Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London's Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi

The vegetarian dishes in Plenty are exquisitely photographed and there are lovely line drawings between chapters and even the cover is puffy like a photo album -- maybe that's why I ended up treating this as more of an art book than a recipe book. I'm sad that other people are waiting for it and therefore I must return it to the library, since I'm not ready to part with it yet. I have read through most of it, dipping in wherever the pages opened, enjoying Ottolenghi's introductions as well as browsing through the recipes themselves.

I did try a few of the recipes, such as polenta made with fresh corn. That one was a disappointment because it was a lot of work and I found the end result too sweet. "Mixed beans with many spices and lovage" turned out great and I was happy to find an actual recipe that called for lovage, since I have a giant plant in my garden. Ottolenghi includes heaps of fresh herbs - at least a tablespoon per person - in his recipes, which is lovely. His penchant for herbs comes across clearly in the recipe titled "Steamed rice with herbs (or, actually, herbs with rice)."

Mostly, this book has inspired me to cook creatively, rather than to follow instructions on its pages. I'll be borrowing this beautiful book again. Meanwhile, it's good to know that Ottolenghi has a recipe column in the Guardian.

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