Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Maccu with Fried Peppers and Minted Onions

The other day, I was reading Delicious Days (a fantabulous blog) and darling Nicky (badump-bump) was chatting about a book that piqued my interest, entitled Working The Plate.

From her description it sounded fun, different, and worth getting. Inspired, I glammed up and headed out to The Cooks Library, to pick up my very own copy.

As I sashayed in, there it was, right on the table at the front of the wee cozy store. I perched myself on the couch and started to look it over. Turns out, it’s a book with some gorgeous pictures and a few recipes only a person with tons of time on their hands would dare attack. Basically, it is a book for how to make a few really glam dishes, not how to make all your dishes glam, which was what I was looking for, and think would have been more practical. Overall, lovely though it is, it just didn't speak to me.

When I stood up to put it back, the (exceedingly charming) clerk pronounced he had never looked it over and asked me what I thought. Being an opinionated girl, I told him it sure was pretty, but not for me. After a futile search for another book I have been meaning to buy for ages, I asked for suggestions and he directed me to Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons. He noted he hadn’t looked at it yet either, but it was a huge hit in the UK and had just come in the day before.

I sat down and gently opened it up to peek inside.

After two minutes of page turning, I sighed with contentment.

After five more minutes of scrutiny, I bounced up and down with excitement (what? I may have squealed too. Problem?). Here was a book that seemed different! A book with ideas in it. A book with exotic, yet do-able recipes. A book for me.

I bought three copies. I had to share!

Recipes like Sausages and Lentils with Sweet and Sour Figs. Greek Herb Pilaf with Shrimp and Feta. Lemon and Rosemary Cake. Jeweled Persian Rice. Breast of Duck with Pomegranate and Walnut Sauce. Socca with Sardines, Roast Tomatoes and Olive and Parsley Salad. Raisin and Sherry Ice Cream. And of course, a recipe for Crazy Water and another for Pickled Lemons. Enchanting indeed.

Simple recipes focusing on all my favorite ingredients. The chapters are even broken down by ingredient group. Spices in one, herbs in the next, then nuts in another. She even has one dedicated to recipes featuring citrus. Brilliant. Each chapter has all courses from meze to desserts.

(My only gripe with the book now that I have read it cover to cover is that some of the photos don’t seem to match the recipes. Frustrating, since they are so pretty and I would love to know what they are featuring. If you have a copy, what do you think that picture on page 90 is?)

At home a few hours later, I made this recipe first, since I had everything on hand. Such a fantastic relief from hummus, lemme tell ya.

I mean, hummus is dear to me, but the variations (Now with wasabi! With horseradish! With roasted garlic, shallots, bell peppers, cracked pepper and goat cheese! Puh-leese!) it’s getting a bit tired. Dig?

So I made this vivid green happiness and there was cocktail hour jubilation. Sweet onions, spicy chile peppers, refreshing mint, smooth and vibrant pureed beans. Rapture on a plate. Try it and see for yourself.

(Note: The recipe called for fava beans, soaked then cooked with garlic. I used soy beans.)


1 pound soy beans, shelled
1 small onion, minced
1 carrot, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 tsp. Olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
2.5 oz, olive oil
salt and pepper
12 Turkish horn peppers (I have no clue what those are, I omitted this)

2 onions, finely sliced
2 tsp olive oil
1 green chile, deseeded and sliced into strips
1.5 tsps white vinegar
1 tsp sugar
small handful of mint, torn

Sweat the carrot, onion and celery with the garlic in the olive oil, until soft. Add a little water from time to time to keep the veg from drying out.

Puree the veg with the beans and the stock and oil until it comes together into a puree.

Set aside.

In the same pan, saute the onions in the olive oil until browned. Add the chiles and saute another minute. Add the vinegar and sugar. Stir and cook until the vinegar evaporates. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Serve the puree at room temperature with the onions (horn peppers if using) and mint strewn on top.


An email I sent my most glam friend Tiffany, ended up on her website...check it out here. And while you are there, please click on the ads...help the girl raise some cash!

The cultivation of fava beans is so old that there is no known wild form of this bean. It has been used in Chinese cooking for at least 5,000 years.

Vermont cows are being sold to Cuba next year as that country continues to rebuild its dairy and beef cattle industries. A top Cuban trade official said his country would welcome more trade with the United States and Vermont. Since 2001, only food and agricultural products can be exported from the U.S. to the communist island. - Times Argus.com

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That sounds like a way cool cookbook! I really need to find a good middle-eastern cookbook - that sounds like it might fit the bill! :)
This sounds so good and the way you plated it is gorgeous. I'll have to check that book out.
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