Behind the Scenes at the Minimalist


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!


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

Dinner with Bittman: Stuffed Mushrooms

Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Makes: At least 6 servings

Time: 30 minutes

Another good use for button mushrooms, which have a fine shape for stuffing.

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Posted in Produce, Recipes

The Food Matters Cookbook Chronicles: St. Louis


Oftentimes when I’m signing books for people they ask if they can take my picture. Last week in St. Louis I (for the first time) replied, “Fine, if I can take yours.” Really fun. Here are some of them.

Posted in Behind The Scenes, Travel

Less-Meat Mondays: Beet Tartare


By Freya Bellin

In the spirit of Mark’s recent spread on the wonders of the food processor, I thought I’d take a pass at this beet tartare.  The end result wasn’t what I had expected, but that, of course, doesn’t mean it wasn’t delicious.  I found it to be less of a tartare and more of a bright, refreshing raw vegetable salad.  The vibrant beet colors make it perfect for entertaining, and it’s a no-cook recipe to boot.  I made one batch with golden beets and dill, and another with red beets and chives, both for color contrast and taste comparison.

My preference was for the golden batch; golden beets have a mellower flavor than their red counterparts, which allowed the flavors of the other ingredients to come through a bit more.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the dish tasted even better on day two.  I’m attributing that to the lemon juice, which had a chance to soften the beets overnight and let the flavors really soak in.  For an impressive presentation, scoop some tartare onto endive leaves, or just serve it in a bowl with a side of hearty crackers. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

Beet Tartare

Makes: 4 to 8 servings

Time: 30 minutes

I first learned about beet tartare—just love the name—from Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who uses roasted beets. I’ve eliminated that step and use raw beets. You can serve the dish as you would traditionally serve beef tartare: with chopped hard-boiled egg, onions, cornichons, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, or even a crumbling of strong blue cheese, like Stilton or Roquefort. You can have a bit of fun with color here: make one batch with golden beets and another with red—serve them side by side for a spectacular presentation.

2 pounds red or yellow beets (about 4 large), peeled

1⁄4 cup chopped red onion

1 tablespoon olive oil, or more as needed

1 to 2 tablespoons grated horseradish, or to taste

1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more as needed

1 tablespoon chopped capers

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, tarragon, or chives

Salt and black pepper

8 slices whole grain bread, 2 small heads endive, or crackers, for serving

1. Cut the beets into quarters and put them in a food processor; pulse the beets until they’re ground up into small pieces—about the size of grains of rice—careful not to overprocess. If you don’t have a food processor, grate the beets instead. If the beets release a lot of liquid, squeeze them gently with your hands or drain them on paper towels to remove some of the moisture.

2. Combine the onion, oil, horseradish, lemon juice, capers, and herbs together in a bowl large enough to hold the beets. Fold in the beets and sprinkle with salt and pepper; taste and add more lemon juice, oil, or seasoning if needed. If you like, chill quickly in the freezer or refrigerate for up to a day.

3. Toast the bread and cut each slice diagonally into 4 toast points. (Or separate and trim the endive into leaves.) Serve the tartare cold or at room temperature with the toast points, spooned into endive leaves, or in a bowl next to crackers.



Posted in Produce, Recipes

Eat a Carrot First, Ask if It’s Organic Later

Here I talk with Malcolm Jolley about the new book, the perilous state of our food system, and what it might/should look like in the future.

Posted in Produce

Sunday Supper: Classic Pot Roast

Recipe from How to Cook Everthing.

Classic Pot Roast

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Time: 21/2 to 4 hours, largely unattended

Low heat is important here, as is cooking just until done; don’t let it get mushy. If you have a day of advance notice, try the vinegar-marinated variation; it’s absolutely delicious. If time is short, but you want more flavor, rub the meat with a tablespoon of mild chili powder (add some cayenne if you like hot food) or a few sprigs of fresh rosemary along with the bay leaf.

1 clove garlic, peeled

One 3- to 4-pound piece boneless chuck or rump roast, tied if necessary to maintain a uniform shape

1 bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive or peanut oil

2 large onions, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 /2cup red wine or water

1 cup chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water

1. Cut the garlic clove into tiny slivers; insert the slivers into several spots around the roast, poking holes with a thin-bladed knife. Crumble the bay leaf as finely as you can and mix it with the salt and pepper. Rub this mixture all over the meat.

2. Put the oil in a large pot with a lid or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add the roast and brown it on all sides, taking your time and adjusting the heat so the meat browns but the fat does not burn—15 minutes or so. Transfer the meat to a platter. Add the vegetables to the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and some- what browned, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the wine and cook, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, until the wine has just about evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Add about half the stock, return the roast to the pot, and turn the heat down to very low.

4. Turn the roast every 15 minutes, re-cover, and cook until it is tender—a fork will pierce the meat without pushing too hard and the juices will run clear—11/2 to 21/2 hours, but possibly longer if your roast is taller than it is long (very thick roasts may require as long as 4 hours if you keep the heat extremely low). Add more stock if the roast appears to be drying out, an unlikely possibility (and a sign that your heat is too high). Do not overcook; when the meat is tender, it is done.

5. Remove the meat from the pot and keep it warm. Skim the fat from the surface of the remaining juice. Turn the heat up to high and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is thick and almost evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Slice the meat and serve it with the pan juices.


Posted in American, Recipes