The Food Matters Cookbook Chronicles: St. Louis

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Oftentimes when I’m signing books for people they ask if they can take my picture. Last week in St. Louis I (for the first time) replied, “Fine, if I can take yours.” Really fun. Here are some of them.

Posted in Behind The Scenes, Travel

Less-Meat Mondays: Beet Tartare

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By Freya Bellin

In the spirit of Mark’s recent spread on the wonders of the food processor, I thought I’d take a pass at this beet tartare.  The end result wasn’t what I had expected, but that, of course, doesn’t mean it wasn’t delicious.  I found it to be less of a tartare and more of a bright, refreshing raw vegetable salad.  The vibrant beet colors make it perfect for entertaining, and it’s a no-cook recipe to boot.  I made one batch with golden beets and dill, and another with red beets and chives, both for color contrast and taste comparison.

My preference was for the golden batch; golden beets have a mellower flavor than their red counterparts, which allowed the flavors of the other ingredients to come through a bit more.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the dish tasted even better on day two.  I’m attributing that to the lemon juice, which had a chance to soften the beets overnight and let the flavors really soak in.  For an impressive presentation, scoop some tartare onto endive leaves, or just serve it in a bowl with a side of hearty crackers. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

Beet Tartare

Makes: 4 to 8 servings

Time: 30 minutes

I first learned about beet tartare—just love the name—from Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who uses roasted beets. I’ve eliminated that step and use raw beets. You can serve the dish as you would traditionally serve beef tartare: with chopped hard-boiled egg, onions, cornichons, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, or even a crumbling of strong blue cheese, like Stilton or Roquefort. You can have a bit of fun with color here: make one batch with golden beets and another with red—serve them side by side for a spectacular presentation.

2 pounds red or yellow beets (about 4 large), peeled

1⁄4 cup chopped red onion

1 tablespoon olive oil, or more as needed

1 to 2 tablespoons grated horseradish, or to taste

1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more as needed

1 tablespoon chopped capers

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, tarragon, or chives

Salt and black pepper

8 slices whole grain bread, 2 small heads endive, or crackers, for serving

1. Cut the beets into quarters and put them in a food processor; pulse the beets until they’re ground up into small pieces—about the size of grains of rice—careful not to overprocess. If you don’t have a food processor, grate the beets instead. If the beets release a lot of liquid, squeeze them gently with your hands or drain them on paper towels to remove some of the moisture.

2. Combine the onion, oil, horseradish, lemon juice, capers, and herbs together in a bowl large enough to hold the beets. Fold in the beets and sprinkle with salt and pepper; taste and add more lemon juice, oil, or seasoning if needed. If you like, chill quickly in the freezer or refrigerate for up to a day.

3. Toast the bread and cut each slice diagonally into 4 toast points. (Or separate and trim the endive into leaves.) Serve the tartare cold or at room temperature with the toast points, spooned into endive leaves, or in a bowl next to crackers.

 

 

Posted in Produce, Recipes

Eat a Carrot First, Ask if It’s Organic Later

Here I talk with Malcolm Jolley about the new book, the perilous state of our food system, and what it might/should look like in the future.

Posted in Produce

Sunday Supper: Classic Pot Roast

Recipe from How to Cook Everthing.

Classic Pot Roast

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Time: 21/2 to 4 hours, largely unattended

Low heat is important here, as is cooking just until done; don’t let it get mushy. If you have a day of advance notice, try the vinegar-marinated variation; it’s absolutely delicious. If time is short, but you want more flavor, rub the meat with a tablespoon of mild chili powder (add some cayenne if you like hot food) or a few sprigs of fresh rosemary along with the bay leaf.

1 clove garlic, peeled

One 3- to 4-pound piece boneless chuck or rump roast, tied if necessary to maintain a uniform shape

1 bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive or peanut oil

2 large onions, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 /2cup red wine or water

1 cup chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water

1. Cut the garlic clove into tiny slivers; insert the slivers into several spots around the roast, poking holes with a thin-bladed knife. Crumble the bay leaf as finely as you can and mix it with the salt and pepper. Rub this mixture all over the meat.

2. Put the oil in a large pot with a lid or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add the roast and brown it on all sides, taking your time and adjusting the heat so the meat browns but the fat does not burn—15 minutes or so. Transfer the meat to a platter. Add the vegetables to the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and some- what browned, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the wine and cook, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, until the wine has just about evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Add about half the stock, return the roast to the pot, and turn the heat down to very low.

4. Turn the roast every 15 minutes, re-cover, and cook until it is tender—a fork will pierce the meat without pushing too hard and the juices will run clear—11/2 to 21/2 hours, but possibly longer if your roast is taller than it is long (very thick roasts may require as long as 4 hours if you keep the heat extremely low). Add more stock if the roast appears to be drying out, an unlikely possibility (and a sign that your heat is too high). Do not overcook; when the meat is tender, it is done.

5. Remove the meat from the pot and keep it warm. Skim the fat from the surface of the remaining juice. Turn the heat up to high and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is thick and almost evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Slice the meat and serve it with the pan juices.

 

Posted in American, Recipes

Dinner with Bittman: Pizza Dough

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Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Pizza Dough

Makes: Enough for 1 large or 2 or more small pies

Time: 1 hour or more

You won’t believe how simple it is to make pizza dough at home. And because the dough freezes very well (at least for a couple of weeks), it’s even practical to whip up a batch for one or two people and tuck the rest away for another day.

To make pizza dough by hand or with a standing mixer, follow the directions, but use a bowl and a heavy wooden spoon or the mixer’s bowl and the paddle attachment instead of the food processor. When the dough becomes too heavy to stir, use your hands or exchange the mixer’s paddle for the dough hook and proceed with the recipe.

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed

2 teaspoons instant yeast

2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 1 cup water and the oil through the feed tube.

2. Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is still dry, add another tablespoon or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. (In the unlikely event that the mixture is too sticky, add flour a tablespoon at a time.)

3. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let rise until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. (You can cut this rising time short if you’re in a hurry, or you can let the dough rise more slowly, in the refrigerator, for up to 6 or 8 hours.) Proceed to Step 4 or wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap or a zipper bag and freeze for up to a month. (Defrost in the bag or a covered bowl in the refrigerator or at room temperature; bring to room temperature before shaping.)

4. When the dough is ready, form it into a ball and divide it into 2 or more pieces if you like; roll each piece into a round ball. Put each ball on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle with flour, and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rest until they puff slightly, about 20 minutes.

 

Posted in Italian, Recipes

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