The one-pan meal. Flavorful, easy-to-prepare, and minimal clean-up. I have become an unabashed fan. Two of my favorite one-pan recipes are Moroccan Chicken and Rice and Mark Bittman’s Cannellini with Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Sausage. Both make it into pretty regular rotation on my weekly what-to-cook-for-dinner playlist.
Always on the lookout for more, I was thrilled when Chris Kimball, editor of Cook’s Illustrated magazine, appeared on the third hour of this morning’s Today Show with three one-pan recipes: Greek-style shrimp with tomatoes and feta; Skillet meaty lasagna; and Skillet apple crisp. First up for me will definitely be the Greek-style shrimp, so I’ve included it below.
Three more great reasons to cook at home.
Greek-style shrimp with tomatoes and feta
Chris Kimball, Cook’s Illustrated (Sept. 1, 2010)
- 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on, if desired (see note)
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons ouzo (see note)
- 5 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon grated zest from 1 lemon
- Table salt and ground black pepper
- 1 small onion, diced medium (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced medium
- 1/2 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced medium
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomato, drained, 1/3 cup juices reserved (see note)
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 6 ounces feta cheese , crumbled
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves
This recipe works equally well with jumbo (16 to 20 per pound) or extra-large (21 to 25 per pound) shrimp, but the cooking times in step 3 will vary slightly depending on which you use. Serve the shrimp with crusty bread or steamed white rice.
1. Toss shrimp, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon ouzo, 1 teaspoon garlic, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in small bowl until well combined. Set aside while preparing sauce.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, red and green bell pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Cover skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables release their moisture, 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture cooks off and vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes longer. Add remaining 4 teaspoons garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and reserved juice, wine, and remaining 2 tablespoons ouzo; increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors have melded and sauce is slightly thickened (sauce should not be completely dry), 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low and add shrimp along with any accumulated liquid to pan; stir to coat and distribute evenly. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are opaque throughout, 6 to 9 minutes for extra-large or 7 to 11 minutes for jumbo, adjusting heat as needed to maintain bare simmer. Remove pan from heat and sprinkle evenly with feta. Drizzle remaining tablespoon oil evenly over top and sprinkle with dill. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6
Three recipes to change your life. I originally came across the concept in this past Sunday’s New York Times. The Week in Review section contained a series of articles with the theme “Sustainable Life.” In one piece, Mark Bittman offered a compelling argument for cooking at home (it’s cheaper, healthier, and sometimes faster than eating out), along with three recipes that he believes can change the way we eat and live. It’s a simple premise – cook and eat real food. And Mr. Bittman shows us how to start.
Each includes an extensive list of variations and substitutions so that, should decide to embark upon a cooking adventure, you’ll be able to stretch three meal ideas into a few dozen.
As Mark Bittman said to Meredith Viera on this morning’s Today Show, “What you need is not so much a diet as a way to eat.”
Amen to that.
Published: December 31, 2010
Yield: 4 servings.
2 tablespoons good-quality vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 scallions, chopped
1 pound broccoli, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces, the stems no more than 1/4-inch thick
8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch chunks or thin slices and blotted dry
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper.
1. Put a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add half the oil, swirl it around, and immediately add half the garlic and ginger. Cook for 15 seconds, stirring, then add the broccoli, mushrooms and all but a sprinkling of the scallions. Raise heat to high, and cook, stirring, until mushrooms release their water and broccoli is bright green and beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Sprinkle with salt; add 1 cup water. Stir and cook until almost all liquid evaporates and broccoli is almost tender, another minute or two more, then transfer everything to a plate.
3. Turn heat to medium, add remaining oil, then remaining garlic and ginger. Stir, then add chicken and turn heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken has lost its pink color, three to five minutes.
4. Turn heat to medium. Return broccoli, mushrooms and juices to the pan, and stir. Add soy sauce, sprinkle with more salt and some pepper; add a little more water if mixture is dry. Raise heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced slightly and you’ve scraped up all the bits of chicken. Taste and adjust seasoning, garnish with remaining scallion and serve.
Stir-fries work with virtually any combination of vegetables; protein-dense food (meat, poultry, fish, tofu, etc.) is optional. Use pork (like shoulder), shrimp, beef (like sirloin), or tofu instead of chicken; slice the meat thinly or the tofu into cubes.
Use cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, snow peas, carrots or spinach in place of either the broccoli or the mushrooms or both. Or use other mushrooms.
Use fish sauce instead of soy sauce and finish with a squeeze of lime to give it a Southeast Asian flavor.
Use olive oil, skip the ginger, use onion instead of scallion, and substitute 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary or thyme to give it a Mediterranean flavor profile.
Use coconut milk instead of stock; 1 tablespoon curry powder instead of soy sauce to give it an Indian flavor
The harvest is coming to and end … culminating in the Thanksgiving feast. As the weather turns colder, we instinctively turn to comfort foods. And the seasonal fruits and vegetables seem instinctively to know this.
Broccoli, mushrooms, pumpkins, spinach, sweet potatoes, winter squash.
Cranberries, oranges, pears, pomegranate, tangerines.
If salads are your thing, look no further than Mark Bittman’s Roasted Sweet Potato Salad or 101 Cookbooks’ Bulgur, Celery and Pomegranate Salad. For a main course, you can try Spinach, Pesto, and Fontina Lasagna or Artic Char with Chinese Broccoli and Sweet Potato Puree, both from Epicurious.com. And this month, we’ll turn to Smitten Kitchen for dessert: Cranberry Pecan Frangipane Tart – sounds divine.
As for mushrooms, which I love, I have two suggestions. The first is mushroom crostini (like bruschetta but with mushrooms). With the holidays coming, it’s always good to have a few go-to appetizers that you know your guests will love. Martha Stewart offers up Wild Mushroom Crostini. The second recipe is Mushroom Risotto. The official version of my favorite locked away in a storage unit in one of the outer boroughs, I discovered a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis and modified it slightly to match the memory of the one I love. I made it yesterday and, I have to say, it was delicious. The recipe, along with my changes, are included below.
As always, enjoy the season and eat well!
Giada De Laurentiis, “Everyday Italian“
- 8 cups canned low salt Chicken Broth
- ½ oz dried porcini mushroom
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 cups finely chopped Onions
- 10 oz white Mushrooms finely chopped (I used cremini mushrooms)
- 2 Cloves Garlic minced
- 1½ cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
- 2/3 cup Dry White Wine
- ¾ cup frozen pea thawed (I omitted the peas)
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
- salt and freshly ground black pepper optional
- Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.
- Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the saucepan. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Note: If you’re short on broth, as I was last night, instead of reconstituting the porcini mushrooms in the chicken broth, do it 2-3 cups of boiling water (for about 20 minutes). Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and follow the directions above. You’ll be left with the “porcini broth” which you can run through a strainer, adding it to your chicken broth. You’ll have more than enough to cook the arborio rice and the flavors are all there.
The air is cooler now. It readies me for Sunday afternoons spent cooking up a pot of something, the aroma filling the apartment, heaven.
I was casting about for a new vegetable soup recipe when, as luck would have it, Mark Bittman appeared on the Today Show with what he claims is The best vegetable soup ever, no kidding. I’ve included the recipe below. He also prepared a chunky Roasted butternut chowder with apple and bacon. Both recipes are from Bittman’s new tome, “The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living.”
Like the Tuscan Ribollita that I posted back in March, these soups are not merely a starter, they’re a meal. Do as Mark Bittman suggests in the segment, add a hunk of good, crusty bread and a glass a fruity red wine, and call it dinner.
Recipe: The best vegetable soup ever, no kidding
Mark Bittman, New York Times columnist and author of “The Food Matters Cookbook”
- 3/4 cup olive oil, more or less
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bunch parsley, washed and chopped, thick stems discarded
- 2 or 3 cabbage leaves, chopped
- 1 bunch chard, preferably white, washed and chopped
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 3 to 4 cups cooked white beans, like cannelloni, with their liquid if possible
Put about a third of the olive oil in the bottom of a deep pot and turn the heat to medium.
Add half the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, which takes about 10 minutes.
Add about half of the remaining oil and repeat the process, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go.
Add the remaining oil with the parsley, cabbage and chard and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is softened but not browned.
Add the tomato paste and stir.
Mash the beans so that they’re about half mashed and half more-or-less whole. Add this mixture to the pot, along with any bean cooking liquid and enough water to make the whole mixture stewy but not watery.
Continue cooking, tasting and adjusting the seasoning as necessary, until all the vegetables are very tender and the soup is hot. Serve hot or warm.
Makes about 10 servings
I was out for my daily walk and thinking about avocados, specifically, my craving for a perfectly ripe avocado, cut open, sliced into bite-size pieces, and spritzed with fresh lemon juice and sprinkled with just a bit of salt. This is my favorite way to eat an avocado. (Lime juice works well too.) It’s flavorful, rich, creamy, and refreshing, and, yes, it’s good for you. (And, yes, I love Bosc pears as well, hence the photo.) This is what I call a simple pleasure.
However, you may be looking for another, more creative way to get your avocado fix. If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know that I’m a big Mark Bittman fan. His recipes are simple and he makes it look easy. As coincidence would have it, he was on the Today Show this morning, where he prepared 3 Cool, no-cook summer dishes, one of which included avocado. I’ve included that recipe – Crab-stuffed avocado halves – below. The other two – Cantaloupe soup with prosciutto and Shrimp and mango romaine rolls – can be found on the Today Show website, where you’ll also find a video of Mark Bittman’s segment during which he prepares all three dishes.
As always, eat well!
Recipe: Crab-stuffed avocado halves
Chef: Mark Bittman
- About 1/2 pound cooked crabmeat
- 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
- 1 small fresh hot chile (like Thai), seeded and minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large avocados
1. Pick through the meat to remove all remaining shell, being careful not to shred it too finely. Gently toss the crab with the lime juice, zest, cilantro and chile, and season with salt and pepper. If you have time, refrigerate for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
2. Cut the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Fill the center with the crab salad and serve garnished with more cilantro.
Makes: 4 servings. Time: About 10 minutes.
After seeing how easy it is to make and store your own salad dressing, you’ll never buy another bottle of the pre-made stuff again. Why would you? As Mark Bittman told Matt Lauer more than once this morning on the Today Show, “You don’t know what’s in it.”
Check out the four recipes. No doubt most of the ingredients are already in your cupboard, or should be. These salad dressings are incredibly easy to prepare. And you’ll know what you’re eating.
Makes about 3/4 to 1 cup of dressing
Makes about 3/4 cup of dressing
Combine all the ingredients except the shallot in a blender — or use an immersion blender — and turn the machine on; a creamy emulsion will form within 30 seconds. Taste and add vinegar a teaspoon or two at a time until the balance tastes right to you. Add the shallot and turn the machine on and off a few times until the shallot is minced within the dressing. If the mixture is too thick, add water a tablespoon at a time until the consistency is right. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve. This will keep, refrigerated, for a few days; bring it back to room temperature and whisk briefly before using.
3. French Dressing
Makes about 3/4 cup of dressing
Combine all the ingredients in a blender — or use an immersion blender — and turn the machine on; a creamy emulsion will form within 30 seconds. Taste and add vinegar a teaspoon or two at a time until the balance tastes right to you. If the mixture is too thick, add water a tablespoon at a time until the consistency is right. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve. This is best made fresh but will keep, refrigerated, for a few days; bring it back to room temperature and whisk briefly before using.
4. Soy Vinaigrette
Makes about 3/4 cup of dressing
Put all the ingredients in a deep bowl; using an immersion blender or a whisk, combine until emulsified. Taste and add vinegar, lime juice, or soy sauce a teaspoon or two at a time until the balance tastes right to you. This is best made fresh but will keep, refrigerated, for a few days; bring it back to room temperature and whisk briefly before using.
Confession: I am a bit of a Today Show junkie. I zoom in and out over the course of the four hours (a workout here, a shower there, some writing throughout it all), but my ears always perk up when a renowned chef shows up to cook a signature recipe.
Yesterday was a bonanza. The chef parade began with Mario Batali, who prepared two delicious dishes featuring spring vegetables from his new cookbook “Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking.” The first was a salad of Shaved Asparagus with Parmigiano-Reggiano (lemon in the dressing really sets it off) to be served alongside Penne alla Primavera (peas, morels or crimini mushrooms – my favorite – asparagus, and fava beans seasoned with scallions, basil, parsley, and mint). Both will be on my weekend menu.
Then it was on to Mark Bittman, author of “How to Cook Everything,” who showed us four delicious ways to roast, what is for some, the second-class chicken thigh. In, “Roast chicken thighs, four ways,” Mr. Bittman presents four marinades that are applied just prior to, and throughout, the roasting process (no need to marinade ahead of time): Honey-mustard sauce; Ginger-soy sauce; Chile-lime sauce; and Thai sauce. Easy and quick (just 30 minutes). Add some spring vegetables and you’re ready to go.
Not to be outdone, chef and co-owner of New York’s famed Gotham Bar and Grill Alfred Portale appeared to share an “easy, refreshing spring meal.” His recommendation: Grilled Mayan shrimp with spiced mango and avocado salad. Think pepper and citrus for this light, flavorful meal. Portale suggests mounding the salad in the center of a platter surrounded by the shrimp and serving family-style.
Lastly, the Kathie Lee and Hoda hour featured a cook-off segment, “Dinner and desserts for $20 and less: Three celebrity chefs whip up some money-saving meals.” Chefs Jimmy Bradley of The Red Cat, Carmen Gonzalez and Marcus Samuelsson — all competing in “Top Chef Masters” — prepared their versions of a delicious, nutritious dinner-and-dessert that won’t break the bank. On the menu: Risotto with spring pea sauce and button mushrooms along with Vanilla ice cream and strawberry compote (Bradley); Grouper filet with chorizo, leeks, corn, and root vegetable stew followed by Flan with caramel sauce (Gonzalez); and Fried chicken with spinach and Apple cake (Samuelsson).
All of this in one day … there’s certainly something for everybody.