Cooking Kosher Around the World

Enjoy Kosher Food Around the World

Ottolenghi Recipes I Tried

I’m not going to include the actual recipes in this post (ok fine, I’ll include one link), I’m pretty sure a bit of googling should turn up all the recipes. I will be talking about my experiences making them. I’ve been holding back a few posts for a lack of pictures, in the interim my camera died and I have no other camera available. Hopefully, I will get a camera soon. Don’t even have a cell phone camera available to me. Yeah, I live in the dark ages. 🙂

On to Ottolenghi, I had heard of his cookbook, but didn’t think the recipes would appeal to my crowd, and I don’t tend to buy cookbooks. One day, I decided to browse the ebook cookbooks on my local public library’s site. I discovered that Jerusalem by Ottolenghi was available for download. I downloaded it and browsed and realized that there are many recipes that sound delicious. Of course, not all are kosher, or need modification to be kosher. I’ve since made a number of his recipes, not all from the same cookbook. I’m going to list the recipes I’ve made so far and then I will describe my experience with each one.

  1. Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread (Jerusalem)
  2. Zaatar Chicken (Roast Chicken with Sumac, Zaatar and Lemon)
  3. Marinated Barley Risotto with Feta (Jerusalem)
  4. Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Cardamom Rice (Jerusalem)

1. We had Butternut Squash in the house, so I figured excellent, I’ll use it for the Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread. I was never in charge of cooking a butternut squash in the manner described in the book, this may have been the first time I actually even cooked butternut squash. But, I believe I used a chef’s knife and a mallet to aid me in the cutting process. Mallets are excellent kitchen tools, by the way. I seasoned the squash and roasted it in the oven until it was quite soft. Delicious smells, and technically you can just eat the butternut squash at this point. I added all the other ingredients to the food processor and turned it into a dip, was an interesting dip and the tahini reminded me of peanut butter at times. Sadly, this was not a family favorite, so I probably won’t be making it again, or I may only make the butternut squash cubes. A few things I would like to note here, is that I’ve read an article in which Ottolenghi states that he thinks Tahini will be the next trending ingredient/food. I’m not sure I agree with him on that because it’s a very specific taste. His serving suggestion is to spread it on a plate, that wasn’t practical for me, as I wanted to serve it family-style. I served it in a container as a dip. The other change I made, so I can serve it with a meat meal was to substitute the greek yogurt for mayonnaise. Coconut yogurt may have also worked here, but I tasted it plain once, and I really didn’t like it, but maybe one day I’ll try it again.

2. I think I was googling Ottolenghi chicken recipes and I came across this one. The comments all describe it as a delicious chicken. I was a little hesitant, because I had put zaatar on chicken before and no one liked it. My brother said he makes zaatar chicken and he likes it. My sister had eaten it when she was at his house and said it was decent too. I think she may have told me that he uses a different brand of zaatar than what we had in the house. I actually had to buy a lot of the spices for this dish-sumac, allspice, and I bought the brand of zaatar that my brother uses. I doubled this recipe. I also didn’t buy whole chicken he calls for because my family prefers bottom quarters, so it’s not worth it for me to be left with the tops. If you can get organic, I’m thinking that would be tastier. I feel that he recommends way more pine nuts than are necessary, I’ve made this dish twice and both times I had leftover pine nuts. This dish looks very appetizing and is one I like to plate individually, and then serve. I garnish and bring out extra sauce in a gravy boat. Some people in the comments mentioned the lemons being bitter, that was not the case when I made and people liked the lemons. I feel it’s important for the onions to be sliced thinly. I used margarine to toast the pine nuts, but I think in the future, I’m going to healthify this recipe by toasting the pine nuts in the pan with no fat.

3. I came across this recipe when browsing the Jerusalem cookbook and figured it would make for a great Nine Days Dish. I made this during the Nine Days and my family loved the barley, cleaned the pot out. The marinated feta was not as big of a hit, it was too salty and yes I know feta is naturally salty, so it could be my brand of feta wasn’t the best. This dish is a little more kiddy tasting, I would make this again and would skip the feta component and probably just stir in some grated mozzarella.

4. I made this one quite recently, I also doubled this recipe. I had to pre-cook some of the chicken in batches, because this is completely on the stove-top and my frying pan wasn’t big enough, I eventually switched it to a dutch oven type pot so I can finish cooking all the pieces at once. Once the onions are sliced it’s pretty easy going from there on in.It takes a while for the onions to caramelize, mine could have caramelized longer, but I needed to get dinner on the table. I made the barberries and let them soak in the simple syrup solution. I think next time I make this I’m going to soak it in plain water. A few questions I had during making this:

What color cardamom pods to buy? I bought green.

Do I leave them whole or crack them open? I left them whole.

Some people couldn’t find the cardamom pods, and just substituted ground cardamom, I definitely think that should work in a pinch. Can’t find barberries or currants, use craisins.

Add a vegetable and you have a complete meal.

I left out the cilantro, and one bunch of dill was a little less than a cup, I would have upped the dill flavor, but that’s a personal preference. Also if you notice the chicken is cooked, but the rice is not, take the chicken out.

Yum, I made a few extra pieces of this and can’t wait to enjoy the leftover’s again tonight.

Ottolenghi recipes are made for cooking, so feel free to play around and use your knowledge and common sense.

I found this video quite helpful for troubleshooting

Glossary:

Healthifyto increase the health of, or to modify a dish to make it healthier.

Nine DaysA period of time in which we don’t eat meat, except on Shabbat, and specific celebratory meals; this is one of the saddest time during the year as we are mourning the destruction of the temple. Poultry also falls under the categorization of meat for these purposes. Eggs, and Fish are allowed, amongst other foods. 

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