Design And Food: 3 Inspiring Books

IMG_3470 Within the last few weeks, I've acquired 3 amazing lifestyle books.  Each one has me riveted not only on the images, but also on the texts that describe approaches to design, philosophies and flavors. The first book The Chamber Of Curiosity, I picked up while visiting Heath Ceramics with a friend (btw, they have a great book selection).  The second was a surprise gift from Alex,  Commune Design's first book:  Commune: Designed In California.  The third, Yotam Ottolenghi's latest cookbook Plenty More, I purchased it at his book signing event in SF on Friday night.  All three of these bound beauties will offer inspiration for our home, clients' spaces and for the taste buds of family and friends no matter how many times I peruse through them.    IMG_3100

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Do you have a favorite go-to book for inspiration?

Off The Counter: Black Lentils

This week's Off The Counter features yet another recipe from the cookbook Plenty that has become a weekly staple.  This one involves black beluga lentils.  I prepare a batch on Monday morning and enjoy it throughout the week as a fast [healthy] food.  Unfortunately, the kids will not eat it, at least not yet.  Take a look how beautiful this legume is and how well it pairs with creme fraiche.  My take on the recipe below:


Black lentils, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, onions, broth (your choice), red wine vinegar, bay leaf, dill, cilantro, parsley, brown sugar, olive oil, creme fraiche, salt and pepper.


Add large cut carrots, celery and onion to stock pot with 1 cup of lentils and a bay leaf. Cover with water or stock.  Bring to boil and simmer on low heat for 25 minutes.  Remove and discard vegetables and toss lentils with olive oil, vinegar and salt.

Optional: Half cherry tomatoes, carrots and celery.  Drizzle with olive oil, sugar and salt.  Roast for about 20 minutes.

Add chopped herbs and roasted veggies to your lentils.  Top with creme fraiche and enjoy.

Yotam Ottolenghi, author of Plenty also includes fire roasted eggplant (which is delicious) but for a simpler preparation I omit it.

Do have a favorite go-to-recipe that's become a weekly staple?  If so do share.


Off The Counter: Herb Stuffed Tomatoes

During our weekend at Wilbur Hot Springs, Alex and I prepared yet another dish from the cookbook Plenty.  We cooked in the hotel's industrial and communal kitchen filled with all the culinary essentials and a great mix of people.  The evenings' preparations were not only delicious but quite entertaining.  Take a look at Yotam Ottolenghi's herbed stuffed tomatoes:

The next morning, we paired the leftovers with a black lentil salad (also from Plenty) topped with a fried egg.  This cookbook has changed the way we approach our meals in a very good way.  If you don't already have own it, buy it and share your favorite dishes with me.

Off The Counter: "Plenty"

We recently hosted a group of visiting East Coast buddies along with several of our new West Coast friends.  For the dinner we prepared dishes from the cookbook "Plenty" written by chef Yotam Ottolenghi.   This recipe book combines vegetables, grains, herbs and seeds in a way I never thought possible, at least not in my kitchen.  The evening was spent experiencing new culinary combinations as well as acquainting our old friends with our new ones.  Take a look at some of the dishes and snapshots from that warm California night:

Many thanks to BS for giving us the cookbook that provided the menu and to all who joined us that evening!