Monthly Archives: January 2012

Warm glass noodles with edamame

January 29, 2012

Warm glass noodles with edamame

Page 198, Ottolenghi

Ah, the first of Ottolenghi’s recipes that I did not like. And it was, no doubt, my own fault. I used the rice noodles that we had rather than procuring the mung bean cellophane noodles that are shown in the photo in the book. And these thicker rice noodles just didn’t work as well. I also didn’t have the tamarind paste on hand, and that may have made a difference, though the sauce was the part of the dish that I really enjoyed – full of lime and super tasty.  It *did* give me the opportunity to use the beautiful new bowl that we got for Solstice from our dear ones, so not all was lost!

Here is the recipe just in case you want to try this with the RIGHT noodles and let me know if it works.

warm glass noodles and edamame beans
adapted from Plenty, via The Guardian
yields 4 servings

For the salad:
250g glass or cellophane noodles
1T sunflower oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1-1/2c cooked edamame beans ( I used 2 full cups – yum!)
3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 fresh red chili, finely chopped
3T cilantro, chopped, plus a few extra leaves for the garnish
3T mint leaves, julienned
3T sesame seeds, toasted ( we used gomasio)

For the sauce/dressing:
2T fresh ginger, grated
4 limes, juiced
2T peanut oil
2T dark brown sugar  (or palm sugar)
2t tamarind paste
1t tamari
1t kosher or sea salt

Boil about 3 quarts of water and remove from heat. Soak the glass noodles in the hot water until soft – about five minutes. Drain immediately (the noodles quickly become soggy) and set aside to dry.

In a small bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients and set aside.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil and add the garlic. Just as the garlic becomes fragranant and starts to turn golden, remove the pan from the heat and add the sauce and noodles. Gently mix together, add most of the edamame (reserving some for the garnish), the onions, chilli and fresh herbs. Briefly return to the heat to warm through and taste for seasonings.

Pile up the noodles on a serving plate, scatter over the reserved edamame and the sesame seeds, and garnish with the whole cilantro leaves. Serve the salad warm or at room temperature.


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Restorative chicken and parsley risotto

January 21, 2012

Restorative chicken and parsley risotto

Page 22, Henry



I started the day with a whole chicken, procured at the last regular farmer’s market from our favorite chicken vendor and frozen, simmering in a bath of carrots, oregano, thyme, and onions to make a lovely chicken stock and provide us with cooked chicken. The whole house smelled like comfort and deliciousness. After the chicken cooked, I removed the meat and slipped the bones/carcass back into the pot to slow simmer for most of the day. The recipe for for this risotto from the Henry book certainly did not call for such extravagance, in fact it called for leftover chicken. This, though, was how I wanted our day to smell and taste — fresh, farm-raised chicken slowly cooking while we spent our Saturday crafting, drawing, sewing, loving, reading, doing laundry, and all of the other lovely ways to spend a Saturday.

And friends, I do think it made a difference, because this simple risotto was the best thing that I have made yet. And I have made some delicious food so far! The lemon juice  and zest,  the last parsley from our garden haul in December, and the egg yolk , added just something to the risotto. A brightness and a creaminess that had us both licking our bowls. Like, for real licking our bowls. No shame here, folks. That was the best risotto I have ever had. And you should probably make it. With or without chicken, this would be amazing. Recipe coming soon, I promise…..



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Beet, orange, and black olive salad

January 20, 2012

Beet, orange, and black olive salad

Page 15, Ottolenghi

Let’s start this weekend, right, ya’ll!  A fabulous salad of beets and oranges with some black olives and a red wine vinaigrette over lettuce paired with pasta mixed with the leftover artichoke gratin to make  our dinner on this snowy night. So happy to be snuggled down at home, warm and toasty and full of delish squish food while the snow blows and the temperatures drop outside.


Beet, Orange and Black Olive Salad

5 small beets or 2 large ones

2 medium oranges

1 treviso or red chicory (or whatever lettuce you have on hand)

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

5 tbsp black olives, pitted and halved

3 tbsp grapeseed oil ( Iused olive oil)

1 tsp orange flower water (skipped this ingredient, as finding it during a snowstorm didn’t sound like my idea of fun)

1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar (or more, to taste – I like more )

salt and pepper

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Mushroom ragout with poached duck egg

January 19, 2012

Mushroom ragout with poached egg

Page 50, Ottolenghi

Who knew that poached eggs were actually tasty? I have spent years avoiding any egg preparation in which the white and the yolk were seperate and distinguishable. Eggs were fine, mind you, but only if they were scrambled or an omelet or a quiche, something that completely mixed the white and yolk.  And even then, in moderation. But last weekend, friends, my mind was opened. After a fabulous lunch at our favorite Japanese restaurant where B tried (and liked!) a spicy tuna appetizer after years of avoiding spicy tuna, I grew brave. And when B and the 11-year old decided to make eggs benedict with smoked salmon for breakfast a few says ago, I eschewed my usual scrambled egg substitution and tried a poached egg. Not just an egg, really, but a fabulous Bantam egg, laid by the happy chickens on our dear friend, Jaime’s farm. And it was good. I am still not interested in a runny yolk, but B hard-poached my egg to perfection and the next thing I knew, I was making mushroom ragout to put some poached eggs on for dinner this evening. I will admit that it was a nod to B, who was having a craptastic kind of day and whose face brightens anytime poached eggs are even mentioned, but it *was* my idea!

Ottolenghi’s mushroom ragout benefitted from the addition of kale — the last of the kale from our garden this year that had been resting in the crisper just waiting for a cold winter’s night dish such as this one. Toasted baguette topped with sauteed mushrooms and kale, and all topped with a gorgeous poached egg. Not a duck egg, as his recipe called for, but another perfect Bantam egg, grown with love at Jaime’s place just a few miles away and delivered earlier this week. Maybe that’s part of why I am enjoying poached eggs, eh?


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Artichoke Gratin

January 16, 2012

Artichoke Gratin

Page 178, Ottolenghi

At the request of the 11-year old (and a strange request for most 11 year olds, at that), I added spinach to this lovely artichoke gratin recipe. It was the first time I have made a bechamel sauce for a gratin, and oh. my. goodness.  does it increase the creamy-dreamy factor x10. We ate this on bread and crackers alongside shrimp cocktail and bacon-wrapped dates and oohed over each bite. Definitely a worthy dish on a cold and grey afternoon after hours spent swimming and cavorting in the lazy river at the rec center, and in preparation for a fabulous family art project that involved mermaids with shimmery fabric tails and an underwater castle with psychedelic sea-flowers and a kraken. Soaking in the plenty this weekend, for sure.

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January 14, 2012


Page 293, Henry



One of the things that I appreciate about Diana Henry’s cookbook is the fact that almost every recipe has multiple variations that she offers. When I saw her recipe for sourdough tartines with labneh and tomato on page 293, I knew that I wanted to use the concept, but make a fruit-based version.  She offers several fruity variations, none of which sang out to me. What did call me were the adorable seckel pears that B and I picked up while shopping last weekend. They are perfectly shaped, tiny, red-blushed objects d’art as much as they are fruit and perfectly suited for a breakfast tartine with goat cheese, honey, and a sprinkling of rosemary. Perfect start to a three-day weekend.  Ah, the feeling of plenty – delicious breakfast, a day full of fun plans with my girls, and coffee and snuggles galore. Hope your weekend is full of the same….

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Chickpea Saute with Greek yogurt

January 12, 2012

Chickpea Saute with Greek Yogurt

Page 211, Ottolenghi

Our first snowstorm of the season required a warm and hearty dinner!  Warm chickpeas sauteed with carrots and chard, with lovely brightness added  by lemon, mint, and garlic, all topped off with thick and tangy greek yogurt made this my favorite dish yet. And so perfect for a cold and snowy night served with some crusty multi-grain rolls. For such a deceptively simple dish, this has amazingly complex flavors that develop in such a short cooking time.

Chickpea Sauté with Greek Yogurt

1/2 cup dried chickpeas – or 1 cup canned
1 lb Swiss chard
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium carrots, diced
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
juice of 1 lemon
small handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
small handful fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
fresh ground black pepper

Rinse the chickpeas under cold running water and soak 8 hours or overnight under several inches of cold water. Drain and rinse the soaked chickpeas, then place in a medium saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the chickpeas are tender. Drain and set aside.

Prepare the Swiss chard by separating the stems from the leaves. Chop the stems into bite-size pieces and chop the leaves coarsely. Fill a large saucepan with plenty of water, bring to a boil, and blanch the stems for 2 minutes. Add the leaves and cook for 2 more minutes, then remove from heat and drain. Rinse the chard under cold running water and squeeze dry. Set aside.

Heat a large saucepan or wok over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil, wait a few moments, then swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the carrots and caraway seeds, and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the seeds from sticking. Stir in the dried red chili flakes, and continue to sauté for another 30 seconds. Now stir in the chickpeas and chard, and cook for 5 more minutes to warm the ingredients, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the garlic, lemon juice, mint and cilantro or parsley, and remove from heat. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Mix the Greek yogurt, olive oil, and salt and black pepper to taste in a small bowl. Serve the chickpeas hot or warm on plates with a generous dollop of the yogurt mixture on top.

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