Monday, April 29, 2013


This week Jessica of Cheese Please is our Food Matters Project host. Jessica chose Mark Bittman's recipe for Chickpea Salad with Cashew Chutney. The recipe is quick and quite tasty. Cashews are toasted with cumin seeds and a dried Thai chili. All that goes in the blender with some garlic to make a finely ground mixture. It's then mixed with chickpeas, fresh mango, lime juice, and cilantro. The yogurt on top tempers the spice and gives it a delightful creaminess. It was the perfect side to a roasted chicken.

You can find the recipe at Jessica's blog here. Our other members take on this recipe can be found here.

Monday, April 22, 2013


This very tasty salad was chosen by our Food Matters Project host Sara of Pidge's Pantry. Mark Bittman put a healthy twist on the traditional Cobb salad and tops it with a caper-anchovy-parsley dressing that puts this salad in my top 10 best salads ever. 

I followed Mark's recipe but added olives, boiled potatoes, avocado, and some shaved fennel. The dressing is made by putting oil, vinegar, parsley and capers in the blender for only 30 seconds. So easy, so good, and perfect for subbing your favorite ingredients.


1/3 cup olive oil
2 TBSP. wine vinegar
2-3 anchovy fillets, with a bit of their oil (or use more capers)
1 TBSP. capers, with a bit of their brine
2 TBSP. chopped fresh parsley
Black pepper

8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas or white beans
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 avocado, cubed
Gorgonzola cheese

Combine the oil, vinegar, anchovies, capers, parsley, and black pepper in a blender and blend to a creamy emulsion, about 30 seconds. Taste and add more vinegar or pepper is desired.

Put the romaine in the center of a large platter and mound the ingredients around. Just before serving, drizzle the top with the vinaigrette, toss at the table and serve.

Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman

Monday, April 15, 2013


This delicious Middle Eastern side dish was inspired by our Food Matters Project recipe this week. Aura from Dinner With Aura chose this weeks recipe Super-Lemony Kidney Beans by Mark Bittman. I substituted garbanzo beans for the kidney beans, left out the tomato paste and chile and sprinkled sumac over the finished dish. This recipe has a method for making "quick" preserved lemon. Normally when I make preserved lemons it's a month long waiting period however I have to say, Mark's quick method is pretty darn good. This recipe for the quick preserved lemons makes enough for leftovers. Keep a jar in the refrigerator, they get better with age and will keep for months. I love adding chopped preserved lemons to a pan sauce to serve over roast chicken or fish, or add some finely chopped lemons to hummus, gives it an extra kick!

These beans made a nice side dish for Turkish Lamb & Eggplant Kebabs.

You can find Mark's recipe using kidney beans on Aura's blog here and for our other members take of the recipe click here.


6 lemons

1 onion chopped
2 TBSP. minced garlic
1 TBSP. cumin seeds
1 TBSP. mustard seeds
4 cardamon pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 pound garbanzo or chickpeas (rinsed and soaked over night)
Ground sumac for garnish

Heat the oven to 325~. Trim the ends from 4 of the lemons; quarter them, remove the seeds, and put them (rind included) in a food processor. Add the juice of the remaining 2 lemons to the food processor (again, without the seeds) along with 2 tsp. salt. Pulse several times to chop the lemons into bits but don't puree. Put the mixture in a jar and leave it on the counter while you cook the beans; shake it every once in a while.

Put the oil in a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute more. Stir in the cumin, mustard seeds, cardamom pods, and cinnamon stick. 

Add the garbanzo beans and water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, cover the pot, and bake for about 2 hours. After 2 hours, stir the beans and check to see if they are tender. Cook a little longer if they are not tender and make sure the beans are covered by 1 inch of water. When the beans are tender add 1/2 cup of the preserved lemons. Cover and continue cooking for another 30 minutes.

When the beans are completely tender and the liquid has thickened, fish out the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding pepper, salt, and more lemons if you like.

Serve, garnished with ground sumac.

Beans can be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated for several days. Gently reheat before serving.

Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman

Monday, April 8, 2013


It's Food Matters Monday! This week Margarita of Let's Cook and Be Friends chose Mark Bittman's recipe for Not Your Usual Steak Fajitas. Mark's recipe calls for beef or chicken and lots of vegetables. After a quick stir fry the ingredients are topped with a tequila-lime glaze. He suggests serving it with warm tortillas or over brown rice. 

I was really looking forward to this recipe as I LOVE Mexican food. I'm not sure why but I had no energy all weekend. I didn't want to cook anything. I thought that maybe I would make this tomorrow and then I remembered the grilled vegetable bar at Whole Foods. And the cooked brown rice. And the guacamole....And I live 10 minutes away! I picked up a nice assortment of smoky grilled veggies. Carrots, chile peppers, pineapple, zucchini, onions, portabellos, pineapple, cooked brown rice and a scoop of guacamole. When I got home I sliced the veggies a little smaller and then put the pineapple in a pan with lime juice and tequila. When it reduced to a glaze I added the rest of the vegetables and warmed it all up. How easy is that? I did miss the beef but I needed a veggie meal after my not so healthy eating binge all weekend.

Great pick Margarita!

For the original recipe go to Margarita's blog here. For all the other FMP members take on this recipe click here.

Monday, April 1, 2013


This week I am hosting The Food Matters Project and I chose Reverse Fondue from Mark Bittman's cookbook. Mark says that you can use almost any type of cheese in this recipe and he suggests using a good aged cheddar or Gorgonzola. I went with the more traditional combination of Gruyere and Emmental. I really loved this recipe. It uses half the cheese that you would use in a traditional fondue and although you don't have that decadent feeling when you dip a piece of bread in a pot of warm cheese, you still get the flavors and none of the guilt. I also added a tablespoon of Kirsch (cherry brandy) to the sauce. It gives it a wonderful flavor.

You roast a variety of vegetables and bread cubes and drizzle them with the fondue "sauce". I served this as a side dish but it would make a tasty vegetarian main course.

To see what the other members made this week click here.


1 large head broccoli or cauliflower, cut into florets
2 large carrots, cut into chunks
1 large turnip, or small celery root cut into wedges
1 large onion, sliced into thick rings
Salt and black pepper
3 TBSP. olive oil
4 slices bread, preferably whole grain, cut into large cubes
1 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. cornstarch
8 ounces any cheese ( I used 4 oz. Gruyere and 4oz. Emmental grated)

1 TBSP. Kirsch (cherry brandy)

Heat the oven to 450~

Put the vegetables on a large rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with the oil, and toss until well coated. Put the bread on a separate baking sheet. Roast both the bread and the vegetables, shaking the pans once or twice, until everything begins to brown, 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on the bread; it may finish toasting before the vegetables are done. You want the vegetables mostly crisp tender and the bread still a little soft inside.

Meanwhile, put the wine and cornstarch in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a slow bubble. Gradually stir in the cheese and cook, stirring almost constantly, until it melts and the sauce becomes creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the Kirsch. Adjust heat so the mixture does not boil.

Put the vegetables and bread on a serving platter or in individual bowls, drizzle with the fondue, and serve immediately.

Recipe from the Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman