Food Matters Cookbook: Sneak Preview Recipe

Giant_quinoa_tamale

Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook. Pre-order the book today or pick up a copy when it’s released on September 21st.

Giant Quinoa “Tamale” with Tomatillo Salsa

Makes: 6 to 8 servings                                                                                                

Time: About 2 hours, largely unattended                                                                                               

Don’t let the time and number of steps here put you off: This loaf is a fraction of the work of traditional tamales, and all of the components can be made ahead for last-minute assembly. I like the tamale a little soft, with a center that oozes a bit, but if you want a firmer tamale-like texture, bake the loaf uncovered for another 15 or 20 minutes. Use the tomatillo salsa recipe on its own for a quick sauce that keeps well and comes in handy for serving with steamed vegetables, beans, fish, or tortilla chips.

1 pound tomatillos (about 5 or 6 large), husked and rinsed (canned are fine; drain and reserve their juice)

1 large poblano or other fresh mild green chile

1 large onion, roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, smashed

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the loaf pan

2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained

Salt

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried

2 tablespons lime juice

Black pepper

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup crumbled queso fresco or grated Monterey Jack, plus more for garnish

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Put the tomatillos, chile, onion, and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil. Roast, turning once or twice, until the chile skin is blistered and everything is browned, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the pan but leave the oven at 400°F if you’re making the tamale right away.

2. Meanwhile, put the quinoa in a large pot along with a big pinch of salt. Add water to cover by about 1 1/2 inches. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grains are very tender and begin to burst, 25 to 30 minutes. If the grains get too dry, add just enough water to keep them submerged. When the grains are starchy and thick, remove from the heat. (You can cook the quinoa up to a day ahead and refrigerate; return to room temperature before proceeding.)

3. Remove the skin, seeds, and stem from the chile and put the flesh in a blender or food processor along with the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and any pan juices. Add the oregano, lime juice, 1/2 cup water (or the reserved canned tomatillo liquid), and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Blend or process until smooth, adding enough water to thin the mixture into a pourable sauce; taste and adjust the seasoning. (The salsa can be made ahead to this point and covered and refrigerated for up to a day; return to room temperature or gently warm right before serving.)

4. When you’re ready to make the tamale, generously grease a 9 × 5-inch loaf pan with some oil. Mix the baking powder and a pinch of salt into the quinoa with a fork. The consistency should be thick but spreadable; if it’s too stiff, add a few drops of water. Spread half of the quinoa mixture in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with the queso fresco and chili powder. Add the remaining quinoa, smooth it out evenly, and press down a bit to seal the loaf. Cover the pan tightly with foil. (At this point the quinoa loaf can be covered and refrigerated for up to several hours.)

5. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake until the top is golden brown, another 30 minutes or so. Remove the pan from the oven and let the tamale sit for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a platter. Garnish with the cilantro and a little more cheese, cut the tamale into slices, and serve, passing the salsa at the table.

 

Posted in Mexican, Recipes

Food Matters Cookbook: Sneak Preview Recipe

Lemond_almond_florentines_1

Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook. Pre-order the book today or pick up a copy when it’s released on September 21st.

Lemon-Almond Florentines

Makes: About 3 dozen        

Time: About 40 minutes, plus time to cool         

Many Florentine recipes call for coating the cookies in melted chocolate, which I think is overkill. I really prefer the touch of lemon. Unsalted butter for greasing the pans

2 cups whole almonds

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 egg white

1/4 teaspoon salt

Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

1. Heat the oven to 300°F. Grease 2 baking sheets with a generous smear of butter.

2. Grind the nuts in a food processor until they are just beginning to form a paste; this takes less than a minute. Transfer the nuts to a bowl and add the sugar, egg white, salt, and lemon zest. Stir, adding some lemon juice, a few drops at a time, until the mixture drops easily from a teaspoon. Save the leftover lemon juice.

3. Use the teaspoon to put dollops of the batter about 3 inches apart on the prepared sheets. Dip a fork in the reserved lemon juice and spread the batter into thin (about 1/8 inch) circles, roughly 11/2 inches in diameter. Bake, rotating the pans once or twice, until firm, golden brown on top, and slightly darkened around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets, then transfer them to wire racks to let them become crisp. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature for no more than a day or 2.

Orange-Hazelnut Florentines. Use hazelnuts instead of almonds, and orange zest and juice instead of lemon.

 

Posted in Baking, Mark Bittman Books

The Food Matters Cookbook Has Officially Launched

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Hardly seems adequate that on the official launch date of The Food Matters Cookbook – that is, today – my “media schedule” includes no more than interviews with a radio station in St. Louis (live, 11:10 Eastern, KMOX’s Charlie Brennan Show, and Charlie is a pro) and a newspaper in Pittsburgh. But hey! Yesterday I talked with Paula Crossfield of Civil Eats, and appeared on LX New York. And tomorrow is Today, if you get my drift.

Posted in Behind The Scenes, Mark Bittman Books

Food Matters Cookbook: Sneak Preview Recipe

Grilled_turkey_hash_roasted_variation

Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook. Pre-order the book today or pick up a copy when it’s released on September 21st.

Grilled Turkey Hash with Red Wine Glaze

Makes: 4 servings        

Time: About 1 hour        

Potatoes and turkey are a good classic combo any time of the year, and this rich hash is a lot easier to prepare than Thanksgiving dinner. With the quick and full-flavored red wine glaze, it’s more interesting too. And if it’s not grilling season, you can always broil the turkey or use leftovers instead.

1 cup red wine

2 garlic cloves, crushed

3 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried

4 large all-purpose potatoes (like Yukon Gold), peeled and cut lengthwise into 1⁄2-inch slices

1 turkey thigh (about 1 pound)

1 red onion, halved

Olive oil as needed

Salt and black pepper

1 ⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

1. Put the wine, garlic, and thyme in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then adjust the heat so that it bubbles gently. Cook until the wine is reduced to a syrup, 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare a grill to medium-high heat and put the rack about 4 inches from the fire; keep one part of the grill fairly cool for indirect cooking.

3. Drizzle the potatoes, turkey, and onion with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put everything on the cool side of the grill with the turkey skin side up. Cover the grill and cook, turning the pieces once or twice, until the potatoes are tender and the turkey is no longer pink, 25 to 30 minutes. Uncover the grill and move the potatoes and onion so they stay warm but don’t burn. Put the turkey over the hotter part of the fire and grill, turning occasionally, until it is browned on both sides and cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes more. (You can prepare everything up to this point a day ahead of time; just gently reheat the vegetables, turkey, and red wine glaze before assembling.)

4. Pull the turkey meat off the bone and roughly chop the potatoes and onion. Toss everything with the red wine syrup and chopped parsley. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Roasted Turkey Hash with Red Wine Glaze. Use sweet potatoes instead of Yukon Gold, and instead of preparing a grill, heat the oven to 375°F. Cut the potatoes and onion into cubes. Follow the recipe through Step 1. In Step 3 put the vegetables and turkey in a large roasting pan, drizzle with the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast, turning occasionally, until the turkey and vegetables are browned and cooked through, 45 to 50 minutes. Pick up the recipe again at Step 4.  

 

Posted in American, Behind The Scenes

The Food Matters Cookbook Chronicles

I wake up and start the week with a lovely little review of Food Matters Cookbook on The Daily Beast: “Mark Bittman Will Teach You How to Eat” (you have to scroll to number 12), and then read a fascinating piece by George Monbiot (a personal hero, everyone should read this guy), in which he reviews a book called Meat: A Benign Extravagance (you have to scroll down past “Roundwood Timber Framing, no kidding). More on this as soon as I see the book.

Appearing live today on LX New York (which I’m sure you all watch routinely) at 5:40, and yes that is p.m. Looking forward to dinner tonight too, at a venue to be revealed tomorrow.

 

Posted in Behind The Scenes

The Food Matters Cookbook Is Almost Here

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I’ve been eating like Food Matters – the title of The Food Matters Cookbook‘s predecessor – for more than three years. During that period I’ve met scores of people – and heard about hundreds of others – who’ve either come to similar diets on their own (it’s not that complicated, after all) or read Food Matters and been inspired by it to change their diets.

The result of my own and just about everyone else’s experiences (as well as most of the research studies that have been published in recent years), have confirmed the conclusion I reached in the first place: If you swap the basic proportions in your diet—increasing unprocessed fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains—you’ll wind up losing weight and improving your overall health while also improving more difficult-to-measure situations like global warming, the environment in general, and animal welfare.

By some calculations, at least 80 percent of the calories most Americans eat come from food that is either animal based or highly processed. That leaves less than 20 percent that come from what we used to call natural or whole foods –meaning fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. We consume 200 pounds of meat per year (that’s about 8 ounces a day, twice the global average), 237 pounds of dairy, and 32 pounds of eggs. That’s more than 469 pounds of animal products per capita, over a pound a day.

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Posted in Behind The Scenes, Mark Bittman Books