Mark Bittman, you're my hero.

As a faithful and persistent public library patron, I recently realized while logged in to my online library account that the copy of How to Cook Everything that I had borrowed from the library was not actually, according to the library, in my possession. Some computer error was surely at fault. I would never sneak something anything out of the library! I can't say that keeping the cookbook didn't cross my mind ("They may not even know it's gone!"), and I even mentioned this idea aloud to my sister. However, like the moral compass that a big sister should be, she firmly told me to return the book to the library.

Ok, ok, I wasn't actually going to...steal...a library book. What kind of person do you think I am? If everyone stole library books....

So, much to my delight, after returning from vacation, I noticed that my house now owns a copy of this glorious cookbook. (I've found that one of the benefits of living with four people is sharing cookbooks.) Who knows where that library book had been anyway? ick.

In an effort to use some of this week's share, but also make a simple chicken dish, and maybe learn some new (but easy) cooking techniques, I reached for the Bittman bible and found the recipe for sautéed chicken cutlets with a quick sauce of white wine and tomatoes. It's sort of like this recipe from Bittman's NYT blog. The book's recipe called for unseasoned bread crumbs or plain flour, but I used panko bread crumbs because the Barefoot Contessa thinks that they are more crunchy. And if Bittman is some kind of Prince Simple-Food-Know-It-All, well Ina Garten might be the Princess of the same domain.

Along with the chicken, I made a simple salad of greens, cucumber and yellow cherry tomatoes and a vinaigrette of apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and olive oil. Voilá, a tasty, quick, and uncomplicated meal!

In addition to making something delicious and simple, I also accomplished some culinary skill-building: I dredged, I sautéed, I reduced, I cored, scored, boiled, peeled and de-seeded tomatoes, and I made my own variations to the recipe.

Bittman, I promise, someday I'll buy your cookbook, but for now I think I'm going to spend a lot of time here.

1 comment:

  1. i rank nobility of cooking gurus by one simple measure: how irritable they get when other people are in the kitchen with them.

    1) Julia Child. there was a show on with her and Jacques Pepin (no slouch) and she seemed SO AGGRIVATED with him trying to be friendly and chatty. they were making the original caesar salad, which she apparently ate at Caesar Cardini's restaurant in Tijuana when she was a child, and he kept asking whether there were anchovies in the recipe (there weren't) and what to do if you wanted to put them in. she basically said SHUT THE FUCK UP NO ANCHOVIES EVER. it was amazing.

    2) Lidia Matticchio Bastianich. she is basically my grandmother and as such will tell you what to do at all times in an indirect but unsubtle way. i love it.

    3) Christopher Kimball. he knows he is a badass (founded Cook's Illustrated, went to Columbia, wears a bowtie at all times, even when showering), and as such, he goes into the tasting or testing labs and says THIS BALSAMIC VINEGAR TASTES LIKE PEASANT SHIT ON A HOT DAY. not grandmotherly enough for the top spots but very cranky in his own way.