I am pleased to introduce you today to Jeen and Michiel, who blog at https://cookanddrink.org. I started following Jeen and Michiel because of their philosophy that food does not need to be fussy. The cook just needs to buy quality ingredients and prepare them with care. Jeen and Michiel are sharing with us three recipes from the Moosewood Cookbook. I think you will be delighted with the recipes and their thoughts on the cookbook.
A new cookbook is always welcome. We read it, try a recipe, adjust it, tweak it, and look for inspiration. When we opened Mollie Katzen’s cookbook Moosewood we were very pleasantly surprised. The layout is great, the font clear, the drawings good fun, the index comprehensive, and above all, the recipes look tempting. Let’s start cooking!
For this review, we prepared three antipasti: Feta-Walnut Dip, Tahini-Lemon Sauce, and Marinated Mushrooms. Mollie Katzen suggests serving the Feta-Walnut Dip on sesame crackers or roasted Pita Bread, so we baked Pita Bread and bought some sesame crackers.
Before we served the antipasti to out test panel, we read the recipes in more detail. The Tahini-Lemon Dip is a combination of ¾ cup of tahini and 5 tablespoons of lemon juice. We opened a jar of tahini made with hulled sesame seeds, stirred it, and decided it was too thin. Its taste was astringent, and we didn’t think mixing it with lemon juice was a good idea. We bought another jar of tahini, this one made with roasted, unhulled sesame seeds: much better taste, some bitterness, and a great consistency.
The recipe for the Feta-Walnut Dip contains a fair amount of Feta, which is not our favorite cheese. In most cases, it’s rubbery and the taste bland and salty. Since 2002 Feta is a Protected Designation of Origin in Europe. When a product has the PDO status, you can be sure of the quality, the authenticity, the ingredients used, and the production methods. When you buy Feta cheese, make sure it comes with a PDO label.
Our test panel (Carine, Marion, and Rutger) welcomed the idea of vegetarian antipasti. We served a glass of Crémant d’Alsace, produced by Fernand Engel. This sparkling white wine is made of Chardonnay grapes and has fruity aromas, freshness, gentle acidity, and typical Alsace sweetness.
The Panel started with the Marinated Mushroom: lovely flavors, fresh, intense, umami, mushrooms surprisingly firm.
The Tahini-Lemon Dip: fresh, nice with the acidity of the lemon, light, makes you think of peanut butter, but not too much. It tasted very well when served on a sesame cracker. The panel thought the dip was lacking something, perhaps some za’atar (a spice mixture with sesame seeds, sumac, oregano, thyme, cumin, and more)?
The Feta-Walnut Dip was simply delicious. New unexcepted flavour, fresh, long-lasting. The panel was unanimous; the Feta-Walnut Dip was their favorite.
It is made by combining 1 cup of chopped walnuts with a nice amount of parsley and 1 cup of feta cheese. The walnuts and the parsley are blended until fairly smooth, then the cheese, some water, a teaspoon of paprika powder, and some cayenne pepper is added. Just before serving, sprinkle with excellent olive oil and decorate with fresh oregano and three halved walnuts. We could imagine chopping the oregano and adding it to the dip.
The Feta-Walnut Dip doesn’t keep well, but that should not be a problem because it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to prepare.
Recipes copyright Mollie Katzen, slightly adjusted
– 250 grams or ½ lb of Small Mushrooms (Champignons de Paris)
– Olive Oil
– Lemon Juice
– Sprig of Thyme
– Small Garlic Clove
– Black Pepper
What You Do
Clean the mushrooms with kitchen paper, remove the stems, and use these for a mushroom sauce or an omelet with mushrooms. Transfer the mushrooms to a pan, close the lid and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. No water, oil, or butter is needed. The mushrooms will become smaller, firmer, and more intense. Let cool. Make a dressing by combining olive oil and lemon juice (ratio 3:1). Finely chop the garlic. Same for the parsley. Add thyme leaves, garlic, and parsley to the dressing. Combine the mushrooms with the dressing and leave for 24 hours at room temperature. Mix every 2-4 hours. Just before serving, add some fresh black pepper.
What You Need
– 100 gram or 1 cup of chopped Walnuts
– 100 gram or 1 cup of IGP Feta Cheese
– Teaspoon of Paprika Powder
– Cayenne Powder (to taste)
– Fresh Oregano
– Water (depending on the consistency)
What You Do
Combine the chopped walnuts with a nice amount of parsley. Blend this until fairly smooth. Add the crumbled feta cheese, some water (start with 2 tablespoons), a teaspoon of paprika powder, and some cayenne pepper. Mix and adjust (water, cayenne). Leave to cool in the refrigerator for two hours. Just before serving, check the consistency and the flavour. Drizzle with excellent olive oil. Decorate with fresh oregano and three-halved walnuts. We could imagine chopping the oregano and adding it to the dip. Serve on pita bread or sesame crackers.
What You Need
– ¾ cup of Tahini
– 5 tablespoons of fresh Lemon Juice
– 1 small Garlic Clove
– 1 cup or more of Water (depending on the consistency)
What You Do
Grate the garlic (or chop it very finely). Combine the tahini with the lemon juice and the garlic. Blender until smooth. Add water until you have the consistency. Just before serving add lots of chopped parsley to the dip and sprinkle with za’atar. Serve on sesame crackers.
Pita Bread (own recipe)
What You Need
- 150 grams All Purpose Flower
- 50 grams Whole Grain Flower
- 3 grams Salt
- 3 grams Dry Yeast
- 120 ml lukewarm Water
- 1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout
Mix flour, salt and yeast. Add the water and knead for 15 minutes. Cover the bowl and leave for one hour in a warm spot. Preheat your oven to 240 °C or 465 °F. The baking tray should already be in the oven. Divide the dough into 6 balls. Dust your kitchen surface with flour and flatten the balls until they are 0,3 cm thick. Put the flattened balls on the very hot baking tray and bake for 7 minutes. Transfer the pita breads from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Don’t forget to see what happens in the oven; it’s so much fun to watch the pita’s being baked!
Moosewood by Mollie Katzen clearly deserves a space on your shelf. It is a great and reliable resource when you’re looking for tasty, healthy vegetarian food and snacks.
Michiel and Jeen (also known as Mr. Cook and Mr. Drink) enjoy tasty food and good wine. On our website we try to show that with the right ingredients and a few skills it’s possible to prepare great food at home. We believe in flavours and aromas and are inspired by French, Italian, and Japanese cuisine. Amongst our favorite authors/chefs are Hilaire Walden, Antonio Carluccio, Akira Oshima, and Alain Passard.
And finally: we strongly recommend using organic ingredients. Better for you, better for the world
Thank you, Jeen and Michiel, for taking the time to share these incredible recipes and your thoughts about the recipes. If you are not already a follower of Cook and Drink (https://cookanddrink.org), I hope you visit their site. I know you will be happy that you did.