Elegant Braised Leeks with Feta, Almond, Raisin, Mint
Once again inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi and his vibrant vegetable cooking, here I serve a braised leek dish instead of a salad to begin a recent dinner party. Its rich warm hues and luscious sweet-and-sour notes make it a fabulous Autumn starter. Or serve it with couscous for a stellar vegetarian main course. “I find the creaminess of leeks and their sweet oniony flavor very satisfying,” penned Ottolenghi.
Elegant Braised Leeks Recipe
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Thyme & Mint Roasted Eggplant
Japanese Eggplant, Arugula, Spinach, Tomato
Garlicky Yogurt Sauce, Arugula Flowers Garnish
While the presentation may look a bit familiar, the dish itself is unique. It is inspired by one of my all time favorite chefs ~ Yotam Ottolenghi. His fans will recognize the Japanese eggplant presentation from the cover of his innovative vegetarian cookbook Plenty, where he adorns them with pomegranate arils and za’atar. Try Ottolenghi’s dish in autumn when pomegranates are in season, but try my version this summer with bursting ripe tomatoes and vibrant fresh greens.
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rigatoni, roasted oyster mushrooms, arugula
smoky chile walnuts, garlicky yogurt, feta
While Chef Yotam Ottolenghi makes his with conchiglie, peas, pine nuts, and basil – my dish with rigatoni, oyster mushrooms, walnuts, and arugula was totally inspired from the recipe in his fabulous cookbook Jerusalem.
There are endless combinations of pasta, vegetables, and greens that can work with this garlicky yogurt sauce, feta, and smoky chile walnuts. With its pretty earth-tones, varying textures, and smoky flavors – this is one super-satisfying vegetarian meal.
inspired by ottolenghi recipe
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cold soba noodles with eggplant and mango
red onion, basil, cilantro
garlic chile lime dressing, peanut and lime garnish
This is Chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s dish. He says, “It is the refreshing nature of the cold buckwheat noodles, the sweet sharpness of the dressing and the muskiness of the mango that make it so pleasing.” Hard to argue with that.
I made a few minor changes, including grilling the eggplant instead of frying in sunflower oil. And I added peanuts. The photo of this dish in his book Plenty looks like a mess, a delicious mess. Initially I plated it in the Taste With The Eyes style, but it looked too fussy, so I dumped the whole lot onto another platter, to mess it up, just like Ottolenghi. Not only did I think the noodle dish was spectacular, but I learned a lesson in plating too. Sometimes disheveled is better.
cold soba noodles with eggplant and mango recipe
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peas & pasta
pea sprouts, basil, feta
garlicky yogurt sauce, smoky chile walnuts
Color, texture, aroma, flavor – it’s all here in this delightful pasta bowl. Beautiful green peas and fresh pea sprouts, summery herbaceous basil, toasty walnuts cooked with hot chile and smoky paprika, a garlicky creamy yogurt sauce, briny tangy feta. Nope, nothing’s missing.
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Griddled Chicken Breast, Saffron Tangelo Wedges with Syrup
Fennel , Cilantro, Basil, Mint with Lime Vinaigrette
Minneola Tangelo Branch of Citrus Salad Tree
Planted in 2008, my Citrus Salad Tree is now bursting with ripe fruits. This is a citrus tree that has 5 varieties of fruit grafted onto one trunk; Persian Lime, Valencia Orange, Honey Mandarin, Late Lane Navel Orange, and Minneola Tangelo. The juicy bell-shaped tangelo, also called a honeybell, has a very sweet flavor with a thin peel. The Minneola is a cross between a Duncan grapefruit and a Dancy tangerine, developed by the USDA in 1931.
I adapted this bright colorful chicken dish from Yotam Ottolenghi’s “saffron chicken & herb salad” featured in the cookbook, Jerusalem, to incorporate tangelos and limes from my tree. Ottolenghi blitzes his orange syrup into a paste, using a food processor. I thought the tangelo wedges added texture and color to the dish, so I left them intact. The sunny citrusy honey saffron flavors shine, either way…
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