I’m a bit of a cookbook junkie. (There are worse vices to have, I think. My husband is just glad I have more cookbooks than shoes.) Of all the books on my shelves (and beside my bed, and in the garage) Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything is right up there on my actually-used list.
I don’t have an iPhone, but it’s hard not to keep hearing about all these crazy apps. Food-related apps always catch my attention, but this one more than most – it features the entire contents of Bittman’s best-selling cookbook – 2,000 recipes and 400 how-to illustrations — in a completely searchable/browsable format, with the ability to reference all that info from anywhere (like the supermarket). How much fun is that?
Good news: we have 10 of the How to Cook Everything iPhone apps to give away! Just leave a comment here with a mention (or better, link to) your favourite Bittman recipe/idea/article. There are plenty to choose from – he has written at least ten books on food and cooking, three of which won IACP/Julia Child awards, James Beard awards, or both – and don’t forget his website and column in the New York Times. At the end of this week – on Friday, July 16 at 5PM EST, I’ll draw ten names. Don’t forget to leave your email address so I can reach you!
Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with a recipe from How to Cook Everything – a great I love master recipes like this, that can be adapted to take care of whatever it is you need to use up, is in season, the kids like, or you have on hand. Zucchini season is right around the corner, and although I do love zucchini brownies, they aren’t something I should be snacking on every day anyway. And I love zucchini bread.
You can use this as a canvas to make carrot loaf, zucchini-walnut, berry, apple or pear, orange and cranberry – use your imagination. That’s what makes cooking so much fun, especially when kids are involved. Bittman advises that if the fruit is really juicy, put the pieces in a strainer and let them drain for an hour or so first so that they don’t make your batter too wet.
For this loaf, I used grated raw sweet potato and chopped walnuts. You could alternatively bake the batter as muffins: Prepare as directed, then divide among 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups and bake at 400°F for 20 to 30 minutes. Adapted from How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman.
2 cups all-purpose flour (I use half whole wheat, half all-purpose)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, cold and cut into pieces
3/4 cup orange or apple juice or milk
grated zest of an orange or lemon
1 cup any raw fruit or vegetable: small berries left whole, anything else peeled and grated or chopped (I used grated sweet potato)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with butter or spray it with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a fork, pastry blender or your fingers, until there are no pieces bigger than a small pea. (You can use a food processor for this step, which makes it quite easy, but you should not use a food processor for the remaining steps or the bread will be tough.)
In another bowl whisk together the juice, zest and egg. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula just enough to moisten; do not beat and do not mix until the batter is smooth. Fold in the fruit and the nuts, then pour and spoon the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for about an hour, or until the bread is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Makes 1 loaf.