Blog Posts by Mark Bittman

  • Mark Bittman: Teriyaki Noodles with Asparagus and Edamame

    By Freya Bellin

    As the weather finally becomes mild, the word picnic has returned to my vocabulary, and I’ve started mentally collecting good recipes for outdoor eating. Not all tasty dishes make tasty picnic fare, but fortunately, most pasta salads will do the trick—especially if they taste good at room temperature, like this one. I love how filling soba noodles are, and they still match well with light sauces and green veggies, as in this recipe. The sauce is simple but flavorful, and the asparagus and edamame are a beautiful, springy contrast to the dark noodles. Try to get your hands on some of the lovely asparagus that’s out there while it’s still super fresh. And happy picnicking!  Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

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  • Mark Bittman: Fish Tacos with Wilted Cabbage

    By Freya Bellin

    There’s something about fish tacos that just screams summer to me, and, true to form, the flavors in this taco are fresh, simple, and nearly beachy. Tomatillos are a great choice here if you can find them. They taste fruitier than a tomato, and very tart and crisp, almost like a Granny Smith apple. The tomatillo and avocado combo makes a great simple salsa, and serves as a nice contrast to the soft, slightly spicy cabbage. I used purple cabbage for the color, but green cabbage would work also. For the fish, any thick white fillet is fine. I used a combination of halibut and striped bass, but go with whatever looks freshest. A cold beer (and a beachfront view) makes this meal even better. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

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  • Mark Bittman: Greek Pasta

    By Freya Bellin

    An old classic like pasta salad could always use a little refreshing. This one channels a traditional Greek salad, and to much success. If you know you like bulgur, I would try doubling it straight off the bat and cutting down on some of the bowties. The texture combination is really great, but it gets lost if you don’t have enough bulgur in the mix. The cooked tomatoes flavor the rest of the dish with a light tomato sauce, and the olives add a nice brininess. You might experiment with smaller tomatoes, halved, in place of the larger wedges. The small ones, like grape or cherry tomatoes, are usually a little sweeter—a nice counterpoint to peppery arugula—and it would cut down the cooking time a bit as well. Be sure to let this sit before serving to allow the arugula to wilt and the flavors to meld. I enjoyed it most at room temperature anyway—perfect for leftovers. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

    Bowties with Arugula, Olives, Bulgur, and Fresh Tomato

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  • Mark Bittman: Pan-Cooked Vegetables with Crunchy Fish

    By Freya Bellin

    When a recipe transforms winter vegetables into something bright and summery, you know you’ve stumbled upon something special. That’s exactly how this dish is; it has a tropical element despite being composed almost entirely of root vegetables. The vegetable base for the fish is like a hash, especially if you use mostly potato. (I used a combination of sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, and turnip.) A food processor with a grating blade will be tremendously helpful, unless you have a particularly good hand grater (and a fearless disregard for your knuckles).

    The seasoning for the dish is simple, which highlights the natural sweetness of the veggies. I used a mild curry powder, but a spicier one could work too. If you stay with the sweet and mild theme, I think there’s even room in this dish for some fruit, like raisins, apple, plantains, or mango. While the vegetable mixture makes a great side dish here, it could easily stand alone without the fish, garnished

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  • Mark Bittman: Beef and Guinness Stew

    By Alaina Sullivan

    This week I made Mark's Beef Stew from How to Cook Everything, with a modest addition in honor of St. Patrick's day: Guinness. Ireland’s famous black stout – “thinned” slightly with beef stock – makes the broth robust and dark, its mysteriously roasted flavor rippling throughout. All of the ingredients take to the Guinness in their own way – the meat gets deeply flavorful and tender, the carrots become malty and sweet, and the potatoes soak it up like sponges. You’ll be pouring your perfect pints right into the pot.

    Beef Stew

    Makes: 4 to 6 servings

    Time: 1 ½ to 2 hours, largely unattended

    2 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, or extra virgin olive oil

    1 clove garlic, lightly crushed, plus 1 tablespoon minced garlic

    2 to 2 ½ pounds boneless beef chuck or round, trimmed of surface fat and cut into 1- to 1 ½-inch cubes

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    2 large or 3 medium onions, cut into eighths

    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    3 cups

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  • Mark Bittman: Zucchini and Garlic Fusilli with Pistachios

    By Alaina Sullivan

    Zucchini's mildness makes it an ideal canvas for more aggressive flavors. Simply sautéing it with minced garlic catapults it from delicate to edgy - the recipe calls loosely for "some minced garlic," and I added enough to stave off an entire swarm of vampires.

    With "fragrant" mentioned twice in the recipe sketch, the smells are reason enough to cook this dish - the twin aromas of sautéing garlic and toasting pistachios wafting up from neighboring pans are incredible. Toasting the nuts is a step worth taking - it releases their natural oils, intensifying both flavor and crunch.

    The zucchini is tossed with al dente fusilli, sprinkled with the pistachios, and served with parmesan and lots of black pepper. It's a pretty perfect pasta to start out the fall. Recipe from Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express.

    Zucchini and Garlic Fusilli with Pistachios

    Boil salted water for the fusilli and cook it; meanwhile, slice two zucchinis into thin disks. Toast a handful of

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  • Mark Bittman: Stir-Fried Sweet Potatoes and Beef with Vietnamese Flavors

    By Freya Bellin

    When it comes to potatoes, squash, and root veggies, grating is a wonderful technique: you get all the starchy sweetness of the vegetable, but in a fraction of the time it would take to roast or bake! In this recipe, the sweet potatoes become tender very quickly in the pan, and make a lovely salad-like bed for the protein of your choice. The little bits that get caramelized and stuck to the bottom of the pan are delicious, like hash browns, so don’t worry if the potatoes are sticking. The lime juice and fish sauce will also help to break that up, plus they add a zingy acidity. Fish sauce is a tricky ingredient if you’re not familiar with it. It’s a bit pungent and often takes center stage among other flavors in a dish. If you’re not sure if you like it, add only a tablespoon or so at a time and see what you think. Or, instead of fish sauce you can use soy sauce, or go even farther afield and use some other seasonings that typically complement sweet

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  • Mark Bittman's Simple Risotto

    By Alaina Sullivan

    Traditional risotto calls for Arborio rice or one of its short-grained cousins; I decided to try it with barley. Risotto-style barley has a more toothsome bite than the rice-based versions, but the process is the same-a ritual of stirring, adding liquid, more stirring, adding more liquid until the consistency turns rich and creamy. The cooking process requires a bit of a watchful eye - a few too many minutes on the stovetop and the grain might get overcooked (you want it to retain a slight crunch). I prepared the barley according to the directions for "Simple Risotto" How to Cook Everything. I folded in a trio of cooked mushrooms (cremini, shitake and portabella), added fresh thyme to complement their earthiness, and finished off the dish with grated manchego to give it that classic creaminess.

    Barley Risotto with Mushrooms, Manchego and Thyme

    3.5 oz fresh shittake mushrooms
    8 oz cremini mushrooms
    6 oz sliced portabella caps
    1/2 large onion, diced (about 1 1/2Read More »from Mark Bittman's Simple Risotto
  • Mark Bittman: Eggplant and Chicken Parmesan

    Eggplant Parmesan is a lot of work. Here's a more straightforward version, with the vegetables and meat grilled or broiled instead of breaded and fried. You can skip the chicken if you like, and add other vegetables, like zucchini and portobello mushrooms; just grill them and layer on top of the eggplant and before the cheese.

    For a simple vegetable gratin, omit the tomato sauce and layer any cooked vegetable you like (asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke hearts, potatoes, fennel, leeks, spinach, onions, celery root, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, winter squash, or sweet potatoes) with the cheese (Gruyère and Swiss are nice alternatives). Finish with the seasoned bread crumb topping for a most excellent crust. From Food Matters.

    Eggplant and Chicken Parmesan

    Makes: 4 to 6 servings
    Time: About 1 hour

    2 or 3 eggplants (about 2 pounds total), unpeeled, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
    1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing
    Freshly ground

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  • Mark Bittman: Leek, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Goat Cheese Frittata

    By Alaina Sullivan

    The frittata is an egg dish long-championed for its versatility and quick-to-fix prowess. Essentially scrambled eggs poured over a cast of fixings (think vegetables, meat, cheese), a frittata is an easy and complete meal-and a great way to use forlorn veggies in the back of your fridge. Unlike an omelet, it doesn't require the dexterity of folding the mixture onto itself - it is content to lay flat and slowly immobilize its fillings (here, leeks, sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and an impromptu scattering of pumpkin seeds) as the eggs set around them. Transferring the skillet from stovetop to broiler in the final minutes of cooking creates a unique, puffy egg dish with a deliciously browned top. Recipe from Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express.

    Leek, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Goat Cheese Frittata

    Cook the chopped white of two leeks with a handful of dried tomatoes (about 1 cup) in two tablespoons of butter (or olive oil); until softened; do not brown. Whisk

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