Travel Eats

Entries in Plenty (3)


A Lighter Shade of Meal


I love "Plenty" for it's unique vegetable preparations.  Left to my own devices I likely would have pureed this butternut squash down into a boring soup.  Maddy would have made squash ravioli.  After a relatively busy day in clinic, ravioli wasn't happening in Chez Lee.

Modified slightly from his recipe

Butternut squash with sweet spices, lime and (no green chile--I omitted)

2 limes (or 4-5 Key limes): slice skin off

sea salt

4 TBS olive oil

1 medium butternut squash (or two lb. cubed from Costco like I used)-sliced in half, seeded and sliced into 1/2" slices

2 TBS cardamom pods (I had these because a friend sent from Kuwait--you could use ground cardomom--about 2 tsp worth)

1 tsp ground allspice

1 cup yogurt (plain)

1/4 cup tahini

2/3 cup cilantro leaves

Slice limes into quarters and then into thin slices.  Mix with a pinch of salt and 1 TBS olive oil.  If you are using pods--mortar and pestle til open, remove pods and grind seeds to rough powder. Mix spices and remaining olive oil and toss with squash, sprinkle with salt.  Roast in 400F oven til tender.  Cool to room temp.

Mix yogurt and tahini, adding water to make it pourable if necessary. Toss with squash.  Mix in limes, and top with chopped cilantro.

 A great butternut squash dish that somehow doesn't wind up tasting like it belongs on the dessert table.


Thank You Sir Fleming!

The next time I discover this bread on my counter I will be more than a little grateful to Sir Alexander Fleming for his discovery of penicillin's remarkable properties.  It is amazing that this antibiotic discovered more than 80 years ago still has utility today.  A mere 24 hours on this medication and my strep throat admitted defeat.  I felt well enough to make this delightful tart from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty.

Surprise Tatin

1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes (Ottolenghi gives you permission to use commerical sun-dried tomatoes in oil instead if you don't want to roast your own)

2 TBS olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

salt and black pepper

1 lb. new potatoes (skins on--I used the oca potatoes--scroll down)

1 large onion, thinly sliced

3 TBS sugar

2 tsp butter

3 oregano sprigs

5 oz. aged goat cheese, thinly sliced (I used chevre, crumbled)

1 puff pastry sheet, rolled thinly (I bought Pepperidge Farm--at Walmart, the horror)

Preheat oven to 275F. Halve the tomatoes and place skin side down on baking sheet (I placed cut-side down because apparently I cannot read).  Drizzle over some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place in oven to dry for 45 minutes.

The dried, improperly placed tomatoes.

Meanwhile cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 25 minutes. Drain and cool. Slice into 1" thick discs. 

I used these instead of potatoes

Oca are a tuber, I guess technically not a potato.  To me they tasted like a cross between a potato/turnip/parsnip.  I bought them at Central Market because they looked cool.  I texted Maddy, and she google-imaged them.  Her reply, "they look like maggots."  A new term for our family lexicon was born: maggotatoes.  I think they look a little like the ginger flower; at least prior to boiling.  Post-cooking I will admit they were a little grub-like.

Surprise, it's not a vegetarian tart!  Just kidding.  Moving along.

Saute the onion with the oil and some salt for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.  Once you have prepared all the vegetables, brush a 9" cake pan with oil and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper (once again, my reading skills failed me and I did NOT line the pan--worked just fine).  In a small pan cook the sugar and butter on high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, to get a semi-dark caramel.  Pour the caramel evenly over the bottom on the cake pan, tilting to spread.  Scatter oregano leaves over the caramel.

Lay the potato (maggotato) slices close together on the bottom of the pan.  Gently press onions and tomatoes into the gaps, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Spread the goat cheese evenly over the potatoes.  Cut a puff pastry disc that is 1" larger in diameter than the pan. (I use a square and just jammed in the excess--we like crust in our house).  Lay the pastry lid over the tart filling and gently tuck the edges down around the potatoes.  At this stage you can chill the tart for up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Bake for 25 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350F and continue baking for 15 minutes, or until the pastry is thoroughly cooked.

Remove from oven and let settle for 2 minutes only.  Hold an inverted plate firmly on the top of the pan and carefully but briskly turn them over together, then lift off the pan.  Serve the tart hot or warm.

Surprise!  Almost like the picture in the book.  This was a huge hit in our house.  I will definitely make for our next dinner party using the chill for 24 hour option.  Sophie had asked for "a tart or something" for dinner if I was feeling better....

A post about maggots and mold that ends with a smile...who knew?


Burnt Eggplant with Tahini

If you've ever wondered why baba ganoush has that wonderful smoky's because the eggplant was on fire at one point. Not flaming mind you but charred over some heat source.  Lining the area around the burner with foil will catch any juices that spatter when the skin bubbles and pops, making clean-up easier.

This takes about 15 minutes with vigilant turning--if you would prefer not to babysit your eggplant, there are directions for accomplishing this in a broiler.  However, Ottolenghi warns people to thoroughly pierce their eggplant or it can EXPLODE in the oven.  Sounds messy.  Next time I will probably use the grill so my house doesn't smell like burned eggplant.


Post debridement, draining in colander.  Try to scoop as much flesh out as possible, avoiding the frankly burned areas.  You now have eggplant ready for the recipe (or baba ganoush). 

Burnt Eggplant with tahini: from Plenty by Yottam Ottolenghi

1 large eggplant

1/3 cup tahini paste

1/4 cup water

2 tsp pomegranate molasses

1 TBS lemon juice

1 garlic clove crushed

3 TBS chopped parsley

salt and pepper

3 mini cucumbers

3/4 cup cherry tomatoes

seeds from 1/2 pomegranate (I omitted these)

a little olive oil for drizzling

Prepare eggplant as above.  Chop the flesh roughly and put in a medium mixing bowl.

 In a smaller bowl add tahini, water, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper and whisk to combine.  Adjust seasonings to your preference.  The pomegranate molasses is TART!

Combine with mixture with the chopped eggplant and add the halved cherry tomatoes and chopped cucumbers.

 Drizzle a little olive oil on top.  Serve with lavosh or toasts.

Delicious, but very assertive flavors.  The sort of thing you take of bite of and go, "Wow, that's almost too much."  But there you are a minute or two later craving another bite.  Seriously looking forward to cooking my way through this masterful book.