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

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Braised Potatoes with Kielbasa (Variation)

Recipe: Braised Potatoes with Kielbasa (Variation of Braised Potatoes, Ten Ways)
Page: HCTE p. 343
Rating: *****

I liked this recipe so much that it made it onto full tummies! The leftovers (the broth and any remaining potatoes/sausage) make a great base for a potato soup the next night--just cook a few extra potatoes in the broth the next night. I haven't tried this with beer, but I bet it would be good!

Serving Suggestions: Pair with a salad and some hearty bread

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wine-Braised Potatoes with Bacon (Variation)

Recipe: Wine-Braised Potatoes with Bacon (Variation on Braised Potatoes, Ten Ways)
Page: HCTE p. 343
Rating: *****

I loved his Braised Potatoes with Sausage variation so much I put that recipe on full tummies. This one might make it there, too! It makes a terrific "main dish" for a light meal and is a terrific way to use up that last 1/2-1 cup of wine that's not terribly drinkable, but not turned into vinegar. These potatoes are fully in our rotation (or at least one of the variations). I omit the onion and follow his directions to a "T." If I only have 1/2 cup wine, then I just add water to fill in.

One note: Mark says this makes 4 servings, but in my experience, it makes more--particularly if you're planning to use this as a side dish. It's also best with thick-cut bacon (I use about 2 slices). Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spaghetti with Pesto

Recipe: Spaghetti with Pesto
Page: HCTE p. 507
Rating: *****

How can you go wrong with freshly cooked pasta and homemade pesto? Enough said.

Spaghetti with Butter and Parmesan

Recipe: Spaghetti with Butter and Parmesan
Page: HCTE p. 506
Rating: *****

Move over, Macaroni and Cheese! This is one of our go to recipes--quick and tasty. It's less fattening than mac-n-cheese, too, since it's not loaded with cream sauce on top of the cheese. It does have a significant amount of butter in it, but otherwise it wouldn't taste good or keep you full for any length of time. We add peas to it (an addition he recommends), but it's good plain and simple. It benefits from a sprinkling of good salt at the table.

Here's the recipe link.

Pasta Carbonara (Variation)

Recipe: Pasta Carbonara (variation of Pasta with Pancetta and Pecorino)
Page: HCTE p. 506
Rating: ****

I'm a big fan of Pasta Carbonara: it's quick, relatively healthy (the bacon and eggs provide your protein--they're not any more fattening than an entree that's meat based!), and inexpensive. It's also tasty. Mark's version is great; you do have to dirty up a few dishes in the process and have everything ready to go as soon as the pasta is done cooking. That being said, the process is easy to master. I heat a big pottery bowl with hot water (from the tap) and let it sit while I saute the bacon (I do not add all the drippings to the eggs/cheese later like he suggests). I also grate the cheese. Then I start a pot of water boiling for the pasta. I add the pasta to the boiling water when the bacon is nearly done. I have the eggs beaten and ready to go in another bowl. When the bacon is done and cooled slightly, the pasta is about 2 minutes away from being done, and the eggs and cheese are ready and waiting, the fun begins: dump out the hot water from the big bowl, add bacon, eggs, and cheese to the bowl. Drain the pasta and immediately toss it with the bacon and eggs. The eggs will cook enough to be safe, but should give you a creamy sauce. Mmmmmm