My dear friend Rhoda sent me a gift. It wasn't for my birthday or any other occasion. It was one of those lovely, unexpected "just because" gifts -- the best kind! She thought of me when she saw this gorgeous vegetarian cookbook called Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London's Ottolenghi (copyright 2010). It is written by Yotam Ottolenghi (who isn't vegetarian, as he explains in the introduction) and beautifully photographed by Jonathan Lovekin. With permission from the publisher, Chronicle Books, I would like to share a recipe and a few photos of the many mouthwatering dishes in this cookbook that are sure to be on my menu in the near future.
If you have this cookbook and can recommend a recipe or two from it, please leave a comment and let me know. Or, share the name of your favorite cookbook and a few tried-and-true recipes!
Don't these look yummy? The sauce has Greek yogurt, sour cream, garlic, lemon, parsley and cilantro in it. Or the fritter can be had with just a squeeze of lemon.
Lentils with broiled eggplant
I love cooking with lentils. They are a good protein source and so delicious. My husband also loves them. I am lucky that he likes the same kinds of foods I do. It makes cooking a pleasure.
This dish looks so fresh, healthy and tasty! Here's the recipe.
Green Bean Salad with Mustard Seeds and Tarragon
1-1/4 cups green beans, trimmed
2-1/4 cups snow peas, trimmed
1-3/4 cups green peas (fresh or frozen)
2 tsp coriander seeds, roughly crushed with a mortar and pestle
1 tsp mustard seeds
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp nigella seeds*
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 mild fresh red chile, seeded and finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp chopped tarragon
coarse sea salt
1 cup baby chard leaves (optional)
1) Fill a medium saucepan with cold water and bring to a boil. Blanch the green beans for 4 minutes, then immediately lift them out of the pan and into iced water to refresh. Drain and dry.
2) Bring a fresh pan of water to the boil and blanch the snow peas for 1 minute only. Refresh, drain and dry. Use the same boiling water to blanch the peas for 20 seconds. Refresh, drain and dry. Combine the beans, snow peas and peas in a large mixing bowl.
3) Put the coriander seeds, mustard seeds and oil in a small saucepan and heat up. When the seeds begin to pop, pour the contents of the pan over the beans and peas. Toss together, then add the nigella seeds, red onion, chile, garlic, lemon zest and tarragon. Mix well and season with salt to taste.
Just before serving, gently fold the chard leaves, if using, in with the beans and peas, and spoon the salad onto plates or into bowls.
* Note: Nigella seeds (I didn't know what they were until I looked online) are used in Asian cooking and are much like onion seed with a bitter, pepper-like taste; I may not be able to find them locally, so I will probably leave them out.