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The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living Hardcover – September 21, 2010
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I cook for the holidays the traditional way, though my definition of "traditional" might not be the same as yours. For me, "traditional" means going to the market, picking out what looks good and fresh, and ignoring the rest. It means starting with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans and using meat as a seasoning or garnish, the way our ancestors did. It means looking to other people's culinary heritages for ingredients and seasonings—things like real Parmesan cheese, smoked Spanish paprika, or Thai fish sauce—that make the dishes I grew up with more interesting and exciting.
My holiday cooking isn’t rigid or static, nor is it innovative for the sake of being innovative. What it is is good for my health, good for the planet, and, most importantly, delicious. --Mark Bittman
Makes 4 servings
Time: 1 1/2 hours with cooked or canned beans, largely unattended
4 ounces Italian sausage, casings removed, optional
1/4 cup half-and-half or cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried
3 cups cooked or canned navy beans, drained, liquid reserved
Salt and black pepper
1 small butternut squash, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup vegetable stock or water, or more as needed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
Heat the oven to 325°F. If you’re using the sausage, put a small skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the sausage and cook, stirring to break it into small pieces, for 5 to 10 minutes; don’t brown it too much. (If you’re not using the sausage, skip to Step 2.)
Combine the half-and-half, rosemary, and beans in a 2-quart baking dish; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tuck the crumbled sausage (if you’re using it) into the beans.
Cut the butternut squash halves into thin slices. Spread the slices out on top of the beans, overlapping a bit; press down gently. Pour the stock over the top, drizzle with the oil, and sprinkle with more salt and pepper.
Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is browned and glazed, another 45 minutes or so. Add a little more stock if the mixture seems too dry. And sprinkle the top with the Parmesan if you’re using it for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
Breakfast: I tried the Anadama Waffles (p. 283). The flavor came out very hearty, wheat-y and otherwise ok. The texture was good and the flavor made a great base for what you typically put on a waffle. So I was happy and I'd make them again, although I might try another recipe before coming back.
Dinner: Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Chipotle. Amazing. I don't like veggie soup and I don't like corn chowder. My housemates don't like sweet potato or overly spicy foods in their respective peculiarities. However, we all love this dish so much that we had a little politeness war over who would have priority on the leftovers :) It's sweet and spicy and I'd make it again. This all coming from a household that loves pork pozolle!
Desert: I cheated a little. In his other book (the one with narrative and recipes), there's a nice recipe for fruit sorbet. I used chocolate and black cherry as the base and it turned out fantastic.
About the book in general:
I'm excited about the recipes I see and encouraged because I know they were built for healthy and responsible living. We'll just have to wait and see if we all magically lose weight.
The layout of the book is visually what you would expect. Information for prep time and yield is available and interesting descriptions appear above each recipe to tell you the background or whet your appetite and set your expectations.
The pages are white which makes the text much brighter than his big-red-book.Read more ›
We've been moving toward this kind of diet for some time now. I've lost 25 pounds over the last year by eating this way and by exercising. My blood pressure is at a record low, and my doctor is thrilled with the changes. However, while I'm a pretty decent home cook, I am not the most imaginative cook in the world; this book has given me plenty of fresh ideas.
We have tried enough recipes with success that I feel comfortable recommending this book to others. It's simple food, and my always-skeptical sweetheart has been cleaning his plate. It doesn't matter how healthy it is if they won't eat it.
I think this is a strong addition to any cookbook collection.
Edited 12/25/10: I just wanted to add that I've been using this cookbook for over two months now, and I still find it immensely useful and use it regularly. We've considered tweaking a recipe here or there, which is normal for us. Even though we had already been moving toward this kind of diet, we've made even bigger strides over the last two months. It was a bit of a surprise when we went grocery shopping for Christmas dinner and ended up with cart almost exclusively full of vegetables with half a turkey breast and nearly no simple carbs or processed foods. It's becoming more and more natural for us to eat this way, even on special occasions.
One thing that he aims to do in this cookbook is to reduce the percentage of calories coming from animal based food or highly processed food. The recipes come in several categories here: appetizers and snacks, soups, salads and dressings, pasta (and noodles and dumplings), rice and grains, beans, vegetables, bread (and pizza and sandwiches and wraps), and desserts and sweet snacks.
While Bittman's recipes cut the amount of meat, he does not present us with a vegetarian/Vegan cookbook. There is a provision of meat or seafood or poultry in a number of the recipes.
Some illustrative recipes: Cucumber-wasabi tea sandwiches; Olives, cucumbers, and tuna, Mediterranean style; Mini potato-parmesan rostis; Provencal soup (a play on ratatouille); Mushroom stew with beef chunks; Smashed potato salad with escarole; Thai beef salad; Pasta with asparagus, bacon, and egg (Odd, but yummy!); Black bean chili mac; Vegetable and shrimp fried rice; Chickpea tagine with chicken and bulgur; Scrambled tomatoes and herbs (easy and tasty); Grilled turkey hash with red wine glaze; Grilled tomato sandwich, with or without cheese.
All in all, an interesting cookbook if you wish to improve the quality of your diet. Recipes are doable. Some seem to me to be fairly bland. But it is a tradeoff--health versus our acquired taste for highly processed food and too much meat.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great Cookbook! I have given it as a gift to someone who will really enjoy the food in the recipes.Published 8 days ago by Cynthia R Weers
We cannot say enough good things about this book...so we are not even gonna try. If you want to be healthy, or maintain healthy...buy it, you'll love it.Published 7 months ago by Miss Kathleen
I have been off and on using Mark Bittman's VB6 diet. I was looking for more recipes that would not totally ruin my daily progress and would have some real taste to the food. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Fredo4
New approach to eating by a renowned Chef. Wonderfully tasty and exciting recipes abounding with health.Published 14 months ago by Susan