Monthly Archives: May 2012

Royal potato salad

May 20, 2012

Royal potato salad

Page 20, Ottolenghi

So, as June and the halfway point of this project approach, I wanted to take a moment to see where I am. Here is where I stand with Ottolenghi’s Plenty. All of the highlighted recipes are completed – less than half, but well on my way!

And I just crossed another recipe off after dinner tonight. Royal potato salad made with tiny baby spring potatoes, a home-made pesto, petite peas, and gorgeous boiled soft eggs. While the recipe calls for quail eggs, I went with tiny Bantam eggs from Jaime instead. It was a sleeper hit, I must say. While I am not a huge boiled egg fan, and B doesn’t usually like pesto, we both loved this warm potato salad and ate it with cold grilled chicken. A perfect foodie picnic at our dining room table.



12 quail eggs ( I used 6 bantam eggs instead)

1¾ pounds small yellow new potatoes, scrubbed

1 cup loosely packed basil leaves

½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus chopped parsley for garnish

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

⅓ cup pine nuts

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup frozen peas, blanched

⅓ cup mint leaves, thinly sliced

½ teaspoon white wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper



1. In a medium saucepan, cover the quail eggs with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer the eggs for 3 minutes for hard-boiled eggs (or about 30 seconds for soft-boiled eggs). Run the eggs under cold water until cool, then peel and set aside.

2. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and cook the potatoes until they are soft but not falling apart, about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, combine the basil with the parsley, Parmesan, pine nuts and garlic and blend until combined. Add the olive oil and pulse until a runny pesto forms. Transfer the pesto to a large bowl.

4. Drain the potatoes and cut them in half as soon as they’re cool enough to touch. (They will absorb more flavor when they’re hot.) Toss the potatoes with the pesto, peas, mint and vinegar until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Cut the eggs in half and gently fold them into the salad. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately or at room temperature.




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Kohlrabi and cabbage salad

May 15, 2012

Kohlrabi and cabbage salad

Page 99, Ottolenghi

Yesterday my girl was lamenting the lack of chili cheese dogs in our life.  I had planned a run at Ottolenghi’s kohlrabi and cabbage salad for tonight (I do love this time of year, and how you can mark the season by what produce is available at the farmer’s market – kohlrabi already! so early this year! and let that decide what will be on the dinner table) and decided that a chili cheese dog would complement the slaw-like salad. And was I right?!

Take a super healthful and delicious mixture of cabbage, kohlrabi, dried tart cherries, alfalfa sprouts, lemon juice, and garlic  (recipe below for your eating pleasure) – and pair it with an Aidell’s chicken uncured hot dog topped with Amy’s medium vegetarian chili and some cheese and you have a match made in heaven. Now add a handful of tater tots and you have a total dinner home run.

Cabbage and Kohlrabi Salad

1 medium or 1/2 large kohlrabi ( Iused two medium kohlrabi and less cabbage)

1/2 white cabbage

large bunch of dill, roughly chopped (6 heaped tablespoons)

1 cup dried whole sour cherries

grated zest of 1 lemon

6 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 c. olive oil

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 cups alfalfa sprouts

salt and pepper to taste

Peel the kohlrabi and cut into thick matchsticks that are about 1/4 inch wide and 2 inches long. Cut the cabbage into 1/4-inch-thick strips.

Put all the ingredients, apart from the alfalfa sprouts, in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, massage everything together for about a minute so the flavors mix and the lemon can soften the cabbage and cherries. Let the salad sit for about 10 minutes.

Add most of the alfalfa sprouts  and mix well again with your hands. Taste and adjust the seasoning; you will need a fair amount of salt to counteract the lemon (I used 1 teaspoon).

Use your hands again to lift the salad out of the mixing bowl and into a serving bowl, leaving most of the juices behind. Garnish with the remaining sprouts and serve at once.

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Burnt eggplant with tahini

May 14, 2012

Burnt eggplant with tahini

Page 122, Ottolenghi

We really do like eggplant. Huh. Unexpected to say the least, but this is the 3rd eggplant recipe in a row that we have *loved* from Ottolenghi’s Plenty. His method of burning the eggplant really gives it a smoky and delicious base for many different dishes. This one is reminiscent of baba ghanoush, but with slightly different flavors. I burned the eggplant on the grill this time (last time I tried the broiler of our electric oven and that also worked perfectly) and then grilled up some cauliflower ‘steaks’ to go with this as a side salad. I also lightly oiled some pita and grilled that as well to accompany our dinner. By the time I looked up from my first bite, B had almost finished her cauliflower steak. The eggplant was great, but I imagine that the grilled cauliflower steaks are the thing that will reappear on our table fairly often this summer.


We ate this delicious meal on the back deck and enjoyed the birds fluttering about and the flowers blooming. After eating a bit more than was realistically comfortable (or advised), we took a quick garden tour and oohed and ahed over how early everything is. Glorious, really!

Burnt Eggplant With Tahini

This can be a potent dip or condiment that you can serve with raw vegetables or to accompany lamb or fish. Or, with the optional chunks of cucumber and tomato, it can be a gloriously refreshing summer salad that exudes Middle Eastern aromas. You choose.

Serves 2–4

1 large eggplant
1/3 cup tahini paste
1/4 cup water
2 tsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and black pepper
3 mini cucumbers (6 to 7 oz in total, optional)
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes (optional)
seeds from 1/2 large pomegranate
a little olive oil to finish

First, burn the eggplant. To cook the eggplants on a gas stovetop, which is the most effective way, start by lining the area around the burners with foil to protect them. Put the eggplants directly on two moderate flames and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, turning frequently with metal tongs, until the flesh is soft and smoky and the skin is burnt all over. (I used the gas grill and it took approximately 20 minutes). Keep an eye on them the whole time so they don’t catch fire. For an electric stove, pierce the eggplants with a sharp knife in a few places. Put them on a foil-lined tray and place directly under a hot broiler for 1 hour, turning them a few times. The eggplants need to deflate completely and their skin should burn and break. When cool enough to handle scoop out the flesh into a colander, avoiding the blackened skin. Leave to drain for at least 30 minutes.

Chop the eggplant flesh roughly and transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Add the tahini, water, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and some salt and pepper; mix well with a whisk.

Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more garlic, lemon juice or molasses if needed. You want the salad to have a robust sour/slightly sweet flavor.

If you want to add cucumber and tomatoes, cut the cucumbers lengthways in half and then each half lengthways in two. Cut each quarter into 3/8-inch-long pieces. Halve the tomatoes. Stir them and the cucumber into the eggplant mix.

To serve, spread over a shallow dish, scatter the pomegranate seeds on top and drizzle with oil.

Excerpted from Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottlenghi.

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Spring panzanella

May 13, 2012

Spring panzanella

Page 292, Henry


B and I have a strong love of panzanella and it is a regular summer evening meal with tomatoes from the garden. Imagine my joy at finding a spring panzanella recipe that uses all of the amazing vegetables of the season – asparagus and peas and fava beans. I am still unable to find a source for fava beans, so edamame stood in again to perfect effect. Add some crusty ciabatta toasted with oil and shallots, a white balsamic vinegarette, and a handful of torn basil and it was a perfect Sunday afternoon lunch – complete with a glass of delicious white wine – on the back deck.



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Char-grilled asparagus

May 11, 2012

Char-grilled asparagus

Page 182, Ottolenghi


Here, my friends, is where Ottolenghi shines. In making simple ingredients sing. There was almost nothing to this recipe, yet it was perfection on a plate. Oh spring asparagus, how I love you! Let me count the ways (i.e. Ottolenghi recipes). Just grill some asparagus and add feta and lemon zest. Yum!


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Sweet potato cakes

May 9, 2012

Sweet potato cakes

Page 32, Ottolenghi


Meh. Pretty, I suppose. And fried sweet potato fritters should be delish, but really they were just meh. The sauce on the other hand was rock star. It is amazing how a little olive oil mixed with greek yogurt can transform a meal. Plus we had a salad made of win from farmer’s market produce. So overall, dinner was still in the plus column.

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Beet, goat cheese, and caper pizza

May 8, 2012

Beet, goat cheese, and caper pizza

Page 298, Henry

I love taking my Year of Plenty on the road, and Many Hands House was both welcoming *and* bursting with spring plenty when I arrived with the makings for beet, goat cheese, and caper pizza.  In between making three kinds of pizza (including Beet, goat cheese, and caper  – but also an artichoke/chard/pecorino version and a mushroom/tomato/parmesan version) we chatted, drank wine, played with adorable kittens, held chickens, harvested asparagus and rhubarb, pushed kids on swings, took pictures, watched you tube birth and dance videos, marveled at baby chicks and gorgeous sunsets over the prairie, and generally enjoyed the hell out of each other.

And the pizza wasn’t bad either.  Really? Anything with beets, carmelized onions, and goat cheese is going to be good, and this pizza definitely delivered. Paired with a salad and a glass of petite syrah it was definitely plenty!

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