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Bought Bittman's Book - How To Cook Everything ... Any Tips?

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EclecticEater Jan 5, 2007 11:45 AM

What recipes are really good? What have you tried that did work out? Any tips for using? General comments?

  1. t
    tomato Jan 6, 2007 07:04 PM

    I like Bittman and I've gotten a lot of great ideas from that book, especially when I have an oddlot of ingredients, esp. vegetables, and want to turn it into dinner. The recipes sort of encourage you to use what you have and replace ingredients if you need to --> his veg. stock is like this. But I've noticed that sometimes his recipes are a little *too* simplified --> when I made the bean and tomato casserole, I realized as it was about to go into the oven that it calls for not even a small amount of liquid--no stock, reserved bean liquid etc., or even a little oil. That would have made for a *very* crusty casserole.

    1. Neuromancer Jan 6, 2007 02:12 PM

      I've had great luck with his chicken recipes, especially with the quick sauces. One recipe in the book that instantly became a staple for us is the crisp, cubed rosemary potato dish.

      1. s
        smr33 Jan 6, 2007 02:04 PM

        The waffle recipes (both overnight and rich) are awesome.

        1. o
          Odelay101 Jan 5, 2007 05:56 PM

          Great book! IT was my first CB as well.

          I'd recommend going to the market and seeing what veggies look good, buying them, then following Bittman on how to cook them. I've yet to find a veggie recipe in there I didn't like.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Odelay101
            oakjoan Jan 6, 2007 06:15 AM

            Cotriade - a wonderful fish soup.

          2. DanaB Jan 5, 2007 05:52 PM

            Bittman's tips on how to cook beef are spot-on. I learned how to make the BEST steak (p. 425-426) in the world from this book. Here's a link to my post on the steak, with the method:

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            The "Classic Beef Stew" recipe (p. 435) is very good.

            The roasted root vegetable recipe (p. 615) is very good.

            The general recipes on how to cook veggies (i.e. baked potato, artichokes, etc.) are all right on (friends of mine had a debate a while back that boiling artichokes was the "best" way to do it, but Mark Bittman says to steam, which is always how I was taught to do it, so I felt very vindicated ;-

            )

            As you can see from the above, I tend to use this book for how to cook basics and cooking methods, for which I've found it invaluable.

            1. mimilulu Jan 5, 2007 05:31 PM

              I use it all the time - we love the "shrimp, my way" and there's a braised chicken thigh recipe (don't have the book with me at the moment - but it has lemon and cayenne?) which is awesome. I've also liked the fish in foil packets recipe. I like the options he gives at the end of recipes, too.

              1. s
                starfish Jan 5, 2007 02:25 PM

                I use Bittman as a basic core reference, like the Joy of Cooking. I find it's hard to go far wrong with most of his recipes, although I think his weakest area is when he tried to go Asian. I do a lot of Chinese and Indian cooking and every Asian recipe of his that I've tried has been disappointing. For a real basic, try the roast chicken. You stuff it with herbs and lemon, sear it in a cast iron pan and roast it in the same pan. And the wine gravy is delicious. That's always a hit in our house.

                1 Reply
                1. re: starfish
                  f
                  foiehaha Jan 12, 2007 04:52 PM

                  Exactly on the money with the Asian point. Disaster. I'll never forgive him for the dirty noodles recipe. It was dirty alrite.

                2. mrbunsrocks Jan 5, 2007 01:57 PM

                  I love this book. It was the first cookbook I ever got (back in uni) and it is a great standard to have on hand.

                  I love the recipe for Lemon Chicken (with leeks) - it's very simple, but turns out beautifully.

                  I also enjoy making the baguette recipe - with the technique in the book, you can actually make a decent baguette.

                  More often than not though, I use it as a resource to just find out more about my ingredients, about cuts of meat, different cooking techniques and then use it as an inspiration to create my own food.

                  1. Magnapro Jan 5, 2007 01:53 PM

                    Bring it on Bittman!!! Come to my kitchen!

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