Tag Archives: Food Matters Cookbook

Boston Marathon & Food Matters Project #37: Central American Red Beans & Rice

The blog post below was ready to be published when I found out about what happened at the Boston Marathon.  I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this tragedy and devastation.  Although I blog about food, my other hobby is running.  Running races are a time when runners can celebrate all of the hard work they put into their training, and their family and friends can support them.  During races the amount of energy, comradery, and excitement is like nothing I have every experienced before- this is the reason I continue to sign up for races, cheer my friends on, and volunteer.  My heart goes out to all those affected by yesterday’s events.

If you’d like to read more, here are some blog posts which resonated with me.  There are more posts being published by the minute, so if you find one that touched you, please share in the comments below.

Health on the Run
Pavement Runner
Run to Eat
Sweet Life Ericka

Or, check out these articles:

If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon – The Washington Post
The Meaning of the Boston Marathon – The New Yorker

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The start of the week means a new post from the Food Matters Project!  This week our host is Aura, of Dinner with Aura.  Aura lives in Michigan, so she was happy to make a warm and comforting dish for a cold, rainy day.  Fortunately, DC has had better weather the last couple of weeks- spring is finally here!

Aura chose Mark Bittman’s recipe for Super-Lemony Kidney Beans, from his Food Matters Cookbook.  Definitely check out her Lubia Chalow-Afghan Lemon Kidney Beans, as she stuck to the original recipe in the cookbook.  The photos are beautiful, and now I can’t wait to try this recipe.  Make sure to stop over and check out what other Food Matters Project participants made here.

Aura mentioned this in her post, and I agree with her, I have a hard time imagining what each recipe will look like, since there are no photos in Mark Bittman’s cookbook.  As I’ve been doing this project for over a year now (this page has the list of all of the FMP posts we participated in), I realized that I skip over many recipes in other cookbooks just because I can’t visualize them- changing this might have to be a new resolution when it comes to cooking!

I read the ingredients.  Then I went to the grocery store, and rather than buying a bag of kidney beans, I was intrigued by the Central American Red Beans.  So I got a little side tracked, and the Afghan flavors turned into South American one’s…so I didn’t follow Mark Bittman’s recipe!  The beans are great, perfect when incorporated with the rice- but they do take a little to cook (although it’s worth the time and effort).

Central American Red Beans & Rice

Central American Red Beans & Rice
Fifth Floor Kitchen Original

This recipe makes a lot!  We had friends over for dinner, and only half was eaten- so be prepared to eat it for a week, or halve the recipe.  We started with chips and salsa, and paired this with some steak in chimichurri sauce which was made on the grill.

1 lb Central American Red Beans (although you can use any dried beans)
water
2 cups of uncooked rice
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 tbsp adobo sauce
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
green onions (optional)
cilantro (optional)

Add the beans to a large pot, then add water so it covers all of the beans.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to medium heat.  Cook the beans until they start to be soft (once cooked, these are bit harder than black beans or garbanzo’s).  I had to add additional water while cooking, so keep an eye out for them.  The cooking process should take about 5 hours.

Cook rice per package directions.

Once the beans are close to being done, add the onion, garlic, jalapeño, adobo sauce, cumin, salt, and pepper.  Continue to cook for about an hour, then take off heat and mix in with the rice.

Feel free to sprinkle with green onions and cilantro for additional flavor.

Food Matters Project #36: Dal with Lots of Vegetables

To make it 3-in-a-row, yesterday was another gloomy Monday.  Last week we made the Provencal Pasta Sauce to keep us warm and toasty.  But yesterday it wasn’t just rain, there was even a little bit of snow on the ground here in DC!

Snowy Day

Yes, we got snow on March 25th, it must be a record.  Fortunately, today it’s sunny and getting warmer by the hour- I think everyone is ready for spring!

Yesterday’s Food Matters Project recipe was perfect for a gloomy day.  It was chosen by Anita, of Cooking Poetry.  She hosted Dal with Lots of Vegetables from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook.  Check out her blog and the Indian feast she had made- I’m a little jealous, everything looks delicious!  There are also other versions of the meal from other FMP participants here.

I’m a huge fan of Indian food, thanks to Sam.  He introduced me to the spice  soon after we started dating, and I have craved this cuisine ever since.  My favorite reason behind it is because you can make most of the dishes vegetarian, and not feel like you’re missing out.  Slow cooking the lentils and vegetables gives them extra flavor and fills you right up.

Want to try some of our other Indian creations?  Golden Red Lentil Soup; Indian Chicken Soup; Indian Chicken Curry Wrap; Baingan Bharta; Curry with Vegetables; Samosa Casserole; Spicy Veggie Lentil Curry.

Dal with Lots of Vegetables

Dal with Lots of Vegetables
Adapted from: Food Matters Cookbook (page 362)

Feel free to swap vegetables for what you have on hand- for example, I’ve had half a bag of green beans I’ve been needing to use up.  If you don’t want this dish to be as spicy, don’t use the jalapeño or chili powder.  Not into a deep curry flavor?  Just halve, or quarter, the Indian spices. 

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 jalapeño, chopped
1/2 head of cauliflower, florets & stems cut into small pieces
1 medium eggplant, cubed
1 zucchini, cubed
1 cup green beans (I used frozen)
2 cups fresh spinach
3 cups of water
1 cup dried brown lentils
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp Punjam Red Tandoori powder
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Add oil to a large pot, and allow to heat up.  Then add the onion, allow to simmer until the onion is translucent.  Next, add in the garlic and ginger and cook for about 3 minutes.  Then add in the rest of the vegetables: jalapeño, cauliflower, eggplant, zucchini,  green beans, and spinach.  Cook the vegetables, while stirring, for at least 5 minutes.  Then add in the water, lentils, curry powder, garam masala, Punjab Red Tandoori, chili powder, salt and pepper.  Stir all of the ingredients together, bring to a boil.  Then turn the heat to low and simmer for at least an hour (up to 2 hours).

Serve over rice, or with a piece of naan.

Food Matters Project #34: Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce

It’s another Monday post of the Food Matters Project.  This week we’re hosting the recipe, and have chosen Mark Bittman’s Brown Rice and Lamb Burgers with Spinach, from The Food Matters Cookbook.

To catch up all of our readers, we joined the Food Matters Project with these fellow bloggers last winter.  Each week we have a new host, who chooses a recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.  The recipes are your own interpretation, and it’s great to see the creativity from all of the blogging participants.  To read more about the project, check out the web site here, and this is our schedule.  We’d love to have you join in!

Sam and I had hosted one dish so far on Fifth Floor Kitchen.  Almost exactly a year ago we hosted the Vegetables au Vin with Coq.  If you’d like to see the rest of our recipe interpretations, check out this list.

To host our 2nd recipe we chose another delicious one, although as always, we did make some changes.  As you all know, we recently moved from a condo to a house.  One of the bigger changes (aside from having more space and a bigger kitchen), is that we can finally have a grill!  Our fantastic realtor, Peter Raia, got us a wonderful housewarming gift- a new grill! What perfect timing to enjoy a burger, especially since yesterday DC had amazing weather- sunny and in the 60′s!

Tzatziki Sauce

How did we change the recipe from Mark Bittman’s original?  First, we added a tzatziki sauce, rather than using feta cheese.  We also used less rice (he had 1 cup) and more onion (1 whole one).  The biggest change is he did not use burger buns as we did, instead he placed each burger on the bed of spinach (and more of it, 1 lb).  Check out what creative ideas other bloggers came up with here.

Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach

Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce
Inspired & Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook

Servings: 4 patties

Tzatziki Sauce
16 oz plain Greek yogurt
9 sprigs of mint leaves
1/2 tsp salt
juice of 1/4 lemon
1 cucumber, peeled

Spinach
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups of fresh spinach, roughly chopped

Burger Patties
1 1/4 lb ground lamb
1/4 cup cooked rice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 red onion, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground sumac
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

4 burger buns

To make the tzatziki sauce, blend together the Greek yogurt, mint, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor.  Also add in 3/4 of the cucumber and puree it.  Scoop out the tzatziki sauce into a bowl.  Chop the remaining 1/4 cucumber, and add it into the bowl, stir.  The sauce can be made ahead of time, and actually tastes great when it’s served cold.

To make the spinach, add the olive oil to a large skillet and allow to heat up.  Once the olive oil is hot, then add the spinach to the pan.  Stir occasionally until the spinach begins to soften and wilt, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the pan.

To make the burgers, mix the following ingredients in a mixing bowl: ground lamb, cooked rice, garlic, red onion, cumin, sumac, salt, and pepper.  Mix the ingredients together and form 4 patties.  These can be made ahead of time, or be added onto a grill right away.  Grill to 6-8 minutes on each side, depending on your preference of cooked meat.  If you do not have a grill, you can still make these on a skilled over medium-high heat, cooking the patties for about the same time until they are cooked through.

To make the burgers, place some spinach on the bun, then the burger patty.  Lastly, drizzle with tzatziki sauce.  Feel free to add tomato or onion slices.  Enjoy!

Food Matters Project #33: Lamb, Carrot & Turnip Stuffed Cabbage

After moving, we’re back cooking in the kitchen!  Can’t wait to tell you more about our new house, but this first post will be a Food Matters Project recipe.

This weeks recipe was chosen by Keely Marie.  She has hosted a Food Matters Project before, the Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables (her version; our version was the Vegetable & Bean Casserole).  This time around she has chosen Mark Bittman’s version of Rolled Cabbage.  Check out Keely Marie’s Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, and also take a look what other participants made.

We’ve moved into our new house, but there are many boxes which are still unpacked.  Therefore, I was unable to find my copy of Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook.  As we have been searching for the pizza cutter and our wooden spoons, I made my own version of stuffed cabbage.

Stuffed Cabbage

Fortunately, thanks to my Polish heritage, I knew exactly what I wanted to put in these, and how I wanted to cook them.  This version is not like my Mom’s, or traditionally Polish- I’m saving that for another blog post.  Until then, enjoy these- they are very filling after a busy day of unpacking and organizing.

Stuffed Cabbage 2

Rice & Lamb Stuffed Cabbage

Stuffing
1 cup uncooked rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 carrots, peeled & grated
4 small turnips, peeled & grated
1 lb ground lamb
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Sauce
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 carrots, peeled & chopped
4 small turnips, peeled & chopped
2 32oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

1 head of green cabbage

To make the stuffing, cook the rice per package instructions.  Once the rice is cooked, transfer it to a bowl.

In a large saucepan, heat up the olive oil.  Saute the onion for about 5 minutes, until it is translucent.  Next, add in the garlic, carrots and turnips and cook for another 5 minutes.  Finally, add in the ground lamb, and saute until the meat is cooked, about 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer the stuffing to the bowl filled with rice, stir all of the ingredients together.

To make the sauce, mix together the onion, garlic, carrots, turnips, tomatoes, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a bowl.  Then add the ingredients into a saucepan, over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and continue to simmer for at least 20 minutes.  Stir the sauce every couple of minutes.

As the meat mixture is cooling off, and the sauce is cooking, prepare the cabbage.  Cut out the stem from the inside of the cabbage.  Then peel off each cabbage leaf from the head.  Once you have all of your leaves, begin to boil a large pot of water.  Once there is a rolling boil, add 2 leaves into the pot at a time, and cook them for about 1-2 minutes.  Carefully remove the leaves from the water, transfer them to a colander, then rinse with cold water.  Repeat with the remaining leaves, gently squeezing out the excess water.

Finally, lay a cabbage leaf on the work surface, with the edge side facing you.  Then add in a couple of spoonfuls of the stuffing (rice, veggies, meat) into the middle of the leaf.  Next, fold the outside edges in, and roll away from you.  This technique should be very similar to rolling a burrito.  Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Place each of the cabbage rolls, seam side down, into an oven-proof dish.  Pour the tomato sauce over all of the cabbage rolls.  Then bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.  Pull it out of the oven, and serve!

Food Matters Project #32: Cardamom & Pistachio Pear Crisp

And we’re back with another installment of the Food Matters Project!  This past week, on February 1st, this little project celebrate it’s 1 year anniversary!  I’m really glad that I have been involved in these weekly posts- it’s given me an opportunity to think a little outside of the box, and encourage me to try different recipes.  Most of all, it’s been a wonderful opportunity to connect with other bloggers who enjoy a great cookbook!  Thanks to all those that participate, and all the readers at home!

This weeks recipe was chosen by Camilla, of Culinary Adventures with Camilla.  She chose Mark Bittman’s recipe for Cardamom-Scented Pear Crisp, from the Food Matters Cookbook.  Check out Camillas post on her Cranberry & Pear Cardamom-Scented Crisp.  Also, take a peak what other bloggers did with this recipe.

Camilla has also hosted these Food Matters Project dishes: Wheat Berries with Braised Beef & Parsnips, Fish Nuggets Braised in Rhubarb Sauce.  While we were still on our honeymoon during one of those recipes, here’s the fish version of our dish: Cod in Spicy Rhubarb Sauce.

Whenever I go to the grocery store and see that a bag of pistachio’s is “buy 1, get 1 free”- I always grab a bag (or two).  They are a versatile nut that can be used in many baked goods, or they’re a perfect mid-day snack.  How do you use or eat your pistachio’s?

Pear Crisp

This was a great dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  This dish was delicious since it was not overly sweet, a perfect pairing with tea in the morning.  Sam and I finished it off as breakfast leftovers with some honey-flavored Greek yogurt.

Pear Crisp

Cardamom & Pistachio Pear Crisp
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (pg 568)

4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped unsalted pistachios
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
pinch of salt
2 pears, cored & sliced
1 tsp cardamom

In a large bowl with a mixer, cream together butter, oil and sugar.  Then stir in the pistachios, lemon juice, oats, flour and salt.  Mix until the ingredients are combined.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Spray a tart pan with cooking spray, or grease it with butter.

Press the dough into a tart pan, using only 3/4 of the dough.  Next lay out the pear pieces on top of the dough, then sprinkle with cardamom.  Lastly, sprinkle the last of the dough over the pears.

Bake the crisp for 30 minutes, or until the crust starts to brown.  Serve once it cools with a scoop of ice cream.