If you’ve read my blog over the last year, you probably remember my singing the praises of Mark Bittman’s life altering (no joke) book, Food Matters. Not just another diet book, Mr. Bittman presents a different way to eat. Rather than think diet, pain, agony, deprivation, and attempt to eat in a way that is totally unsustainable (come’on, tell me you can live the rest of your life without carbs, fat, sugar, or any of the other myriad of “bad” nutrients) he challenges you to rethink your approach to food. Food should still be enjoyable. It just needs to be eaten a bit different.
- Eat fewer animal products than average
- Eat all the plants you can manage
- Make legumes and whole grains part of your life
- Avoid processed foods
- Everything else is a treat – and you can have treats daily
Nothing is outright banned. Unlike most diets where you feel guilty if you have that slice of bread or thick juicy steak, if you eat like foods matters (lots and lots of plant based foods, animal products in smaller amounts, lots less processed foods), an occasional slice of pizza isn’t going to kill you. Just make sure it’s occasional, and before you eat it, make sure you have some carrots and an apple.
Honest to God, if you follow his theory for sane eating, you will lose weight inshaAllah. This last year, I lost 37 lbs. I unfortunately gained 10 lbs back after Ramadan when I reverted to a typical american diet -more processed foods than I should, lots of dairy, lots of sugar, and very light on the fruits and veggies, not to mention the dangers of the middle eastern buffet, where it’s meat meat and more meat, all of it either fatty or drenched in oil. Iis it just my family, or is it normal to have to ‘get your money’s worth’ at buffets? All in all, gross.
But, my ever so kind sister purchased me Mark Bittman’s new tome, the Food Matters Cookbook, and I’ve declared 2011 as the year that Food Matters. I intend to do my very best to make several dishes each week that follow the 5 principles and be sincere in my quest to eat like Food Matters. inshaAllah I hope my cholesterol and blood pressure will continue their downward trend, and my stalled weight loss will be rebooted. 27 lbs down, 43 more to go inshaAllah.
And, inshaAllah I intend to write every Monday about at least 1 of the recipes I made in the spirit of making Food Matter.
If you benefit from these recipes, please do go out and purchase the original book, the cookbook or even both. If you get even a little bit healthier from it, it will more than pay for itself in lower doctors bills, less medication, and inshaAllah, hopefully avoiding serious health complications like a heart disease and diabetes down the road.
So without further adieu, I give you the first Food Matters recipe:
Mostly Whole Wheat Tortillas
Not the most glamorous recipe to kick off the series, but oh so good. Homemade whole wheat tortillas really are fabulous. Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on a package of tortillas (whole wheat or otherwise) at the grocery store? Why on earth does the list need to be longer than my shopping list? Enter these little disks of goodness – 5 ingredients, all familiar. Nothing that requires google to decipher. The only downside is that they may be too good. It’s easy to pick a fresh one off the stack and nommed it down without even realizing it.
But, if you can control yourself, these are a perfect vehicle for eating key Food Matters ingredients. You can create wraps with bean purees and fresh cut veggies. You can make a stir fry and wrap it up. You can make a quick pizza with tons of veggies and a sprinkle of cheese. Seriously folks, the sky’s the limit.
My first batch was devoured in less than a day by a certain AbuS and his wife (who shall remain nameless). The next batch lasted 3 days and accompanied another Food Matters dish that I made for this week, a bugler chili made with sweet potatoes, green beans and corn. Yum!
How’s that for an introduction? Now, on to the recipe! This makes 6-8 tortillas. I prefer to make 6, so I have room to stuff more veggies in.
- 1 cup whole wheat flour, plus more as needed
- ½ cup all purpose or bread flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, olive oil, softened butter,
- about 1/2 cup boiling water, or more as needed
1. In a bowl or food processor, mix together flours and salt. Stir or pulse in the oil. Add water slowly, a bit at a time, until dough holds together in a ball.
2. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until it becomes smooth and elastic (~4-5 minutes by hand or 1 minute in food processor). Wrap dough in plastic and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 mins. or up to a couple hours (or in fridge for a few days).
3. Working with room temperature dough, divide into 6 to 8 pieces. Flatten each into a disk on a lightly floured surface, cover, rest again for a few minutes. When ready to cook, roll each disk as thin as possible into circles 8″ or more in diameter, stacking between sheets of wax paper or plastic as you work. UmmS note – me thinks I am going to have to invest in a tortilla press, as I think these will be a frequently made item at Casa Squeaky
4. Put a large (cast iron) skillet over medium-high heat for 5 mins. Cook tortillas one at a time, until brown spots begin to appear on bottom, just under a minute; turn and cook on other side. Each tortilla will only take a couple of minutes, total. Wrap in a towel to keep warm…or let coo, wrap tightly and store in fridge for a few days (or freezer for up to a few months).