101 super-quick and ultra-easy recipes for each of the four seasons—totaling a whopping 404 recipes—from award-winning cookbook author and popular New York Times columnist Mark Bittman.
• A celebrated author with a huge following: The author of the perennial bestseller How to Cook Everything, mark Bittman is known across the country as “The minimalist.” His more than two million readers eagerly follow his weekly recipes and accompanying instructional online videos from The New York Times. His popular thirteen-part PBS series was named the Best National Cooking Series of 2005 by the prestigious James Beard Foundation.
• An easy, breezy read for busy cooks: 404 Express gives readers 101 quick recipes for each season, all of which can be prepared in ten minutes or less. For people who like to eat well without the fuss, mark Bittman offers his trademark pared-down elegance and contemporary style. Like his New York Times column, each recipe is presented with just a sentence or two and requires but a few ingredients. From seafood to pasta dishes, vegetarian specialties and desserts, Bittman covers every flavor for every season.
• Capitalizes on the “seasonal” food craze: With concerns about the environment, today more than ever, Americans are keen on cooking and eating seasonally. Each of the 404 recipes in this book make it easy for readers to choose meals made from fresh foods produced on local farms.
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Mark Bittman is the creator and writer of the popular The New York Times column “The minimalist.” An award-winning cookbook author, he lives in Connecticut.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
The simple format of Kitchen Express belies all that it has to offer. Here are 101 incredibly fast and easy recipes for each season -- 404 in all. The experienced home cook can play with each to great advantage, yet at their core, they're recipes presented in the simplest form possible, understandable and readily executed by anyone who's done some cooking.
As a group, they are precisely imprecise. This is unusual for recipes, but it's long been my belief that the most specific recipes are the most limiting. Specificity is fine for baking, where the chemistry among the ingredients often determines success or failure. But in savory cooking, where amounts can vary wildly -- there's almost never a critical difference between one onion and two: A "head" of broccoli might weigh one or one-and-a-half pounds; a steak may be three-quarters to an inch and a half thick -- to try to force cooks to follow recipes demanding precision robs them of the ability to improvise, to relax, to substitute, to use their own judgment.
Jacques Pepin once remarked to me that the old adage about never stepping foot in the same river twice holds true for recipes also: You don't start with the same amount of ingredients, they're not at the same temperature, they're not the same age or from the same place, the ambient temperature and humidity are probably different, as are your equipment and mood. Everything is different, and the results will be too.
These little recipes acknowledge that up front. I don't really care how much garlic you use in most recipes, so "some" is as good as "a teaspoon." Similarly, garnishes are garnishes: You use more, you use less, you leave them out -- it shouldn't matter. "A carrot" in a soup could certainly be a big one or a small one, and so on. So I rarely give exact measurements, unless proportions are critical.
This style of cooking is about three things: speed, flexibility, and relaxation. If you read one of these recipes, if it inspires you, and if you have the ingredients (or something approximating them) to throw it together -- then go into the kitchen, assemble what you need, and have at it. Twenty minutes later, max, you'll be eating something delicious. What's wrong with that?Copyright © 2009 by Mark Bittman
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