Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Minimalist Cooks Some Fantastic Chicken

A few weeks ago, my husband picked up a copy of Mark Bittman’s “The Minimalist Cooks Dinner,” a collection of recipes taken from Bittman’s column in the New York Times. I’m a fan of his columns- especially the collections of recipes he does, like his 101 appetizers. So I figured the book was a sure bet. I was right.

While the book is around 7 years old, its relevancy, ease and flavorful suggestions are timeless.

The first recipe I tried from the book was Bittman’s chickpea soup, which I opted to make without meat. I added a variety of vegetables, (including carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms). What I enjoyed most about this recipe was the consistency of the broth- Bittman suggests cooking the vegetables and removing about half (once softened) and pureeing in a food processor, then adding them back in. It made the soup thick and creamy without adding any sort of dairy. This soup provided me a week of healthy, hearty lunches and I’ll definitely make it again.

Last night I made the Chicken-Mushroom “Cutlets” with Parmesan. I substituted spinach for mushrooms (per Bittman’s suggestion, plus my husband hates mushrooms.) I also added a little more garlic than suggested; I thought a little more kick might be nice with the Parmesan and spinach.

The recipe made around 9 cutlets (or burgers, actually), and it was tough to not eat all nine! The flavors worked well together and the consistency was surprisingly juicy…I got nervous that, considering the fact that chicken needs to be cooked well, the burgers would become pucks, but they didn’t. We had nice, juicy bites of chicken, cheese and spinach. I ate mine with a little fresh salsa, but my husband didn’t top his with anything. I served them with steamed asparagus.

So that’s two recipes down, plenty to go from this book…and I’ll certainly be cooking more. Both recipes were easy to create and easy to adapt, but also tasty and interesting enough to serve to guests (if I had guests…anyone want to be a guest?)

1 comment:

Jackie said...

I would love to bite into a cutlet with you and your hubby. And the soup sounds like a great shield of armor for the cold weather.