Herb Pie from Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s Jerusalem

It’s that time again on the blog, when I wax all lyrical about the Yotam Ottolenghi/Sami Tamimi collaboration.  Instead of repeating myself I’ll point you herehere and here.  And is that me talking about then in the Globe?

Yeah, I’m kind of a fan.  You may have heard about their latest book, Jerusalem, which came out about a year ago.  There’s been plenty of press on it (including that recent Globe article), and with good reason–it’s amazing.  I have a lot of cookbooks, and there are very few I cook from nearly every week, but Jerusalem is one.  I always have to do a quick scan around the house for it because it never makes it back on the bookshelf–it’s in the sunroom, or the TV room, or the living room as often as it is in the kitchen, because I’m daydreaming and planning what I’ll be making next.  The hummus recipe‘s exceptionally smooth puree, the chocolate babka utterly decadent, the mejadra (lentils and rice) fragrant with coriander, the helbeh (a fenugreek cake) a surprising delight…

I could go on.  But I’ll limit myself for the moment to herb pie.

Another herb pie from #TastingJrslm.  Assembly 1

This tart is right up my alley.  I love savory middle-eastern pies–bureks from Bosnia and the Balkans, Greek spanakopita and variations thereon, you get the idea.  So what makes this one special?  The  generous handfuls of parsley, cilantro, arugula, and chard.  Herbs are the heart and soul of the tart, not just an accent.  That’s for the cheese to do.  Olive oil binds the phyllo together rather than butter (which is easier to work with, as you don’t have to guesstimate at how much butter to melt, leaving your leaves of phyllo to dry out while you melt more butter).   And the magic of lemon zest.  All this makes for a lighter, fresher finished product that disappears quickly.  Too fast, apparently, for me to remember to take pictures.  For that (and another take on this recipe), check out Sparrows and Spatula’s post here.

Another herb pie from #TastingJrslm.  Assembly 2

As you scan the ingredients, you’ll note that the recipe calls for anari cheese, which is not even carried by the fancy-schmancy Whole Foods cheese department.  Ricotta can be used as a substitute (and like anari is a cheese made from whey, so it is a very close substitute from what I can tell).  The second time, I tried ricotta salata, and both attempts were delicious.

Another herb pie from #TastingJrslm.  Assembly 3, ready for the oven.

When assembling the pie, you are instructed to layer the oiled leaves of phyllo together and then place them all at once in the pan:  once for the bottom crust, once from the top.  Maybe it’s nothing revelatory in the grand scheme of things, but for me it certainly was–I’ve always made spanakopita by buttering each phyllo leaf and then haphazardly transferring the delicate sheet to a pan.  So much easier to build up the layer on the countertop and then place it the baking dish.

Another herb pie from #TastingJrslm.  Cooling!

Because I have so many cookbooks, and so many things I want to try, I don’t normally repeat a recipe only weeks after trying it for the first time.  This is the exception– and there’s more phyllo squirreled away in the freezer for the next time.

Finally–a moment for the blogosphere.  If you want to see other great things that are being made from this cookbook, check out the Tasting Jerusalem blog group here (featured in the New York Times article linked to above).  This is also my first contribution to the Let’s Lunch group–thanks to Cheryl (author of A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family, a great book I read when it came out) for inviting me along!

Herb Pie from Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s Jerusalem
Cuisine: middle eastern
Author: adapted from Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s Jerusalem, also available [url href=”http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/mar/20/herb-pie-recipe-vegetarian-ottolenghi”%5Dhere%5B/url%5D
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing the pastry
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 lbs. Swiss chard, stems and leaves finely shredded but kept separate
  • 3-4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions (green onion), chopped
  • 1 3/4 ounces of arugula
  • 1 ounce flat-leaf parsley, chopped (about 1/2-3/4 cup)
  • 1 ounce fresh mint, chopped (about 1/2-3/4 cup)
  • 2/3 ounce dill, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 ounces of anari or ricotta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 1/2 ounces aged cheddar, grated (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 9 ounces filo pastry
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Pour the olive oil into a deep frying-pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 8 minutes without browning. Add the chard stems and the celery and continue cooking for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chard leaves, increase the heat to medium-high and stir as you cook for 4 minutes, until the leaves wilt. Add the scallion/green onion, arugula and herbs and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and transfer to a colander to cool.
  2. Once the mixture is cool, squeeze out as much water as you can and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the three cheeses, lemon zest, eggs, salt, pepper and sugar and mix well.
  3. Lay out a sheet of filo pastry and brush it with some olive oil. Cover with another sheet and continue in the same manner until you have 5 layers of filo brushed with oil, all covering an area large enough to line the sides and bottom of a 8 1/2-inch pie dish, plus extra to hang over the rim. Line the pie dish with the pastry, fill with the herb mix and fold the excess pastry over the edge of the filling, trimming the pastry as necessary to create a 3/4 inch border.
  4. Make another set of 5 layers of filo brushed with oil and place them over the pie. Scrunch the pastry a little to create a wavy, uneven top and trim the edges so it just covers the pie. Brush generously with olive oil and bake for 40 minutes, or until the filo turns a nice golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature.
Notes

Check out the other Let’s Lunch creations!

Annabelle‘s Chocolate Pie at Glass of Fancy

Anne Marie‘s Apple Pie Sandwiches at Sandwich Surprise

Betty Ann‘s Calamansi Pie at Asian In America

Grace‘s Easy Apple Pie with Lard Crust at HapaMama

Jill‘s Guava and Cream Cheese Empanadas at Eating My Words

Lisa G‘s Sweet Ricotta Noodle Pie at Monday Morning Cooking Club

Lisa K‘s Great-Grandmama’s Chocolate Pie at The Little Good Ride

Linda‘s Biscoff Banana & Pear Galette at Spicebox Travels

Lucy‘s Sweet Potato Custard Pie at A Cook and Her Books 

Mai‘s Caramel Apple Pie Sundae at Cooking in the Fruit Bowl

Margaret‘s Cushaw (Squash) Pie at Tea and Scones, Too

Nancie‘s Edna Lewis’s Tyler Pie at Nancie McDermott

Naomi‘s Huckleberry Pie Ice-Cream at The Gastro Gnome

Rebecca‘s Summer-Fall Hand Pies at GrongarBlog

 

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Apricot Rose Ricotta Cake

It’s hard to find delicious apricots in Massachusetts–usually I’m limited to whatever the grocery store has shipped in from California, and while  plenty large these are often mealy  and flavorless.  Apricots are notoriously poor travelers, and much like strawberries, flavor gets sacrificed for sturdiness–and the ability to travel cross-country.

Apricot Rose Ricotta Cake (3 of 4)

So I go a little crazy during those few short weeks when the Red Jacket Orchard apricots from upstate New York come in at the grocery store, and even crazier when the farmer’s markets have apricots on display.  (It’s a good year for fruit!).  So it was that I bought about seven pounds of apricots and carried them home on the commuter rail–the majority dedicated to an apricot-cardamom jam.  True to their delicate nature, a few still remained for eating fresh out of hand, but the rest were bruised from their commute–feeling, perhaps, much as we all do after a long day?  No way could these be wasted, so little surprise what comes next:  I found myself baking!

Apricot Rose Ricotta Cake (2 of 4)

As you know, I love baking with ricotta–it adds a wonderful springiness as well as sturdiness to baked goods.  More prosaically, we were about to go on vacation and the expiry date on the tub was nigh.  There’s plenty of cheesecake-apricot recipes on the web, but I had the urge to make one of those snacking cakes that can acceptably be eaten at breakfast.  I found this recipe on the blog Seasonal Desserts, and made a few tweaks of my own, adding a bit of whole grain flour and a splash of rose water.

Apricot rose ricotta cake, assembled.

As you can see from my shoddily-lit instagram photo above, the cake looks rather flat and unsubstantial in batter form–be not dismayed, as you have ample proof it bakes up beautifully.  You can also see that no matter how unphotogenically you’ve arranged your apricot halves, the result is nonetheless stunning.  Don’t you love it when that happens?

I’ve provided Maria Teresa’s suggested amount of apricots (six to eight) but if you are using local fruits you might have a variety of sizes.  Just fit as many halves as you can over the surface, bake, and enjoy.

Apricot Rose Ricotta Cake (1 of 4)

 

Apricot Rose Ricotta Cake
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons, divided
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 250 grams ricotta []
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 6-8 apricots, washed, divided in half and stone removed
Instructions
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil a 9-inch round cake or springform pan and place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Place the eggs, zests and the sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  4. Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is pale and thick, about 3 minutes.
  5. Set the mixer to its lowest speed and beat in the ricotta.
  6. Add the sifted dry ingredients, beating only until they are incorporated.
  7. Pour about the batter into the prepared pan. Place as many apricots as you can fit on top of the batter and sprinkle them with the extra sugar.
  8. Bake the cake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set on a cooling rack for 15 minutes.
  9. Carefully remove the sides of the springform pan and let the cake cool for at least 30 minutes. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.

Apricot Rose Ricotta Cake (4 of 4)

Giant Lima Beans with Tomatoes and Oregano

With your more well-known beans, I don’t have too much trouble figuring out what to do.  Black beans make a great soup or salad base, white beans and pretty much anything go well together, and red beans just require a bit of spice.  And garbanzos, well, I could almost eat them every day.

Giant Lima Beans with Tomatoes and Oregano (4 of 6)

But my nose certainly crinkled a bit to get giant lima beans as part of my Rancho Gordo bean subscription.  The mealy sallow green crescents I remember eating from time to time as a child were not inspiring, with the fact that they were dried only being a new wrinkle.  What to do but turn to google.?

I’m happy to report that the same things that work so well for other beans do the trick here too.  Like all the herbs I grow in my backyard (and in contrast to all the vegetables and berries, which if they grow at all are eaten by squirrels and rabbits), my pot of oregano is lush and fragrant.  Its flavor in this pesto is as vivid as the color suggests, and is the indispensable flavor that brings this dish together.

Giant Lima Beans with Tomatoes and Oregano (1 of 6)

While this recipe unfortunately proceeds in many stages–cooking the beans, simmering down the tomato sauce, baking the whole thing together in the oven and topping with pesto and fried bread crumbs–it actually requires very little active work.  I cooked the beans and tomatoes one evening, then assembled the casserole the next day when I got home from work and immediately popped it in the oven to be ready for dinner a little while later.  A few minutes pounding on my mortar and pestle is always a therapeutic end to a workday, though you can use a food processor to make the pesto as well.

Giant Lima Beans with Tomatoes and Oregano (3 of 6)

And it probably goes without saying that this treatment would work nicely with any bean you happen to have on hand, but it’s nice to have something up my sleeve for when the next bag of gigantes shows up in my mailbox.

Giant Lima Beans with Tomatoes and Oregano (2 of 6)

Giant Lima Beans with Tomatoes and Oregano
Ingredients
  • Lima Beans
  • 3 cups (one pound) dried giant lima beans or gigantes, rinsed and picked over, then soaked for 4 hours or overnight and drained
  • Kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • One 14 or 16-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese (6 1/2 ounces), for sprinkling
  • 2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
  • Pesto
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Kosher salt
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, cover the lima beans with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the limas are just tender but still al dente, about 2 1/2 hours; add water as needed to keep the limas covered by 2 inches. Season the limas with salt and let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Drain the limas, and if desired, reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid for use in the tomato sauce.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderately low heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano and the reserved bean cooking liquid (or 1 1/2 cups water) and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 1 hour. Season the tomato sauce with salt.
  3. In a mini food processor or with a mortar and pestle, combine the olive oil with the oregano, parsley and garlic and pulse to a coarse puree. Season the oregano pesto with salt. Press plastic wrap against the surface to help prevent browning while you store.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425°. Spread the limas to cover the base of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, and spread the tomato sauce on top (or mix together before putting in the dish). Sprinkle the feta on top. Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 40 minutes, until the beans are bubbling and the cheese is browned. Remove the baking dish from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until toasted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt.
  6. Top the beans with the bread crumbs, dollop with the oregano pesto and serve.
Notes
The cooked limas, tomato sauce and pesto can be refrigerated separately overnight. Bring to room temperature before proceeding. While the original recipe suggested using some of the bean cooking liquid in making the tomato sauce, I used water instead as I was cooking both the beans and sauce simultaneously. To my mind, there was no significant flavor loss.

Giant Lima Beans with Tomatoes and Oregano (6 of 6)

Chickpea Feta and Cilantro Salad

This is one of those recipes I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about before.  I make it a lot:  enough that my husband simply refers to it as “the salad.”   So I think it’s due for a post, especially now that it’s summer.

Chickpea Feta and Cilantro Salad (2 of 3)

I first made this salad several years ago, from a recipe in Tessa Kiros’s Falling Cloudberries–but it’s so easy that I haven’t actually opened the cookbook (for that recipe at least) since.  As they say, it’s all “up here” (imagine me tapping at the side of my forehead now, if you please).  Meanwhile, my husband just calls it “the salad”–

What’s nice is it is both a filling salad–thanks to the chickpeas, it can be a main meal–and light–plenty of fresh herbs and a touch of hot pepper working their magic.  There’s a little sweetness from the sautéed red onions, some richness from the feta, and a unifying brightness provided by a squeeze of lemon.  And while I give precise quantities in the recipe, since it’s all “up here,” all these measures are really approximations.  It’s an easy summer salad that should be easy to make, so just, you know, go with it.

Chickpea Feta and Cilantro Salad (3 of 3)

I hate to be that person, so I’m not going to tell you to buy the most expensive brand of feta in the store, but you should definitely buy one that you like, as the cheese is crumbled into the salad and retains its character (and as you can see from the photo, the feta almost insinuates itself into the dressing).  I prefer sheep or goat’s milk feta sold in brine (after being thoroughly indoctrinated on the subject by a dear friend from Greece) but go with what you like.

Chickpea Feta and Cilantro Salad (1 of 3)

Chickpea Feta and Cilantro Salad
Author: adapted from Tessa Kiros [url href=”Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes “][/url]
Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight, and cooked OR two cans.
  • 1/2 c olive oil, divided
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno or other pepper, seeded and chopped fine OR 1/2 t red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 cup feta
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
Instructions
  1. Cook the chickpeas until soft if using dried chickpeas (about 1 1/2- 2 hours). Drain the beans.
  2. Sautee the red onion gently in 1/4c of olive oil. If using dried pepper flakes, cook together with the red onion. When the onion has softened and the red has turned to a slightly translucent magenta, add the garlic and fresh pepper if using. Cook for another 30 seconds or so until you can smell the scent of the garlic, and remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a bowl. Add the chickpeas and the remaining olive oil, and season with salt and pepper (but be careful with the salt as the feta will be salty). Pour the onion mixture over (including the oil) and stir in. (I like to add while it’s still warm to help the flavors meld).
  4. Crumble in the feta, and finally stir in the chopped cilantro and parsley. Adjust for salt, and serve at room temperature.

 

Summer raspberries

Every summer when we went to Seattle, the first thing we always did upon arriving at our grandparents’ house was to run to the backyard and eat the raspberries off the bushes growing in the backyard.  To this day the smell of fresh raspberries brings back that memory, and I don’t know if I love raspberries so much simply for what they are or because of the connection in my mind.

I’m happy to see my sons building the same associations, both picking berries at their own grandparents’ house, and at their great-grandmother’s.

My parents planted these raspberries just last year.   Last year they were tiny clumps of leaves, this year they are dripping with berries.

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Like mother like son, I suppose.  They don’t even make it in the house.

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My grandmother is still growing raspberries.  But this year the star crop was the marionberries, similar to a blackberry.  My grandmother always reminds me she planted them at my request.  I’ve nearly only ever had them from her backyard.

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Seattle Eats: The Original Bakery in West Seattle

The main attraction of the West Seattle Fauntleroy district may be Lincoln Park along the shore of Puget Sound, but it’s also a busy hub for commuters whose cars line up during the day to board the eponymous ferry out to Vashon Island.  Otherwise, it’s a quiet area, with small businesses nestled in among residential areas.  One such corner just a short walk up from the park is shared by Endolyne Joe’s (“Endolyne” referring to the fact that this was once the “end of the line” for the now defunct tram system) and The Original Bakery.

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One of those “neighborhood businesses”–and in this case just as friendly and neighborly as you’d imagine such a shop should be–is The Original Bakery, open since 1936 and run by a father-daughter team, Bernie and Anna Alonzo.  Light and open, charmingly decorated with Delftware-inspired tiles, and drawing in plenty of foot traffic and lots of folks who are clearly “regulars.”

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Now admittedly my father has a fondness for bear claws (by which I mean, he is most certainly a regular) but I was still a bit surprised when we visited and we were greeted by Alex, the guy behind the counter, with a  “Hi Jim!  These must be your daughter and grandsons from Boston!”  My dad then told me that Alex was studying economics, which led to what would have been a discussion about law school excepting that my sons, looking in the display case and getting more and more excited, couldn’t wait any longer before placing their order.

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Frosted donuts with sprinkles (including patriotic red white and blue, as this was just before the 4th of July) were their order of the day (as anything with frosting is always a hit with my boys who then get to lick it off their fingers), but there’s plenty of other flaky pastries, cookies, muffins, and of course bear claws.  And plenty of varieties of bread, from sourdough to rye to french to challah.

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At little bakeries like this, I am usually prepared to pay a bit of a premium for something that is not mass-produced or shipped from some far-off industrial oven.  But I was surprised at the reasonableness of the prices–on our way out we took home a loaf of glazed cinnamon swirl bread for $2.99 (pre-sliced at our request!)–something the fancier bakeries in Boston (and just as likely Seattle!) might be charging $6 dollars for.

Per the owner, “We like to try to keep our prices low where we can.”

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The Original Bakery

9253 45th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98136
(206) 938-5088

http://www.theoriginalbakery.com/

The Original Bakery and Endolyne Joe's

Other “Seattle Eats” posts on Three Clever Sisters

Bakery Nouveau

Marination Ma Kai

Salumi

Original Bakery on Urbanspoon