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88 Cookbooks and Counting

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January 15, 2015: 88 cookbooks and counting…

There is always a lot of hype this time of year about the hottest cookbook from 2014. Prune; A Boat, A Whale, and a Walrus; The Slanted Door from famed Vietnamese San Francisco restaurant of the same name; Bar Tartine and more.

What’s your favorite cookbook from 2014? I’m still stuck on 2 award winning cookbooks published in 2010 and 2008 by Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty and Ottolenghi.  Yotam Ottolenghi is Israeli and lives in London where he owns 3 restaurants and writes a food column for The Guardian. He is a champion of vegetables, as demonstrated in Plenty yet he is a well-known carnivore. Hmmm…sounds familiar.

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Plenty captures his Middle Eastern roots with a distinctive mix of flavors from Israel, the Mediterranean and Asia but all with a western twist. The book draws me in with the beautiful photographs and the recipes with their exotic ingredients and combinations that are always perfectly balanced.

I have cooked my way through about half of the book but I always return to a few of my favorite recipes. The huge prize winning heads of cabbage that have been available at the local farmer’s markets inspired me to once again make Ottolenghi’s Sweet Winter Slaw This slaw loves to show off its vibrant purple, green and gold colors and tart, citrus-y yet spicy dressing. Perfect for your next Mardi Gras party too!

Shakshuka. My weekend walking friends love to reward themselves with a hearty breakfast after a brisk, but not too strenuous, morning walk. Sometimes we frequent local restaurants and other times we come to my house to cook with friends because I’m on the walking route. Everybody brings a little something; fresh fruit, homemade granola, scones, blueberry coffee cake or whatever their specialties may be, and we share the cooking and the eating. We were stuck on kale eggs for a while which my friend Darnell invented. So simple and delicious. Fresh braised kale from the market with poached eggs and feta. Genius because it’s all in one pot! Shakshuka is a similar process but with middle eastern ingredients. A spicy colorful mixture of peppers and tomatoes and saffron. The best part is that this will give me an opportunity to use the saffron that a friend just brought me from Spain!

 Shakshuka & Kale Eggs Recipes

Sweet Winter Slaw Recipe

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