This Week’s Minimalist: Quick Preserved Lemons

So they’re not actually “preserved”, but you only have to wait hours instead of weeks. Give them a try.

Posted in Produce

Dinner with Bittman: Skate with Brown Butter, Honey, and Capers

Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Skate with Brown Butter, Honey, and Capers

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 20 minutes

Skate used to be a royal pain in the neck—it’s nearly impossible for home cooks to get the skin off—but now that almost all skate is filleted before it comes to market, we can simply sauté it just like any other fillets. Skate browns beautifully, which sets up this impressive pan sauce based on the classic beurre noisette, or “brown butter.” The honey helps balance the acidity of the capers and lends complexity.

Other seafood you can use: halibut (steaks or fillets), sea bass, red snapper, grouper, or other sturdy, white-fleshed fish, thick or thin; adjust the cooking time accordingly.

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Posted in Recipes, Seafood

Less-Meat Mondays: Cardamom-Scented Pear Crisp

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By Freya Bellin

Now that the weather has finally cooled down enough to use the oven again, I’ve been in the mood to bake.  With apples and pears coming into season, choosing a dessert wasn’t very difficult.  Apples may be the standard fruit for a crisp, but pears are a particularly good candidate because they tend to get a little beaten up between the market and home, and this is a great use for any that become mushy. 

This was my first time cooking with cardamom, which is a really unique spice, as it turns out.  It isn’t sweet like cinnamon is, but still gives off that warm, comforting aroma.  I actually sprinkled in about ½ teaspoon of cinnamon with the pears too, for some extra flavor and sweetness.  The crisp topping is perfect as is, and as noted in the instructions, it certainly can be made without an electric mixer if you don’t have one.  I creamed the butter and sugar with a fork, and, though a bit labor-intensive, it worked well.

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Posted in Baking

Just Cook! (and other things)

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Ellen Kanner‘s been busy since I saw her in Florida the week before last. She just published an interview that she did with me for Culinate (covering all sorts of food topics), as well as her Meatless Monday column in the Huffington Post.

Posted in Behind The Scenes

Sunday Supper: Stuck-Pot Rice with Potato Crust

Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Stuck-Pot Rice with Potato Crust

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

Time: 1 1/2 hours, largely unattended

Visualize a stovetop paella served upside down, the gorgeous crust sitting on top. Made with rice, potatoes, or anything else that browns and sticks to the bottom of a pot—and given the fact that the recipe actually directs that you simply walk away (you’ll ruin it if you don’t)—stuck-pot rice is one of the easiest ways to get an impressive rice dish on the table.

Use brown basmati rice here if you like. The kernels will be slightly less starchy than with white basmati rice, but the flavor will be deep and delicious. Take the time to line the pot lid with a clean towel. This absorbs water so the condensation from the lid doesn’t drip back into the rice.

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Posted in Recipes

Dinner with Bittman: Braised and Glazed Butternut Squash

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Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Braised and Glazed Butternut Squash

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

This is your go-to recipe for everyday winter squash; it will work with any variety, but I usually turn to butternut because it’s so much easier to deal with than all the others. Once you peel and cut the squash, you braise it in a small amount of liquid, then boil off the remaining moisture to glaze it. Other vegetables you can use: any winter squash (except spaghetti), though they will all be more difficult to cut and peel than butternut.

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Posted in Produce, Recipes

Behind the Scenes at the Minimalist

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Just finished shooting twelve minimalist videos in two days. Here’s what we’re up to when the cameras aren’t rolling (notice the intense concentration on that rack of lamb).

Posted in Behind The Scenes

Dinner with Bittman: Chard with Orange and Shallots

Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Chard with Orange and Shallots

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 25 minutes

A perfect winter dish, this warm salad has vibrant color and tangy sweet-sour flavor. The skin of the orange or tangerine becomes almost candied and provides a nice chew, but if you’d rather not eat it, simply peel before chopping.

Other vegetables you can use: any chard, bok choy, kale, or any cabbage. For the citrus, use kumquats (quartered) if available.

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Posted in Produce, Recipes

You Want Chronicles? I’ll Give You Chronicles!

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Today is the first “normal” day I’ve had in more than two weeks. I know this because I had steel-cut oats (with soy, mirin, and rice vinegar, fantastic) for breakfast. Otherwise I couldn’t tell.

Last week began in Philly, with a talk at the Free Public Library; I thought it went well. Loads of people, all very friendly. Finished signing at 9.00 or so, and ate at the hotel, the Palomar. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised; I know Kimpton (the hotel chain) tries to work on its restaurants, but I haven’t been that impressed overall. But Square 1682 was really, really good: a warm octopus salad, followed by a tiny little cassoulet … obviously not a big enough sample to judge by, but I’d go back. Not that I know when I’ll be in Philly again.

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Posted in Travel

Dinner with Bittman: Pasta with Leeks and Parsley

Recipe from How to Cook Everthing.

Pasta with Leeks and Parsley

Makes: About 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

Leeks become tender quickly enough to make a distinctive sauce for pasta in little more time than it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta. And teamed with the classic southern Italian quartet of garlic, chile, parsley, and olive oil (butter’s good, too), the sauce is delicious.

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Posted in Italian, Recipes