Monday, May 28, 2012

Black Bean and Spinach Quesadillas

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This week Jacqui of Good Things Grow chose Beans 'n Greens Burritos for the food matters project recipe.  This recipe fit perfectly into our style of cooking Mexican-inspired food (that we cook on a weekly basis).  We love making homemade tortillas because of their fresh flavor and simple ingredients, but have found that because they lack fat or oil they don't roll well.  As a result we often use them for quesadillas, where they can remain flat.

Bittman's recipe called for chard, but the spinach at our farmer's market looked great so we decided to use that instead.  Combining fresh spinach with hearty beans and a mixture of fresh and spicy herbs created a great and filling meal.

We topped our quesadillas with a quick and easy dipping sauce - yogurt, lime juice, parsley, and sriracha.  So easy but so good!

Turn to Good Things Grow to see Bittman's original recipe and be inspired by what you find at your local market!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spinach Pasta

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We love whole wheat pasta as a nutritious and easy dinner.  We often make this recipe and it turns out quite well, but not quite as good as authentic fresh pasta.  For the nights we want to indulge a little or are entertaining we have turned to this recipe.

This pasta is perfectly chewy and rich and rolls out into sheets beautifully.  We have made this pasta into ravioli multiple times and stuffed it with cheeses, spinach, or peas.  This time we topped it with a fresh basil, dill, and mint pesto from our balcony - all of which just screamed summer.

This is a simple, yet restaurant quality, homemade meal that will be sure to impress friends and family!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bruschetta with Spinach and Artichoke Dip

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Laura of Chef Laura at Home chose Bittman's bruschetta for this weeks food matters project recipe. Bittman's take on bruschetta is a more classic Italian version rather than the version most American's are used to. Instead of "bruschetta" referring to a fresh tomato mixture on top of toasted bread, true bruschetta (pronounced bru'sket:ta) is simply charred bread which is delicious on its own or can be topped with a variety of dips, herbs, or spreads.

We enjoyed that this weeks recipe left so much up to our imagination. While Bittman suggests a few toppings for the bread (we often take his suggestion of rubbing olive oil and garlic on the warm bread) we decided to make something new.

This spinach and artichoke dip is not weighed down by heavy cream and excessive amounts of cheese. Instead it is light and refreshing and the flavors of the spinach and artichokes really shine through. Baking it in the oven in individual dishes is a fun presentation that is easy to get started well ahead of time. We turned this into a full meal by serving it with a simple raw kale salad.

Turn to Chef Laura at Home for Bittman's bruschetta and let us know how you topped yours!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Salsa Three Ways

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Alissa from BIG EATS...tiny kitchen chose Five Quick Salsas for Chips, Dips, and Other Stuff for this week's food matters project recipe.  Bittman provides a basic recipe for pico de gallo (did you know that means rooster's beak?) and then four variations that are easily adaptable.  We chose to make three quite different versions of salsa - combining a few of Bittman's ideas with our own - including a unique apple and cucumber salsa that we would never have tried otherwise.  We served these dips with homemade blue corn tortillas and homemade baked sweet potato chips - both of which complimented the salsas perfectly.

To make pico de gallo a bit different we added fresh dill and a mix of yellow and spring onions.  Lime juice and vinegar helped brighten up the canned tomatoes (since it's not quite tomato season) and the dill added a great freshness.

We often make black bean salsas and combined two of Bittman's versions into one.  Sautéing frozen corn until browned adds great sweetness that is contrasted well by the smokiness of the cumin.  This salsa also tasted really good mixed with the pico de gallo.

This last version of salsa is very unique and tasted great.  Cucumbers and green apples are a perfect combination for a fresh salsa and fresh mint (now growing on our balcony!) elevates it to another level.  This was great as a salsa but would also work as a twist on a fruit salad served with breakfast or brunch.

Since salsa is entirely customizable measurements aren't necessary so just experiment and taste often.  We love meals that epitomize the philosophy of it's not about the recipe!