>How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman


Today’s dinner recipe comes from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything
When I worked for Williams-Sonoma, nearly eight years ago now, there was debate among the staff as to whether this book or the classic Joy of Cooking was a better all-around reference to have in your kitchen.  I was a proponent of the latter and never really considered purchasing Bittman’s book.  It was given to me as a gift last year, and this is the first time I’ve tested any of the recipes.

A few weeks ago I was in Harry’s Farmer’s Market (a.k.a. Whole Foods ), and decided to pick up a package of Quinoa.
I’d been hearing for the last year or so what a wonderful little food this was, but had not yet sampled it.  I put it in the buggy, purchased it, brought it home, put it in my pantry and promptly forgot about it over the hectic holidays.  As I was searching through my stores yesterday afternoon for something to make for dinner, I ran across it again.  
Luckily, Mr. Bittman had the forethought to include a couple of recipes in his mighty tome for this “supergrain” as he calls it.
I chose Quinoa with Roasted Corn and Broiled Fish Fillets since I also had some Tilapia fillets in my freezer that I needed to use.
I like this book so far, because it (like my old stand-by Joy) focuses more on technique than simply static recipes.  Bittman gives you tools that can translate to many different ingredients.
  These two recipes took a total of about 30 minutes to prepare, and they were a huge hit with both my 4-year-old son and my husband.  I’ll definitely be hanging onto this book for a little while longer.
Quinoa with Roasted Corn
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
(I used butter, because I like the flavor of it with corn, and I was out of olive oil)
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained very well
1 1/2 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock or water
Chopped fresh chives, chervil, parsley or cilantro leaves for garnish 
(I ommitted this last ingredient because I didn’t have any)
1.  Put oil in a skillet with a lid over medium high heat.  When hot, add the corn, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn begins to brown, about 10 minutes.
2.  Add the quinoa and stir; when the grains start popping and toasting, a couple minutes later, add the stock and bring to a boil.  Stir one last time, cover and reduce the heat to low.  Cook, undisturbed, for 15 minutes.
3.  Uncover and test the quinoa for doneness.  If the kernels are still sort of hard, make sure there’s enough liquid to keep the bottom of the pan moist, cover and cook for another 5 minutes or so.  When ready, taste, adjust the seasoning and garnish with the herbs, adding a few extra grinds of pepper.  Serve immediately or let cool to room temperature.
Broiled Fish Fillets
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or melted butter
About 1 1/2 pounds thin fish fillets, like flounder or sole
Salt and freshly ground black pepper or a pinch cayenne
Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish (optional)
Lemon wedges for serving 
(I used lime instead)
1.  Heat the broiler until quite hot.  Move the rack as close to the heat source as possible (3 or 4 inches is good and 2 inches is not too close).  Put a sturdy pan on the rack and heat it for about 5 minutes.
2. When it’s hot, remove the pan and pour in the oil, then put the fillets in the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (if your pan won’t hold all the fish comfortably, work in batches, transferring the first fillets to warmed plates or a heated platter before proceeding).  Time under the broiler will be 90 seconds to 2 minutes, rarely more.  Do not turn; the fillets are so thin it’s not necessary.  The fish is ready when it becomes opaque and the tip of a knife flakes the thickest part easily.
3.  To serve, carefully remove the fillets with a spatula, sprinkle with parsley if you like, and pour the pan juices over all.  Garnish with lemon (lime) wedges.

2 thoughts on “>How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

  1. >Well, I can't say I'll be trying the fish, but the Quinoa looks fascinating. I love grains (and corn) and this looks like something that B10 could help me cook. Can you find Quinoa anywhere? Or would I need to drive out to a Harry's/Whole Foods/Specialty Store?

  2. >LB – I'm not sure if it's readily available in regular grocery stores (I'm thinking Kroger or Publix might have it in their organic/whole foods sections). It's really tasty – kinda like a cross between rice and couscous. I even used it for a breakfast cereal yesterday, similar to oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins.

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