Monthly Archives: May 2014

Jerusalem: Finished!

Yesterday I completed cooking my second cookbook, Jerusalem. I have previously cooked through Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, which was a delicious experience. So, thanks to a friend who works at a bookstore, I received another one of his cookbooks as a gift. You might remember that I had some misgivings about cooking from this cookbook, but I eventually decided that if making more hummus is going to create more strife in the world, then the world is so messed up already it’s not even worth trying. As I cooked through the cookbook, I began to realize that although it has a stance that is not my stance, it very deliberately demonstrates the similarities between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Muslims (but where are the Christians. I know them. They are there).

I have so many happy memories attached to this cookbook, because I wrote down who I had over when I tried new things, so that also affects which recipes I liked best. Some of the recipes in this cookbook ended up a bit odd, because I don’t eat dairy and I try not to eat gluten, because when I don’t do either, I feel so much better. I might feel the most best if I didn’t drink coffee, but that’s just not inside of the realm of possibility.

The recipes I would make over and over again are Spices, chickpeas and fresh vegetable salad, the butternut squash and tahini spread I made first for my old roommate’s birthday, the burnt eggplant with garlic (for my goodbye party in Toronto), the hummus kawarma that I made the first time I had people over in Bluffton, the list could really go on. All of the kinds of chicken are amazing – and since I made the braised quail with chicken, that is part of the list. The chicken with clementines was good, although when I made it for guests the ouzo and sugar created a more smoky-disco feel than I normally go for. The chicken with Jerusalem artichoke was better (I used potatoes and artichokes because some things cannot be found in NW Ohio). The rice that accompanied the chicken with caramelized onion was one of the best things I have ever eaten. The chicken sofrito has happy memories of a dinner party with friends, and a hilarious small child, and the saffron chicken and herb salad is from one of the first weeks I lived in Ohio. So much deliciousness. I could probably write a book.

I will leave you with words of encouragement: buy this book, and cook anything from it. You can go wrong, but only very rarely.

Taco Tour: Newport Beach

This post should really not be part of the taco tour. Rick Bayless’ “O” is so far from any normal taquería in appearance – one could go so far as to say overwhelming aesthetically – that is should really be called “Mexican Restaurant in the Plastic Surgery Capital of the World.” This was not the place for taco tour t-shirts, unfortunately. The food was quite delicious. I technically ordered tacos, but there was so much meat on my plate I couldn’t even make more than one. I just had to focus on the good stuff. And accept the food of others, that, to be honest, was amazing (Thanks friends who work for other universities). I have no idea what I was eating. It was just good. Apparently it compares to Topolobampo in Chicago.
Still, this was not even the highlight of the conference. That was eating Persian food at one of the organizers’ houses, and giving a well-received paper alongside colleagues whose work I admire. I even alluded to my taco tour as I responded to questions from the public. (I might have made some double-entendres as I responded to the most famous critic of women’s writing in Mexico, but since I live in Ohio, someone had to point out this albur to me). I’m looking forward to the taco tour in Chicago this week.