The Minimalist Entertains
By Mark Bittman
(Clarkson Potter, Hardcover, 9780767911931, 288pp.)
Publication Date: March 25, 2003
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The popular New York Times columnist and award-winning, bestselling cookbook author Mark Bittman now shares his winning strategies for creating elegant, delicious dinner parties with no fuss. Famous as “the Minimalist” for delicious recipes that can be made in a flash, Bittman’s entertaining cookbook is a must-have for hosts and home cooks of all skill levels.
The book features more than 150 recipes in 40 menus organized by season. Bittman’s signature “Keys to Success” offer a wealth of tips, from choosing the best ingredients to improving and streamlining your cooking techniques. Invaluable “Timetables” break down the process of preparing the meal step-by-step, including what can be made ahead of time (the day before or even earlier) and—that most daunting of tasks for home cooks—how to make several recipes at once. The menus, which include recipes for starters, main dishes, side dishes, and desserts, as well as wine suggestions, are tailored for all kinds of parties—barbecues, buffets, picnics, sit-down dinners, cocktail fêtes, and even an indoor or outdoor clambake.
Each menu draws on the peak ingredients of the season as well as foods that are always readily available. Spring encompasses menus like A Tuscan-Style Meal (Pasta with Dark Red Duck Sauce, Cauliflower with Garlic and Anchovy, Olive Oil Cookies with Red Wine and Rosemary) and A Simple Spring Dinner (Pan-Roasted Asparagus Soup with Tarragon, Broiled Salmon with Beurre Noisette, Pan-Crisped Potatoes, Ricotta with Walnuts and Honey). Summer features Grilling, Asian Style (Soy-Dipped Shrimp; Grilled Skirt Steak with Thai-Style Sauce; Grilled Corn; Pineapple Ginger Sorbet) and A Cool Dinner for a Hot Night (Cold Pea Soup; Salted Watermelon, Thai-Style; Grilled Chicken, Sausage, and Vegetable Skewers; Lemon Granita).
For autumn, there’s A Cool-Weather Feast with Asian Flavors (Rich Chicken-Noodle Soup with Ginger; Broiled Bluefish or Mackerel with Green Tea Salt; Spareribs, Korean-Style; Herbed Green Salad with Soy Vinaigrette; Coconut Rice Pudding) and A Crowd-Pleasing Mexican Buffet (Shrimp “Seviche,” Fish Tacos with Fresh Salsa, Chicken Thighs with Mexican Flavors, Lime Granita).
When the weather turns wintry, try A Hearty Midwinter Sit-Down (Mushroom Barley Soup, Breaded Lamb Cutlets, Pilaf with Pine Nuts and Currants, Tender Spinach and Crisp Shallots, Maple Bread Pudding) or A Cocktail Party (Prosciutto, Fig, and Parmesan Rolls; White Bean Dip; Skewered Crisp Shiitakes with Garlic; Miso-Broiled Scallops; Fennel, Orange, and Apple Skewers).
Forget hard-to-find ingredients and hours in the kitchen. With The Minimalist Entertains, you’ll look like a five-star host but feel like a carefree guest.
MARK BITTMAN is the creator and author of “The Minimalist,” the weekly New York Times column. His previous books include The Minimalist Cooks at Home, The Minimalist Cooks Dinner, and the new standard in basic cookbooks, How to Cook Everything (more than 500,000 copies in print). With Jean-Georges Vongerichten, he coauthored Jean-Georges (winner of a James Beard Award) and Simple to Spectacular.