ever have to bring a veggie dish to a potluck, this would be an interesting option.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          JoanN Jan 13, 2013 07:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kawarma with Lemon Sauce (page 118, US edition)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This didn’t work for me. Could have been any number of reasons

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          First of all, what cut of meat is everyone using for this? I used part of a boned leg of lamb that I’d bought specifically to section and use for recipes in this book. What is “neck fillet of lamb”? How would it differ from leg?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was too impatient too cook the meat in batches and cooked it all at once in a wok. It threw off an awful lot of liquid and turned sort of gray rather than brown. I pushed the lamb up the sides of the wok thinking to boil off the liquid and brown the meat, but the meat was overcooking before that was going to happen so I just gave up. I had a lot of leftover Basmati with Orzo so decided to serve it on that rather than make the hummus. Maybe that was a mistake; maybe the hummus is a necessary foil for the other flavors to work? I thought the sauce was too, too. Too sharp; too raw. It overwhelmed both the meat and the rice. Did I just use too much of it? And finally, perhaps (this was my third lamb dish from this book) I’m just tiring of the flavor profile. All three lamb preparations contain allspice and two contain cinnamon. Yes, each contains other herbs and spices as well, but allspice is prominent in all of them. And this lamb itself without the sauce just wasn’t as spicy as I had expected, hoped?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Anyway, I was excited when I read beetlebug’s report because I have a dinner coming up with a mix of vegetarians and meat eaters and I was counting on this dish to be the centerpiece. But I don’t think so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Breadcrumbs Jan 13, 2013 07:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What a shame Joan, so sorry this disappointed. If it's any consolation, your photograph is lovely and very enticing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              greedygirl Jan 13, 2013 08:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Lamb neck fillet will have more fat than leg. It sounds like you were steaming the meat rather than frying it, by cooking it all at once.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                JoanN Jan 13, 2013 08:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks, gg. I suspected that might be true about the lamb neck. I did use one of the fattier pieces of leg, but perhaps it just wasn't enough. I wonder if you can even buy lamb neck fillet here. I've certainly never seen it. But then, I've never asked for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As for the steaming, that was no more meat and not much less oil than I often use in a stir-fry so I was expecting a similar result.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Allegra_K Jan 13, 2013 10:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh no, I'm so sorry this didn't work out for you! I did really like the spicing of the lamb, but could certainly see how it would get boring if every application involving said meat was the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I really felt that the lemon sauce made the hummus 'pop', and married the flavours of the meat and the chickpea spread, but I guess the rice must not have needed such a citrus burst. At least you tested it before the company came!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  beetlebug Jan 14, 2013 06:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I used whatever lamb fillets were in the meat case at whole foods. I know it wasn't neck though. It may have been leg but I have no clue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also used my wok. My chopped fillets were probably around 9 oz which is just the right amount for my wok. I actually used the Grace Young method of stir fry (put meat in wok and don't touch it for a minute). Mine didn't throw off excess liquid although there was some.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I do think you need the combo of lamb, hummus and lemon sauce to make the dish work. Or, for the vegetarians, the lemon sauce and hummus. I added more of the lemon sauce to the vegetarian dish because the hummus lacked the lamb. But, I loved the combo overall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bummer that it didn't work for you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    JoanN Jan 14, 2013 06:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Had some of the leftovers last night and liked it better the second time around. Maybe the sauce had mellowed somewhat. Or maybe it was I who had mellowed. May reconsider for the dinner party. I will trust that he had a good reason for pairing the lamb and sauce with the hummus, to say nothing of the fact that those who have loved this dish did indeed serve it that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  delys77 Jan 23, 2013 10:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hummus Kawarma with Lemond Sauce, Pg. 118

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We loved this dish! As I noted above, the hummus was very good, both in texture and in flavour, but the topping really brought it to another level.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Here in Vancouver there are a large number of Shawarma/Donair/Gyro/Kebab places in the neighbourhood near my work, and I particularly love when I get take out and a crunchy piece of seasoned meat has gone rogue and fallen into the hummus. I usually grab some pita scoop up some tabouleh (sp?) and then pluck the meat out of the hummus and into my mouth. For me this dish was the perfect recreation of that flavour profile with its unctuous hummus, spicy bites of crisp meat, and the strong tang of the lemon sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A real winner this one, we just loved it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Allegra_K Jan 23, 2013 10:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hooray, glad you liked this, and what a beautiful photo!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      blue room Jan 23, 2013 10:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The hummus in that picture looks so good -- exactly the right thickness!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: delys77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        geekmom Jan 23, 2013 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yum, that looks incredibly good. I'm going to go and soak some chickpeas now. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: delys77
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          jspragins Dec 28, 2013 04:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We loved it too. Used ground lamb cuz that's what we had. It was fab!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Allegra_K
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          greedygirl Jan 28, 2013 01:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We're on the "love" side with this one, which I served as the starter for a Jerusalem dinner party. Beautiful combination of textures and flavours. I think the word stunning may have been used by some guests.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          GilaB Jan 6, 2013 01:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Watercress & Chickpea Soup with Rose Water & Ras el Hanout (p. 132 in US edition):
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In a very unlikely turn of events, I happened to have almost all of the ingredients for this soup kicking around the fridge one Sunday, although I was a bit short on both greens and supplemented with about a cup of chopped parsley to make up for the lack. We also skipped the optional yogurt garnish as we happened to be out of it. My husband and I both really enjoyed this soup. The rose water gave it a slight hint of perfume in the background without overwhelming the dish, as it sometimes can. Any pureed soup needs a lot of garnish to provide textural contrast, but the roasted carrots and chickpeas here added wonderful spice and heft to the dish. I made my own ras al hanout, as we were out, which probably helped the flavor. We would totally make this again, although perhaps with more chickpeas in the pureed portion to add more thickness.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            GilaB Jan 6, 2013 02:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Spicy Beet, Leek, and Walnut Salad (p. 73 in US edition):

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We loved this recipe, which I prepared without the walnut oil in the dressing; I find it goes rancid too quickly to be worth keeping around, delicious as it is. Also, my local grocery was out of arugula, so I substituted watercress, the rest of which I eventually used in the watercress soup I reviewed elsewhere in this thread. I do not know what tamarind water is, but I diluted some tamarind paste down to watery consistency and used that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This was delicious, impressive, and made a ton of food. Both we and our guests really enjoyed it, and it was the first container of leftovers that we both went for the following day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I would totally make it again, but with some other vegetable rather than leeks. The leeks tasted great, don't get me wrong, but were a huge pain to deal with, as I needed to keep them from falling apart during so many steps: washing between the layers, boiling, draining, cutting into even shorter lengths that needed to be kept together, tossing with dressing, and arranging on a platter. I found myself occasionally reassembling the layers of a leek segment after it fell apart.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In future, I might use wedges of steamed artichoke hearts, or perhaps roasted fennel wedges, rather than the leeks. I think that either would work with the other flavors, and would be easier to deal with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GilaB
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              dkennedy Jan 7, 2013 02:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Gila, Keep your walnut oil in the fridge and you will find it takes a very long time for it to turn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dkennedy
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                GilaB Jan 7, 2013 04:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If I kept everything in the fridge (nuts, oils, beans, grains, flours) that everybody tells me to keep in the fridge, I wouldn't have room for the milk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: GilaB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                bunnylicious Jan 7, 2013 04:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We loved this salad!!! So satisfying and tasty, wish I hadn't halved the recipe as we both wanted seconds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I used pumpkin seed oil instead of walnut, and replaced the tamarind with lemon juice and a tiny punch of sugar. I didn't stress too much about keeping the leeks together. They fell apart but it wasn't too messy and didn't affect the flavor. Another winner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: GilaB
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  pluralofcow Jan 7, 2013 05:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I made this last night and didn't love it. I'll try it one more time, lighter on the apple cider vinegar. It was too tart for me and I didn't even add any tamarind. I think it may have been my expectations were off. I've spent a lot of time in Georgia, and I think I was expecting something different.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pluralofcow
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DebHo Jan 28, 2013 12:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Crazy about the too acidic part as I did not think that of mine at all. Just wondering if you ever took a second shot at it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: GilaB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ChrisOfStumptown Jan 12, 2013 01:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Made this last night. I generally agree with the other posters: it's a good recipe but the leeks are a potential trouble spot. My only leek trouble occurred during slicing, but largely avoided this. The recipe cautions using a sharp knife here and I think dull knives risk shredding the leeks. I had a few, in the photo below these are on the far side of the salad. I think it also helps to toss the leeks in the dressing using your hands, at least that is what i did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A few notes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The dressing uses more vinegar than oil. I was expecting something more tart, but was glad it wasn't. I think the vinegar was fairly low in acidity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I like the plating and assembly instructions: the salad is assembled in layers which resulted in an attractive result. I intend to add this technique to my regular bag of tricks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I happened to have orange-saffron sauce from the chicken and herb salad recipe which made a nice mixer for club soda. Just saying, goes well with the beet salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think this salad would go well with, or after salami or similar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I used watercress in the picture below:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChrisOfStumptown
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DebHo Jan 30, 2013 01:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chris, love the picture! And I am a sucker for salami so I might try that. The salad went well with the roasted chicken recipe too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: GilaB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      geekmom Jan 17, 2013 08:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Spicy beetroot, leek and walnut salad - p 73 (UK ed)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Whole beets are baked in tinfoil, then peeled after they are cool. Meanwhile, 10cm segments of leek are simmered gently for ten minutes, and a walnut, tamarind and cider vinegar dressing is assembled. The beets and leeks are sliced into chunks and tossed separately with the dressing.The salad is plated in layers: beets, then rocket/ arugula, leeks, more of each of these vegetables, and finally sprinkled with pomegranate seeds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This salad was mostly assembled by my daughter; I helped here and there while cooking other dishes. She did a great job, aside from slightly overcooking the leeks. Even so we did manage to get them to hold together. It helps that she forgot to toss the dressing with the beets and leeks, and simply poured it over top of everything before sprinkling on the pomegranate seeds; this made it a little easier for the leeks to hold their shape.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We all really enjoyed the combination of flavours here. Even the beet haters in the family liked this salad. However, we agree with other posters that the cider vinegar is a little too prominent & my sticky-note on the recipe reminds me to cut back on the vinegar next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I didn't think the salad was in fact spicy, as advertised. There was a nice bitterness from the rocket but the pepper flakes that I added to the dressing must not have been strong enough to compete with all the other big flavours. If you want a really spicy kick with this dish, I recommend either increasing the chili flakes in the dressing (taste as you go!) or make sure the ones you're using are very potent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: geekmom
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        blue room Jan 17, 2013 09:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What a pretty salad -- I'd be hovering over this waiting to taste it while everyone else was being seated. Good idea to *not* toss leeks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: GilaB
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DebHo Jan 28, 2013 12:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I completely echo what you wrote. The dish and flavors were great. I have a new love for walnut oil and even let my dinner party guests sample the oil pure and had them on board too. I lucked out and got the best tasting arugula from the farmer's market that morning and am glad as it really made the "salad" part of the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The leeks...I wish I could have loved this part. They just never seem to be the right texture for me and I had mixed reviews from my guests. One liked them more al dente and the other wanted them cooked more. Next time I am leaving out the leeks. I think this is a great salad just with the beets and arugula but I like your idea of perhaps artichokes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DebHo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Goblin Jan 31, 2013 05:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Regarding the Spicy Beet, Leek, and Walnut Salad: I agree with DebHo's and others' conclusion about the leeks. I loved the other flavors and textures except for them. Despite my careful handling, they fell apart after cooking, which was OK, but when we ate them, they just seemed too "slippery" in texture.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The idea of subbing artichoke-bottoms is appealing. But prepping fresh artichokes is even more time-consuming than the leeks. Would anyone recommend using a brand of canned or frozen artichoke bottoms, or is this heresy! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Goblin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LulusMom Jan 31, 2013 06:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I use frozen artichoke bottoms/hearts! I don't have any in the freezer right now, but I've only ever seen one brand (in DC and here in North Carolina) and they've been good quality. Not cheap, but, as you say, you're saving a lot of time - and your time is worth money, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Goblin
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              GilaB Feb 1, 2013 07:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was thinking of using frozen artichoke hearts when I made the suggestion (which I haven't tried yet). Prepping fresh artichokes goes beyond the level of fussiness that I'm willing to do. I'd skip the canned ones, which have an unpleasant taste/texture IMO. I believe the only brand of frozen artichoke hearts in my local grocery store is Birds Eye, which are all right, but you need to check them for small leftover fibrous bits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: GilaB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Goblin Feb 1, 2013 07:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you, both Lulu'sMom and GllaB, for the advice on using frozen artichoke hearts in this beet salad recipe. I have bought them before in my local supermarket. Glad to have the reminder about checking for the leftover bits of "choke."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have to say, "Jerusalem" has been one of the most rewarding Cookbooks of the Month for me. I've loved the recipes and the many and varied reviews.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: GilaB
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            equinoise Oct 31, 2013 12:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            To me this was another solid dish from Jerusalem. I had cooked several Georgian recipes from Wolfert's E. Medd. book and was curious to see how this would compare.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Tamarind water was an odd choice; I don't think it has any part in traditional Georgian food, where tumeric or the local marigold variant and vinegar could provide an acidic flavor. But I thought tamarind worked quite well in this recipe. To me the genius part was the method for cooking beets, which renders them tender but not burnt (which I get when roasting them uncovered even if oiled) and the skin just strips right away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think the leeks really need to be cooked as briefly as possible and quickly refreshed in cold water to avoid stringiness and falling apart. I set the slices on end and pressed them with a dish towel to draw out liquid before tossing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think a good variation would be to throw in a mixture of herbs that are typical in Georgian food in addition to the cilantro - tarragon, mint, basil, dill, etc.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            pavlova Jan 6, 2013 06:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lemony Leek Meatballs p. 44 (yes, they are in the vegetable chapter!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            These were outstanding! They are made with about triple the weight of leeks to ground beef and bound with fresh breadcrumbs in a simple chicken stock and lemon sauce, served with Greek yogurt. I served them with the butternut squash and red onion with tahini and the barley and parsley salad, with the clementine almond syrup cake for dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I discovered too late that the recipe called for breadcrumbs and there was no bread in the house so I used cooked basmati instead and it worked just fine and they held together well and were tender. I also used more beef than the recipe called for, just to use an entire package. We loved the lemony sauce and a dollop of Greek yogurt on top was the perfect accompaniment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pavlova
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              GretchenS Jan 6, 2013 06:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh I am so happy to read your report, pavlova, have had my eye on this recipe. It sounds wonderful!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                greedygirl Jan 8, 2013 01:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I made these for dinner tonight, intending to split the recipe between us for a main, as it's a starter for 4. We ended up only eating half, as the meatballs are huge, but extremely light because of the leeks. We served over rice and enjoyed this dish a lot. Looking forward to the leftovers for lunch.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Frizzle Jan 8, 2013 06:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've made this recipe a few times before the COTM period started. I LOVE (yes, with all caps even) these. They are incredibly light and tangy. I wish leeks were cheaper so I could make them more often.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm glad other people are enjoying them too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Frizzle