Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday's recipe links - Minimalist style

This edition of links is going to be kind of focused. See, Mark Bittman (the man my husband allows me to worship) is ending his Minimalist column in the New York Times. He isn't retiring, simply moving on to pursue endeavours related to his new passion - campaigning for a return to real food on our tables. To that end, he will be advocating for eaters' rights in the opinion pages of the Times and in his new blog. He will also be featured in a new weekly column in the New York Times Magazine. Of course, you can also buy his new books Food Matters and the The Food Matters Cookbook.

The ending of the Minimalist column is a pretty big deal for some of us home cooks. We have turned to it weekly to get a dose of practical cooking advice and easy, doable recipes. Along the way, we have been exposed to new cuisines, innovative techniques and cool ingredients...and, Lord almighty, no-knead bread (can I get an amen?!). In recent years, we have been educated about eating better, for both ourselves and the planet.

In honour of his last column, Mark selected his 25 favourite recipes. I will include each of them here, along with a few of my favourites - because it's my blog and I can. :-) Many of these recipes are beautiful examples of how vegetables can be the star of a meal. Others are for dishes that are just flat out delicious - and delicious food is an important part of a happy life.

In the first list, the words are Mark's. In the second, they're mine.
  1. RED PEPPER PUR√ČE The first Minimalist. Check out the roasting technique; it works. (Published Sept. 17, 1997)
  2. CHICKEN UNDER A BRICK So popular that a group in Santa Cruz, Calif., made a T-shirt that reads, “We love chicken under a brick.” (Oct. 22, 1997)
  3. PEAR, GORGONZOLA AND MESCLUN SALAD Not my invention, but truly a ’90s classic. (Nov. 19, 1997)
  4. SPAGHETTI WITH FRIED EGGS Made this the other night; insanely easy and soothing. (March 10, 1999)
  5. BRAISED SQUID WITH ARTICHOKES Braised fish, artichokes, sometimes potatoes, always garlic and powerful olive oil; that’s Liguria. (April 28, 1999)
  6. PASTA ALLA GRICIA The basis for some of the simplest and best pasta dishes I know. (Nov. 8, 2000)
  7. PUMPKIN PANNA COTTA The headline on this Thanksgiving column said it all: “No Time for Crust? Who Needs It, Anyway?” (Nov. 22, 2000)
  8. WATERMELON AND TOMATO SALAD A Jean-Georges Vongerichten special; especially good with feta. (July 24, 2002)
  9. 45-MINUTE ROAST TURKEY Many readers swear by this one. (Nov. 20, 2002)
  10. CRISP-BRAISED DUCK LEGS WITH AROMATIC VEGETABLES This has many of the qualities of duck confit — but no fussiness. (Dec. 25, 2002)
  11. SICHUAN CHICKEN WITH CHILIES Overcook the chicken, overdo the chilies, you’ll be happy. (Sept. 3, 2003)
  12. BLACK COD BROILED WITH MISO Yes, you can do this at home. (April 14, 2004)
  13. STIR-FRIED CHICKEN WITH KETCHUP Perhaps the highest and best use of ketchup. (May 12, 2004) 
  14. CORN SALAD WITH SOY AND TOMATO Soy and tomato is a marriage made in heaven; the corn adds crunch. (Aug. 17, 2005)
  15. PARSLEY-HERB SALAD Think of parsley as a green, not an herb, and you get the idea. (Sept. 7, 2005)
  16. SOCCA (FARINATA) From my first taste of this, I’ve been an addict. Best made at home. (Oct. 19, 2005) (It's Cyn - Judy - do you remember making these for me and Jon when Boomer was a baby? It wasn't Bittman's recipe; it came from a book from Bill or someone. I remember the taste like it was yesterday. You made little ones and we got so excited we ran around the kitchen finding different toppings for them and dreaming up future tapas dinner parties that featured them. So yummy! Thanks for giving me so many of my happy food memories!)
  17. STIR-FRIED LAMB WITH CHILI, CUMIN AND GARLIC As soon as I tasted this, in Flushing, Queens, I knew I had to make it. (Sept. 20, 2006)
  18. NO-KNEAD BREAD My most popular recipe, and it isn’t even mine. Credit Jim Lahey. (Nov. 8, 2006)
  19. SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH SHRIMP I know of no dish that exploits the texture of shrimp better. (Jan. 17, 2007)
  20. PERNIL Just the other day, a guy stopped me on the subway and said, “Your pernil is terrific.” It’s not really mine, but I made it that weekend, and it is terrific. (Jan. 2, 2008)
  21. SOUTH INDIAN EGGPLANT CURRY If you are an eggplant fan, this will really turn you on. If you’re not, this will make you one. (April 2, 2008)
  22. BRAISED TURKEY Cooked this way, turkey will remind you of pork. (Nov. 12, 2008)
  23. FENNEL AND CELERY SALAD My wife’s staple. Try it with toasted hazelnuts or pine nuts. (Nov. 26, 2008)
  24. MEXICAN CHOCOLATE TOFU PUDDING What? Yes. (May 20, 2009)
  25. MORE-VEGETABLE-LESS-EGG FRITTATA Just enough eggs to hold it together. One of those transformative recipes. (July 15, 2009)
And my favourites from the last few years (in addition to many of the above):
  1. Crunchy Granola (January 9, 2009) This is my granola. Take a look - no fat is added. At all. I sploosh in a little vanilla and use a combination of pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds (I'm allergic to tree nuts). I also use agave syrup for some of the honey. But that's just how I roll. 
  2. Tomato Soup with Bread (July 17, 2009) Makes me dream of summer.
  3. Grilled Bread Salad (June 30, 2008) Pretty and delish.
  4. Grilled Halibut with Remoulade (August 27, 2008) This is my go-to remoulade recipe. (But I usually sub basil in for the tarragon. My family understands this.)
  5. Pad Thai (April 16, 2010) Easy.
  6. Popovers (December 18, 2009) The man I married loves popovers as much as I do. I am suspicious of people who don't like popovers.
  7. Rhubarb crisp (May 19, 2010) The man I married loves rhubarb as much as I do. I am suspicious of people who don't like rhubarb.
  8. Simple Chocolate Layer Cake (November 30, 2009) My eldest child does not like chocolate cake, but I am not suspicious of him. He just takes after his Auntie Christi. It's not his fault. And that means...more chocolate cake for me! Woo hoo!  :-)
  9. Free form apple or pear tart (October 10, 2008) People think you are special when you whip up one of these. But it's actually harder to make a proper pie. Go figure. (My sister is the pie maker in our family - she got the pie gene from our Granny. The secret? Cold hands!)
  10. and last but not least, Brownies (May 22, 2008) They are sublime. Serve them with fresh raspberries. That there is an order.


  1. Cyn, Again, thanks for this wonderful resource. I checked out the brownie recipe first of course! My only complaint is that it's only an 8 inch square pan! ha. I love tomato soup so will have to try that one sometime too. Also, thanks for your comments on my blog, your last one where you said you cried, well your comment made me cry! I must be too emotional!! ha.

  2. Oh lord! Aren't we a pair? Thanks for checking in, as usual. I'll keep up the recipe posting - and I'll look for a larger brownie recipe. I suppose you could double this one. ;-)

  3. On the brownie thing (but lord knows why anyone would want to eat a brownie) Rocco Dispirito (sp?) was on Dr. Oz with a healthy brownie. He made it from black beans, that weird syrup you use, egg whites and cocoa. They said it ws fudgey but good. Apparently you can find it on Dr. Oz' website

  4. And here's the link:

    Thanks! I will try these. One odd thing - the name is fruit nut bars but there are no nuts in the recipe. It looks like they have simply sprinkled slivered almonds on top. Clearly, I won't be doing that. :-0

    Anyone reading this, that weird syrup I use is agave syrup.

  5. On the show he did not put fruit or nuts in them so I was taken aback by the name but this was the recipe. I think you call these brownies that make you fart!!

  6. Oh great - now the boys are really going to want to make these.

    Boomer did something funny today - he was requesting the blueberry-raspberry version of the muffins I make. It set him off on a long treatise on the relative merits of all berry combinations, how blackberry takes you too far away from the right sweet-sour mix of blueberry-raspberry and too much raspberry takes you too far into the tart...and on and on...OMG, I'm raising a foodie.

  7. It is nice to see that he appreciates your efforts and doesn't just say ewww...gross and throw the muffin at you in disgust!