Contest: Win a copy of Mark Bittman’s Latest


New York Times bestselling author of How to Cook Everything is back with his latest book, Kitchen Express and we have a copy to give away (details at the end of this post)!

I got a little excited when perusing the pages of this book for more than a couple reasons. First, the book offers the promise of some terrific tasting meals in under 20 minutes, something I’m starting to realize is an important thing to be able to do on many a weekday night if I want to hang with my daughter rather than say, de-bone a duck. Fellow Foodist Kevin has this suggestion too, but the possibility of enticing my wife, who does not like to cook, into the kitchen for an easy one-pot meal is incredibly appealing, to us both.

Flipping through the book, the recipes are short and not intimidating in the least, and are divided into sections by season–a good way to eat better, and for less! With pantry stocking lists and simple substitutions, it’s a no-brainer. It gets better though. The book also has some really thoughtful and handy navigational categorization:

Dishes that double as appetizers
Brown-Bag lunches
Breakfasts and brunches you can eat anytime of the year
Desserts you can eat any time of the year
Finger food for all occasions
Recipes that barely disturb the kitchen
The easiest of the easiest
The best recipes for picnics
The best recipes for reheating
The best do-ahead recipes for potlucks
Recipes for hot sandwiches
Recipes to toss with pasta
Recipes to serve over Asian noodles or rice
Soups you can chill

I had hoped to try one or two of the recipes before writing this post, and by all accounts, should have been able to since my time’s been rather limited (though I did manage to cook four pork butts in a marathon 15 hour smoking). Anyway, I love the idea of these quick routes to common recipe needs/inspiration such as finding a meal that converts to great leftovers and easy potluck solutions. I know it’s not quite the season for it, but I want to try Bittman’s Quick Cassoulet. he’s quick to admit it’s far from traditional, but I am indeed curious how good it might be taking a recipe that would normally be best after about three days of preparation and reducing the whole thing down to 20 minutes. Can you even call it a cassoulet at that point? Does it matter? I’ll report back on that later.

In the meantime, based only on the potential to create a decent quick meal, I’m going to recommend this book. Great for those who are also not too familiar with the kitchen, or just plain shy. And you know what, it’s probably a really thoughtful gift for new parents who don’t even realize yet how much they’re going to need it.

And now, to the contest: Tell us in as few words as possible, but compellingly, about your favourite quick dish or time-saving tip. Include the recipe if you can. We’ll give the book to our favourite. You can also enter the publisher’s twitter contest. Until July 20th post your short recipe with hastag #sscexpress.


16 Responses to “Contest: Win a copy of Mark Bittman’s Latest”

  1. Posted on July 16th, 2009

    I am a frequent reader of Bittman’s blog ( which consistently features simple, outstanding recipes.

    I’ll definitely pick this book up.

  2. Posted on July 16th, 2009

    Giuliano Hazan’s Every Night Italian is also an excellent book for the food lover whose watch runs faster than the sun.

    The recipes are quick, easy and tasty. I threw a beef shank into a lidded ceramic pot with some juniper berries, sliced oinions, red wine vinegar and a little bit of salt and pepper and popped it into a toaster oven at 160F for about six hours and ate it with mashed potatoes.

    No time was wasted in that little endeavor and much life was gained.


  3. Posted on July 16th, 2009

    Can I pretend to be someone else to win this book? :) Love or hate Mark, he’s a guy that makes you challenge the norms and feel courage to try something new. He was a fond companion to be around on the Batali-Paltrow “Spain on the road again” series too. I’ll be on the lookout for this tasty read!

  4. Posted on July 16th, 2009

    My fav dish is a pasta-meatball one I make:

    2 Cups of Pasta (any kind is fine)
    1 Spicy Sausage (casing remove)
    1 Small can of crushed tomatoes
    Pinch Basil
    1 Table Spoon of Veg Oil
    Pinch Sal & Peper

    I boil my pasta. While that is happening, I remove the casing from the sausage and roll them into meatballs. I dump my meatballs in a frying pan and cook until 80% done. I add my crushed tomatoes, basil, salt, paper and let it simmer for 15 minutes or until the pasta is done.

    I drain my past and mix it with my homemade pasta sauce. Service warm with some bread and call it a night. It’s a quick and dirty home made meal for a few dollars.

  5. Posted on July 16th, 2009

    What could be quicker to cook than eggs!

    For a complete meal, we turn the rice cooker on to cook some rice (takes approx 15 minutes). Meanwhile, we set about to make a family favorite: Golden Egg Torta.

    The rice and torta should be finished at around the same time!

    Golden Egg Torta
    Serves 4 as a main dish

    6 eggs
    1/4 kg ground pork
    1 to 2 teaspoons soy sauce
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (up to 1 teaspoon)
    1 teaspoon cornstarch
    2 stalks green onion, chopped

    Scramble the eggs. Add all the ingredients into the eggs and mix together. Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Pour egg mixture into the pan and cook until the bottom half of the torta is cooked. Flip over.

    The size of the torta is your choice. Make one big one or several small ones.

    Serve with condiments such as ketchup, sweet chile sauce, etc., if you wish.

    Of course one could also make other quick dishes with eggs. Perhaps an omelette filled with anything from the fridge that needs using up. Or Chinese Stir-fried Eggs & Tomato. Or even stir-fried SPAM with eggs. The list is endless!

    (More eggy dishes here:

  6. Posted on July 17th, 2009

    My favorite shortcut tip is to use an egg slicer to cut up my yummy farmers market strawberries. This way it’s quick and the slices are uniform so they look pretty decorating any summertime treat.

    Thanks for the great contest!

  7. Posted on July 24th, 2009

    Being German – I have a pressure cooker from WMF…my favourite all time kitchen brand. I love my pressure cooker and when I say love I mean deeply rooted love. It saves time & energy as everything cooks very quickly. My favourite pressure cooker recipe is Gulasch…takes 20 min from scratch. Yummy!

  8. Posted on July 28th, 2009

    My favourite quick dish comes from a friend of mine who threw it together one afternoon after a CSA delivery.

    Boil water, add salt and linguine. Cook to al dente.
    Whilst waiting on this to cook, add olive oil to pan with some garlic and shallots (or substitute leeks). Once they all start to soften, add some aragula to just gently wilt. Add pine nuts, fleur de sel and pepper.
    Toss with linguine, dress with olive oil, lemon and grated parmesan. Serve with wine!
    Deliciousness! Takes about 10 minutes.

  9. Posted on July 28th, 2009

    My favorite summer quick dish, which people ooh and ahh over despite the fact that it takes me about 10 min. to assemble is the following (for 2 people):

    Juice of 1 lemon + its zest
    2 small diced jalapeño peppers
    Fresh chopped basil
    Olive oil
    Grated Romano cheese
    Your favorite pasta

    Boil enough pasta for 2. Drain, but leave behind just a spit of the pasta water. Toss in the juice, zest, peppers, basil and some olive oil and combine. Serve with plenty of grated cheese. Serve with a white Bordeaux for the ultimate summer meal!

  10. Posted on July 28th, 2009

    When we have a chocolate craving and don’t have anything in the house, this can be whipped up in less than 10 minutes.

    Real Chocolate Pudding

    1/4c Unsweetened Cocoa
    3T Corn Starch
    3T Sugar
    1/2t Cinnamon (optional)
    1/8t Chili Powder (optional)
    pinch of Salt (optional but really makes a difference)
    2c Skim (non fat) Milk

    Mix all dry ingredients together, add milk and stir to get out the biggest lumps. Either microwave for 1 minute, stir and repeat just until pudding starts to puff up in the bowl OR cook on the stove, stirring regularly, in a heavy bottomed pot just until pudding reaches a boil. Cool slightly before serving for a warm, comforting treat or cool completely and refrigerate. Makes 6 x 1/3c serving.

    You can also mix the dry ingredients up in advance and stored in a sealed container with a note that says “mix 3T plus 2t of dry mix to 1/3c of milk, microwave and stir until it starts to puff up. Cool a bit before eating”. Then if you (or your kids) have a hankering for a chocolate treat it’s ready to go.

  11. Posted on July 30th, 2009

    I have several quick recipies!

    For pasta I can’t have tomato sauce or cream sauces,it is hard for me to just have canned tomatos around.
    I usually top my favorite pasta with some roasted hazelnut oil,fresh ground black pepper and freshly grated parmesan!
    Yummy and delicious. I have also tried this seasoning with the PC Italian pumpkin ravioli and it was great and did not overpower the light filling of the ravioli.

    The brand of roasted hazelnut oil I buy is La Tourangelle,and all their roasted nut oils are great.
    They make your dishes taste very rich-the hazelnut oil tastes exactly like roasted hazelnuts.
    My second quick recipe is for a dessert.
    I got this recipe from a bag of Dolfin chocolate flakes and it is easy to make.
    To make your mousse set faster you can always stick it in the freezer for a bit.

    Take 90 grams Dolfin chocolate flakes (or any 90 gram chocolate bar that is good)
    *3 whole eggs.

    -separate the egg yolk and put into a bowl and whip with electric beater until fluffy like meringue.

    -melt the chocolate over low heat and add the egg yolks,
    -beat in the whipped egg whites and put in small ramekins in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

    Makes a very rich chocolate mousse.
    So far tried with 70% cocoa chocolate and was very rich.
    Last time tried with 88% cocoa bar and milk chocolate bar (was making a double order) and that was a lighter combination.

    You could probably use any random chocolate you have at home though.

  12. Posted on July 30th, 2009

    Mistake in Chocolate Mousse instruction.

    I meant to write that for the chocolate mousee you have to WHIP THE EGG WHITES UNTIL FLUFFY,LIKE MERINGUE

    (hopefully most people realize you can not whip egg yolks to be like meringue)
    so to recap and make this more clear.

    1) separate your eggs with egg whites to be whipped in a bowl
    2)put aside egg yolks for now.
    3)whip egg whites until very fluffy
    4) melt 90 grams chocolate over stovetop,
    5)add egg yolk to melted chocolate
    6)fold in whipped egg whites
    7)put in small ramekins or serving dishes
    *place in fridge at least 1 hour or more.

  13. Posted on July 31st, 2009

    Thanks everyone for sharing your recipes. Gonna be making some quick meals for the next little while trying them all!

    Congrats to Laurel Bailey for her recipe for Real Chocolate Pudding. She gets the Mark Bittman Book!

  14. Posted on December 8th, 2009

    Rice cookers are amazing kitchen appliances. It makes me wonder how we ever lived without them. Today there are several brands and models that also vary greatly in prices. You really won’t need the fancy ones.

  15. Posted on March 15th, 2011

    I’ve never attempted them but I truly want to. I observed they work excellent I just don’t know where to get them. You’ll be able to order them off the internet but I do not believe in that.

  16. Posted on August 1st, 2016

    I want to learn more as I am new to this website

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