The Pleasures of Roots

Text and photos by Mark Bittman

The winter CSA at Glynwood (located in New York’s Hudson Valley), in a good week, provides us with more winter vegetables than anyone other than a full-time vegan with the time to cook nonstop could handle. This means two or three types of cabbage, a gorgeous array of winter squash (some of which, like the spectacular fairy squash, are new to me), onions, leeks and other alliums, and, of course, roots: black and watermelon radishes, a variety of turnips, beets, potatoes, parsnips, carrots…what am I missing?

I like eating some of these roots raw—the best turnips taste better to me raw, there’s nothing like thin-sliced kohlrabi with a sprinkle of salt, I don’t have to tell you how good a carrot can be, and I love raw beet salad with vinaigrette. But there is a very practical limit to how much of this you can indulge in, and, as my friend Kerri once said to me when I went on a raw-vegetable binge, it is defined by your stomach’s ability to act as a juicer. When raw, these babies are not that easy to digest. Continue reading

Posted in Produce

Make Mine Pecan

Text and photos by Pam Hoenig

I am a huge fan of pecans (and pecan pie), so deciding to make Pecan-Caramel Bars from How to Bake Everything was a total no-brainer.

I’ve never made layered bars before and it ended up being a snap. A buttery dough with just a bit of sugar gets pressed into the bottom of a 9-inch square pan, then baked until the edges brown and pull away from the pan, about 15 minutes. Continue reading

Posted in Baking

When Chips Just Aren’t Enough: Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Text and photos by Kate Bittman

I made the Chocolate Chunk Cookies from How to Bake Everything yesterday in a ridiculously short amount of time. The dough took only 5 minutes to put together, then I stuck it in the fridge to tend to a (lovely) needy baby, pulled it out later that night after said child was sleeping, plunked rounded tablespoons onto baking sheets, baked for 9 minutes at 375 degrees, and was eating melty warm cookies (I did not abide by the “cool for about 3 to 5 minutes” instruction) almost immediately after I was done with dinner. Continue reading

Posted in Baking

Recipe for a Healthy Food System

For years, I’ve talked about what I like to call “less-meatarianism” – an attempt to move away from the all-or-nothing mantras of dietary restrictions and think about incremental investments that we as eaters can make in a healthier and more sustainable food system.

Eating less and better meat makes sense from just about every perspective. At this point, we know that reducing meat consumption and eating more plant-based foods promotes better health (something the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are finally talking about, though not explicitly enough). Beyond our health, decreasing meat consumption could have far-reaching implications for industrial meat production and its practices that we know are damaging to our environment, our workers, and our animals’ welfare. Continue reading

Posted in Food Politics

Healthy Holiday Baking: Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Text and photo by Emily Stephenson

For the lead up to the holidays, we’re baking Mark’s favorite cookies from How to Bake Everything and sharing the recipes here. I chose these Banana Oatmeal Cookies , even though I was skeptical about the amount of butter (low) and sugar (even lower) they contained.  Continue reading

Posted in Baking

Chocolate Almond Holiday Cookies

Text and photos by Mark Bittman

I have always loved chocolate-almond cookies, but some are better than others. To me, the ideal has these qualities: Continue reading

Posted in Baking

Puzder’s Record on Food Labor

Here are a few words by Jose Oliva and the Food Chain Workers Alliance about the proposed new Labor Secretary, possibly Trump’s worst appointment yet (although given the others, that’s not for sure):

Andy Puzder is a completely unacceptable choice for Labor Secretary. An avowed enemy of restaurant industry reforms, his past is riddled with class action wage theft lawsuits, sexist remarks, and falsehoods that paint wage increases as ‘job-killers,’ minimum wage earners as entitled teenagers, and his own employees as lazy welfare recipients. His nomination threatens the incredible gains our members in the restaurant industry such as ROC United have made over the past eight years, including eliminating the subminimum wage and establishing One Fair Wage for all workers. Contrary to what Puzder and his associates at the National Restaurant Association would have you believe, restaurant workers are largely women and people of color, making as little as $2.13 per hour, and thus relying on tips to survive. As a result, they face disproportionate rates of poverty, discrimination, and sexual harassment. They deserve a Labor Secretary that believes, as Dr. King once said, that all labor has dignity. On behalf of the nation’s 21.5 million hard-working food-chain workers and the 12 million restaurant workers, the Food Chain Workers Alliance and the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United opposes the nomination of Andy Puzder as Labor Secretary.

Posted in Food Politics

No-Knead Bread, 10 Years Later

I was sitting at my desk at the Times 10 years ago when Jim Lahey – whom I knew only by reputation – emailed me: “I have a new method of making bread that requires no kneading and can give you professional results at home.”

I started baking bread in 1970, and, when my friend Charlie Van Over developed what I still believe is the best food processor method there is, I adopted that and never looked back. But Lahey’s invitation was intriguing, and, besides, Sullivan St. Bakery was a 10 minute walk from the Times. (Not, as you might imagine, on Sullivan Street, but on 47th Street.) Why the hell not?

It was a period during which the Times was experimenting with video, and I was one of the lucky guinea pigs. So on a bright November day (Jim insists it was election day 2006; I have no recollection), I walked over with two video people, we watched Jim do his thing, I wrote it up, the video people edited, and …. It became one of the most popular stories in the history of the Times.

That level of popularity was a peculiar confluence of events, but that bread recipe (which I used yesterday, and will tomorrow, barely unchanged from the original), has legs. That original description by Jim remains true, and literally millions of people now make bread according to Jim’s instructions.

A few weeks ago, just before election day 2016, I met two video people from Food & Wine at Sullivan Street (which hasn’t changed much) and we taped a reunion, with Jim commenting on and critiquing my technique (which evidently isn’t bad). You can watch (the extremely abridged version) here. As you can tell – we had fun.

Posted in Baking

The Relish Tray Spreads Out

Text and Photo by Kerri Conan

My youth was dotted with pecan-crusted cheese balls, the hub of every respectable 1960’s aluminum party platter. The display varied from hostess to hostess—and competed for coffee-table real estate with full ashtrays and empty highball glasses—but relish trays were an obligation taken seriously. There might be devilled eggs and vegetables marinated in red wine vinegar and dried oregano. Cubes of salami and bacon-wrapped cocktail onions. We kids ate canned black olives we had stuck on our fingertips as we ran outside to play; the adults dragged a Ritz through the artichoke dip on their way to the bar.

Now, as an adult, I can hardly go a day without an assortment of piquant snacks, especially during the holidays. And my guests are frequently subjected to the same fate. But instead of confining the selection to a tray, I scatter little bowls and plates across the whole dining room table and call it “The Relish Spread.” Continue reading

Posted in American, Cocktails

Get Bitt and a Giveaway

As I hope you’ve heard, I’ve published a new cookbook: How To Bake Everything. Its goal (sort of as usual in this series), is to teach you how to bake … well, many things. Simply, reliably, and well.

Equally exciting, I also just released the pilot episode of my new podcast, Get Bitt. If you’ve ever wondered what a day in my life is like, Get Bitt provides the answer: I cook, I interview a couple of folks, I feed pigs on Glynwood farm (where I’m living), I wisecrack. Many think it’s a hoot.

In listening to it, I’ve noticed that I say the word “awesome” a lot. (I’m going to stop, soon. Right after this.) So I’m announcing a contest—an awesome contest. Listen to the pilot episode of Get Bitt, and count how many times I say “awesome.” The first 20 correct responses will get a signed copy of How To Bake Everything.

As a bonus challenge, I offer you this: The pilot also features two very obscure American garage rock songs from the ’60s. The first person who can figure out the name of each song and the band that recorded it will get a complete signed Everything collection. (That’s five big fat books!)

The podcast is embedded below. Email your responses to getbitt@markbittman.com. Contest ends on December 23rd and winners will be notified shortly thereafter. Enjoy, and good luck!

Posted in Mark Bittman Books