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How to Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way to Cook Great Food Hardcover – October 7, 2014
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"New York Times food writer Bittman returns with his How to Cook series, this time focusing on recipes that consider preparation time. Bittman believes we all have time to cook, we just need better recipes—and he does an excellent job of providing these dishes...At over a thousand pages, Bittman has delivered another brilliant, comprehensive reference."
—Publishers Weekly, starred
“He’s been teaching us how to cook delicious food for years, and now Mark Bittman continues the
tradition with a focus on innovative, quick meals. His newest project is so much more than your typical
cookbook; it’s a lifestyle guide for reinventing the efficiency with which we eat great food. Mark Bittman
is one of my heroes and everyone can stand to have a copy of his newest book in their collection.”
—MARIO BATALI, chef, author, and entrepreneur
“In How to Cook Everything Fast, Mark Bittman provides the reader with tools missing in most people’s
cooking repertoire: intuition and common sense. Read, cook, and repeat.”
—TOM COLICCHIO, chef and owner of Craft Restaurants
“Cook AND Fast in the same title? Mark Bittman makes it possible to do both with delicious, healthy
recipes that you can pull together quickly. This should be the go-to cookbook for anyone interested in
returning to preparing real food for themselves and their families.”
—KATIE COURIC, global anchor for Yahoo! News and New York Times best-selling author
“Who wouldn’t like to make life easier in the kitchen? With hundreds of leisurely recipes, tips, methods,
and instructions, Mark Bittman cooks next to you for a faster, effortless, and delicious outcome.”
—JACQUES PÉPIN, cookbook author, teacher, and host of numerous PBS-TV cooking series
“This is the most user-friendly cookbook for modern-day living I’ve ever seen. Damn you, Bittman!
Now I have no excuse left to order takeout.”
—MEREDITH VIEIRA, award-winning journalist and host of The Meredith Vieira Show
About the Author
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From the Manufacturer
Fastest Chicken Parm from How to Cook Everything Fast
Time: 30 minutes | Serves: 4
This take on the classic couldn’t be easier: Instead of dredging and panfrying, you simply stack the ingredients in two stages on a baking sheet and broil. As an added bonus, the tomatoes taste fresh and juicy while the cheese and bread crumb topping stays crunchy. (For eggplant like this, see the Variations.)
Photo: Fred Conrad/The New York Times
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 medium ripe tomatoes
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
- Salt and pepper
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
- 2 ounces Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup grated)
- 1 bunch fresh basil
- 1 cup bread crumbs
Turn the broiler to high; put the rack 6 inches from the heat. Put 2 tablespoons olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and spread it around; put the baking sheet in the broiler.
-Core and slice the tomatoes.
-Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 2 thin cutlets for each breast. Press down on each with the heel of your hand to flatten.
Carefully remove the baking sheet from the broiler. Put the chicken cutlets on the sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with the tomatoes, and broil one one side only until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, rotating the pan if necessary for even cooking, 5 to 10 minutes.
-Grate the mozzarella and Parmesan.
-Strip 16 to 20 basil leaves from the stems.
-Combine the bread crumbs, mozzarella, and Parmesan in a small bowl.
When the chicken is cooked through, remove the baking sheet from the broiler. Lay the basil leaves on top of the tomatoes, sprinkle with the bread crumb and cheese mixture, and drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil.
Return to the broiler, and cook until the bread crumbs and cheese are browned and bubbly, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve with a tossed salad.
Variation: Cubano Chicken
Use sliced dill pickles instead of the tomatoes and Swiss cheese instead of the mozzarella. Omit the basil. Before putting the pickles on top of the chicken in Step 2, spread a little Dijon mustard on the cutlets. Instead of the Parmesan, mix 1/2 cup chopped ham into the bread crumb and Swiss topping.
Variation: Fastest Eggplant Parm
Instead of the chicken, slice about 2 pounds large eggplant crosswise 1 inch thick. After the pan heats in Step 2, spread out the eggplant slices—but not the tomatoes—and turn to coat them in some oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until softened and browned in places, about 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the eggplant, then top with the tomatoes and proceed with the recipe from the end of Step 2.
Top Customer Reviews
The title of the book might make you think that this is just another collection of quick recipes, but there's actually a lot more than that going on here. You see, an experienced home cook does a lot of things automatically without thinking about it. You rearrange steps, you prep this while that cooks, you do this while the water is coming to a boil, and so on. What's special about this book is that he writes up each recipe in a prep/cook format that builds the prep into the recipe for maximum efficiency. For a newer cook, I can see how this would really speed up the learning curve. Even for an experienced cook, he throws in some ideas that new (to me at least!), like using the broiler to heat oil on a pan for faster baking.
I've made a few recipes from this already (a few have been available around the web for awhile). The Fast Chicken Parmesan was the first one I made. Most recipes for this take about an hour, this one took me 28 minutes, and probably would have been a few minutes less except I used fresh mozzarella so I couldn't grate it and had to cut it into slices, that probably added a couple minutes. My husband and family really liked it, I would probably use a little less oil in it next time but I liked it too.Read more ›
How to Cook Everything Fast is a veritable encyclopedia of how to get anything on the table in less time. With this book, you'll be able to fix something to eat much faster than by calling and waiting for takeout. It is a sturdy, hardbound book that lies open without the aid of a cookbook stand so that you can toss it on the counter and cook from it. The type for the actual recipes is a bit larger than I am accustomed to in my other cookbooks which is a huge perk. Those of you who buy cookbooks for the pictures will be a tad disappointed. In the tradition of Bittman's other "How to Cook Everything", you'll find a few sparse, line drawings. Bittman's recipes need no pictures. He is a concise and clear recipe author.
Another reviewer noted this book might not be for a beginner cook or someone who has a difficult time with directions. I agree. Bittman uses the principle of multi-tasking to get food on the table more quickly. The recipes use both blue and black type. The black type is an actual cooking step while the blue type directs you to prep another ingredient while your dish cooks. It's a terrific layout that illustrates how a seasoned home cook gets food on the table. Think of how often you chop veggies while your pasta water is boiling, and you'll get the picture. He also utilizes some different cooking techniques to streamline the process or add flavor to your food such as putting a little oil in the bottom of a roasting pan to get a nice sear on your meat.Read more ›
There are no secrets in How To Cook Everything Fast. It is truly like having a highly experienced friend guide you through 1) being efficient in the kitchen by taking advantage of downtime and 2) becoming a better chef through developing improvisation skills. The "Recipe-Free" cooking section really encourages this and you feel like you have someone holding your hand while you learn to experiment with recipes. I like to reference my The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg for ideas here as well. :)
The book opens with a reference chart describing exactly how to use this book. Its similar to the previous titles, but better. It's awesome. Each recipe has the following:
1. Cook time and Serving quantity - You'd be surprised how many cookbooks I own that don't indicate cooking time.
2. Shopping list (but you don't prep the ingredients here like in most other cookbooks!)
3. Prep/Cook instructions - all ingredient preparations happen here. Prep instructions are color-coated in blue text, while Cooking instructions are in black text, and everything is listed in the order you should do them. You're usually prepping the next ingredient while some other cooking is happening to take advantage of downtime. Ha, or he even says to hand off all the blue prep steps to another person if you have a helper handy. :) I also like how the ingredient quantities are repeated here to eliminate having to reference the ingredients list again for the correct amount.
4.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I like his new approach to cooking as opposed to when everything is prepped in advance. I have made his variation on saag spinach paneer at least five times adding tofu to the... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Carol C. Kent
Bought three copies to give as gifts to a sister, daughter and daughter-in-law. I am a Bittman fan.Published 2 months ago by lrsmith930
I took this book out of the library to see if it would make the cut to be added to the cookbook library. Read morePublished 2 months ago by littlezumbo
I am cooking. everything. fast. And it's really good food!! Thanks Mark!!Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Not too bad of a deal.
Guy is not too bad of a cook.
love this book, excellent for cooking for two. love that it's okay if you're missing an ingredient, almost always offers a substitute. Read morePublished 3 months ago by D. Velez
No pictures.... It would be a big improvement to have a few in order to tempt one to try something different!Published 3 months ago by Maureen Hillary
Not as helpful as I hoped. TiNY kitchen 'huge book. Not easy online/ebook to read. Will be sending back.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I received this book as a Christmas gift and have already made several of the recipes. All of the ones I've tried so far have worked out well. They really are fast, too. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amanda Hill