- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (June 21, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1416575677
- ISBN-13: 978-1416575672
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 124 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express: 404 Inspired Seasonal Dishes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less Paperback – June 21, 2011
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“I’d buy any cookbook Bittman wrote.”
—The Miami Herald
“This is a man who loves food in the most unstuffy way possible.”
—The Chicago Tribune
About the Author
Mark Bittman is the author of Food Matters, How to Cook Everything and other cookbooks, and of the weekly New York Times column, The Minimalist. His work has appeared in countless newspapers and magazines, and he is a regular on the Today show. Mr. Bittman has hosted two public television series and has appeared in a third.
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This book is broken down by season. Within each season, recipes are organized in a natural meal progression (breakfasts first, then salads, soups, meat, fish, chicken, pastas, desserts).
As promised, the recipes are very quick but not all are truly only 20 minutes, unless your knife skills are killer! He seriously seems to think you can chop an entire onion, a couple carrots and celery and mince garlic in, like, 2 minutes. I wish I was that fast! Even so, the recipes are reasonably easy and fast to pull together (perfect for weeknights!) without being short on flavor.
One important thing to note: the recipes are written to be very flexible, not rigid at all. He literally does not give you a list of ingredients (Often he says things like this: a handful of cilantro, "some" garlic, but he does give specifics when it counts (eg. 1 lb shrimp, 4 cups broth) and instructions like these are typical: "Cook a chopped onion in olive oil in a saucepan until soft; add 1 cup red lentils and 4 cups broth and bring to a boil; continue simmering until the lentils are soft." Hmmm... How long does it take to cook but not overcook red lentils?? Who knows!! (FYI, about 15-20 minutes). He's taken the Rachael Ray "just eyeball it" philosophy to a new level!
Anyway, his approach allows you to make each recipe your own, tweaking as you go, which is great if you are comfortable with your cooking skills and open to experimenting. But if you aren't that confident, his casual approach can be unnerving and downright irritating. Just tell me EXACTLY how many minutes to cook it, please!!! My husband actually refers to this as the "if you like" cookbook because Bittman so frequently leaves things up to you ("top with grated cheese if you like"). Needless to say, my husband finds this book a bit frustrating. I did too at first but after experimenting with recipes, I've found some awesome dishes and become more confident in my own cooking skills. Win-win!!
A bonus section in the back has recipe suggestions for different events (romantic dinner, kid-friendly, brunch, cocktail party, room temp buffet, etc).
Some of our favorite recipes:
Summer: Smoke n Spice Fish Soup; Four-bean Salad; Shrimp w/ Cilantro, Garlic & Lime
Fall: Lemony Red Lentil Soup; Tomato Soup w/ Chickpeas & Greens; Greek-Style Eggplant Salad; Gruyere Apple Grilled Cheese
Winter: Quick Cassoulet; Tofu w/ Pineapples & Red Peppers; Linguine w/ Butter Parmesan & Sage
Spring: Greek Stuffed Pita; Curried Chicken Salad; Chickpea Burgers; Panko Chicken w/ Grapefruit-Honey Sauce
Note: we cook & eat vegetarian 90% of the time so I haven't really tried the meat recipes, but there's plenty of them. There's also - obviously - a ton of recipes to satisfy vegetarians too!