By Kim Dannies
September 5th, 2013
This summer, I have been swept away by the food of Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, two chefs who met in London, but grew up in different neighborhoods in Jerusalem. Yotam is Jewish and Sami is Palestinian, and together they create food of such sensual and visual delight that it should be a credentialed diplomat in its own right. My global fantasy is folks gathering together to cook, eat and talk more often at the kitchen table so we don’t need so many negotiation tables.
Their cookbooks, “Jerusalem,” “Plenty” and “The Cookbook” are a cross-cultural cooking phenomenon in that they combine old family recipes and very basic ingredients, often vegetarian, and make them pop with flavor, personality and stunning presentation. If you feel conflicted about your cooking, or pretty much anything else, I suggest you sit down and spend some quality time with one of these books. You will find peace and inspiration in this beautiful and soul-satisfying food.
Beet, Orange & Black Olive Salad
Adapted from “Plenty”
Cut two large beets into quarters, cover in cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Leave beets to cool in the water. When cool, peel beets and cut into wedges that are 1 inch at their base. Place the beets in a mixing bowl.
Trim off bases and tops of 2 oranges with a small sharp knife. Cut down the sides of the oranges following their natural curves to remove the skin and white pith. Over a small bowl, remove the segments from the oranges by slicing between the membranes. Transfer segments and juice to the bowl with the beets; discard the membrane.
Add a mixture of local greens (measuring a heaping handful per serving) to the mixing bowl. Slice one small red onion into very, very thin slices. Add to bowl. Add 3 tablespoons chopped parsley,5 tablespoons pitted and sliced black Greek olives, 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, 1 teaspoon orange flower water (or 1 tablespoon of oj ), 1.5 tablespoons red wine vinegar and pinches of salt and pepper. Toss gently; adjust the seasoning; plate on a white dish. Serves 4.
Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three twenty-something daughters. Archived Everyday Gourmet columns are at kimdannies.com. Kim@kimdannies.com.