Tag Archives: Bittman

…as in Mark Bittman of the NY Times.

Roasted Green Chilis & Bittman

Bittman Salad No. 25

I’ve been so busy lately, I barely have time to procrastinate which confirms what I’ve always suspected:  planning is but a series of decisions about what not to do so that I can do what I’d like.  Sometimes this is simply not doing anything — or anything significant, that is.  In the case of my food life, that means I’ve come to a complete standstill baking my way through Peter Rhinehart’s The Breadbaker’s Apprentice.  Although I’m not a foreigner to bread baking, it isn’t something I’ve ever done routinely, and so any excuse not to keep the original pace I set along with others in the BBA Challenge group keeps me from taking on the next recipe.

I suppose I could blame my delay on Bittman and his salads.  After all, the hottest time of the year is finally drawing to a close here and so the ease of throwing a salad together after a very long day would keep most people from baking anything.  Or perhaps it was that last gas & electric bill reflecting three completely decadent days of central air-conditioning.  Honestly, I’ve slowed down on my salad production as well.  Although I still cook most evenings, we don’t get around to eating until nearly 8pm, so the idea of photographing any of what I prepare doesn’t compete with flopping on the sofa, visiting with the resident menfolk, and staring at the television.  No, the serious cooking usually happens on the weekend now, and last weekend seemed to feature roasted green chilis, or what are known as Anaheim chilis.

I love them.  I love their glossy bright green color, the fresh crunch of a bite right from the raw chili, and the smoky aroma that fills our house whenever I roast them on the stove.  Also known as California Chilis, Anaheims are featured in  chili rellenos.  They’re especially good added to anything with cheese or eggs.  I usually keep a can or two in my pantry, but they’re so easy to make I usually also have a few fresh chilis around.  Occasionally they sit on the counter longer than I’d planned and turn red.

Planned…yes, there’s that word again.  I won’t tell you what I planned not to do last Sunday as I wallowed in my favorite room in the house, but I did make Bittman Salad No. 25, a Fresh Creamed Corn & Green Chili Casserole, some Pan Roasted Red Potatoes with Green Chilis and Onions and a Roast Chicken that sadly did not benefit from green chilis.

Let me know if anyone has made ice cream with green chilis and I’ll be first in line.

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Bittman Salads: 3 Delicious Choices

Radishes

 

Since I began working my way through Mark Bittman’s “101 Simple Salads for the Season”, I’ve not quite been able to keep up with the goal I set to make at least five salads in a seven day week.  Most of the time, it’s simply that I was missing a key ingredient, or I hadn’t planned on making a trip to the market for the third time in three days.  I’ve planned ahead, but even that has caused some problems because we all know that fresh produce won’t wait forever to be used.  On weekends, I’ve been able to make a salad for my lunch, and then another for dinner, so I’ve made up a bit of time, but the goal isn’t necessarily to make all the salads by a particular date; instead, it is simply to make all the salads.

A few of you have mentioned that you’d like to get this book.  It’s not a book — it’s a list that was printed last month in The New York Times.  Each “salad” is really only a suggested list of ingredients and quantities mentioned only occasionally with phrases such as, “not a lot,” “a few,” “a bit,” and “loads.”  I think that’s what I enjoy best about this experience.  Cooking, or in this case, making salad isn’t necessarily about exact amounts of anything when you want something light and healthy without a lot of fuss.  It’s more about learning what will taste well together and which textures contrast appealingly.  It’s also about being able to relax a bit on dealing with a specific recipe, experimenting, and tasting as you go to decide how much of a particular flavor you enjoy.

As I’ve made each salad, I’ve only kept notes about what I’ve included in each salad, ingredients I’ve added, if any, and only occasionally, the quantities of dressing ingredients.  We don’t use bottled or packaged salad dressing , so experimenting with flavors is always something we enjoy.  If a dressing works especially well, then I will keep a quantity list, but even then, the amounts will be estimates.  There are no measuring cups or spoons — only squirts, glugs, and dollops of this and that along the way.

I’ve featured salads Nos. 29, 13, and 14 in respective posts, but in keeping with the spirit of simplicity, I’ve decided to group more of them together in a single post.  We’ll see how that goes.  In the meantime, make a salad!  Fourteen down, seemingly a million to go.

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Salad a la Bittman: No. 14

Bittman No. 14

 

I’ve always been someone who enjoys a great salad, so it should be no surprise that I’ve become quite comfortable working my way through Mark Bittman’s 101 Simple Salads for the Season.  The 12-page print out is showing signs of wear with jottings of ingredients I’ve added, dates I prepared each that I’ve made, and stars to denote the direction I may next take.  Oh, the possibilities.  Of course, that would depend on the condition of the veggies I purchased when my eyes were bigger than my ability to follow through in an organized manner.

Let’s face it —  mushrooms only last so long if one doesn’t push the idea that they prefer the open air to being wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge.  Or consider the Jerusalem artichokes that met an untimely demise because I  didn’t have one of the ingredients I needed to make Salad No. 5.  And then there was the jicama that had seen better days long before I cut into it, surprised that it’s possible to find jicama in San Diego in that condition.  Perhaps salad No. 9 wasn’t meant to be on that particular day.

Honestly, I’ve grown to enjoy “The List” as it promises so much as long as I’m prepared, and goodness knows when it comes to food, I’m usually prepared.  The salads are so easily made and adapted that reviewing a section prepares you for the shopping and if the ingredients are remotely connected to what Bittman suggests, then I say fair game and a salad is born.

This past Sunday, I enjoyed salads No. 14 and 26 respectively; one for lunch and the other shared for dinner with grilled beef.  Each was so different, yet delicious, and that is what has kept me interested.   You just never know when you may find the opportunity to pair fennel and prune plums again in your lifetime, right?

Bear with me as I continue this exploration of textures and flavors — baked goodies will always be on the horizon.

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Bittman Salad 13: Strawberries and Tomatoes

Bittman Salad No.

I’m pleased to say that I’m on a roll with Mark Bittman’s “101 Simple Salads for the Season” and surprisingly ahead of my original plan.  My twelve-page print out from the New York Times, as many of my other cookbooks, is beginning to look respectfully used.  With four recipes completed in five days, and a fifth on the menu for tonight’s dinner,  there are bits of this and that splashed on the sheets, paper edges are beginning to curl, and my notes are scrawled on the salads I’ve tried so far.  Clearly, I love this project.

Since we’re clearly in the time of plenty with respect to ingredients, I seem to be following the recipes in the Vegan category primarily.  My fridge is packed with fresh veggies all vying for my attention, so they’re getting it.  Hence, my second salad, No. 13 which was to have been a red salad.

Clearly, I chose a different route.  There will be red, however.  Wait for it…

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Bittman Salad 29: Balsamic Cherries & Bitter Greens

Rainier Cherries

There are any number of reasons I’ve decided to chop and chew my way through the 101 “Simple Salads” Mark Bittman conjured up for the summer season. Julie & Julia has been simmering in my mind since I finished reading the book a month or two ago, and as the movie opening date approaches and the resulting hubbub ensues, I guess I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about not only cooking my way through something to ground myself, but cooking period.  Sadly, my kitchen hasn’t been getting the workout it’s used to.  Does making salad count as cooking? Will Mr. Bittman deem it a stunt and suggest I’m a less than serious salad maker?  Is it possible that food snobs everywhere will comment on my efforts and suggest I’m not worthy of sampling this treasure trove of healthy minimalist fare?

Or, perhaps, there is the real reason I’ve decided to embark on this quest:   I will benefit from all the lovely green things I’m ingesting and could lose weight in the process.  Think about it:  101 salads in 101 days.  That’s a bit of roughage.  It’s healthy, easy and because I’ve scanned all the combinations Bittman suggests, I know I’ll find something new to add to my old standards.

I have some planning to do with organizing the salads into groups with common ingredients to make shopping more manageable, but in the meantime, I’ve begun with #29.  Why?  Because I had  Rainier Cherries in the fridge that were in desperate need of use.  I’m thinking that’s as good a reason as any.

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