Dinner with Bittman: Simple Radish or Jicama Salad

Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Simple Radish or Jicama Salad

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 15 to 30 minutes

Radishes are usually eaten out of hand from a crudité or relish assortment and sometimes tossed into green salads. But they make a nifty crisp, picklelike salad on their own. The combination of lime and lemon juice here mimics the juice of sour orange, which is often used in Mexico but is tough to find in the United States.

About 16 radishes, sliced, 1 medium daikon, peeled and chopped, or 1 small to medium jícama, peeled and chopped

1 small white onion, chopped

1 tablespoon salt

1 /4teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro leaves

1. If time allows, toss the radishes or jícama and onion with the salt in a strainer and let sit for 15 minutes; rinse and drain.

2. Toss the radishes and onion with the salt, pepper, citrus juices, and parsley. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve immediately or refrigerate for up to an hour.

 

Posted in Produce, Recipes

We all know soda isn’t food. NYC, at least, is backing that up.

No-soda

New York City is trying to ban the use of food stamps for buying soda and other sugary drinks.

What would make even more sense, of course, is to double the value of food stamps used for real food, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. This isn’t that hard to figure out; we just need to get the stars to align. And some government help in fighting the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by Big Food each year on marketing absolute crap.

Posted in Food Politics

Win a Copy of The Food Matters Cookbook

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Grub Street is giving away a copy of The Food Matters Cookbook. All you need to do is email them “what dish or favorite food matters most to you and why, in 200 words or less. Humor and originality tend to score big with…Grub Street editors, so please attempt to bust [their] sides as best as possible.” The deadline for submissions is 5pm on Monday, October 11th. Good luck!

Posted in Events, Mark Bittman Books

Dinner with Bittman: Quick Whole Wheat and Molasses Bread

Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Quick Whole Wheat and Molasses Bread

Makes: 1 loaf

Time: About 1 1/4 hours, largely unattended

A super all-purpose bread that’s heartier and more flavorful than most, and relatively light for a 100 percent whole grain bread. It also makes excellent sandwiches, especially when toasted.

Oil or butter for the pan

1 2/3 cups buttermilk or yogurt or 1 1/2 cups milk and 2 tablespoons white vinegar (see Step 2)

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup molasses

1. Heat the oven to 325°F. Grease an 8- × 4-inch or 9- × 5-inch loaf pan.

2. If you’re using buttermilk or yogurt, ignore this step. Otherwise, make soured milk: Warm the milk gently to take the chill off—1 minute in the microwave is sufficient—and add the vinegar. Let it rest while you prepare the other ingredients.

3. Mix together the dry ingredients. Stir the molasses into the buttermilk. Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients (just enough to combine), then pour into the loaf pan. Bake until firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

 

Posted in Baking

Dinner with Bittman: Simplest Dal

Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Simplest Dal

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 40 minutes, largely unattended

The most basic dal, the staple dish of India. It’s almost always nicely spiced and becomes creamy if you add butter or oil. Dal is usually eaten hot, but you can also serve it at room temperature or even cold, to spread on toasted wedges of pita.

Other beans you can use: brown lentils, yellow split peas, split mung beans without skins (moong dal).

1 cup dried red lentils, washed and picked over

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

4 cardamom pods

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

2 cloves

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 dried ancho or other mild dried chile (optional)

Salt

2 tablespoons cold butter or peanut oil (optional)

Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

1. Combine all the ingredients except the salt, butter or oil, and cilantro in a saucepan, add water to cover by about 1 inch, and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently, cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary, until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and keep cooking to the desired tenderness.

2. The lentils should be saucy but not soupy. Remove the cloves and, if you like, the cardamom pods (they’re kind of fun to eat, though). Stir in the butter or oil if you’re using it. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then garnish with cilantro and serve.

 

Posted in Indian, Recipes

When it comes to school lunches, America is the third world

Brazil’s presidency appears likely to be headed for a runoff. But this NPR story has me wondering why a country that many Americans consider “third world” can do so much more in the world of school lunches than we can.

When I first heard that kids got rice and beans every day, I thought “That’s progress right there.” Because from a nutritional standpoint, rice and beans would be preferable to most U.S. school lunches, which are now being seriously discussed as contributors to obesity, or at the very least as a failure when it comes to countering it. Not surprisingly, when you look at them.

Yet according to the NPR piece, Brazil has mandated that 30 percent of the food for school lunches be purchased from local farmers, which has not only help stablize the farmers’ income but improve the kids’ diets. Now the rice and beans are augmented by fresh vegetables and local meat. Are you telling me we can’t manage to do this here? It’s a matter of politics and will.

Posted in Food Politics

Less-Meat Mondays: Cannellini with Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Sausage

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By Freya Bellin

With the end of summer we must grudgingly say goodbye to peaches and berries, but I happen to love fall produce.  One of my favorites, the Brussels sprout, is a kind of vegetable underdog.  Over the past few years it seems to have made the transition from rejected to revered, and I love finding recipes that would bring even the most hesitant of sprout-eaters onto the bandwagon.  This is one of those recipes.  The sausage (I used an Italian chicken sausage) and red pepper flakes add nice heat to the dish, and shaved Brussels sprouts make it light and salad-like. This is essentially a meal on its own, but I bet it would taste great over polenta or farro.  I opted to serve it in a bowl with a big hunk of onion and olive focaccia to help soak up the juices.  Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

Cannellini with Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Sausage

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 20 minutes with cooked or canned beans

Cannellini beans with garlic and sausage are admittedly hard to beat (there’s a reason you see it everywhere). But shredded Brussels sprouts are a welcome addition to this classic combination; if there are still Brussels sprout haters out there, this will convert them. Serve this dish, with its beautifully flavored pan juices, over cooked grains like farro, bulgur, or cracked wheat, or a couple of thick slices of toasted bread.

3 tablespoons olive oil

8 ounces Italian sausage, casings removed

2 tablespoons minced garlic

Red chile flakes, to taste

Salt and black pepper

1 pound Brussels sprouts, shredded in a food processor or roughly chopped

1⁄2 cup white wine or water

2 cups cooked or canned cannellini beans, drained

1. Put the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, crumble the sausage into the pan and cook, stirring occasionally to break the meat into relatively small bits, until browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and chile flakes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook and stir for another minute or so.

2. Add the Brussels sprouts and wine to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until the sprouts are tender but still a bit crunchy, 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Add the beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are heated through, just a minute or 2. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve.

 

Posted in Italian, Recipes

The Food Matters Cookbook Chronicles: Minneapolis

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I spoke at the Healthy Food Summit in Minneapolis Thursday and Friday, to mostly large, hyper-friendly, and ever-thoughtful crowds. My hosts Mindy Kurzer and Tim Kenny did a terrific job of organizing the packed two-day affair, and made me feel completely at home. Dinner Thursday was cooked by the talented and wonderful local chef Lucia Watson and her crew; Lucia also introduced me that night, so nicely I blushed.

Tim is director of education at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, a spectacular 1000-plus acre operation about half an hour from downtown Minny. He does fantastic work teaching kids the value of gardening, about which he is passionate.

And how about these cucurbits?

Now: Off to Philly, DC, Miami, and St. Louie.

Posted in Behind The Scenes, Travel

Sunday Supper: Stir-Fried Beef with Onions and Ginger

Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything.

Stir-Fried Beef with Onions and Ginger

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes, plus time to freeze the beef

Onions, beef, and ginger are an almost holy combination; the synthesis is simply delicious. Other cuts and meats you can use: pork, preferably from the shoulder or leg (fresh ham); lamb, preferably from the shoulder or leg; boneless chicken; shrimp.

3 /4to 1 pound flank or sirloin steak or other tender beef cut

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons peanut or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn

2 large or 3 medium onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced or grated

fresh ginger

1 /2cup beef or chicken stock, or water

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce or soy sauce

1. Slice the beef as thinly as you can, across the grain. It’s easier if you freeze it for 15 to 30 minutes first. Cut the slices into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.

2. Heat a large skillet over high heat until it smokes, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and the onions. Stir immediately, then stir every 30 seconds or so until the onions soften and begin to char slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle the onions with salt and pepper, then remove them; keep the heat high.

3. Add the remaining oil to the pan, then the garlic and 1 tablespoon of the ginger; stir and immediately add the beef. Stir immediately, then stir every 20 seconds or so until it loses its color, just a minute or two longer; stir in the onions. Add the stock, hoisin, and remaining teaspoon of ginger; let some of the liquid bubble away and serve immediately, over rice.

 

Posted in Chinese, Recipes