Last week while at the hairdresser, I noticed that the featured cookbook of the month in the salon was JERUSALEM by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. I mentioned that I was lucky enough to go to a wedding luncheon at Nopi, their London restaurant, and it was simply the best midday meal of my life. Course after course was brought to our kitchen side table at a leisurely pace, lasting three hours. Where did the time go?
It inspired me so much that I cook out of this book regularly, and apparently so do more than half a million other adventuresome cooks all over the world. JERSUSALEM has become a sensation and I’m one of the big fans. If you’re looking to add more legumes, grains and veggies to your diet in interesting combinations, then this is your book. One of the secrets of Ottolenghi’s cooking is taking ordinary ingredients and amping them up using spice mixtures of the Middle East. So, during a break, my hairdresser gave me the book, got paper for notes and commanded, “Now, tell me your faves.”
I opened up the book to veggies and began:
This past week, while the zucchinis are becoming abundant, we substituted them for the eggplant in the Chermoula eggplant with bulgur and yogurt – a completely satisfying vegetarian dinner. When we think bulgur, tabbouleh comes to mind, but not in this dish. Here, the bulgur is savory and bright with almonds, cilantro and mint. Raisins add sweetness. All this is topped on the baked spicy vegetable and finished with the cool and generous dollops of yogurt –so good that we made a double batch of the bulgur mixture and repeated this dinner again a few nights later for vegetarian guests.
Speaking of zucchini, the turkey and zucchini burgers are just fine, but keep the size small because those bland little burgers really do benefit from the zesty sauce.
The report on Food 52.com that the hummus is world class is a ditto comment here, too. I made it with organic Northwest garbanzo beans. The result was so creamy that at a dinner party it starred as the first course with a side of pita bread. Everyone became immediate members of the clean plate club.
And, chicken? Not exactly a coastal dinner treat when visiting Seattle, but with the help of JERUSALEM, we wowed our foodie friends. The recipe is Roasted Chicken with clementines and arak. We used blood oranges and added meyer lemon and mixed in red onions chunks with the fennel bulb chunks. The array of colors and textures, sweet and salty and spicy was “oh” so swell. Serve this recipe over a brown rice and seed blend that will soak up the natural juices. More members for the Clean Plate Club!
With my mouth watering and the appointment over, it was time to think about dinner – Have I mentioned Mejadra yet?
Eat for your heart’s content!
Remember, if I can do it, you can, too!
This week’s featured recipe:
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