And Now: How to Bake Everything

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When I started writing How to Cook Everything in 1994, I had no idea it would become a franchise. Now, 20-plus years, many thousands of recipes, and five doorstopper books later, I realize the initial title—which was sort of tongue in cheek—should have told me something.

With How to Bake Everything, the newest installment, I’ve taken what has become my expected (one could say “well-known”) approach—flexibility, improvisation, and variations—and applied it to over 1,000 sweet and savory recipes. Modesty aside, if you want to learn how to bake, this is the place.

Many people believe that you’re either a cook or a baker, that cooking is an art and baking a science, that one is left brain and one is right brain. Nah. Even if you identify as a “cook” and have never considered yourself a baker, baking has plenty to offer you, and, with the exception of a few fancy pastries, its rules aren’t nearly as ironclad as all that. Besides, baking is, at its very core, communal; you don’t make a cake unless you’re planning to share, and we celebrate almost every one of life’s milestones with one.

It is true that the skill sets are slightly different, but if you can cook, you can bake, and that means everything, from real puff pastry to chocolate soufflés to vegan brownies to whole grain pancakes. And, with just a little experience under your belt, you can decide for yourself which baking rules to follow, which to break, and how to put together a sweet or savory treat to fit with your diet, timeline, or whatever you happen to have in the house at that very moment.

How to Bake Everything comes out October 4th, but you can pre-order your copy now.

Thanks for all of your support over the years, and happy baking.

Posted in Baking, Mark Bittman Books

Golden, And Yes, Delicious: How to Deal With Cooked Apples

apples

When you transform an apple by cooking, you may make it soft, fluffy, chewy, savory, sweet, or creamy—the potential is enormous. Yes, an apple loses some juiciness and freshness when you cook it, but as an ingredient, it’s just as versatile as potato.

This matrix explores cooked apples in various forms, at least some of which (I hope) you’ll find unexpected. All of the sweet versions are wonderful for either dessert or breakfast, while the savory ones make terrific side dishes for just about anything roasted or pan-cooked.

For 12 apple recipes, read this excerpt from Kitchen Matrix, on sale today. Prepare one of these recipes, or one of your own, and tag #MatrixChallenge. To pick up a copy of the book, click here.

This is the last official week of the Matrix Challenge, but now that the book is available, I hope you’ll keep the spirit of the challenge alive. Get creative with your cooking. Improvise. Then show off your dishes. If you make something from the cookbook, or one of my recipes inspires you to share something new, share it. Be proud of your matrices.

For even more inspiration, check out one of my Pork and Apples +3 ways recipes from the cookbook on Skinnytaste.com.

Posted in Mark Bittman Books

9 Ways to Cook Chicken Breasts People Will Actually Love

Chicken

I used to be one of those people who ragged on boneless, skinless chicken breasts for being flavorless and dry. That was until I learned how not to overcook them.

In preparing chicken breasts, remember that they should be cooked only until the last traces of pink have vanished—and no longer. A thinnish breast subjected to high heat can be done in as little as 6 minutes, or it might take as long as 10 minutes or even a bit more—but never 20 minutes unless you are cooking the thing on a radiator.

Whatever you cook a chicken breast with is going to gain prominence, and whatever cooking method you use will have plenty of impact. This provides a good reason to keep things as simple as possible: a skillfully sautéed chicken breast with lemon juice is a beautiful thing. But gaining that skill takes some practice, and even for veterans, attention must be paid.

Here are nine of my favorite chicken recipes, all featured in The Matrix.

Cook one of these recipes this week, or share one of your own, using #MatrixChallenge. Just like last week, I’ll be sharing some of your dishes, and one person will win a 12-inch cast iron skillet from Lodge.

Posted in Mark Bittman Books