Monthly Archives: July 2012

Quinoa and grilled sourdough salad

July 6, 2012

Quinoa and grilled sourdough salad

Page 128, Ottolenghi


It is HOT outside. And I love it. You know that someecard that says,  ‘Wow, I am really enjoying this 100 degree weather!’, said no one ever.’? Well. It lies. I can’t help that I love the heat and the sweaty goodness involved with being out in it. What I do not love is cooking in a super hot kitchen – despite the pumping A/C – when it is 100+ degrees out. In that vein, I offer you my most recent foray into Plenty – the quinoa and grilled sourdough salad. While I *did* turn on the oven briefly to grill the bread – this could be done on an actual grill outside, leaving the kitchen completely cool.

We love panzanella, and this is a jazzed-up version of our favorite salad that incorporates quinoa. Superfood for the win, friends.


1/4 cup quinoa
4 slices of sourdough bread
1/3 cup olive oil + extra for bread
4 ripe medium tomatoes
3 small cucumbers, unpeeled
1/2 small red onion
4 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 1/2 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the quinoa in a pot of boiling water and cook until tender, between 9 and 11 minutes. Drain in a fine sieve, rinse under cold water and leave to dry.

Brush the bread with oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes on each side, or until completely dry and  crisp. Let cool and break into bitesize pieces.

Dice the tomatoes and cucumber. Finely slice the onion. Place in a mixing bowl and combine with all other ingredients, including quinoa and bread. Taste and adjust seasoning.




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Stuffed portobello with melting tallegio

July 4, 2012

Stuffed portobello with melting tallegio

Page 56, Ottolenghi


These stuffed mushrooms were fantastic – rich without being too much, earthy and filled with herbs and aromatics. I think this is a dish better served in the fall or winter, but I could not resist the pull of this recipe. And while it is not a typical 4th of July dish, my idea this 4th of July was to hole up in our air-conditioned home and avoid the crazy crowds of cranky revelers in the 102 degree heat, so it worked just fine.

I have not cooked with tallegio before, and I can promise you that it will begin making an appearance in our home regularly. Yum! A little foot-y but smooth and melty. I think it will have many a cheese application.


Stuffed Portobello with Melting Taleggio
From Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

4 large portobellos, stalks removed
6 tbs olive oil
salt and black pepper
1 small onion, diced (note: arugula files used 2 shallots
1 celery stalk, finely diced (note: arugula files used 2 stalks)
2 cups finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes 
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbs chopped tarragon leaves
4 tbs coarsely shredded basil leaves
3.5 ounces taleggio, sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an oven tray with baking parchment. Place the mushrooms on the tray, tops facing down, drizzle with a little oil, season with salt and pepper and bake for about 15 minutes or so, until the mushrooms begin to soften. {note: the small button mushrooms took about 8 minutes}.

Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons of oil in a sauté pan and add the onion and celery. Cook on low heat for five to 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the vegetables are soft but have not browned. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic, cook for a few minutes more, then remove from the heat and leave to cool down.

Once cool, add the parmesan, some of the basil, and the tarragon, to the mixture and season with freshly ground pepper (you can add a little salt, but not much because taleggio is very salty).

Pile the filling on the whole mushrooms and top with the slices of taleggio. Return to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, until the cheese melts and the mushrooms are hot.

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June 30, 2012


Page 87, Ottolenghi

Ottolenghi knows how to make eggs. So does SG. Twice in one week, amazing egg dishes were part of the Plenty. And what Plenty it has been. A magnificent reminder from the universe this week that if you are brave enough to ask for plenty, and willing to work for plenty, it will arrive. While I worked on Thursday, SG made me a breakfast of vegetables chosen from our garden, eggs from Jaime’s hens, and some fabulous Delice de Bourgingon cheese. I swooned. You would too.

Then on Saturday, as our week with S came to an end, I made the Ottolenghi recipe that I have been hoarding – an egg dish that I knew B would adore. It was such the perfect end to a week of abundance and plenty. We feasted and savored and then packed up to take our dear one home. And that had it’s own version of plenty – tattoos and connections and reunions and joy. We are reveling in the plenty around here – and enjoying every minute of it. Thank you universe.


Yotam says: ‘In a tiny alley in old Jaffa there’s a little restaurant serving food to customers sitting outside at shared shabby tables. The place is heaving around lunchtime and everybody, more or less, is eating the same thing. The place is called Dr Shakshuka, after its signature dish, and this is, obviously, what everybody’s tucking into. Shakshuka is a North African dish with many variations. Some add preserved lemon, others feta and different herbs and spices. It is my ideal brunch fair. Cook and serve it in individual pans, if you have them, or in one very large one. Chunky white bread on the side is a must.’

  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 red and 2 yellow peppers, cut into strips
  • 4 tsp muscovado sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 thyme sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro, plus extra to garnish
  • 6 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 pinch(es) cayenne pepper
  • up to 1 c water
  • 8 free-range eggs
  • salt and black pepper


  1. In a very large pan dry-roast the cumin seeds on a high heat for 2 minutes. Add the oil and onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the peppers, sugar and herbs and continue cooking on a high heat for 5-10 minutes to get a nice colour.
  2. Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne and some salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. During the cooking keep adding water so that the mix has a pasta sauce consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be potent and flavoursome. (You can prepare this mix well in advance.)
  3. Remove the bay leaves, then divide the pepper mix among four deep frying pans, each large enough to take a generous individual portion. Place them on a medium heat to warm up, then make two gaps in the pepper mix in each pan and carefully break an egg into each gap. Sprinkle with salt and cover the pans with lids. Cook on a very (!) gentle heat for 10-12 minutes, or until the eggs are just set. Sprinkle with coriander and serve. Recipe from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi







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Marinated mozzerella and tomato

June 20, 2012 – SUMMER SOLSTICE!

Marinated mozzarella and tomato

Page 126, Ottolenghi



Oh, friends! Summer has arrived. The wheel has turned yet again and the tomatoes have started to turn in our garden. To celebrate the arrival of summer, B and I had a delicious dinner of salad with hearts of palm and avocado alongside this fabulous Ottolenghi paean to summer produce. I chose a goat mozzerella (instead of his buffalo mozz) and it had a slightly sharper flavor that pleased B and I no end. It marinated in it’s lovely sauce of  :

half teaspoon fennel seeds
grated zest of 1 lemon
15 basil leaves, shredded
2 tsp chopped oregano
2 tsp best quality extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to finish
2 tsp grapeseed oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
half tsp Maldon sea salt
black pepper

for 30-45 minutes and then I poured the whole lovely thing over freshly cut tomatoes from the market and we ate it with crusty bread while in my head, I repeated Marge Piercy’s poem ::::

The Art of Blessing the Day

This is the blessing for rain after drought:
Come down, wash the air so it shimmers,
a perfumed shawl of lavender chiffon.
Let the parched leaves suckle and swell.
Enter my skin, wash me for the little
chrysalis of sleep rocked in your plashing.
In the morning the world is peeled to shining.

This is the blessing for sun after long rain:
Now everything shakes itself free and rises.
The trees are bright as pushcart ices.
Every last lily opens its satin thighs.
The bees dance and roll in pollen
and the cardinal at the top of the pine
sings at full throttle, fountaining.

This is the blessing for a ripe peach:
This is luck made round. Frost can nip
the blossom, kill the bee. It can drop,
a hard green useless nut. Brown fungus,
the burrowing worm that coils in rot can
blemish it and wind crush it on the ground.
Yet this peach fills my mouth with juicy sun.

This is the blessing for the first garden tomato:
Those green boxes of tasteless acid the store
sells in January, those red things with the savor
of wet chalk, they mock your fragrant name.
How fat and sweet you are weighing down my palm,
warm as the flank of a cow in the sun.
You are the savor of summer in a thin red skin.

This is the blessing for a political victory:
Although I shall not forget that things
work in increments and epicycles and sometime
leaps that half the time fall back down,
let’s not relinquish dancing while the music
fits into our hips and bounces our heels.
We must never forget, pleasure is real as pain.

The blessing for the return of a favorite cat,
the blessing for love returned, for friends’
return, for money received unexpected,
the blessing for the rising of the bread,
the sun, the oppressed. I am not sentimental
about old men mumbling the Hebrew by rote
with no more feeling than one says gesundheit.

But the discipline of blessings is to taste
each moment, the bitter, the sour, the sweet
and the salty, and be glad for what does not
hurt. The art is in compressing attention
to each little and big blossom of the tree

of life, to let the tongue sing each fruit,
its savor, its aroma and its use.

Attention is love, what we must give
children, mothers, fathers, pets,
our friends, the news, the woes of others.
What we want to change we curse and then
pick up a tool. Bless whatever you can
with eyes and hands and tongue. If you
can’t bless it, get ready to make it new.





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Peas with Lettuce

June 18, 2012

Peas with Lettuce

Page 61, Henry

B stopped at the farmstand on her way home from work and picked up fresh bags of shelling peas! We promptly ate them raw as snacks and as salads, and then a few days later I found this recipe for Peas with Lettuce and we decided to give it a try. While the lettuce part was surprising at first, it was the perfect foil to the sweet, sweet peas. We used a head of slightly bitter green lettuce from the same farm stand and sauteed that and the peas with scallions in butter and then tossed in salt and mint. AMAZING! Fresh peas are a delight and represent a specific point in summer time. Get them fast, friends!


We paired our pea dish with fresh grilled  green beans, herbed rice, and grilled zucchini covered in parsley sauce (from the mixed grill recipe) and had the greenest of green dinners. It is almost summer solstice and green dinners feel right — the veggies are starting to come in abundantly and we definitely make use of them. Oh, summer , how I love you!

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