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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

FPC at the CSA

I started off this past week reading Culinary Intelligence, The Art of Eating Healthy (and Really Well) by Peter Kaminsky.  His theory is that if you eat things with a high Flavor Per Calorie (FPC) ratio, then you will be eating less,  more healthfully, and will naturally lose weight. Ha!

He advocates eating the best of what's in the markets, so fresh fruits and veggies figure prominently. Sure, that works for weight loss as well as flavor, but how does that square with going to Murray's Cheese Shop in the city and buying all manner of delicious cheeses, very high in FBC, and then, of course, eating them?  Oh, OK, self-restraint has to figure in there too, I suppose.

My family and I took part in a Greenwich Village food and history tour for Mother's Day, where we were absolutely stuffed with all manner of fabulous meats (sopressata from Faicco's!), pastries (cannoli from Rocco's!), artisanal olive oils and vinegars (O and Co.'s basil olive oil and a mango balsamic vinegar drink!), and  breads (Tuscan baguette from Amy's! with Murray's cheeses!).  Afterwards, we came home to an evening with good friends for dinner, and of course enjoying some more of the goodies that I had purchased on that tour.

There really was no losing weight that weekend, although we ate some undeniably great food, high in FPC.  When my husband and I went on a tour of Italy two years ago, I did lose weight, because 1), I ate only things that looked exceptional (high in Flavor Per Calorie!), and, key difference, 2) we walked all day, every day.

The weekend progressed with Mother's Day dinner on Sunday, when we had Seared Scallops with Prosciutto from Tim Ferriss' The Four Hour Chef, prepared by my son-in-law and sons.  These were good, especially since I didn't do any of the work, but they were a bit bland.  Maybe next time add some chopped fresh herbs and a dash of cayenne pepper to the basic seared scallops recipe for a little more pizazz er, FPC?

I just joined Dogwood Farms CSA at Duke Farms in Hillsborough ( and found out that one of the first things that will be available are radishes.  I've always wanted to love radishes served as an appetizer as the French do: red radishes pretty as a picture served with fresh butter and salt, preferably sitting at a little farmhouse porch in Provence...Reality  - taking a bite of radish and having your taste buds blasted by peppery-ness so pungent that that French daydream disappears in a flash. Too much FPC!
Lunch at work.
Pink Lady radishes have changed my tune.  I found them in the organic section at Wegman's.  This variety is not red, but a gorgeous fluorescent pink, and here's the best part:  mild enough to enjoy with butter and salt on brown bread, even in the middle of New Jersey!

I scarfed down three (small) open faced radish sandwiches, while I was making this great salad, which would be just right with grilled fish, chicken or steak, or on its own for lunch, with or without wedges of hard boiled egg or a can of tuna.  I think this recipe would be good with any variety of radish, but if you can find the  Pink Ladies, they're beautiful and delicious.

(You can find current and back issues of Bon Appetit,  Cook's Illustrated, Saveur, and more at our Library.)

White Bean and Radish Salad, adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2013

1 anchovy fillets, packed in oil, drained (or you can substitute a half (or whole) can of tuna if you are a sissy so wish)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon drained capers
1/3 cup (packed) flat leaf parsley + 1/4 cup leaves left whole
3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 15 oz. can or cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch radishes, trimmed, cut into thin wedges
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted and quartered

Put the fish, olive oil, capers and parsley in a blender and blend until coarsely pureed (or use an immersion blender or food processor).  Put the puree in a bowl, and mix in the vinegar, salt and pepper.  Add the beans, radishes, scallions and olives.  Mix well, taste and add more vinegar, salt and pepper if desired.  Cover and chill, garnish with the whole parsley leaves..  Tastes best after several hours marinating.

This is a basic white bean/vinaigrette recipe.  Feel free to substitute whatever looks good in the market - cherry tomatoes and feta? cucumber with mint and red onion?   Definitely high in flavor, fiber, taste and nutrition.  Take that, Murray's Cheese Shop!

Diane Whitman
Reference Librarian
Twitter: @whitlibrarian
Accidental FPC Hound

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