Archives for posts with tag: Jerusalem

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It’s no secret: I am possibly cooking my way through the entirety of Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook Jerusalem. I’ve blogged about a couple of the recipes here—Lentils with Broiled Eggplant and Preserved Lemons; and from his earlier book Plenty, Hummus & Ful, Caramelized Garlic Tart. This month’s Recipe Lab at the New York Times is even focusing on Jerusalem and soliciting fan favorites. I’ve been meaning to write in.

I was flipping through Jerusalem the other day before shopping at the food co-op. I had almost settled on the Helbeh—a honey-soaked, fenugreek-infused cake—when I remembered the outside temperature (97 F) and how much I have been avoiding the oven. I stumbled next on a recipe for Spiced Chickpeas and Fresh Vegetable Salad, a gorgeous mélange of crisp vegetables that are all currently in season, accompanied by chickpeas coated in spices then quickly fried in olive oil. Served with greek yogurt it seemed like the only other thing I’d like to eat in this heat other than cold watermelon. (Check out Bittman’s Watermelon All Day Long in this weekend’s Times’ Magazine.)

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You need to get a head start on this the night before by soaking 1/2 cup chickpeas in cold water with a pinch of baking soda. The next day, as the chickpeas are cooking, you can assemble the rest of the salad. I improvised and bought what looked best at both the co-op and the farmer’s market—crunch Kirby cucumbers, local radishes, an assortment of cherry tomatoes from Hepworth Farms, purple scallions, cilantro, and parsley. It’s that time of year in the Northeast when you can’t really go wrong in the produce department if you stick to buying locally.

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I’d love to serve the salad as brunch for friends, along with some good pita and homemade hummus. To the salad you could add a salty cheese like feta; or maybe even watermelon!

Spiced Chickpeas and Summer Vegetable Salad

1/2 c dried chickpeas
1 tsp baking soda
2 small cucumbers
2 medium or large tomatoes, or a small basket of cherry tomatoes
1/2 pound of radishes
1 red pepper, seeded, with white pith removed
1 small or 1/2 large red onion, peeled
1/2 cup scallions (green or purple), chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves and stems, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
6 tbsp olive oil
grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp vinegar (such as sherry, champagne, or combo white and balsmic)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cumin
Yogurt (optional)
salt and black pepper

Soak the dried chickpeas overnight in plenty of cold water with a pinch of baking soda. (In this hot weather I put them in the fridge overnight.) When you’re ready to cook them the next day, drain and transfer to a large saucepan. Cover with water (about twice the amount, in volume, as the chickpeas) and bring to a boil, cooking on high for up to an hour. Mine were thoroughly cooked in 30 minutes. Skim off the white foam as needed during cooking. Drain and set aside.

Chop the cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, and red pepper into small (roughly 1/2-inch chunks, and place in a bowl. Add the chopped scallions, parsley, and cucumber. Mix together.

To make the dressing, combine 5 tbsp of the olive oil, the lemon zest and juice, vinegar, and sugar in a jar and shake well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.

Mix together the cardamom, allspice, cumin, and 1/4 tsp salt. Spread out over a plate, then toss the cooked chickpeas in the spice mixture. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in a sauté pan and add the chickpeas, cooking for 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Divide the salad onto plates and serve with the warm chickpeas and a dollop of yogurt.

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I was up in Vermont this past weekend extending my birthday celebrations with old and new friends and, of course, delicious food. I hesitated before posting because I didn’t get the best food shots (cooking in the evening) but one dish in particular was so tasty I wanted to share. AND it makes use of those preserved lemons you made after reading my recent post. It’s so addictive, and easy to make, this will go into my regular rotation.

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March in Vermont. You can hardly call it spring. It’s either mud season or maple sugaring season, depending on how charitable you feel. These are some shots taken in the surroundings of my parents’ house, including the not-quite-frozen pond and hardy grasses that survived the winter. Check out the cerulean sky!

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One reason I haven’t posted too much lately — aside from concussion recovery — has been wanting to focus more on vegan and vegetarian food and less on meat-centered dishes, not that that was ever my focus. A goal of mine this year is to move more gradually in the direction of an animal-free diet. I’m about 80% there already but it’s that last 20% I find challenging. This spicy carrot salad is vegan (if you omit the optional Greek yogurt) and goes great with a number of main dishes.

This weekend I served it with a very non-vegan leg of lamb, the recipe of which came from the cookbook Jerusalem. The meat was from Duclos’s Sheep Farm in Weybridge, which I mentioned here last summer. From “mostly food” to “mostly vegan!” It’s a gradual process…

Ok, carrots. I love this dish because it’s richness comes from the onion and spices and not from butter or dairy or lots of oil. You can adjust the level of spiciness to your liking, but the recipe below is fairly mild. You could serve this with a warm freekah salad, which I should probably post about next. You cook the freekah just as you would brown rice and add to it caramelized shallots, scallions, and lots of fresh parsley. Dig in.

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Spicy carrot salad
Adapted from Plenty

Serves 4–6

2 lbs carrots
1/3 c olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp maple syrup
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium jalapeño, finely chopped
1 scallion, green and white parts, finely chopped
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp chopped preserved lemon (recipe here)
salt
2 1/2 c cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 c Greek yogurt, optional

Peel the carrots and cut them into semicircles 1/2 inch thick. Place in a large saucepan covered by cold salted water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until tender but still crunchy. Drain in a colander and leave to cool and dry out.

Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for 12 minutes on medium heat until soft and starting to brown. Add the cooked carrots and all the remaining ingredients, apart from the cilantro and yogurt. Mix well. Remove from heat. Season with salt, stir, and leave to cool.

Before serving, stir in the cilantro, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or, to keep it vegan, drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with a little more cilantro.

Below is Wolfgang Laib’s installation at MoMA which just ended on Monday: hazelnut pollen in the main atrium. Beautiful, meditative, and beckoning spring.

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Happy 2013 folks!

I have that U2 song “Lemon” stuck in my head, from the band’s 1993 album Zooropa. Well, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but that was twenty years ago. We’re old. And we misspent our youth.

Ok so much updating is in order. It’s been six weeks since my last post—the longest dry spell since I started this blog almost two years ago. What happened? December holiday madness. Office parties. Book deadlines. Dating. Etc. And then, on December 22nd, I suffered a concussion after fainting in the Whitney Museum, crashing hard on Marcel Breuer’s concrete floor, my head breaking my fall. I was at the Wade Guyton show on the third floor, which you should go see if you’re in New York, it comes down on Sunday. Go for the Guyton, stay for the Artschwager.

I’ve been largely out of commission for the past two and a half weeks. Not cooking, not biking, not yoga’ing, not working. For Christmas I received two copies of Yotam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook Jerusalem. One from my sister Hope, the other from the b.f. Melony. I’m exchanging one of them for Plenty, since I miss having Mark’s copy around.

So while I haven’t been at the stove, I’ve been curled up in bed with the beautiful book designed by Sarah Pulver (cover for U.S. edition) and Here Design (interior and cover for UK edition), dreaming of shakshuka, mejadra, and eggplant everything. But I thought I’d take it slow and begin my re-entry with something not too labor intensive but with big results: preserved lemons. On the few occasions I’ve had the store-bought kind in a jar I’ve enjoyed the fragrant sweet-sour tastes with couscous, bulgur, fish, lentils, meat. But never having made my own, it seemed about time to dive in.

This is also strategic: I plan to cook my way through this book over the coming months and having these luscious preserved lemons on hand four weeks from now will come in handy for multiple recipes.

Now, a head’s up: you make these lemons in stages. So first you stuff with salt and keep them sealed in a mason jar for a week. Then at that point you open the jar and stuff them with rosemary, chile, lemon juice, and olive oil, then let sit again for at least four weeks. I just began step one, but couldn’t wait to post about it. So I haven’t even added the rosemary, etc. yet. I’ll update here when that happens in about a week’s time.

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Preserved Lemons

6 organic, unwaxed lemons
6 tbsp coarse sea salt
2 rosemary sprigs
1 large red chile
juice of 6 lemons
olive oil

Make sure you have a Ball or Mason jar large enough to accommodate your lemons. Sterilize it by filling with boiling water, leaving for a minute, then emptying. Let it air dry.

Wash the lemons and cut a deep X or cross down through the lemon, leaving about 3/4 in. from the bottom. Stuff each lemon with 1 tbsp of the salt and place in the jar. Push the lemons in tightly, seal the jar, and leave in a cool place for at least one week. If you don’t know how to seal a jar properly, here is one of many links that explains how to do this.

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After this initial period, remove the lid and press the lemons as hard as you can to squeeze out as much of the juice as possible. Add the rosemary, chile, and lemon juice, and coat the lemons with a thin layer of olive oil. Seal the jar again and leave in a cool place for at least 4 weeks. The longer you leave them the better the flavor.

Enjoy these as a condiment to many meat, fish, and vegetable dishes. I’m planning to use mine in the recipe for Chermoula eggplant with bulgur and yogurt, from the same book.

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