Quote from Intro:

"Anyone can cook, and most everyone should. It's a sorry sign that many people consider cooking 'from scratch' an unusual and even rare talent.
In fact, it is a simple and rewarding craft, one that anyone can learn and even succeed at from the get-go."
-Bittman, HTCE

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Crisp Panfried Potatoes (Home Fries)


Home fries are one of my favorite things to make on breakfast night.  Above is a picture of two different types of new potatoes bought at the farmer's market over the last couple of weeks.  They were delicious.   They do require patience, and even though the recipe calls for peanut oil I have used vegetable oil on several (if not every) occasion.

Here is the full recipe.
HTCE pg.341-342
The HTCEV version has even more variations then big red!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fresh Tomato (or Fruit) Salsa

I always argue with myself over writing a post with no picture or posting the bad picture that I do have.  As you can see above, the later option won.  My husband loves this fresh salsa and asks for it every time we have any dish of the mexican variety.  In the picture above I do not have any cilantro, but that is one of our favorite ingredients.  I would suggest making this ahead of time if you can so that the flavors have a chance to meld together.

HTCE p.23
Full Recipe

Monday, June 17, 2013

Braised Chard with Olive Oil and Rice

Let me start off by saying I don't care for greens.  My husband is a veggie-vore and loves anything green, but I just have a hard time getting past the often bitter taste.  Well, this recipe was a winner!  A truly great starter recipe for those of us who don't like the pungent taste of greens.  My three year old asked for seconds and my 14 month old gobbled all her's up!

The only reason I'm even cooking greens is because we joined a CSA this year.  Colvin Family Farms to be specific.  This week in our box we got a whole bunch of rainbow swiss chard.  Now, I've never eaten or cooked chard before but I knew where I could get a recipe, my good old red friend, HTCE. 

You'll want to start off this recipe by washing your chard well and shaking it off in the sink before wrapping it up in a kitchen towel to dry off a bit.  The recipe instructs you to cut out the ribs, but I learned long ago from Rachel Ray that is never necessary!  Just hold the dark green by the stem and make your other hand into a claw.  Use your claw hand to strip the leave from the stem.  Voila!  No cutting stems out of individual leaves!

Now, line up all those beautiful stems, give them a trim and then chop away.  I hear you can use the stems like celery in other dishes if you just want to use the leaves for another recipe.
Frying the stems in olive oil with carrots is a key step!  The carrots in the finished dish have great texture.  We served our rice next to fish sticks:

HTCE p.285
Full Recipe
Nutrition: 4 servings, 217 calories, 18.3g fat, 13.3g carbs, 3g protien

Friday, December 23, 2011

So you got a new cookbook!

This entire post has been moved to the Guide to HTCE page.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Stir-Fried Chicken with Cabbage

When my friend Betsy suggested this cookbook to me my first complaint was that it didn't have any pictures.  Foodies will tell you that we eat with our eyes first and I have to agree.  Pictures of the recipes was one of the main reasons I wanted to write this blog in the first place!

If you have the HTCE app it highlights one recipe a week and along with a note a picture of the recipe is sent out.  Well the picture that was sent out last week had me very intrigued!  I'm only sorry that my picture isn't as good theirs was.

Not only did this dish taste wonderful but it was quick and easy!  The best part is that other than the Napa cabbage I usually have all the other ingredients on hand.  I did use about two pounds of dark meat chicken because the cabbage was over one and a half pounds.  This was so good we will be having it again next week!  As you can see from the picture we served it over rice.

HTCE p.643
Full Recipe

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Overnight Waffles

Last night the newscaster mentioned that she loves waffles with peanut butter for breakfast.  Waffles with peanut butter?  Genius!!

So there it was 10:30pm and I have a craving for waffles.  The problem is that Wednesday mornings are our most rushed morning.  Not only do we have to get Ethan off to school, but Asher and I attend BSF so I have to get our bags ready too.  Then I remembered that Bittman has an overnight waffle recipe!  The perfect solution.

I had tried these waffles before but I only let the batter rest for a few hours.  These were much more yeasty tasting and the recipe yielded 6 of these giant waffles instead of just four.  The results were scrumptious!  I have to say that I did take the extra step and broke out my hand mixer to whip those egg whites until they held a soft peak.  I know this is an extra step and three extra dishes but it was well worth it!  It really increased the volume of the batter and added to the lightness of the finished waffle.

The other plus about this batter is that we ran out of time this morning (see previous note about Wednesday mornings) and I didn't have time to cook all the waffles.  No problem!  I just covered the batter and stuck it back in the fridge.  When we got home this afternoon I reheated the waffle iron and finished cooking the last two waffles.  They look just like the ones from this morning so I'm expecting they will taste the same.

You might be wondering how the peanut butter went; it was delicious!  On one side of the 2x2 waffle I drizzled our favorite syrup (Steen's) and on the other side I spread peanut butter.  Then I folded the waffle over on itself and I had breakfast to go!  I will definitely be making these again and again (even on Wednesdays). 

HTCE p.816
HTCEV p.204
Full Recipe 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bittman and Apples

I know this isn't a recipe from HTCE, but Bittman just wrote an article that referenced all these apple recipes and I had to share it.

You can find the article here.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Recipe: Naan
Page: 873
Rating: *****

If you like Indian food, Mark's Naan recipe is the way to go! They're delicious and stay pliable for a while (something most homemade versions do not do). They are not hard to make, but they do require some rolling action so plan around that. They cook in just a few minutes, so once you've done the rolling out you won't have to wait long to eat them. We serve them with curry dishes usually. MMmmmmm

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


HTCEV p. 419
Recipe: Applesauce
Rating: ***

Making applesauce is something I never thought I would try. Two simple things inspired me to do it:
1. The fact that my sister and I made jam ourselves. If nothing else, that experience has gotten me really questioning what I can make myself and why I choose not to.
2. I had a bunch of apples that I wasn't eating. They were sitting in my hanging basket, threatening to begin to rot any day now.

3. (reason to do it once I was inspired) Mark Bittman had some amazing suggestions of things to add to applesauce. After thinking that I may do it, I read the list and was totally on board. Cayenne in applesauce? Consider my interest peaked.

Behold: The makings for applesauce!

I only had five apples and the recipe calls for five pounds. But the recipe is just apples and water so I didn't think it would be that big of a deal. I also had to peel them all by hand since I don't have a food mill. Not having a job and having a fairly slow afternoon ahead of me, this task wasn't really daunting. Besides, I found my pairing knife and wanted to try it out.

Not much to say about this recipe besides that it could not be easier. Since I made half and am now looking at about three servings, I do wish I had more apples and had doubled or tripled the recipe and taking on canning with it. There's always next time.

My comments on this recipe is that the final product wasn't very saucy. I put the amount of water recommended and in the end I got something more of the texture of mashed potatoes. Nothing wrong with that and maybe with a food processor it would have been better. Still, it's something I would make again.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Quick Tip: the Baking Trio

This quick tip might seem obvious to some, but I've been actively cooking (from scratch) in my kitchen for over 5 years and this has just now occurred to me. I use to keep my baking soda, baking powder and salt down in a cabinet with all of my other spices. If you bake often you know that these three are often used together in recipes including everything from quick breads, muffins and pancakes to cookies and cakes!

So here is my quick tip: store these three together in an easy to access spot! I have now moved this trio from my lower spice cabinet to an upper cabinet that also contains my measuring spoons and cups. I'm pretty sure my mom stores them in the same place in her kitchen, but I never noticed that they weren't with the other spices and I never thought to ask why they were stored separately!

My salt, baking soda and baking powder in their new home, right below the measuring utensils!

Got a tip you can share? Email it to us!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Bittman recipes for FREE in a new "app"

I stumbled across this app the other day and I wanted to share it.  I know there are a few of you out there that still don't have the HTCE cookbook.  If you have an iPhone, iPad, or other "i"device you can try out all of the essentials in Mark's book for free!!  I will say that I enjoy the iPad version much better than my iPhone version (which this app resembles), but the concept is the same.

Here is the link to the app.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Simpler Baked Brown Rice (Variation)

Recipe: Simpler Baked Brown Rice (variation of Simper-than-Pilaf Baked Rice)
Page: HTCE p. 453
Rating: *****

I've cooked A LOT of brown rice in my day, and I've tried several methods. For a while, my favorite was a Cook's Illustrated version where you baked it, but first, I had to bring some water and butter to a boil, then pour it over the rice in a different pan, then cover the pan with 2 layers of foil, and then I had kids... and any extra pot/step was thrown out with the baby's bath water.

So, I started boiling it and just draining off the extra water at the end. Not bad. In fact, Mark gives us this version somewhere--actually, it's the very first recipe in the grains chapter. And, it's easy and predictable.

But then.... I tried this recipe. And. It's. AMAZING. PERFECT brown rice--distinct grains, good flavor, frees up an eye on the stove, even reheats well. I leave out the cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom, use the butter, and add 1 t. salt and a sprinkle of pepper per batch. Good news: you can even triple this recipe with the same timing and results!!! I use my Le Creuset wanna-be enameled cast iron 5-quart dutch oven from Aldi so that I have a nice, heavy, tight-fitting lid--that's important so the steam can't escape. I think Mark's liquid allowance is a little generous and may cut it back a touch next time.

Highly recommended!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Spicy No-Mayo Coleslaw

Recipe: Spicy No-Mayo Coleslaw
Page: HTCE p. 207
Rating: ****

We really liked this! The first time I made it a year ago, I wasn't crazy about it. But this time, it was delicious. Not sure what the difference was. I definitely recommend making it at least an hour before and tossing it periodically during that time--the cabbage softens a touch which adds to the finished product. It is yellow as the picture indicates (that's not just my photography!). It's heavy on the mustard which makes it very different from the usual idea of "slaw," but it also helped my husband really like it and he usually hates slaw! So, if you're not a typical slaw fan, this is a good one to try. I think the servings are spot on; we halved it and got 4 generous servings. If you're taking it to a potluck, you'd probably get 10 or more servings out of it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My First Brussels Sprouts

After being at my in-laws for a week during Thanksgiving I was re-inspired to get back into the kitchen and cook for my family.  Since having Asher cooking has seemed like drudgery but after seeing this recipe I had to try my hand at Brussels sprouts!

Now I don't have any pictures of this recipe because I ate it too quickly, and for never having a Brussels sprout before I thought these were awesome!  I was happy to find that Bittman has many recipes for sprouts in HTCE and one of them is very similar to Tyler's example above.  As a matter of fact Bittman left off the one thing we didn't really like about Tyler's recipe - the soggy breadcrumb topping.

I will say that if I make this recipe again I will combine Bittman's recipe and Tyler's by only cutting the sprouts in half (way quicker) and browning them in the pan with the bacon before adding the water (or if you have it, stock).  If my oven happens to be on, I will still add the Parmesan cheese though because it was nice and crunchy and added a nice texture contrast.