Good and "Plenty"

This found its way into my shopping bag during a dissolute two-day shopping trip with a mall-starved friend from Westcliffe.

By the British sensation Yotam Ottolenghi, who writes a vegetarian column for The Guardian, Plenty is a gorgeous, Middle Eastern/Asian/Sub-continent-inspired veggie cookbook filled with food photography so inviting, I want to lick the pages. But that's not what sold me. A review indicating that Ottolenghi could tease flavor from cardboard--flavor being what's called for in these waning days of summer--prompted me to hand over my credit card, with nary a thought to my groaning book shelves.

There are vegan recipes or those that can be easily veganized, such as chickpea, tomato and bread soup; lentils with broiled eggplant; mangoes and coconut rice salad.

Some of the dishes require what I call "eye-of-newt" ingredients (those not easily sourced). I've heard tell on the Internets that some vegetarians are fussing because Ottolenghi is an omnivorous chef, who serves his delicious vegetable dishes alongside glistening hunks of lamb. Others are saying the recipes don't test well.

We'll see. At this point, I'm still turning pages, dreaming and reading and imagining beautiful, Saturday night meals, which, to my way of thinking, means Ottolenghi's done half his job, inspiring a home cook to think outside her spice chest.

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