Cookbook Club

Everything's Coming up Ottolenghi—in Our Cookbook Club at Least

June 16, 2017

What a welcome surprise: Kate McDermott, author of Art of the Pie—the Cookbook Club’s VERY FIRST book selection, stopped into the group this week to check in and exclaimed:

Wow, Wow, WOW! It’s amazing to see the growth of the group from about 3000 when Art of the Pie was the inaugural read and the 15K+ it has become now. Congratulations Food52 Cookbook Club!

Congratulations indeed! As Ottolenghi month is in full swing in our little community, not only are posts on the site at an all-time high, but membership now spans the world (maybe we aren’t so little after all). Club members voted to cook through any (or all!) of Yotam Ottolenghi’s books in June, and so far, there have been many posts from each of his works. You could even say the community has been inspired by the prospect of taking on multiple books in only one month.

The Club has been flooding Facebook and Instagram with inspiring photos, creative substitutions, and some of the best-looking produce in the world—literally, from Berlin to England to New York City and beyond.

Watermelon and Fennel Salad; Kohlrabi Salad Photo by Julia Fabrin Jacobsen, Lydia Wong

The Cauliflower Cake from Plenty More, easily one of the most popular recipes in the club this month, has probably elicited the most discussion, and the most creative license by our members:

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In her first post to the group Kristina Jakes ‎shares: “I'm so happy with how pretty my cauliflower cake turned out! Thank you for all the tips. I added pesto and garlic, it turned out phenomenally!”

Kristyn Nanlal Kheita admits: “I always wanted to make the Cauliflower Cake, and this group inspired me to finally make it after seeing all the reviews! I made it for dinner tonight and it was lovely. I savored each bite and took in all the flavors.”

Two of the many, many cauliflower cakes we've seen this month. Photo by Kristina Jakes, Kristyn Nanlal Khetia‎

Adds Julia Fabrin Jakobsen: “My two cents on the Cauliflower Cake now that we have devoured it—I added about half a teaspoon of smoked paprika to it (at the same step where you add turmeric) to give it some depth as I read here that some people found it a bit too bland. That worked like a charm, it was really delicious and a perfect light alternative to a heavy quiche. [This recipe is] going straight into my picnic repertoire!”

But even with all those mouthwatering Cauliflower Cake adaptations floating around the group, many of our members have turned to recipes predominantly focused on grains, beans, and chicken.

Laura O. Ratliff says of the Roast Chicken and Three Rice Salad from his debut cookbook: “Even Ottolenghi's method for roasting a chicken is foolproof and delicious, yielding crispy skin and wonderfully juicy meat. Great salad for a crowd and for work-week lunches.”

Quinoa and Dried Persian Lime Salad; Roast Chicken and Three Rice Salad Photo by Justyna Horne, Laura O. Ratliff

Ottolenghi's mejadra from Jerusalem is another recipe that has received many accolades and become a regular topic of discussion in the community:

Rhea Santos calls it: “One of my top 5 and often repeated. I always have to stop myself from eating too many of the fried onions before assembling the dish.”

Dara Mao says: “The brilliance of this recipe is the textual contrast between the crunchiness of the fried onions and the lentils. I used a mandoline slicer for the onion and I'm glad I did.”

Haven’t taken the plunge yet? Don’t stress, there is still plenty of time to get your Ottolenghi on! Jump right in with the Cookbook Club on Facebook, and remember to tag your photos on Instagram with #f52cookbookclub. We can’t wait to cook with you!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Lindsay-Jean Hard
    Lindsay-Jean Hard
  • BocaCindi
  • Renea Wojnowski
    Renea Wojnowski
Food Lover, Puppy Hugger. F52 Cookbook+BakingClub Moderator


Lindsay-Jean H. June 19, 2017
Lovely post Linsey! I'm so thankful for your help with the Club!
BocaCindi June 16, 2017
Linsey, super article. What a wonderful group you are herding!! Kind of like a shepherd in the hills of the internet!! 😂😂😂. Thank you for maintaining the integrity of this club.
Renea W. June 16, 2017
Great article!!