I Hearts Cooking Clubs: Mark Bittman Bites

Now that the period of Nigella Lawson is over for the I Hearts Cooking Club, its on to the next chef. Chosen by vote, Mark Bittman won out over Jamie Oliver (my first choice), and Bobby Flay (my second choice).

I've owned How to Cook Everything for years, and occasionally consult it for something. It is where I went when looking for a simple flour tortilla recipe, for example. But I admit, it isn't even close to my favorite cookbook.

Still, this is the new selection, and I am going to try and contribute as often as I can (if only so I have motivation to cook from recipes when I'm rushed to get dinner on the table.)

The first theme for Mark Bittman was Bites, as in bite sized items of some kind, appetizers, whatever, just bite sized.

For the first week and theme, you actually get 3 selections from me. As you can see from above, I deep fried. Corn fritters. You can find the recipe for these on page 565.

I admit, these looked impressive, golden in color, and they cooked up very well. They didn't get an amazing reception at the dinner table though, with one child disliking them entirely, one liking them only because they came with a dip (my second choice, Garlic Aioli, found on page 761), and my husband and I both indifferent to them, thinking they were okay but not great and not what we expected.

As for the aioli - well, I've made aioli's before that I was willing to lick the bowl clean after, and this wasn't it. It did not want to thicken, as you can see by the pool of it, and was just okay. Again, we did eat it, no one outright hated it, but no one asked for the left overs in their lunch the next day.

My last choice has the worst possible picture but had the best outcome: Bruschetta with tomatoes and basil, found on page 265.

I admit, this is almost a cheat as Bruschetta really isn't a recipe so much as a technique, but I hadn't made any in forever and was in the mood. Plus I had a very good loaf of bread from Pan Chancho, a bakery in Kingston.

While the kids weren't overwhelmed by this (not liking raw tomatoes), the hubby and I loved it and both wished I had made more.

So far we aren't off to an amazing start with Mark Bittman, certainly no outright failures, which means I will try to keep up with him for a bit and contribute regularly to I Heart Cooking Club.


Kim said...

You really went all out making three recipes! Too bad you didn't have luck with the fritters and aoili. So glad that you joined us for our first week with Bittman:D

I have to admit that How to Cook Everything isn't my favorite Bittman cookbook, BUT- You might really like his Kitchen Express or even his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Both of these are my favorite Bittman cookbooks. His Kitchen Express seems to be the most popular, maybe because there are some great, healthy, creative recipes and they are all made within 20 minutes or less. You can take a peek through Kitchen Express on the Amazon site if you're interested. I think it goes for around $10.

natalia said...

Ciao ! I'm sorry it was not a great succes for you !! But it looks great !

Deb in Hawaii said...

So happy to have you cooking along with us but sorry the aoili and fritter didn't turn out for you.

I hope you find more Bitmman recipes so like. As Kim mentioned Kitchen Express is one of my favorites too

Couscous & Consciousness said...

Sorry you were a bit disappointed in the things you made, but hope you develop a fonder relationship with Bittman as the weeks go by.

I am cooking from internet recipes at the moment, as I don't have a book yet - still undecided on which one to buy. So it is good to get your feedback and that of others - I am leaning towards HTCE Vegetarian, but there seem to lots of good comments about Kitchen Express.

Pleased you liked the bruschetta by the way - It is early autumn here and I have been eating loads of tomato bruschetta over the last few weeks.

Joanne said...

I'm sorry you weren't in love with Bittman after these! Give it a few more weeks and maybe you'll stumble on some that you like.