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

Posted in Mark Bittman Books

9 Ways to Cook Chicken Breasts People Will Actually Love


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