Food Matters Cookbook: Sneak Preview Recipe

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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.

Continue reading

Posted in Behind The Scenes, Mark Bittman Books

Sunday Supper: Braised Tofu with Eggplant and Shitakes

A different kind of braising for a lazy Sunday evening. Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Braised Tofu with Eggplant and Shiitakes

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

A more-or-less traditional Sichuan preparation, creamy and delicious with soft-cooked eggplant, made crisp by the addition of sautéed shiitakes. Substitute green beans for the eggplant if you like.

1 /4cup peanut oil or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn

1 cup sliced shiitake caps (reserve stems for stock or discard)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger (optional)

11/2 pounds eggplant, trimmed, cut into 11/2-inch chunks

1 tablespoon Chile Paste (optional)

1 /2 cup vegetable stock or water

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 pound tofu, blotted dry and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil for garnish (optional)

Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

2 tablespoons minced scallion for garnish (optional)

1. Put half the oil in a deep skillet or shallow saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the shiitakes and some salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Add the remaining oil and, a few seconds later, the garlic and the ginger if you’re using it. As soon as it sizzles, add the eggplant. Cook, stirring every minute or so, until the eggplant browns, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the chile paste if you’re using it, along with the stock. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan if necessary to release any stuck bits of eggplant. Cook until the eggplant is really tender, 10 to 15 minutes more, adding a little more liquid if necessary (unlikely, but not impossible).

3. Stir in the soy sauce and tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tofu is heated through, about 5 minutes; stir in the reserved shiitakes and turn off the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then garnish as you like and serve.

 

Posted in Chinese, Produce

Food Matters Cookbook: Sneak Preview Recipe

Plum_chicken_salad

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

Plum Chicken Salad

Makes: 4 servings                                                                                                       

Time: 30 minutes with leftover cooked chicken                                                                                    

Firm plums are perfect here, but chicken tastes good with almost any fruit, so if plums aren’t available, try peaches, apples, pears, berries, or even tropical fruit. You can vary the nuts too (check out the variation).

About 8 ounces fresh plums, pitted and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup chopped almonds

Salt and black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried

1/4 cup olive oil

2 celery stalks, thinly sliced

1/2 red onion, chopped

8 ounces roasted or grilled boneless, skinless chicken, chopped or shredded (about 2 cups)

6 cups mixed greens (like mesclun), torn into bite-size pieces

1. Toss the plums with the vinegar in a large salad bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, put the almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast, shaking the pan frequently, until they are aromatic and beginning to darken, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

3. Sprinkle the plums with salt and pepper and add the oregano, oil, celery, onion, and chicken; toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. (The salad can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated for up to an hour.) To serve, divide the greens evenly among 4 plates and top each with some of the plum-chicken mixture, or add the greens to the salad bowl and toss everything together. Garnish with the toasted almonds.

Fig Chicken Salad. Substitute fresh figs, quartered, for the plums and use hazelnuts instead of almonds.

 

Posted in Behind The Scenes, Recipes

Yesterday: My Life

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Yesterday was the very unofficial launch of The Food Matters Cookbook. Phone interviews have begun in earnest (“Hello, Pittsburgh!”), and plans for two tv appearances for next week fell into place (“Today” will be Wednesday, probably 8.45am or thereabouts, and that’s as official as this launch will get).

Last night, however, I was honored to be given some kind of good guy award at the Let Us Eat Local event put on by JustFood. I don’t like sounding all gee-whiz, but it really was incredibly cool: a massive thunderstorm (which all but destroyed Brooklyn, evidently, and shook the NYT building as if World War I were happening down the block) left behind some heavy, humid air, but the atmosphere in the big tent at Water Taxi Beach was friendly, happy, and optimistic. I have been to literally scores of similarly organized events – chefs cook behind tables, put food on plates, people swarm and eat, etc. – but never one with better vibes.

Or better food. If there is a problem with these kinds of things, it’s that chefs feel obligated (or are guilt-tripped) to show up, and then put less than their best food forward, offering their and most easily and inexpensively produced food, thus making for a sad state of affairs.

This one was completely the opposite. At least half of the chefs were absolutely stoked, really psyched to demonstrate their commitment to local food and their ability to cook with it. I’m going to leave some people out, and I’m sorry, but special kudos to Northern Spy, Back Forty, Angelica, and Palo Santo (freshly made tortillas with fried fish and various relishes, simply perfect).

I did get an award, for doing what I’m not quite sure, but I was happy to speak, however briefly, to this crowd of committed people and their supporters. I said something like this, which is about as succinctly as I can put the message I’m going to be trying to get out there all Fall:

 ”Here’s why we need JustFood, and why it’s important to support this organization  and others like it: If you believe in society, the banding together of humans for our common good, if you believe in our obligation to support and care for one another – not just our families or coreligionists or neighbors or compatriots but everyone – then you believe in the human right to eat food that is raised ethically.

“What does this mean? This means food that is grown – or raised – with respect – not only for the earth, but for the people who eat it and the people who work the land and tend the animals. That is sustainable and ethical food, which will also necessarily – and not unimportantly – be delicious food. That’s our goal.”

I said something too about the food kicking ass. Also got interviewed by NBC Niteside (sic), but I’m afraid to watch it.

Afterwards, stopped by Nick Bilton’s book party. Very cool, as is his book.

Posted in Behind The Scenes, Events