Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Jerusalem, A Feast

With all that Pinterest and the internet has to offer in the way of recipes, tutorials, and food talk, I had pretty much decided that I would never need to acquire another cookbook. I'm consciously trying to lighten my material life-load after all. And then my good friends, Scott and Trish, gave me the beautiful, Jerusalem, A Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi, who grew up in Jewish west Jerusalem, and Sami Tamimi, who grew up in Arab east Jerusalem. Ottolenghi and Tamimi  met in London where they became food collaborators and business partners at London's Ottolenghi restaurant.

Jerusalem, a Cookbook, is a feast for the culinary imagination. One night, shortly after receiving this cookbook, I spent over an hour reading it, studying its recipes, which use familiar-to-me ingredients in traditional and innovative ways, and enjoying Jerusalem's food story, woven among the recipes and the beautiful images of recipes brought to life, and the city which inspired them.

I could imagine myself walking up this familiar corridor of the Old City, heading toward the Damascus Gate, making way for merchant's carts and pedestrians-with-a-purpose as I take in the rich tapestry of sights, sounds, and smells along the way.

The food of Jerusalem is not my mother tongue, but many of the ingredients of it are my adult tongue, and I savored the recognition I experienced while surveying nearly every recipe. I've made two dishes so far and both of them were delicious. The recipes were clearly written and the spice blends, perfect.

When I read the recipe for Stuffed Eggplant with Lamb and Pinenuts, I knew that I had to try it. Lamb, though a middle eastern favorite, is not ours, and so I substituted beef.  Something magical happens to the slow-baked ingredients in this recipe, and the resulting dish is fantastic. If you thought you could never enjoy eggplant, I encourage you to try this dish.

Looking at this cookbook at Amazon, I noticed that the editors graciously included photos and pdf files for three of the recipes. One of them is the Stuffed Eggplant with Lamb and Pinenuts, so I'm linking it here. Perfect! 

I look forward to trying many more recipes in this cookbook, and now I have my eye on yet another cookbook from the same chefs:

And maybe this one:

I better get cooking.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

oh my! This looks delicious and the cookbook is a feast for the eyes. will try the recipe in a few weeks and use ground beef for the same reason. Thanks for sharing! ~Jenny