Since food has been so touch and go for me, my wonderful friend Karen (not “Diaper Karen,” Karen of the thumbprint cookies) wrote a great cookbook review for your enjoyment! Thanks for pickin’ up my slack, Karen!
Good & Plenty
I am a big fan of cookbooks. Unlike the husband of a close friend who once called using recipes Culinary Plagiarism, I could pour over a stack of cookbooks for hours. My absolute favourite vegetarian guide has been the Moosewood Cookbook. There’s a reason why it’s consistently on the list as one of top-10 best selling cookbooks. There’s a simplicity to the recipes; it’s truly healthy comfort food. But, there is now competition for the title of favourite vegetarian cookbook in my life. I have discovered a gorgeous book called Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi, who (according to Wikipedia) ran a regular column for several years in the Saturday Guardian called The New Vegetarian. Plenty is a beautiful-looking book, but that doesn’t always translate to being a Good cookbook. However, the recipes here are inventive, and it’s full of creative and interesting combinations both vegetarian and vegan. The Soba Noodle, Mango & Eggplant Salad that I made on Monday was a hit. The recipe says that it serves 6, but 3 of us finished it off. To the ladies in our book club: this is what I’m making for our next meeting!
Soba Noodle Salad with Mango and Eggplant
1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 fresh red chile, finely chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 cup sunflower oil
1 large eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice
8 to 9 ounces soba noodles
1 large ripe mango, cut into 3/8-inch dice or into 1/4-inch-thick strips
1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cups cilantro leaves, chopped
(note: the book version also calls for some chopped red onion, but I left it out)
In a small saucepan gently warm the vinegar, sugar and salt for up to 1 minute, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the garlic, chile and sesame oil. Allow to cool, then add the lime zest and juice.
Heat up the sunflower oil in a large pan and shallow-fry the eggplant in three or four batches. Once golden brown remove to a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt and leave there to drain.
Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally. They should take 5 to 6 minutes to become tender but still al dente. Drain and rise well under running cold water. Shake off as much of the excess water as possible, then leave to dry on a dish towel.
In a mixing bowl toss the noodles with the dressing, mango, eggplant, half of the herbs and the onion. You can now leave this aside for 1 to 2 hours. When ready to serve add the rest of the herbs and mix well, then pile on a plate or in a bowl.
I served it up in takeout containers that I ordered online… because I have an online shopping addiction. Also, because a bit of kitsch never hurt anyone.
Thanks Karen, can’t wait for book club!