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Ottolenghi Simple

Just what it says on the tin: simple, minimal recipes but without skimping on the flavor. A great source to build up a repertoire of techniques and flavor combinations.
Pros
  • Flavors are off the hook!
Cons
  • Some details missing, which can be challenging for beginners.
  • Average cook time about 2-3 hours per meal.
$22
Amazon

If you cook daily, already have (or are willing to get) classic Middle Eastern ingredients like barberries, preserved lemon, rose harissa, sumac, urfa chile flakes, and za’atar. If you know the basics of cooking fish, chicken and steak, and have a little time to prep; then this is an excellent book to have on your shelf.

Let me explain…

I met another Sarah at a barbecue. Honestly, if you were born between 1985 and 1990 there’s a good chance you could throw a stick and hit a Sarah K, Sarah H, Sarah M, or — god forbid — a Sara.

Sorry to all Sara’s without the “H” out there. It’s nothing personal and I’m sure you’re a delightful human being, but your parents were monsters for leaving that last letter out and you can’t convince me otherwise.

Anyway, I met another Sarah and started talking about this project and she suggested Yotam Ottolenghi’s work. I’d had “Simple” on my shelf for years and never opened it because it always looked too gimmicky to be any good, but I took her recommendation and 14 dishes later, here we are.

These dishes aren’t super complex, the recipes are mega easy to follow and with a little bit of time and the correct ingredients you’ll be eating like royalty and loving all of these meals. (unless you’re feeding a kid who exclusively eats buttered noodles or you’re an adult who hates flavor, then you should just get a rice cooker and call it a day).

If you’re brand new to cooking, this book might be challenging, but who doesn’t like a good challenge? Just do a little research on properly cooking your chicken, fish, and steak and you should be well on your way. Even a mediocre chicken still tastes awesome, so just go for it already and even if it’s a little dry or overcooked, congratulations! You’re a master chef now, who can do anything and you should ride that high by cooking more things.