Regular readers of this blog know that cooking is one of my hobbies. I love nothing better than spending hours in the kitchen, chopping, sauteing, stirring and braising, all in the service of what I hope will be a memorable meal. Realistically though, on a day-to-day basis, I don’t have hours to spend cooking–unless I wanted to sit down to dinner at ten or eleven every night, which I don’t. That’s one reason why I’m excited about Mark Bittman’s latest compendium How to Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way to Cook Great Food.
I’ve long been an admirer of Bittman’s work for the “Opinions” column of The New York Times as well as his food writing for the paper’s “Dining” section. Bittman’s opinion pieces can inspire, shall we say, lively debate among readers. He’s a passionate advocate for a more plant-based diet and for cooking at home, as well as stricter government regulation of food production. His outspoken stand on these and other related issues has earned him labels ranging from elitist to hero to public menace. He tends to provoke commentary that often boils down to “Mark Bittman can’t tell me what to do!” In any case, his cookbooks are admired by a larger group than perhaps appreciates his politics and none more so than his “Everything” titles–which include the original How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Good and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food.
Since Bittman is focusing on speed in How to Cook Everything Fast, you won’t find every recipe under the sun. Still, at 1,056 pages, it’s a surprisingly comprehensive work. No, you won’t find cassoulet or beef stew here … except wait…there are recipes for cassoulet and beef stew! True, these are streamlined versions of the cook-all-day classics, but they appear to be creditable renditions nonetheless. I’ve already pegged Beer Glazed Black Beans with Chicken and Chorizo and Pasta with Kale and Ricotta as two recipes I plan to try this week. You could cook exclusively from this book for a very long time and never repeat yourself.
Are you someone who appreciates a delicious dinner but needs to get it ready fast? If so, DCPL has resources to help. Along with Bittman’s book (very highly recommended) check out the following:
Weeknight Wonders: Delicious, Healthy Dishes in 30 Minutes or Less from the Food Network’s healthy cooking guru Ellie Krieger.
Gourmet Weekday: All-Time Favorite Recipes by the editors of gone, but not forgotten, Gourmet magazine.
Kitchen Simple: Essential Recipes for Everyday Cooking by celebrated cookbook author and master of technique James Peterson.
Everyday Food: Great Good Fast from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living.
Real Simple Meals Made Easy by Renee Schettler, from the editors of Real Simple magazine.
Everyday Easy by British food television superstar Lorraine Pascale.
What’s your favorite way to get dinner on the table fast?