Tuesday, December 18, 2012


This weeks Food Matters Project recipe was chosen by Lan of Angry Asian Creations. Lan chose Mark Bittman's recipe for Coconut Flan. As you may know I usually go for savory over sweet so I used the recipe as my inspiration and made asparagus flan. This flan has just a few ingredients, is simple to make and went very well with roasted salmon and potatoes. After baking the flan I topped it with some browned panko crumbs for a nice crunchy texture.

For some sweet takes on the recipe click here.


2 lbs. asparagus (trimmed)
olive oil
salt and pepper
3/4 cup low fat milk
3 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 500~. Spread trimmed asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast asparagus in the oven until the tips start to brown and the stems turn bright green (about 10 minutes). Cool asparagus, cut off some tips for garnish.

In food processor puree the asparagus with the milk. In a large bowl whisk together the asparagus puree and the eggs. Fold in the cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 375~. Brush small ramekins with oil and fill with the asparagus mixture. Place ramekins in a large baking pan and pour enough water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Remove flan from molds and garnish with browned panko crumbs and asparagus tips.

Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Our Food Matters Project group  made Biscotti this week. Margarita from Let's Cook and Be Friends chose Mark Bittman's recipe for Walnut Biscotti. In Mark's recipe he has removed the eggs and butter for a heathier version. Since I don't eat sweets often I decided to try a savory biscotti recipe. I had never made biscotti before so I followed a recipe by Giada De Laurentis. The biscotti batter is made with goat cheese and herbes de Provence. The flavors are amazing!

I never knew biscotti was so EASY to make. It just takes a few minutes to make the dough. You form it into a 13x 3 1/2 inch loaf. Bake it for 30 minutes, let it cool, slice it, and bake it again. The next time I make this (and that will be soon) I will try to adapt this recipe using Mark's recipe and leave out the butter and eggs. I think it will work.

I served the biscotti with French Lentil Soup and fresh greens from the garden.

For all the delicious takes on the recipe click here.


3 tablespoons herbes de Provence
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar (I would use 2)
2 eggs, beaten, at room temperature

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, herbes de Provence, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and goat cheese together until smooth. Beat in the sugar and eggs. In batches, add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. With damp hands, form the dough into a 13-inch-long, 3 1/2-inch-wide loaf. Bake until light golden, about 30 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes.

Transfer the loaf to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut the log on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake until pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Recipe by Giada De Laurentis

Monday, December 3, 2012


This week I'm hosting The Food Matters Project. I chose Mark Bittman's recipe for Pureed White Beans with Tons of Herbs. I thought this would be a great recipe for our group because as Mark suggests, you can puree it for a smooth texture or just mash the beans for a lumpier texture. He suggests turning it into a dip or as a base for chicken or fish. The possibilities are endless. I just served them right from the pan because they were so good.  I used parsley, cilantro, and mint for my mild herbs and oregano and tarragon for my stronger herbs. I was curious as to how all these different herbs would taste when mixed together and it was a pleasant surprise.

For the other members creative takes on this recipe click here.


by Mark Bittman

This puree has a stunning green color from all of the fresh herbs and is the perfect dip-warm, cold, or at room temperature-for toasted bread or crudites. Or serve it as a main dish under bits of crumbled bacon, sausage, or prosciutto, or a small piece of simply cooked chicken or fish.

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for garnish
1 leek, white part and some of the green, trimmed, well rinsed, and chopped; or 1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped mixed mild herbs, like parsley, cilantro, mint, basil, or chervil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, tarragon, or thyme
3 cups cooked or canned cannellini, navy, or other white beans, drained, liquid reserved
About 1 cup bean-cooking liquid, stock (for homemade, see pages 135 to 140), or water, or more as needed
Salt and black pepper

Put the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped herbs and cook a minute or 2 more.

If you want the mixture super-smooth, transfer it -along with the beans-to a blender, food processor, or food mill and process, adding as much liquid as you need to make a smooth but not watery puree. If you want a lumpier texture, mash the beans right in the pan with a fork or potato masher, adding liquid slowly to get them as soupy as you like.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper; taste and add more if necessary. Heat and serve immediately or keep warm over low heat for up to an hour or so. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil if you like.