Just like everyone else, cooking comes in and out of my life like a long-term relationship. Sometimes you are present; in love, obsessed, sometimes you are just in it and sometimes it is just a part of your life, your every day routine.
I don’t think that this is necessarily bad, being happy in a relationship is about the big picture, it is not about being too busy to see your spouse for a few days but it is about knowing that like everything in life, it’s a limbo, sometimes you want more of it and sometimes you just need less. Cooking is the same for me.
I cook just about every day but the amount of presence and passion in it varies widely.
Sometimes I spend my days, slaving over the food in the kitchen, I am happy to be there hours on end and on other days, I just want to get something on the table and call it quits. Once in a while a cookbook comes into my life and I am love-struck; carrying it with me everywhere, in my bathtub, on the bus and in every room of my house. Sometimes, that same cookbook will pull me into the kitchen and I might spend hours forgetting about all that I have to do.
“Plenty” has been that cookbook for me. It has been my kitchen renaissance. It has restored my love in cooking after 9 months of a difficult pregnancy including 3 months of barely being able to walk and bed rest and an adjustment to a life of 2 new nursing newborns that can only communicate by screaming at the top of their lungs and flashing me with their heartbreaker smiles and their chubby toes. And to add the mix, I have a 3 year old who has discovered that N-O spells No and my own business, www.foodportunity.com Don’t get me wrong, I love my life but finding the time to leisurely cook has not been my top priority lately.
That is until “Plenty” came along. Israeli- Born Yotam Ottolenghi’s book is a vegetable book by a carnivore. Just forget the vegetarian part because the book is truly everything in meat and more. Most of all in the first 2 weeks that I have this book, I have made a dozen recipes. Need I say more? Probably not, but I will.
What I love about this book…
– The Ingredients. Pomegranate Molasses, za’aatar and other spices that just rev up a dish to the fullest.
-The Spice Combinations. One of the things that I want more in a book is spice ideas. It is all in this book. Middle Eastern Spices meet vegetables. savory Spice blends, sweet ones. Books that are well-seasoned take the guessing out of cooking for me.
-Eggplants, Onions and others. Here vegetables like eggplants steal the show. It is so easy to keep cooking with the same vegetables but this book is a reminder that virtually every vegetable can go from good to wow!
– Search by vegetable. Need I say more? How easy can a book make me want to cook.
– Restaurant- caliber recipes. The recipes remind me that dinner can be as good as a restaurant good if you mix up the right ingredients.
– Lots of Ingredients. Some people don’t like this part but I love this, I pretty much have the whole every day cooking down pat but I really need food that is going to woo me.
And the photos. I just love the serving suggestions, photos etc. Just what I need to keep motivated.
Have you started cooking from “Plenty”? Which recipes have you tried and loved?