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Barley, celery & cranberry salad

Barley, celery & cranberry salad

A really nice winter pick-me-up kind of dish here: the barley offers a heartiness, the crunchy celery folded in adds a bite, dill & parsley keep it interesting, and little surprises like allspice and sherry vinegar keep it very bright and playful. The original recipe, from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, called for pomegranate seeds, but I just missed the last batch of them at the market, so I substituted dried cranberries. A feel-good bowl of goodness for you!

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Caramelized Fennel with garlic & dill

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What a lovely little dish, thanks to Mr. Yotam Ottolenghi once again. Lightly browned fennel slices, removed from the pan briefly in order to add coarse sugar and fennel seeds, then returned to the pan to caramelize gently. Remove from heat, mix carefully with a touch of garlic and chopped dill, then plate and add goat cheese (excluded here), lemon zest and fennel fronds. It is sweet and salty, tender and crunchy and start to finish took about 20 minutes: an A+ in my book.

Leek Fritters

Leek Fritters

These fritters are officially in my rotation! Full of sweet, oniony flavor and light, light texture from various incorporations of baking powder (making the batter fluffy) and warm, lovely spices thanks to the coriander, cumin, turmeric and cinnamon. I altered slightly from the Plenty cookbook but you can find the original recipe here: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/feb/02/recipe.vegetarian Make them soon, or I will make them for you!

‘Jerusalem’ Orange, Semolina & Coconut Cake

'Jerusalem' Orange, Semolina & Coconut Cake

This cake comes from the cookbook ‘Jerusalem’ by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi. The recipe hits all the high marks: great texture & bite, just the right amount of sweetness, familiar flavors (orange & coconut) but with a greater intensity (thanks to marmalade & orange blossom water), yields two loaves (which you will be grateful for) and the kicker: it gets better the longer it rests, so the day after baking and even the day after that, it is still super moist and totally delicious. Great for dinner parties & events & sharing with the neighborhood.

Duck Breast

Duck Breast

How about a super quick (literally 25 min) and incredibly tasty (has balsamic vinegar ever let you down?) protein for dinner tonight with your salad? A duck breast or two can offer just this: score fat (good, definite markings but not so deep you pierce the muscle), quick braise in bit of olive oil on hot pan roughly 6-7min per side, wrap in foil and put in 250F oven to rest for 5 minutes while you make a sauce, preferably one with a good acid to compliment the luscious duck meat. I personally love cherries and duck, but if someone in your household doesn’t, try a little balsamic vinegar, honey & fresh squeezed lime juice, reduced gently in a pan on your stovetop. Remove duck from oven & foil (it should be medium-rare), add it to plate of your vegetables, drizzling your sauce over and enjoy!