Cook The Book of Whole Meals: Fall | Natural Gourmet Institute

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Cook The Book of Whole Meals: Fall

Posted October 9, 2015

In 1979, Annemarie Colbin, PhD., Founder of Natural Gourmet Institute, wrote the seminal recipe and menu planning cookbook, The Book of Whole Meals. Its pages amble along a seasonal relay with some of one meal’s components adding to the next one until another week or another season rolls around.  Addressing the everyday concerns of a busy home cook, Dr. Colbin taught us how to select and make whole unprocessed meals that are at once balanced, affordable, delicious and practical. Its message still resonates in our busy culture hungry for good food. Today, we’re still cooking from the book.

In this series, I’ll be recreating two meals each season (a dinner and next day’s breakfast or lunch) as Dr. Colbin wrote them, but I’m giving them with a modern twist on the plate with the expert help of our very talented Chef Olivia Roszkowski. This month, we’re cooking up a fall menu, pairing produce that’s ripe and ready at the market with warmer weather techniques. If you’ve got all you need in your kitchen, with a little multitasking, you can pull off dinner in about an hour and the next day’s meal in even less time.

Dinner menu:
Leek Pie with Kasha and Tahini String Beans
Watercress Salad with Parsley-Umeboshi Vinaigrette
Apple Delight

Next day’s lunch menu:
Kasha Croquettes
Steamed Collard Greens

Book-of-Whole-Meals-1 (3)''

Leek Pie  
Yield: makes one 9-inch pie

For the Crust:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
¼ cup sesame oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup water

For the Filling:
1 tablespoon sesame oil
6 leeks (about 2 pounds), trimmed, sliced into half-moons
1 ½ cups water
2 tablespoons kuzu
2-3 tablespoons shoyu, to taste

  1. Place flour into a food processor and drizzle in oil as the machine is running.
  2. Dissolve salt in water and add to flour mixture. Continue mixing until dough holds together but is not wet or mushy.  Gather dough into a loose ball and place in a clean bowl or in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 375F.
  4. To make filling, heat sesame oil in a large sauté pan. Add leeks and cook for 5 minutes. Add ½ cup water and simmer, covered, for another 8 minutes
  5. Dissolve kuzu in remaining 1 cup of water. Add to leeks and simmer until mixture thickens. Season with shoyu.
  6. After dough has rested, between two sheets of parchment or on a lightly dusted work table, roll out dough to 14” round and about ½” thick. Transfer to pie plate, trim and flute edges, if you like.
  7. Prick dough with a fork and blind bake with pie weights for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, remove pie weights and let cool for 15 minutes.
  8. Pour leek filling into baked pie shell and bake until pie is set and surface is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold.

Yield: 4 cups

2 cups whole brown kasha (buckwheat groats)
3 ½ cups water
½ t sea salt

  1. Bring water to a boil in a two-quart pot.
  2. Add salt and kasha; reduce heat to low and cook covered for 15 minutes or until kasha is fluffy.
  3. Set aside 2 cups of cooked kasha for the next day’s croquettes. Serve remaining kasha alongside Leek Pie and Tahini String Beans.

Tahini String Beans
Yield: 4 servings

1 pound string beans, trimmed, halved lengthwise
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons shoyu
4 tablespoons tahini

  1. Simmer string beans and water in a covered two-quart pot for 3 minutes.
  2. Add shoyu, cook 10 minutes more.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in tahini
  4. Spoon over kasha and serve immediately

Watercress and Radish Salad
Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon umeboshi plum paste
3/4 cup water
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup roughly chopped parsley
1 bunch watercress, trimmed
6 medium radishes, thinly sliced

  1. Combine plum paste, water, oil and parsley in a blender and run at medium-high speed for 1 minute.
  2. Toss watercress and radishes with dressing. Serve immediately.

Book-of-Whole-Meals-1 (18)''

Apple Delight
Yield: 4 servings
½ cup raisins
1 cinnamon stick
¼ cup water
2 pounds McIntosh apples (about 5), quartered and cored

  1. Place raisins and cinnamon stick in a four-quart pot. Add just enough water to cover the raisins. Place apples on top.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Spoon into four bowls and serve warm.

Book-of-Whole-Meals-1 (25)'

Kasha Croquettes
Yield: 8 croquettes

2 cups cooked kasha
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
3 scallions, minced
½ bunch parsley, minced
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons shoyu

  1. Combine kasha and flour in a medium bowl. Mash together until a homogenous mixture can be formed.
  2. Add scallions, parsley and salt and mix to thoroughly combine
  3. Divide mixture into eight portions and form into 2”-wide patties.
  4. Heat oil in a large sauté pan and pan-fry patties on medium heat until lightly browned (about 5 minutes per side).
  5. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Serve immediately with shoyu and steamed collard greens or keep warm in 150°F oven.

Steamed Collard Greens
Yield: 4 servings

1 bunch collard greens, trimmed, roughly chopped
Sea salt, to taste
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
2-3 drops rice vinegar or lemon juice

  1. Place collard pieces, salt and bay leaf in a three-quart pot with ½” water. Steam over low heat for 8-10 minutes.
  2. Remove bay leaf and season with vinegar or lemon juice. Serve hot or warm alongside kasha croquettes.

*All recipes adapted from The Book of Whole Meals by Dr. Annemarie Colbin (1983). Ballantine Books, NY.