Fresh New Finds

January is about new beginnings and a fresh start. One of our resolutions this year is to introduce brave new exotic flavors in the kitchen.

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As many of you know, we’ve been on a Yottam Ottolenghi high. Once we tried his vibrant and punchy Israeli dishes we were eager for much, much more. We started with Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, which is a UK publication only at this point, so all the measurements are in grams. Using a kitchen scale to measure grams has to be the most sensible way of cooking, ever. We’re hooked.

Etti’s herb salad with warm butter dressing is like a burst of sunshine on a winter’s day. This brilliant cookbook also contains the single best lamb recipe we’ve ever eaten — Yottam’s marinated rack of lamb with coriander and honey. We doubled the marinade so we could use half of it as a sauce rather than boil off the leftover marinade for that purpose. We’ll be making this rack of lamb over and over again.

The buttered prawns with tomato, olives and Arak has become the perfect antidote for a hectic day, taking only minutes to make yet providing a wallop of flavor. Finally, the flour-less chocolate fudge cake is now a staple in our home (and a bonus for gluten-free friends).

Yottam’s newest cookbook is called Jerusalem: A Cookbook. We waited a few months to purchase it and we really shouldn’t have. The saffron rice with Iranian barberries, pistachio and mixed herbs is almost too beautiful to eat (if only aged Indian basmati rice wasn’t so maddening). The roasted chicken with clementines and Arak is simple, yet delicious. The cod cakes in tomato sauce are light, fluffy scrumptious treats. We thought to make them smaller and serve them as an appetizer. Both of these cookbooks are in our “must have” library.

Speaking of fresh new finds, we can’t sing the praises of Aran Goyoaga enough. Her Small Plates, Sweet Treats book is revolutionary. This former pastry chef has cracked the gluten-free puzzle and her cookies and tarts are nothing short of remarkable. There isn’t a gloomy winter’s afternoon which should pass without a cup of tea and her pistachio and vanilla bean shortbread cookies. Plus keeping extra cookie dough in the freezer means sweet indulgence is just around the corner!