Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Butternut Squash with Orange Oil and Caramelized Honey

A dazzling roasted butternut squash dish with a trick for making infused orange oil so easily.
A dazzling roasted butternut squash dish with a trick for making infused orange oil so easily.

A new Yotam Ottolenghi cookbook is always an occasion to rejoice.

After all, the London restaurateur is a seven-time New York Times best-selling cookbook author.

His latest, “Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love” (Clarkson Potter) of which I received a review copy, was written by him and Noor Murad, head of the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen.

Unlike most of his other cookbooks, which showcased dishes from his acclaimed Nopi and Rovi restaurants, and Ottolenghi delis, this one aims to show you more creative ways to cook from your pantry, fridge and freezer.

That being said, that doesn’t necessarily mean these are recipes that take barely any time or effort to put together. If you know Ottolengthi recipes, you know they often require a number of steps. But in this case, none are especially difficult or laborious. And in many cases, you’ll learn a new tip or technique along the way. Many of the recipes also list handy substitutions or additional ways to use a particular sauce or serve a dish.

Case in point, “Creamy Dreamy Hummus,” which Murad and Ottolenghi provide directions for making with the preferred dried chickpeas, as well as with, yes, canned garbanzos, often considered sacrilege. But, as they note, canned ones can still create a very creamy hummus — provided you first use kitchen towels to gently release their skins, then cook them briefly in water with salt, and a pinch of cumin.

Or take the recipe for “Very Giant Giant Couscous Cake,” a clean-out-the-fridge type of crispy, savory cake made in a pan that can be put together with leftover rice or pearl barley, if you don’t have couscous on hand.

Or the “Skillet Berries, Bread, and Browned Butter” breakfast, brunch or afternoon snack that makes use of half-opened bags of frozen berries, stale bread, and that forgotten container of rolled outs by turning it all into a delicious warm fruit crumble drizzled with cold heavy cream.

With a butternut squash languishing on my countertop for a couple of weeks, I was moved to try my hand at “Butternut Squash with Orange Oil and Caramelized Honey.”

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Lightly Curried Lamb, Cabbage, and Barley Soup

A hearty, soul-soothing lamb and barley soup that's just what you want at this time of year.
A hearty, soul-soothing lamb and barley soup that’s just what you want at this time of year.

I joke that my husband likes to put together elaborate charts. Of his weekly workouts. Of his grilling exploits. Of, well, you name it.

Of course, he’ll then promptly misplace them, making them an exercise in futility in the end.

So, it comes as no surprise that in the early days of shelter-in-place, when everyone was growing green onions in a glass of water and attempting their first misshapen sourdough loaves, all panicked that it might very well be the only food they could lay their hands on, my husband suggested making an elaborate chart listing everything in our pantry in case we had to start rationing.

I just rolled my eyes.

Because I knew that with just the bags of dried beans and grains on our shelves alone, we had ample food — and good food — for months on end.

After all, that’s one of the greatest things about grains such as barley, farro, corn, quinoa, and oats. They are high in fiber, making them very satiating even in modest servings. Plus, they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

On top of that, they’re a breeze to cook, and can fit into any meal or snack, no matter what time of day or year.

Need further convincing? Just pick up a copy of the new cookbook, “Grains for Every Season: Rethinking Our Way with Grains” (Artisan), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by Joshua McFadden, founder of Submarine Hospitality in Portland, OR, where he owns Ava Gene’s, Cicoria, Takibi, and Tusk. He’s also bringing new life to a 50-acre Berny Farm in Springdale, OR. The book was written with Martha Homberg, former editor-in-chief of Fine Cooking magazine.

As McFadden notes, this cookbook doesn’t include recipes for every grain imaginable. Instead, he’s honed in on the ones that he believes are the most versatile in the kitchen.

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Crème Fraiche Pasta with Peas and Scallions (and Smoked Salmon)

A perfect weeknight dish that comes together in little more time than it takes to boil the pasta.
A perfect weeknight dish that comes together in little more time than it takes to boil the pasta.

When my good friend Elaine gifted me a slab of moist, flaky hot-smoked salmon from Washington state for the holidays, I knew I wanted to highlight it in a simple yet special way.

I found the perfect vehicle in ” Crème Fraiche Pasta with Peas and Scallions.”

The recipe from the archives of the New York Times is by food writer Hana Asbrink, a former senior editor at Food52 and cook at Jean-Georges’ ABC Kitchen in New York.

This easy pasta dish didn’t originally have smoked salmon in it. But it sure made for a delectable addition. What’s more, I think even canned salmon would work well in this dish.

This fabulous weeknight dish comes together easily in just about the time it takes to boil the pasta.

Three bunches — yes, bunches — of green onions get sliced, then caramelized and charred in a cast-iron pan. That may seem like a lot of green onions, but once wilted, they don’t amount to that much. Plus, once you taste the irresistible sweet onion-y flavor they add to the pasta, you’ll wish you had sauteed even more green onions.

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Sweet Potato Salad with Cumin, Smoked Paprika, and Almonds

A sweet potato dish the epitomizes the healthfulness of the Mediterranean diet.
A sweet potato dish the epitomizes the healthfulness of the Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean diet has long been lauded for its healthfulness. Even more so, when the emphasis is on plant-based foods with meat a mere supporting player.

The new cookbook, “More Mediterranean: 225+ New Plant-Forward Recipes Endless Inspiration for Eating Well” by America’s Test Kitchen, of which I received a review copy, will definitely get you off to favorable start in this new year with a host of recipes that highlight grains, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, tofu, tempeh, and measured amounts of animal proteins.

Do a body good with dishes such as “Lavash Pizza with Cauliflower, Fennel, and Coriander,” “Shawarma-Spiced Tofu Wraps with Sumac Onions,” “Baked Shrimp and Orzo with Feta and Tomatoes,” and “Lamb Chops with Tamarind Pan Sauce.”

“Sweet Potato Salad with Cumin, Smoked Paprika, and Almonds” is a dish you’ll want to make again and again this winter and spring.

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Steamed Tofu and Trumpet Mushrooms with Ginger, Scallion and Soy For A Virtuous New Year

Like the classic dish of Chinese steamed whole fish -- but without the fish.
Like the classic dish of Chinese steamed whole fish — but without the fish.

Heaven knows that after the hardships of the past two years, we deserved to indulge heartily during the holidays.

But after one too many cookies, seconds of pie, and slabs of meat that made plates buckle, we’re feeling it.

Is it any wonder that we now crave something lighter and cleaner tasting?

“Steamed Tofu with Trumpet Mushrooms with Ginger, Scallion and Soy” fills the bill — and appetite — beautifully.

The recipe is from “To Asia, With Love: Everyday Asian Recipes and Stories From the Heart” (Prestel), one of my favorite cookbooks of 2021. It’s by Hetty McKinnon, the gifted food writer and Aussie transplant who now makes her home in Brooklyn.

I may be an omnivore and my husband, aka Meat Boy, an avowed carnivore, but the recipes in this vegetarian cookbook never cease to satisfy. Indeed, neither of us ever feels wanting, despite the meat-free dishes.

“Steamed Tofu with Trumpet Mushrooms with Ginger, Scallion and Soy” is ready in a blink of an eye. In fact, it’s so easy that you’ll practically be able to make it from memory again the next time.

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