Anyone CAN Cook
July 18, 2007 9:09 AM   Subscribe

Anyone CAN Cook [NY Times link] 101 incredibly simple 10-minute recipes from Mark Bittman.
posted by dersins (70 comments total) 252 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love Mark Bittman, and stuff like this is why.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:16 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bittman's awesome - "How to Cook Everything" totally trumps "Joy of Cooking" in my book.
posted by jbickers at 9:18 AM on July 18, 2007


So bookmarked. I feel exactly like this now... it's just too hot to do more than scramble eggs or make a cucumber salad. Bleh. Forecast for Monday here is 44C/111F. Tralala.
posted by taz at 9:19 AM on July 18, 2007


I have Bittman's book "How to Cool Everything" and was surprised to find many of the recipes we made from it bland. This list looks promising though.
posted by gwint at 9:19 AM on July 18, 2007


My favorite 10 minute recipe for summer:

drop the following in a blender:

1.5 (whole) roma tomatoes, chopped
.5 cups lemon juice
2 tbs nama shoyu
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs chopped yelow onion
3 cloves peeled garlic
1 cup sundried tomatoes
pinch of sea salt

blend.

Makes a delicious, thick marinara. Pour over your favorite cold pasta,* stir.

*of which mine is long noodles made out of raw zuccinni with a saladaco or similar device.

Recipe stolen from Matt Amsden's Rawvolution.
posted by dobbs at 9:23 AM on July 18, 2007 [7 favorites]


Thanks so much for the link, dersins -- this is wonderful. There's nothing radically new in any of Bittman's suggestions, but my god, it's useful to have such a great master list to scroll through for ideas, on those days when it's so hot and miserable that I usually just end up standing in my kitchen, dripping sweat and whimpering and eating cottage cheese out of the carton.
posted by Kat Allison at 9:25 AM on July 18, 2007


nama shoyu (soy sauce) in a marinara may be a fusion too far in my books.
posted by rhymer at 9:41 AM on July 18, 2007


Excellent, now I know what I'm making for dinner.
posted by amro at 9:42 AM on July 18, 2007


It's cool and rainy right now here in SF. Can I still use some of these recipes...?
posted by twsf at 9:42 AM on July 18, 2007


These are fine, tasty and easy recipes. But he's preaching to the choir (NYT) readers. The problem in the US (and the UK where I live as well) is that the great foodie unwashed can't even be bothered with ten minutes, especially as it involves shopping too.

As the joke goes, French peasant food is cassoulet. Our peasant food is KFC.
posted by rhymer at 9:46 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


or a fusion not far enough... I'd be tempted to add thai basil (or italian basil and maybe mint) and possibly ginger...

love how the list is quite heavy on the vegetable and fish side.
posted by dorian at 9:47 AM on July 18, 2007


Fantastic list. Thank you!!!!
posted by k8t at 9:52 AM on July 18, 2007


I hate to sound trad, but I find that Thai basil in Italian dishes is overpowering and Italian basil in Thai dishes is OK, but a bit limp. Fusion food can be good, but most ingredients work better within their frame of reference.
posted by rhymer at 9:55 AM on July 18, 2007


Man, Mark Bittman is so cool. His "Best Recipes in the World" book (I think that's what it's called?) is great.
posted by rossination at 9:56 AM on July 18, 2007


nama shoyu (soy sauce) in a marinara may be a fusion too far in my books.

It's just adding the same sort of umami flavor that would be added by using something more traditionally italian like, say, minced anchovies.

Only, y'know, vegan.

And raw.
posted by dersins at 9:56 AM on July 18, 2007


Okay ... someone give me a 10-minute Tuna Salad recipe.
posted by RavinDave at 9:57 AM on July 18, 2007


Yeah, yeah ... I saw:

25 Upscale tuna salad: good canned tuna (packed in olive oil), capers, dill or parsley, lemon juice but no mayo. Use to stuff a tomato or two.


... but no mayo ????
posted by RavinDave at 9:59 AM on July 18, 2007


Uh, theres one on the list, Ravin Dave.

And here's another one.
posted by dersins at 10:00 AM on July 18, 2007


There is a very good Indonesian dish that combines tomatoes, ginger, fish sauce, pineapple, onion, garlic and tofu. The result is sweet, sour, salty, fast and delicious. I daresay you could use that veggie Magi seasoning instead of the fish sauce - it's a passable, if not ideal, substitute.
posted by rhymer at 10:01 AM on July 18, 2007


How to Cook Everything's already been mentioned, but add mine to the list of recommendations.
posted by sparkletone at 10:01 AM on July 18, 2007


Great list! I've a summer suggestion too:

Five minute chip dip (this seems to be love or hate, but I'm a big fan): 1 banana, 1 avocado. Put in blender. Blend to your taste. Serve in bowl.
posted by invitapriore at 10:10 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I spent most of Saturday watchng Man vs Wild on the discovery channel watching that guy eat grubs, maggots and sheep eyeballs.

At some point during the marathon, I walked into my kitchen which is loaded with cans of food, etc, and thought to myself: "I don't have anything to eat."

I felt kind of bad about myself.

This list will help :)
posted by empath at 10:16 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like this lots, but some of these are not 10 minute recipes.

Sear corn kernels in olive oil with minced jalapeños and chopped onions; toss with cilantro, black beans, chopped tomatoes, chopped bell pepper and lime.

Cutting, chopping, mincing and dicing takes a little time. I'm not saying tons, but more than 10 minutes, for me, anyways.
posted by nuclear_soup at 10:22 AM on July 18, 2007


12. Boil a lobster. Serve with lemon or melted butter.

Is there really nothing else I need to know about that? I appreciate concision, but I don't think that's an experiment I'm going to try on the basis of two short sentences. Especially with the price of lobster these days. And the fact that you have to boil them alive. (shudders).
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:27 AM on July 18, 2007


nuclear_soup: I think the purpose of the list is not so much 'here's a list of meals that you can prepare in exactly 10 minutes.' I think it's more of 'here's a list of meals that won't keep your stove on for more than 10 minutes (if at all.) Good dinner that can be prepared in the heat of the summer!
posted by JohnFredra at 10:27 AM on July 18, 2007


And the fact that you have to boil them alive. (shudders).

Well, you can put them in the freezer which makes them a bit stoned and slow and takes away the death thrashes. But really if you're going to eat it, you should be prepared to kill it.

If this is too gross, start small with, say, mussels and work your way up the food chain. Before long you'll be chasing wild board on a quad bike with a bowie knife.
posted by rhymer at 10:31 AM on July 18, 2007


How to boil a lobster:

1. 1 inch of water in a large pot, bring to boil
2. Insert live lobster, put lid on, wait till steam starts escaping, count to 18 minutes.
2. Serve.

(from "The Secret Life of Lobster" by Trevor Corson)
posted by stbalbach at 10:33 AM on July 18, 2007


Awesome source for ideas, in Arizona we get real excited about summer meals that don't heat up the house. Here's my contribution:
Shrimp with Basil, Garlic, and Tomatoes

Five ingredients plus salt, ten minutes of prep and five of cooking gets you incredible flavor. Great on crusty bread as an appetizer, or tossed with pasta as a main course.
posted by TungstenChef at 10:34 AM on July 18, 2007


Before long you'll be chasing wild board on a quad bike with a bowie knife.

Aren't boards in their wild form basically just trees? I'd think a handsaw would be more effective than a bowie knife. I'd also think that not too much chasing would be involved.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:36 AM on July 18, 2007 [6 favorites]


The butter (for the lobster) is surely clarified & seasoned, no?
posted by RavinDave at 10:41 AM on July 18, 2007


Sorry, boar. I had a big lunch, as they used to say.
posted by rhymer at 10:47 AM on July 18, 2007


Ah, good point. It is hard to kill a wild boar with a handsaw. Especially if you're really drunk.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:52 AM on July 18, 2007


Ah, good point. It is hard to kill a wild boar with a handsaw. Especially if you're really drunk.

Yet another item of information on the long list that would have been much more useful to me before last night.

White beans, tuna, capers, lemon, minced red onion, olive oil, salt, chopped up tomato served on lettuce is a big deal this summer around my house.
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:06 AM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Mine too, Divine_Wino.
posted by dersins at 11:10 AM on July 18, 2007


Nice little post. Thanks!

And, yes, "How to Cook Everything" has supplanted "Joy" for me as well. Sorry gwint... everything I've tried in Bittman's book has been a winner - both the recipes (did beef stew that was great) and general tips (his cooking times are spot-on).
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 11:33 AM on July 18, 2007


Nice post; this list will come in handy when the school year starts up again, too.

gwint, I agree with you - I love "How to Cook Everything" for everything except the seasoning on a lot of the recipes. I've had the same problem with all of the other Bittman books I've tried (mainly the Minimalist books). Thankfully, seasoning is pretty easy to correct, and it's a personal preference anyhow. I find Bittman's basic techniques very reliable (as evidenced by the destroyed spine of my copy of HTCE) - now I just taste as I go.
posted by Knicke at 11:48 AM on July 18, 2007


His "Best Recipes in the World" book (I think that's what it's called?) is great.

I have been enjoying his "Best Recipes in the World" television series on PBS this summer. Other videos: New York Times and at Bittman's website.
posted by ericb at 11:57 AM on July 18, 2007


Bittman's own website for "Best Recipes in the World" book and television series is here.

Episode guide.
posted by ericb at 12:00 PM on July 18, 2007


Just curious: is this post's title a "Ratatouille" reference?
posted by chinese_fashion at 12:03 PM on July 18, 2007


is this post's title a "Ratatouille" reference?

Sort of. I mean, "cooking's really not that hard, I promise" is a sentiment I often try to impress on people who claim they can't cook, but that particular phrasing of it was probably on my mind because of the movie.

Which movie, by the way, is FUCKING AWESOME.
posted by dersins at 12:09 PM on July 18, 2007


I prefer How to Cook for Humans.

Seriously, I'm a terrible cook.

Like 'the Geneva Convention has edicts against me', terrible. Honestly, I shouldn't even be let into a kitchen for fear that I could turn some carrots, vegetable oil, and flour into Sarin gas.

posted by quin at 12:22 PM on July 18, 2007


love how the list is quite heavy on the vegetable and fish side.

I'd be happier if it were a bit less heavy on the fish side. A little piece of fish, maybe big enough for two, at the local supermarket last week was $11.30, the same price as an entire 12-serving beef roast. I can't afford $11.30 for one meal's worth of meat.

Don't even ask how much it would have been at the seafood store. My line of credit isn't that good.
posted by watsondog at 12:23 PM on July 18, 2007


I agree that the recipes from "How to Cook Everything" can be a little bland

BUT

as an inexperienced cook, I found that the book provided a good basic education in how to prepare food and provided hints for further exploration. If I didn't like the results, I certainly felt free to experiment. Nothing in any cookbook is written in stone.

And I have to give mad props -- as the kids say -- to a cookbook that tries to introduce exotica like teff to Middle America.
posted by jason's_planet at 12:40 PM on July 18, 2007


Yeah. Still not making me cook. Also, am I the only person who rarely finds recipes that make something they want to eat? I have not done careful research or anything, but every time I look at a cook book or list, I just find things unappetizing and stop. And go back to Trader Joes.
posted by dame at 12:42 PM on July 18, 2007


But, dame, what are the Trader Joe's packaged foods you do find appetizing? Chances are it's not that hard to replicate them at home in a way that's significantly healthier AND tastier.
posted by dersins at 12:55 PM on July 18, 2007


It is significantly more effort than I am willing to put forward. Because it is hard and I only have so much time. Chopping makes me sad. Buying raw ingredients means I have to eat the same shit over and over and it all inevitably goes bad. If you like cooking, then it is worth the time. But if you don't? No way. And all the quick recipes are lies.
posted by dame at 1:02 PM on July 18, 2007


Hm. Posted too soon. As far as I have ever found, food I like is too time consuming to make, and "quick" recipes are either bland, meat, or not actually quick.
posted by dame at 1:04 PM on July 18, 2007


watsondog - If you're paying that much you must be buying top end fish like halibut or Chilean sea bass. It's more fair to compare those to a quality steak than a pot roast. I live in the middle of the desert and I can buy two (high quality frozen) servings of any of the following for $6 or under:
mahi mahi
farmed salmon
shrimp
mussels
clams
cod
haddock
catfish
tilapia
posted by TungstenChef at 1:06 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Chilean sea bass

You shouldn't be eating patagonian toothfish anyway.
posted by dersins at 1:13 PM on July 18, 2007


You know what sucks about fish? Being allergic to it.

All the fish recipes are not only useless to me, but actually make me sad.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:14 PM on July 18, 2007


These will come in handy. Thanx!

I generally hate recipes on the Food Network because they always seem to have ONE ingredient that is impossible to find; Alaskan Yak tendons, blue cantaloupe rind, powdered Snipe pizzle, whatever.
posted by RavinDave at 1:29 PM on July 18, 2007


*jumps into the Amazon-mobile*
posted by flippant at 1:35 PM on July 18, 2007


As far as I have ever found, food I like is too time consuming to make, and "quick" recipes are either bland, meat, or not actually quick.

Good vegetarian food is, in general, more difficult and time-consuming to make than omnivore food. Vegetarian proteins need more treatment than meat to make them taste good. A steak is great slapped on the grill but tofu needs a little more love. Vegetables need to be washed, peeled and chopped but meat is often cooked whole from the package. Finally, vegetables are just more finicky. Their water content varies a lot more so it's harder for a recipe to predict cooking times and seasoning amounts. Five minutes of cooking may make perfect green beans today or flavorless mush tomorrow.
posted by TungstenChef at 2:08 PM on July 18, 2007


sour cream in scrambled eggs, try it. Courtesy of Johnny Sack...right before Tony Soprano offed him.
posted by mikehayes19 at 2:56 PM on July 18, 2007


Tungsten: funny I have no problem cooking veggies, but I'm always afraid of screwing up the meat I cook. Maybe part of it is because meat costs so much more, or has more sanitary issues, but that's not the only reason. You chop up a few veggies, quickly steam or sautee them with some flavorings (or a little bit of meat) and voila, veggies. And once you start getting into whole birds or roasts the difficulties with meat grow exponentially.
posted by aspo at 3:10 PM on July 18, 2007


sour cream in scrambled eggs

If someone offered me that, I'd beg them to kill me. Sour cream is the source of overpowering blandness that destroys any true flavor within range.
posted by dame at 3:14 PM on July 18, 2007


Oh and my favorite "it's hot I don't want to cook" recipe.

Cut kernels off a few ears of corn. Add a bit of smashed garlic, a few cut tomatoes (skinned if you feel like it) salt, pepper, basil, chili flakes and a bit too much olive oil. Let sit while you make pasta. Add pasta and some cubed fresh motzerella. Toss. Serve with parmesean.

You can add all sorts of other veggies to that base, Some cooked, some fresh, some you can even add frozen with the pasta. So simple. So good.
posted by aspo at 3:16 PM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


This is fantastic -- thanks, dersins! Timely, too: I was just wandering around Powell's with a friend who wants to learn to cook. We scoped out classics like Joy of Cooking and The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (which looked really good, actually) but a really simple selection like this is a much less intimidating way to for a novice to get started. I'll definitely be checking out Bittman's book as well.
posted by melissa may at 3:40 PM on July 18, 2007


Oh, and in the spirit of the thread, one of my favorite easy recipes is to lightly saute (over medium heat) a few cloves of garlic in a teaspoon of olive oil, then add a 6 oz. to 1 pound of spinach leaves with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until almost wilted (maybe 5 minutes), then throw in some capers and a squeeze of lemon juice for the last minute or two. The result is really delicious whether served on a bed of rice with fish or on naked pasta (or with a marinara). I love simple recipes.
posted by melissa may at 3:52 PM on July 18, 2007


mikehayes19, that was Ralph Cifaretto, actually, played by the incomparable Joey Pants. Sour cream's not bad, mostly because it cools down the eggs. But for the best I use Gordon Ramsay's low-heat high-butter technique, which was linked here on the blue a while back.
posted by lackutrol at 3:52 PM on July 18, 2007


If I ever write a cookbook, it'll be entitled Make Simple Dishes Insanely More Complicated for Proportionally Smaller Reward or something like that. An example:

Bruschetta

1 loaf French bread
3 Tomatoes
3 Cloves garlic
1 package shitake mushrooms
butter
red wine
1 onion
salt
pepper

slice bread, lay out on cookie sheet
dice tomatoes, put tomatoes in tossing bowl
dice onion, sautee until golden brown, add to bowl
preheat over to 300 degrees
WITHOUT DRAINING pan, add finely chopped garlic.
Add butter to pan, and sautee the garlic until black. every couple minutes, drain butter onto the bread, and then add more. Once garlic is completely burnt, add to bowl
drain rest of butter onto the cookie sheet, and put bread into oven.
sautee mushrooms in red wine. add to bowl.
toss bowl contents thoroughly, chill for an hour.
remove bread once ready (keep an eye on it)
spread chilled contents of bowl over each individual piece of bread.

This will make a great appetizer, to tide over your guests while you begin to make dinner, as all of your kitchen will have been tied up for about two hours!

(I expect my book to sell like $80, raisin-truffle hotcakes)
posted by Navelgazer at 3:53 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


oh! and add salt and pepper to the mix to taste! I always forget something.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:56 PM on July 18, 2007


a friend who wants to learn to cook.

Bittman notwithstanding, in my opinion the single best all-around cookbook for novice or intermediate cooks is probably The New Best Recipe, from the same America's Test Kitchen people.

It doesn't just tell you what to do, it tells you why. Simple master recipes are followed by flavor variations, and accompanied by ingredient, technique, and equipment tips.

I find it totally indispensable, and recommend it heartily to anyone who cooks.
posted by dersins at 3:57 PM on July 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


Am I the only one who read 'Put a few dozen washed littlenecks in a large, hot skillet with olive oil,' and thought of The Land Before ThymeTime?
posted by eritain at 4:02 PM on July 18, 2007


Thanks for that too, dersins. I've sent this thread to him so your recommendation will be very useful.

Man, between this and that salmon recipe you posted a while back (to say nothing of all those great restaurant recommendations), you've made me a lot less hungry and a lot more happy. I really appreciate it.
posted by melissa may at 4:47 PM on July 18, 2007


I was just wandering around Powell's with a friend who wants to learn to cook.

melissa may -- I also recommend for your friend: Basic Cooking by Jennifer L. Newens and Sebastian Dickhaut. Great design, easy to read, all of the basics described and a host of handy reference material (e.g. Vegetable Calendar, Fruit Calendar, Handy Measurements, etc.). He/she may also enjoy watching the PBS series Everyday Food and its companion magazine.
posted by ericb at 5:00 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I, too, endorse anything out of America's Test Kitchen. When stumped for gift ideas for friends who enjoy cooking, I always fall-back on purchasing subscriptions to ATK's Cook's Illustrated magazine/journal.
posted by ericb at 5:07 PM on July 18, 2007


12. Boil a lobster. Serve with lemon or melted butter.

Is there really nothing else I need to know about that? I appreciate concision, but I don't think that's an experiment I'm going to try on the basis of two short sentences. Especially with the price of lobster these days. And the fact that you have to boil them alive. (shudders).


So google it and find out how. This list is not a cookbook. Most of the items on it assume you know how long, how hot, etc., and if you don't, you know where to find out.
posted by beagle at 5:26 PM on July 18, 2007


"Heh, come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it; ya make sure it doesn't stick. You get it to a boil; you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs; heh…? And a little bit o' wine. An' a little bit o' sugar, and that's my trick."

The Godfather's Spaghetti Sauce
posted by evilcolonel at 7:50 PM on July 18, 2007


I love to cook, but sadly, most of this list just reminds me of the multitude of ingredients I simply can't buy here in Korea. *cries*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:59 PM on July 19, 2007


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