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

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Carmelized Onions

This recipe is a perfect example of how when I think I know how to cook something, really Mark does it a little bit better. When caramelizing onions I usually add the oil or butter at the beginning and then they take FOREVER to cook. Well, enter Bittman. He cooks his onions in a dry pan for 20 minutes before adding the oil just so that they don't stick to the bottom. I only did one onion tonight and I was ready to add the oil in just under 15 minutes. Result? They were delicious!! 15 minutes still might seem like a lot, but if you start them first by the time you get the rest of your dinner together (tonight it was hot dogs in the grill pan with frozen peas) they will be ready.

HTCE p.325
HTCEV p.329
Full Recipe 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Navigating Bittman

When I first saw this massive cookbook on Betsy's counter I thought, "How in the world can that be a quick and easy to use book? It is so massive!!"

Here are a few of the things that I have employed to make "Navigating Bittman" a slightly easier task:
  • Post it notes on the chapters. These are "permanent" post-its that mark all of the chapters that I access regularly. I don't have one for each chapter, but I might rethink that really soon since I've widened my horizons to include beans!!
  • Star post-its. These mark recipes I want to try or ones that I have "on deck" to be made in the coming week. I also recently added a new star color to distinguish recipes that I need to review here on this blog.
What have you done to your Bittman book to make it easier to use?

Monday, February 22, 2010


  • I'm 25 and live with two college students in a house with 11 people total - we're all friends and eat together frequently. I usually make an entire recipe and it's gone before we can have leftovers.
  • I have been with my boyfriend for 4.5 years. He's a vegetarian and enjoys eating whatever I make. :)
  • I stopped eating meat sometime in April after watching a disturbing documentary. Sometimes I'll have meat if there's no other option or if I'm really craving it, but for now I consider myself a less-meatarian (like Mark!) who eats fish and other seafood. I just like to eat more vegetables and grains to have a smaller impact on the planet.
  • Eating vegetarian has made me love so many foods that I always hated before including: broccoli, artichokes, spinach, peppers, and asparagus.
  • I occasionally bring lunch to work but I mostly snack throughout the workday (5-2pm) and cook for dinner.
  • I mostly shop at Whole Foods and the local market.
  • Bridgette got me this cook book for my birthday. Even though I didn't really cook meat before, it's made being vegetarian and cooking for myself so much easier!!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This was the first time I've ever made mac'n'cheese not out of a box, and like many other thing I've made in this cookbook, I don't see going back again! The recipe labels this as "make ahead" but I did step 4 (making the sauce) while the noodles were boiling, cutting the time by 15 minutes or so. I used shells - although any pasta will do - and whole milk. I also put this in a deep corning ware dish because I don't have a 9X13 right now and everything baked just fine. After it came out I just mixed it up so that the breadcrumbs were coating all of the parts.

The only critique I have of this was that it was VERY hard to pour the milk into the butter/flour mixture while whisking and control the amount that pours out. I would recommend putting the milk into a dish to pour it in to or having a companion help you out with that step.

HTCEV p. 460
HTCE p.508
Full Recipe