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I hope there’s not a pop quiz later

July 22, 2009

I’ve been obsessed recently with thumbing through my new cookbook, How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.

How To Cook Everything

It’s really brilliant for beginners, not only because there are tons of classic staple recipes, but also because it walks you through the basics of ingredients and techniques.

Instead of a simple collection of recipes, he teaches you how to fillet a fish, when pasta is done, how to decide to use the oven or the pan, and how to tell when fish (and anything else) is done. There are handy conversion charts, menus and a glossary too.

I love it because he gives you very basic recipes that you can build on, like a basic tomato sauce followed by a list of 15 ingredient combos you can add to change it up.

It’s helpful for those who want some creative space with their cooking – he gives you what you need to experiment (and actually make something edible.)

Last night I made “Fettuccine with Spinach, Butter and Cream” which sounds delectable, and it pretty much was. Cheesy, rich and creamy, my favorite way to have pasta. Great tip: toss your pasta in a preheated bowl with a tablespoon of butter and a bit of the water you cooked it in. Keeps it from drying out or getting sticky and adds texture and flavor.

He also includes other ingredient variables in his recipes, which is fantastic, because so many times I have something so close to what I need, but I’m too afraid to try it. Thanks for the confidence to just throw it in there Mark!

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