I made the Pureed Beets with Yogurt & Za'atar for the third Cookbook Dinner Club with my friends Cecilia and Julia. Our first cookbook dinner club was based on Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty Cookbook. Our second cookbook dinner club was based on Barefoot Contessa's Foolproof.
For the third get together, we went back to Yotam Ottolenghi and cooked from Jerusalem.
I've been to Israel twice and absolutely loved the people, the culture and of course the FOOD of the country. I could not wait to try to make some of the dishes that came from that region of the world.
Surprisingly, or not, I chose a dish that reminded me of a Russian beet salad my family has made as far back as I can remember. I might blog about it one day.
But for now, let's chat about Pureed Beets with Yogurt & Za'atar.
This recipe is really pretty and packs a lot of various flavors and textures, but once again I found Ottolenghi's directions not extremely user friendly.
Just being honest.
First, I'm not sure why I was instructed to roast the beets without wrapping them in aluminum foil. I should have listened to my inner voice and done what I always do when I roast beets (wrapping them up in aluminum foil after drizzling them with olive oil and seasoning them with a bit of salt).
Second, the beets took much longer to roast than the recipe specified, and came out of the oven shriveled and difficult to peel.
But I persevered.
To make this dish, I had to puree the beets in a food processor with garlic, chile, yogurt, olive oil, za'atar and date syrup.
WHO HAS DATE SYRUP?!?!?!?!
I then transferred the puree into a shallow plate and topped it with goat cheese, scallions, and toasted chopped hazelnuts.
Although I wasn't thrilled with this dish, I loved hanging out with Cecilia and Julia and trying out a new cookbook. My favorite dish on the table by far was Braised eggs with lamb, tahini and sumac.
Have you cooked from Jerusalem before? Which dishes would you recommend?