Tag Archives: figs

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

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Food Matters Project #28: Lemon Cornmeal Cake

A little late here with my Food Matters Project post, but better than never, right?  And this is a good one to keep in your back pocket, a quick dessert- perfect to make before friends stop by for a mid-week dinner.

This weeks host is Jen, of Prairiesummers.  She chose Mark Bittman’s Apricot Polenta Cake.  Check out her version, and what everyone else made here.

I was very excited to make this since I’ve been saving a very similar recipe from A Meandering Mango.  When I was making this, I decided to take a little from both recipes and make my own version.  Mine tasted very similar to a lemon bar, refreshing and light.

This cake is a perfect way to celebrate a little milestone in our house!  This past weekend we visited Philadelphia, and ran the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon!  It was Sam’s first half, and he had fun doing it!  I’m very proud, and excited that there will be another race in the near future!

Lemon Cornmeal Cake
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (pg. 560) & A Meandering Mango

3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
juice & zest of 1 lemon
juice & zest of 1 lime
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white all-purpose flour
1/2 apple, slices*
2-3 fresh figs, finely chopped*

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Spray your baking dish with non-stick cooking spray (or use butter or olive oil).

In a stand mixer whisk together the eggs and sugar for about 5 minutes, until fluffy and creamy.  Slowly add in the olive oil, lemon and lime juices, lemon and lime zest, and vanilla extract.  Lightly whisk the ingredients together.

In a small pot, mix together the cornmeal and salt.  Then whisk in the water, until it is lump-free.  Set the pot over medium heat, whisk frequently and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, and cook until the water is absorbed.  Then set aside and allow to cool.

Stir in the flour and cornmeal mixture into the mixing bowl with eggs and sugar.  Stir well, then pour into the sprayed baking dish.

Arrange the apples and figs on top of the cake.  Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the cake.  Allow to cool about 15 minutes before cutting it.

*Other alternatives for toppings or frosting: fresh berries, fruit soaked in liquor or honey, ground nuts or coconut, powdered sugar or a honey drizzle!  Be creative, and let me know what worked!

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.

Fig & Arugula Flatbread

Last summer was the first time I saw a lot of recipes which had figs in them.  Determined to make something, we bought a bunch…and nothing ended up happening.  I had no idea what to do with them.  I didn’t realize fresh figs were not sweet, I guess I had their dried version stuck in my head.

So this year, when fig season came around (once everyone started posting recipes on various blogs) I was going to make something.  And I’m so glad I did.

This was especially helpful on the hottest day of the year (so far), since it involved almost no cooking, and dinner was ready in approximately 5 minutes.  This flatbread could also be cut up into bite-sized pieces, and enjoyed as an appetizer- how convenient.  If anyone thinks of other things you can do with figs- please let me know, we still have a bunch left over and there is no more flatbread.

Fig & Arugula Flatbread
*white wine is great with this*

2 pieces of flatbread (or plain naan)
1/4 cup of goat cheese
1 cup of arugula, chopped
4 figs, chopped
4 tbsp honey
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1-2 pieces of prosciutto
pinch of salt

Spread the goat cheese onto the flatbread.  Add it to a toaster oven, and warm it up until the cheese starts melting.  If you do not have a toaster oven (which you should have, it’s great!) just use the oven.

With a spoon or small whisk, blend together the balsamic vinegar and honey.

On the warm and cheese flatbread, sprinkle the arugula and figs.  Top with prosciutto.  Then, drizzle the balsamic vinegar-honey mixture.  Lastly, sprinkle each flatbread with some salt.