In the way that one is apt to crave things that are unattainable, I fall in love with the idea of Yotam Ottolenghi’s London cafes all over again every time I hear about them. And I have heard of them frequently in recent years, as Ottolenghi is something of a sensation in the culinary world, especially among vegetarians in search of fresh flavors and ideas. His innovative cooking relies heavily on vegetables and combines bright, lively flavors from around the world. He has published two cookbooks (Ottolenghi and Plenty) and has a third on the way.
All this is to say that it’s Ottolenghi’s deli case that I dream about when I fantasize about having a ready-stocked supply of amazing salads in my kitchen at all times. So I was disappointed when the first recipe I tried from his vegetarian book Plenty turned out to be a dud in my kitchen (it was a saute of brussels sprouts and tofu that Dana Treat loved, so who knows where I went wrong). This recipe, though, reminded me what all the hype is about.
The fritters themselves are delicious–well-spiced with a hint of an exotic flavor from the turmeric, which you could spin by using Mark Bittman’s adaptation containing cardamom instead as Hannah did when she inspired me to go dig out this cookbook. The thing that made this recipe for me, though, was the yogurt dipping sauce, the leftover bowl of which I considered eating for breakfast this morning. It wouldn’t make a bad meal by itself.
When I got home from the farmers market this weekend, my fridge was brimming with greens. Cooking them is always good for freeing up storage space–but pureeing them is even better. (Eating them, of course, is the very best!)
As I was chatting with my friendly local farmer, Siri, she mentioned that she posted seasonal recipes on the Local Roots Farm blog. So of course I had to check them out right away. This pesto recipe, like the arugula, comes straight from Local Roots. It’s as good–and as green–as it looks. Tonight we had it on pasta, but I’m looking forward to having it in my fridge this week to spread on an egg sandwich and drizzle over a tomato salad. What else should I do with it? Continue reading Arugula Pesto (click for recipe)
Today was the first day of the season for the farmer’s market in my neighborhood. The five of us meandered over the hill in the sunshine, with frequent breaks for ant-watching, water-drinking, and rock-, stick-, and leaf-collecting (“for our nature collections!”). The round trip, about three miles, took nearly four hours. To mix metaphors rather unforgivably (forgive me!), we were living the good life in the slow lane.
I think I expected to find a few beat-up storage carrots, early radishes, and a lot of dried apples, but I was pleasantly surprised. Those farmers have not been lollygagging about in their gardens as I have. There were tables brimming with greens, radishes, turnips, leeks, rainbow chard, and rabes! Plus plenty of baked goods, of course, and delicious local honey. I wanted one of everything but I contented myself with a few big bags of veggies (we could only hang so many bags off the stroller and still have room for children).
I realized a few years ago that, to my surprise, I had grown to love radishes. Eating them with good butter and flaky salt is one of life’s simple pleasures. Even if you don’t think you love radishes, give it a try sometime. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that you love a new vegetable.Continue reading Radishes with Butter and Salt (click for recipe)
As artichokes make their springtime debut, I would like to share a life-changing tip with you. Or at least a tip that will save you half an hour every time you steam artichokes.
I don’t know that I have properly thanked the friend who serves these artichokes at his house (just casually, as if they’re not miraculous) for bringing them into my life. I should. Because here’s the ray-of-light epiphany he helped me to see: You don’t have to steam artichokes whole. You can cut them first. They cook faster.
So, ok, this may have occurred to you already. But it had not occurred to me. Ever. And I am giddy with the newfound ability to serve artichokes for dinner on a whim.
You do have the cut them first, and you could trim the outer leaves or drop them into lemon water or whatever you want to make them pretty. But all you really HAVE to do is scoop out the furry choke with a spoon, like so:And then chop each half into quarters (so each artichoke is cut into eighths in the end), steam them for 20-30 minutes, depending on their size, and serve them with my friend’s special secret sauces. Continue reading Steamed Artichokes with Two Perfect Sauces