New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

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New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Frank Deis » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:23 pm

I know some of you are like me, with shelves in the pantry (and elsewhere) full of cookbooks. But it's hard to resist a strong recommendation and I recently acquired 3 that look really good.

First, Yotam Ottolenghi has a restaurant in London, evidently vegetarian, and his cookbook "Plenty" is full of creative ways to make vegetables taste fabulous. That book has been around for a while. His newer book "Jerusalem" has recipes from Israel, obviously centered on the rather cosmopolitan cuisine of Jerusalem. The newer book has both meat and vegetarian recipes, and according to my friends, they are pretty spectacular. I'm looking forward to making the chicken and rice cooked with whole coriander pods...

Second -- I have mentioned here that I've been kind of working my way through a cookbook with a terrible title from Weight Watchers. I am constantly surprised by the way flavors are combined, and everyone who tastes the dishes says they are delicious. One of the first things I tried was a corn chowder with cubes of sweet potato and (optional) ham flavored with hot chipotles in adobo sauce. At any rate I am not re-recommending that book, but the point here is that when I have looked up these recipes online to try to trace back to the original idea, I have kept finding links to "The Smitten Kitchen." So I ordered a copy of that book, by Deb Perelman, and I suppose I am smitten now that I have it. I haven't owned it long enough to try recipes but they are so obviously good, the pictures are great, and you can kind of just sit and read it like a novel, if you're into food the way I am.

By the way that is also true of Ottolenghi's books, the photography is amazing, and it's not just pictures of food, there are pictures of ancient side streets in the Jerusalem book, all of these books are entertaining in many ways.
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Frank Deis » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:22 pm

If you have a Kindle or iPad and have discovered how easy they can be to use in the kitchen you should jump on this.

"Plenty" is available from Amazon in the Kindle edition for $3.50!! Even if you're only a little curious, I'd say grab it.

I have the Kindle app on my iPad and it works nicely plus the pictures are in color...
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:16 pm

We've had Plenty sitting around the house for some time now, but we've only cooked a dish or two out of it. It's a great-looking book, though, and I expect we'll use it more.

I remember seeing some criticism of Ottolenghi (I don't think here?) for requiring too many obscure ingredients. I don't see that as a problem for most of his recipes. Most of them seem very doable to me.

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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:33 pm

Well, you got me, Frank. After thinking about this thread a bit, I went upstairs and grabbed our copy of Plenty. Started thumbing through it and came across a recipe for sweet potato cakes with a yogurt-sour cream-cilantro sauce. We happened to have a couple of sweet potatoes sitting idle in the kitchen, so this ended up on the menu tonight. They were delicious!

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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Frank Deis » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:06 am

Thanks Mike. Naturally for adventurous cooks like most of us here, there's no problem with finding the ingredients.

And I think there is a ton of delicious stuff in this book. I can't wait to make the eggplant dish on the cover, with a creamy sauce and pomegranate seeds.
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Jenise » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:29 am

I have yet to even pick up any of Ottolenghi's books but I've sure read raves about them. I'm definitely curious. And Frank, $3.50??? He's trying to create a best seller. I'll help!

The last cookbook I bought was the Meatball Shop's in NYC. I am just crazy about meatballs and couldn't resist expanding my mental idea of what's possible. Haven't tried too many of the recipes yet but I could eat the pages as everything sounds so good.
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Frank Deis » Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:23 pm

For an inveterate cookbook collector like me, the concept of having cookbooks on the iPad is great, they don't take up space and they are searchable.

I'm copying Mike and trying the sweet potato fritters tonight.
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Frank Deis » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:19 pm

The sweet potato cakes are good, but the sauce elevates them, NEVER skip the sauce in an Ottolenghi recipe!

At any rate, I don't know what's going on at Amazon but they have Michael Ruhlman's "Twenty" for $3. What?!?

Buying it.

And maybe "Glorious Pasta of Italy" also for $3.

These guys are crazy.
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:52 pm

Absolutely agree regarding that sauce. It's essential.

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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Jenise » Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:31 pm

Frank Deis wrote:The sweet potato cakes are good, but the sauce elevates them, NEVER skip the sauce in an Ottolenghi recipe!

At any rate, I don't know what's going on at Amazon but they have Michael Ruhlman's "Twenty" for $3. What?!?

Buying it.

And maybe "Glorious Pasta of Italy" also for $3.

These guys are crazy.


It's about bragging rights. Ina Garten's publishers did it last year with one of her books and that got picked up by some websites who advertise great deals simply based on asking prices vs. original MSRP. Anyway, it made Ina's book the Best Selling Cookbook of 2012. Now others are following suit.
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:35 pm

Frank Deis wrote:... I don't know what's going on at Amazon but they have Michael Ruhlman's "Twenty" for $3. What?!?

Buying it.

And maybe "Glorious Pasta of Italy" also for $3.

These guys are crazy.

Damn! I just got 'em both, and the Ottolenghi, too. That's $10, guess that's enough for me today. :lol:
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Jenise » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:45 pm

Speaking of new cookbooks, one I'd forgotten I'd ordered just showed up. It's by Barbara Lynch of No. 9 Park in Boston, a restaurant a good friend of mine considers the best on the planet. I knew that, and then when the very impressive chef who won Top Chef this season gave the credit for her skills to Barbara Lynch, that made me look. The only book Barbara has out is modern Italian, called Stir, which may also be the name of a restaurant she owns/owned, so I bought it. No conclusions yet, but looking through it just now reminded me that I haven't made gnocchi in I'd-be-embarrassed-to-tell-you-how-long, so I've decided to add gnocchi (finished in a gorgonzola-garlic cream sauce) as the side dish to a smoked rib-eye roast I'm doing tonight. I've been on an Italian kick all week--it continues!
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Frank Deis » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:32 pm

Jenise, I love gnocchi, and I love Italian food, but it has been a while for me, too! I didn't know about Barbara Lynch...

Tonight's meal made me think of Rahsaan -- lentils topped with "burned" eggplant topped with yogurt (I have Kashk and used that).

Wow, delicious, and Louise said so too.

If Rahsaan doesn't have this book he needs to get it...

I know he likes lentils and I'm not sure I've ever enjoyed them this much.
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Jenise » Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:18 am

The gnocchi was heavenly. Used Barbara Lynch's proportions and made a sauce to resemble one I had and loved years ago in a little Italian joint in Anchorage, Alaska, which closed after the owner ran off with the cook's wife. I love to tell that, because the extent to which this kind of thing happens fairly regularly makes Alaska the special place it is. Made a great side dish for smoked beef. And the meal really was Italian! Served a warm spinach and mushroom salad on braesola to start and Sicilian wines throughout.

The lentils sound great. Would have to skip any open globules of yoghurt, but would probably love it if the yoghurt were stirred in.
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Rahsaan » Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:33 am

Frank Deis wrote:Jenise, I love gnocchi, and I love Italian food, but it has been a while for me, too! I didn't know about Barbara Lynch...

Tonight's meal made me think of Rahsaan -- lentils topped with "burned" eggplant topped with yogurt (I have Kashk and used that).

Wow, delicious, and Louise said so too.

If Rahsaan doesn't have this book he needs to get it...

I know he likes lentils and I'm not sure I've ever enjoyed them this much.


I don't have Ottolenghi's book, and quite frankly I don't have a lot of cookbooks aside from one of Mark Bittman's basic ones. Otherwise I usually just look up stuff on the internet for basic proportions/cooking times/etc. There's so mcuh inspiration in the world, I haven't felt the need for specific cookbooks. But maybe I should re-think that.

And I used to live around the corner from one of Ottolenghi's restaurants in London and very much enjoyed eating there. It was always a fun time with such vivid flavors. A friend in London liked his cookbooks and used to prepare meals from them. They were also delicious, although the style struck me as a bit more precious than my usual style.
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Jo Ann Henderson » Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:13 pm

Jenise wrote:The gnocchi was heavenly. Used Barbara Lynch's proportions and made a sauce to resemble one I had and loved years ago in a little Italian joint in Anchorage, Alaska, which closed after the owner ran off with the cook's wife. I love to tell that, because the extent to which this kind of thing happens fairly regularly makes Alaska the special place it is. Made a great side dish for smoked beef. And the meal really was Italian! Served a warm spinach and mushroom salad on braesola to start and Sicilian wines throughout.

The lentils sound great. Would have to skip any open globules of yoghurt, but would probably love it if the yoghurt were stirred in.

I have this cookbook. I got it about 3 years ago as a daily special discount (I think $5) on Jessica's Biscuit, which I think is the website you referenced above. I have all kinds of sticky tags on it, but the only thing I ever made from it was the Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Anchovies and Pistachios. As a matter of fact, I think it was this recipe that caused me to buy a 1lb tin of Italian anchovies packed in brine, most of which I still have, melting away in all that salt! For some reason I find Italian cooking daunting, whereas I will easily jump into Thai or Indian - no problem.

Speaking of books on the cheap, I purchased Natalie Dupree's Southern Biscuits, which is currently on sale (Kindle version) for $1.99! I am really enjoying reading it. I had no idea there were so many different versions of the biscuit, and that it's a product used in so many different ways. Natalie even instructs you on how to make and store your own self-rising flour and refrigerated biscuit mix (also on the Amazon site). It's really quite a treat and a great Friday night, Saturday morning mouth-watering giggle. Highly recommend!
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Jenise » Sat Mar 23, 2013 1:36 pm

Jo Ann Henderson wrote: I have all kinds of sticky tags on it, but the only thing I ever made from it was the Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Anchovies and Pistachios. As a matter of fact, I think it was this recipe that caused me to buy a 1lb tin of Italian anchovies packed in brine, most of which I still have, melting away in all that salt! For some reason I find Italian cooking daunting, whereas I will easily jump into Thai or Indian - no problem.

Speaking of books on the cheap, I purchased Natalie Dupree's Southern Biscuits, which is currently on sale (Kindle version) for $1.99! I am really enjoying reading it. I had no idea there were so many different versions of the biscuit, and that it's a product used in so many different ways. Natalie even instructs you on how to make and store your own self-rising flour and refrigerated biscuit mix (also on the Amazon site). It's really quite a treat and a great Friday night, Saturday morning mouth-watering giggle. Highly recommend!


It's funny how we relate to one style of cooking or another. Italian seems so basic to me, probably because it's really only just around the corner from the Provencal cuisine that is my culinary home base. Olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes are central themes in both cuisines.

My gnocchi came out wonderful! Light little clouds, they were. Had never stopped to consider before yesterday how fast and easy they are to make, especially with the pressure cooker's help in getting the potatoes cooked to perfection (ten minutes on med/low once it comes to pressure, then ten minutes of cooling before you pull the lid). And it was a great thing to involve my dinner guest in. She has bought and cooked packaged gnocchi but never made it herself. And of course the commercial versions she's bought lack the light and ethereal texture of what we made. Enough for four and enough to freeze for two main course portions another time took just ten minutes.

The Natalie Dupree book sounds fantastic. I didn't know there were many kinds of biscuits. I'm like, rolled or dropped. Or with sugar, so it's a scone. $1.99's a great deal.
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Frank Deis » Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:22 pm

Well, Rahsaan, of course there's that Kindle option if you don't want to use up bookshelf space...

Jenise, I see it as similar to what is often done in Persian cooking. There is a glob of seasoned eggplant goop on top of the lentils, and a tablespoon of yogurt or kashk on top of the eggplant, but you try to arrange to have all of the flavors combined each time you take a spoonful of the dish. Like having chocolate sauce on top of your vanilla ice cream. You could stir it all together but it works out pretty much the same, and you have the choice to avoid the sauce...

Other cheap Kindle cookbooks posted on another site

Becca Hunt wrote:Essential Pepin Desserts: 160 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food

200 Thai Favourites by Oi Cheepchaiissara

Tapas and Traditional Spanish Cooking by Pepita Aris


The Pepin is a large download because it includes some video supplements to his dessert book...
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Frank Deis » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:52 am

Last night I made the sauteed chickpeas with Swiss chard from Ottolenghi's "Plenty." Picture in the What's Cooking thread.
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Frank Deis » Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:04 pm

And last night I set up the "mise en place" for the smoky frittata (picture in What's Cooking). Cut a cauliflower into florets and blanched them and drained them. Got out the smoked paprika, measured 2 oz aged cheddar and 5 oz smoked mozzarella. Tried to buy some chives, couldn't find them, so got some scallions. This morning, grated the cheeses, cut up some of our own chives and the scallions, manufactured "creme fraiche" out of sour cream and yoghurt, and put together the frittata.

It was gratifyingly delicious and my son and his wife really enjoyed it. This one is also from "Plenty"

This is a relatively easy and probably fool-proof recipe which people ought to try especially if you like smoky flavors.
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Jo Ann Henderson » Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:27 pm

Thanks for the recco, Frank. I'm going to try this one Friday or Saturday night this week. Funny, I've had this book for a year and never made a recipe from it. (Live with a couple men who are serious carnivores!) Look at the pictures often though.
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Frank Deis » Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:21 pm

That's great Jo Ann -- hope your family loves it. If you like smokey BBQ you probably will like smokey eggs.

Another egg dish that was discussed here is in the book, "Eggs in Hell" but he's got the real Israeli name, sushakusha or something like that.

[edit - Shakshouka viewtopic.php?f=5&t=42692&p=350137]

I'm obviously addicted to this book, and I have nothing whatever against eating meat, it's just tasty attractive interesting stuff.
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Jo Ann Henderson » Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:11 pm

Thanks for this, Frank. I'm not much of an egg person, but I think my husband would be head over heels for this dish. Think I will try it with him for Sunday morning breakfast.
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Re: New Cookbooks -- Ottolenghi

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:02 pm

Frank Deis wrote:That's great Jo Ann -- hope your family loves it. If you like smokey BBQ you probably will like smokey eggs.

Another egg dish that was discussed here is in the book, "Eggs in Hell" but he's got the real Israeli name, sushakusha or something like that.

[edit - Shakshouka viewtopic.php?f=5&t=42692&p=350137]

I'm obviously addicted to this book, and I have nothing whatever against eating meat, it's just tasty attractive interesting stuff.


I've looked longingly at the Shakshouka recipe, but it's something that no one else in my household would eat. :(

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