One of the newest members of our Cookbook Club is also arguably the most notable. Mr. Yotam Ottolenghi himself joined to answer our questions, but starstruck members initially just flooded him with compliments, like this one from Corrin Crone Phillips:
Yotam Ottolenghi not only are you my favorite chef, you are one of my favorite people. Thank you for sharing yourself with us; I draw endless inspiration from your body of work and am so grateful for you.
The numerous posts eventually forced the chef to admit to the virtual world that the praise caused him to blush!
Yotam also answered two of our most burning questions, “What do you mean when your recipe calls for red chilies,” and “How do I deal with the skins on all those darn chickpeas?!”
As far as the chilies go, he advises, “Unless otherwise stated, I normally mean something that's moderately hot, i.e. 2 to 3 on a scale of 1 to 5.” And as for the chickpeas, Yotam confides that there's no need to individually peel them, saying: "If you follow the Jerusalem method then at least some peels will come up to the surface and you can skim those off. The rest, a good food processor should be able to deal with.”
Alexandra Lafond asked the ultimate question for any lover of cookbooks: What are his current favorites?
Much to our delight, he named Deborah Madison's In My Kitchen and, future Food52 Cookbook Club selection, Dinner by Melissa Clark! (Perhaps Mr. Ottolenghi will cook along with all of us in August?!)
Candy Beets with Lentils and Yuzu; HummusPhoto by Sheila Scully, Corrin Crone Phillips
One of the most exciting things happening in the Club, even as the month of Ottolenghi closes out, has been the extra-high level of participation:
As Sheila Scully said, “One thing that struck me, especially in the last few days, is the number of people posting for the first time. I hope they will all become as hooked on posting as I am—it's great to have more active participants and perspectives!”
Even for those of us who made a lot of Ottolenghi's recipes this month (like the two spreads above), it might feel like June came to an end too quickly. Don’t despair, there is always Throwback Thursday, so you can revisit the Ottolenghi suite of books weekly—just include the hashtag #TBT when you share your photo in the Club.
Join us by posting your triumphs on Facebook and tagging your photos on Instagram with #f52cookbookclub. And pick up July’s club pick, David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen—we can’t wait to cook with you!