Tag Archives: blue cheese

Food Matters Project Wrap-Up

This week is a wrap-up of the Food Matters Project.  It’s the final week of posting recipes from The Food Matters Cookbook.  Rather than another recipe, I’ve spent some time thinking of what I’ve learned doing this project, so here are some conclusions (in no particular order:

Mushrooms

1. My favorite and most memorable recipe: Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs & Blue Cheese.  I loved the blue cheese and fig combination in a pasta, and I can’t wait to try this again when figs are in season!

2. We finally learned how to make our own pizza.  Thanks to the post on whole wheat pizza, we’ve explored other toppings and new pizza crust recipes.  This has definitely been a staple in a our house a couple of times a month.

3. We made hummus from scratch.  Although it wasn’t my favorite recipe at that time, we’re recently added a Vitamix into our kitchen- can’t wait to try making it again!

4. Bruschetta comes in different varieties- it’s such a time saver when you’re hosting a dinner party!

5. Chimichurri is another awesome dish when you have friends over for dinner.  Quick, easy and delicious- what more could you ask for?!?

6. We tried anchovies for the first time, and they are delicious in a salad.  Don’t miss out!

7. My favorite dessert adventure was due to FMP- we made kumquat sorbet.  It was delicious, and I am now less intimidated to break out my ice cream maker.  Sorbets on the porch, during a DC summer, are a perfect way to wrap up the day.

8. Give cookbooks without photos a chance.  They encourage your cooking imagination and creativity- it was so much fun learning this for over a year.

This was a wonderful opportunity, and I’m so glad our blog continued to participate in this project (although sporadically).  The idea of eating less meat should be encouraged in more households, and I hope we spread Mark Bittman’s words a bit more.  Definitely play around with more foods, especially vegetables.  There are flavors and textures out there you may not have ever tasted, but don’t be afraid to try.

Start with what we’ve made before, there are a number of delicious dishes out there!  Or check out the other participants blogs to see what they’ve made!

Recipes We’ve Made via the Food Matters Project

Squash with Chipotle Dipping Sauce
Seasoned Popcorn
Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs and Blue Cheese
Seared Bean Sprouts with Mushrooms
Hummus
Curry with Vegetables
Vegetable Coq au Vin
Vegetable & Bean Casserole
Cod in Spicy Rhubarb Sauce
Apple & Smoked Cheese Whole Wheat Pizza
Mostly Whole Wheat Bread
Asparagus & White Bean Soup
Black Bean & Corn Salsa
Bruschetta
Chicken in Green Salsa
Vegetable Burritos
Tomato, Leek & Brie Tart
Crunchy Fish Tacos with Chimichurri Sauce
Walnut Pâté Sandwich with Arugula & Pears
Beet Chips with Pistachio Dip
Fresh Corn Salsa
Chicken & Potatoes with Romesco Sauce
Asian Vegetable Rolls with Peanut Sauce
Greek Panzanella Salad
Veggie Stir Fry
Summer Tabbouleh Salad
Lemon Cornmeal Cake
Apples, Blue Cheese & Honey
Broccoli & Cherry Rice with Acorn Squash
Polenta with Mushrooms
Cardamom & Pistachio Pear Crisp
Lamb, Carrot & Turnip Stuffed Cabbage
Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce
Provencal Pasta Sauce with Whole Wheat Spaghetti
Dal with Lots of Vegetables
Central American Red Beans & Rice
Spinach Cobb Salad with Caper-Anchovy Vinaigrette
Bulgur Wheat Mango Salad with Avocado
Spicy Grapefruit Scallops with Arugula
Kumquat & Orange Sorbet
Potato & Corn Fritters
Tomato & Romaine Salad with Smoked Mozzarella
Pasta with Tuna, Tomatoes & Capers

Advertisements

Food Matters Project #38: Spinach Cobb Salad with a Caper-Anchovy Vinaigrette

I absolutely love salads for lunch!  If you choose one that has fresh ingredients, lots of vegetables and a delicious dressing- it’s the perfect dish that won’t weigh you down, or make you sleepy in the afternoon.  Fortunately, this week’s Food Matters Project recipe was a salad I can add to our meal rotation!

When I saw that Sara, of Pidge’s Pantry, chose Mark Bittman’s recipe for the Mediterranean Cobb Salad, I was excited to see what changes he made to the salad to pack it with flavor and nutrients.  I’ve never been too happy after ordering a cobb salad at a restaurant- it’s usually served with iceberg lettuce, tomato, bacon, egg, and blue cheese.  Not the healthiest of ingredients, and definitely not a refreshing salad.

I made additional changes to Bittman’s recipe.  I wanted the salad to have a bit more nutrients and vegetables, so I mixed the romaine with spinach.  I also had some red bell peppers, cucumbers and green onions which I added to the salad.  For those who are not fans of anchovies, I can sense your apprehension- I had that once myself.  But if you’ve had a good dressing with anchovies in it, then you just might be a convert.  This dressing fit perfectly with the salad, providing that tangy, salty flavor that it needed.  But if you’re not that adventurous just yet, then double the capers, and skip the anchovies.  You’ll make this salad again- so there is plenty of time to try new ingredients down the road.

Check out Sara’s version of the Mediterranean Cobb Salad, and all other Food Matters Project participants variations here.

With spring here, and summer just around the corner, here are some additional salads we’ve shared and eaten in the past: Greek Panzanella Salad, Lentil & Summer Vegetable Salad, Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market Salad, Spicy Asian Salad with Sunflower Seeds, Arugula Salad with Eggs & Mushrooms, and Asparagus, Tuna & Bean Salad.

Spinach Cobb Salad with a Caper-Anchovy Vinaigrette

Spinach Cobb Salad with a Caper-Anchovy Vinaigrette
Adapted from: Food Matters Cookbook (pg 149)

I’m not providing specific amount of the ingredients since this can be tailored to how many people you plan on feeding, or if you want more of certain ingredients.  The dressing produces about a 1/2 cup of liquid- enough for at least 4 servings.  If you don’t want to use anchovies in the dressing, just double the amount of capers.

spinach, chopped
romaine lettuce, chopped
tomato, chopped
red bell pepper, chopped
cucumber, chopped
hard-boiled egg, chopped/crumbled
chickpeas
green onion, finely chopped

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 anchovy fillets, with a bit of their oil
1 tbsp capers
2 tbsp parsley
pinch of pepper

To make the vinaigrette combine the oil, vinegar, anchovies, capers, parsley and pepper into a food processor.  Blend together until a creamy emulsion forms, within 30 seconds.  Taste and add more vinegar or pepper if necessary.

Mix the spinach and romaine lettuce together on a large plate.  Then spoon the ingredients on top (the order doesn’t matter): tomatoes, red bell peppers, cucumbers, egg, chickpeas and green onions.  Then drizzle the vinaigrette on top, right before serving.

Food Matters Project #29: Apples, Blue Cheese & Honey

It’s another great recipe idea from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook.  This weeks Food Matters Project was chosen by Jessica.  Jessica’s blog is Cheese Please, check out her version of today’s dish- Cheddar Cheese and Almond Nut Balls.  Also see what other cheese recipes everyone else made: Cheese-Nut Balls.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a little hectic and slightly stressful around here.  So upon reading Mr. Bittman’s recipe and seeing pear and blue cheese, I decided to take this in a completely different direction.  Yes, no cheese balls- more like a perfect cheese relaxation plate!

Sam stopped by our favorite cheese store- Cowgirl Creamery, and picked up a giant block of Colston Bassett Stilton.  We had some leftover apples from the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market, as well as some local honey.

When was the last time you had bought yourself a nice block of cheese?  Not when guests come over to serve as an appetizer, but just for yourself to indulge and enjoy?  If you can’t remember the last time- then do this tomorrow.  You will not be disappointed.  This was a wonderful way to wind down after a hectic week.

I know there are some of you out there that don’t enjoy blue cheese.  If you’re one of them- definitely grab another type that you’d prefer.  Blue cheese does have specific taste- and this tangy flavor blended well with the sweet honey and crisp fall apples.


Apples, Blue Cheese & Honey
Inspired by: Cheese-Nut Balls from The Food Matters Cookbook (pg 56)

This is more of a suggestion, rather than a recipe.  The amount of apples, cheese, honey or walnuts are entirely up to you.  You can add/swap something else, just enjoy some amazing cheese (pears, crackers).

apples, cored & thinly sliced
Stilton or any variety of blue cheese
honey
walnuts (optional)

Pour a drop or two of honey onto a slice of apple.  First sprinkle cheese onto the apple slice, then top it off with some chopped walnuts.

Food Matters Project #11: Apple & Smoked Cheese Whole Wheat Pizza

This is a Food Matters Project week that we’ve both been waiting for!  Niki, from Salt & Pepper, chose a pizza recipe!  We love pizza, especially when we make our own- a perfect way to pile on what we’re craving!  Niki chose Mark Bittman’s No-Work Mostly Whole Wheat Pizza Dough.  The best part about this challenge is the variety of pizza toppings from everyone.  The Food Matters Cookbook does provide some suggestions- but I think many of us tried to take an original spin on it, check them out here.

Sam and I have made this pizza in the past, and wanted to share it with everyone.  We did make a small change, the type of cheese.  While browsing through the cheese section, I spotted Salemville’s Smokehaus Blue– an applewood smoked blue cheese.  Although we never tried it before, I figured it’d be great on this pizza.

If you’d like other pizza toppings, check out our mushroom and broccoli pizza!

Apple & Smoked Cheese Whole Wheat Pizza
The pizza dough was adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 533)
Toppings: A Fifth Floor Kitchen original

If you cannot find the smoked blue cheese, a great substitute would be a mild blue- such as gorgonzola.  Don’t hesitate to add more mozzarella, garlic or green apple to this pizza!  The pizza dough was delicious, crispy and chewy!

1 cup white flour
2 cups wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 packet of dry, activated yeast
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
7 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large ball of fresh mozzarella, cut into thin slices and patted dry
4 ounces smoked blue cheese, crumbled
1 green apple, thinly sliced

Combine the flour, salt, yeast, and water in a large mixing bowel.  Stir well, the dough should be sticky and wet.  Cover the bowl with a dishtowel and let stand at room temp for at least 6 hours.

When the dough is done rising, preheat your oven to 500ºF.  Grease a large cookie sheet with about 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Using oily hands, transfer the dough to the cookie sheet and smush out into a roughly rectangular shape.

Coat the top of the dough with 1 tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle evenly with garlic.  Bake it in the oven for 7-8 minutes, being careful not to let the garlic burn.

Remove the dough from the oven and add the mozzarella and apple slices.  Finally, sprinkle blue cheese on top.  Return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes, remove when the apple slices have wilted a bit and the cheese has melted.

Food Matters Project #4: Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs and Blue Cheese

I’ve had Mark Bittman’s book now for over a year, and I’m very upset I had not picked it up more often to find new and fun dishes.  As each week passes, I love this project since it’s a great way to go though a book.  And I love seeing what people pick out as their dish.

We’re in week four of the Food Matters Project.  This week’s host was Marcia and she chose a delicious dish- Baked Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Figs and Blue Cheese.

Remember when I made the fig flatbread this past summer?  That was the day I fell in love with figs!  Once they’re in season, I might have to remake this dish- it was absolutely delicious.

Unfortunately, figs are not in season in DC at this time of the year.  So I used dried figs which I found at Whole Foods.  Although, you can use cranberries, dried cherries or any other dried fruit in this recipe.  It’ll all work well.

When making this dish, we used more brussels sprouts, and added mushrooms and onions.  We also didn’t bake the dish, but that is all preference.  This is definitely one you can impress all of your friends with, or enjoy it as an easy weeknight meal.

Rigatoni with Vegetables, Figs and Blue Cheese
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (pg 221)

1 tsp + 1 tbsp salt
1 lb rigatoni
1 lb brussels sprouts, quartered
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 cups of cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
10 dried figs, sliced
6 oz blue cheese, crumbled

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tsp salt.  Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook it for 10-15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Meanwhile, mix the brussels sprouts, garlic with the olive oil and 1 tbsp salt.  Bake this mix for 20 minutes, or until the brussels sprouts are tender in the middle.

Melt butter in a skillet.  Then add the mushrooms and onions.  Sauté the vegetables until the mushrooms and onions are soft.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the pot.  Add in the figs and blue cheese, stir together so the cheese starts to melt.  Then add in the mushroom and onion mix.  Stir well before serving.