The Mediterranean Living Tech Guru, Gerry, was very good last year and received Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, Vibrant Vegetable Recipes, for Christmas. Needless to say, I took a peek, developed a bad case of cookbook envy and had to go out and swoop up a copy for myself at the local bookstore. Plenty is one of several cookbooks published by Yotam, a restaurateur with restaurants in the UK. All of his books are hugely popular and I for one am looking forward to even more Yotam in my collection.
Oftentimes, you buy a cookbook and it rests prettily upon the shelf. I love it when you occasionally crack one immediately and it actually gets a workout. It seems that really great Mediterranean vegetable cookbooks often fall into this latter category.
I have tried three recipes so far and they all were fabulous. First I tried the Beet, Orange and Black Olive Salad. Lucky me, I had some fancy local Chiogga beets on hand, but any beet will be great for this recipe. I had everything I needed for the recipe on-hand except the orange flower water. I made it without the orange water, and I don’t think it was wanting for flavor. So, I’ll consider the orange flower water to be a plus for this recipe. Sometimes your salad doesn’t get much attention standing in with other foods at the dinner table. Not the case with this salad, my guests loved it and there was nary a bit left on anyone’s plates at the end of dinner! A great benefit to this recipe was it came together in a flash without a super-long list of ingredients. This recipe would be fabulous as an appetizer served chopped and slivered and piled onto endive leaves.
I also tried the Garlic Soup with Harissa, which was nothing short of amazing. Be prepared for lots of garlic peeling though, or maybe use this short cut to peel your garlic. Also, I used a very high quality jarred Harissa by Mediterranean Gourmet, and that speeded things up a bit in the preparation.
Lastly, but certainly not least, I made Saffron Cauliflower, but switched things up a bit by also roasting potatoes and cherry tomatoes with the cauliflower. And, I turned the leftovers into a Frittata, a perfect use for what little you may have left over after the meal.
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