Sunday, February 22, 2009

Butter Almond Cake, HTCE Anniv Edition, p.913

I needed a simple gluten free birthday cake to make with my granddaughter so I tried this recipe. There was no flour necessary, just ground almonds. I put them in the Cuisinart until they became "mealy" as instructed by Bittman.
I combined the butter and nut mixtures.
We beat the egg whites with sugar until they were stiff, combined everything in one bowl and then poured it into the prepared pan.
A word about preparing the pan. I had a 10" spring form pan ( one of the three Benjamin brought back from college!!) and put plenty of butter in before I sprinkled some flower all around. The parchment paper was a great idea. It made everything so easy to remove when it was finished baking.
It didn't come out as high as I thought it should have. It was really too thin to slice and make into a layer cake. Next time I will make two of them. After removing the cake from the spring form pan, I plated it and lined the sides with foil so that it would be easy to spread the ganache icing all around. Of course removing the foil got a little messy but I figured the decorations would cover any big mistakes. My granddaughter was able to sprinkle flowers and place the letters on the top. Not a bad job considering how uneven it was. The icing was a Chocolate Ganache, HTCE Anniversary Edition, p.920. It was perfect with the nutty almond cake!
Happy Birthday and Bon Appetit.

Polenta Pizza with Pancetta (Bacos) and Spinach, NYT Feb 17

Clearly there was something in the zeitgeist this week regarding polenta. And before anyone starts getting foodie all over my arse, yes--I used Bacos instead of Pancetta and that's OK by me. I don't eat meat and I actually thought the Bacos would be a better substitute than soy bacon (I don't like any I've tasted very much). If anyone has a better suggestion for a smoky, salty vegetarian substitute--PLEASE let me know.

OK, now that that's off my chest, I made Bittman's breakfast Polenta Pizza and had it as a light dinner. Silly that I made the whole recipe because Bruce is away in Michigan this weekend and my neighbors are on vacation. So I had an entire cookie tray full of polenta to deal with by myself.

The good news is that this was yummy warm out of the oven (and the slices lifted easily right off of the tray) and even yummier this morning as a late-morning breakfast. There's plenty left, too--so Bruce can gorge himself when he comes home.

I think when I make this again I will try it with other cheeses (see Doris' post) or maybe just use a little less gorgonzola.  The picture doesn't do it justice, but take my word for it, this is an easy and delicious dish.

Basic Polenta, Version I, HTCE, p. 187

I made this polenta as a side dish for a dinner party I hosted. (I also served chinese style pork spare ribs, basic boiled kale, mashed sweet potatoes, cole slaw, and Terence made fake baked beans). I am never sure whether to call this dish polenta or grits because as far as I can tell, they're fundamentally the same thing. It's basically corn meal cooked in a liquid and at then end, cheese is added to it. Polenta, of course, sounds fancier than cheesy grits, so I'm posting this recipe under "polenta". Plus I followed Bittman's Basic Polenta recipe (Version I) when making them. One modification I made to the recipe which makes it much less Italian, and much more American is instead of using parmesean or blue cheese as is specified in the recipe, I used an aged cheddar. Sometimes, when T & I are feeling very lazy, we'll make a batch of this polenta and at the very end, mix in some kale and have a one-bowl dinner.

Penne with Butternut Squash, TMCH, p. 56

Butternut squash is one of my favorite winter vegetables. It's beautiful, flavorful, and healthful. Bittman's recipe for penne with a butternut squash sauce turned out to be absolutely incredible. Processing the butternut squash in the food processor rather than grating it by hand is a huge time saver. It also adds an additional bonus to the dish because the processed pieces are not all exactly the same size. So when cooked, because of the variation in size and shape from being processed rather than grated, they cook to different levels of doneness. The smaller pieces are cooked all the way down, yet the larger pieces are still al dente. I found this to be one of the best parts of the dish because you could really taste the squash and also enjoy different textures.

Instead of finishing the recipe with 1/2 cup of pasta water, I followed one of the "with minimal effort" suggestions and finished it with heavy cream. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of heavy cream, but I found that 1/4 cup was more than sufficient. The cream really helped boost the flavor and texture of the dish. We had the pasta with a nice arugula salad. The salad is dressed with a simple honey balsamic dressing (whisk together honey & balsamic vinegar, no oil is needed). The sweetness and tanginess of the dressing brought out the sweetness of the butternut squash. This was one of the most delicious dinners I have made in quite some time!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Basic Boiled Collards or Kale, p. 562

I grew up on an entirely different set of vegetable from what you can find in an American super market. Only recently have I started seeing some of these “exotic” vegetables (Chinese water spinach, snow pea shoots, and Chinese long beans) being served in non-Chinese restaurants. But these vegetables, along with about 15 – 20 others, mostly different types of leafy greens, were staples in my family. Needless to say, since we hardly ever ate American vegetables, I am unfamiliar with many of the vegetables you find in regular grocery stores. For example, I had never eaten a turnip until I had them at my mother-in-law’s house for Thanksgiving one year. We also never ate beets, parsnips, chard, collards, or kale. Don’t get me wrong, we shopped in the local Shop Rite for groceries. But my parents would drive into Chinatown pretty much every weekend to buy Chinese vegetables and various other ingredients only found in Chinatown.

As a result of being exposed to all these leafy greens, I have a great love for them. Imagine the amount of intrigue kale held for me when I first noticed it at the grocery store. I had always wondered about how it would taste, but the Chinese value the tenderness of a vegetable and kale doesn't look particularly tender. Yet, I was still intrigued because it is so green and frilly. (I like frilly things.) So I decided to bite the bullet and purchased two bunches of kale to serve for a dinner party.

It just so happened that 3 of my cousins and one cousin-in-law were coming to dinner and it turned out that none of them had ever had kale either. I boiled the kale using Bittman’s recipe, and tossed it with some sautéed garlic and olive oil at the end. I think all of my cousins really enjoyed it. And now I think I’m ready to introduce kale to my parents and hope that they will assimilate this very healthy American vegetable into their diet.

Death-by-Chocolate Torte, HTCE, p. 726; Dark Chocolate Glaze, HTCE, p. 727

When I first started cooking, disasters would happen my kitchen rather often. For example, one time, while trying to make a custard, I didn't temper my eggs before adding them to the hot milk/cream and ended up with scrambled eggs. Another time, I overmixed muffin batter and ended up with pumpkin-spice flavored lead. But disasters very rarely happen in my kitchen these days. (Although I did make a batch of cayenne ice cream that traumatized my friends this past xmas. Sorry guys!)

In any event, Bittman's Death-by-Chocolate Torte was a complete disaster!!!!!! I am extremely disappointed with Mr. Bittman for leading me down a very wrong path. To be fair, the actual cake part of the recipe turned out well. It was very dense and chocolatey. But the butter-cream and the chocolate glaze turned out to be awful. It was so bad, I almost cried.

I should know by now to trust my own instincts in the kitchen (except for when I’m using cayenne). The first red flag went up when Mr. Bittman had me making the buttercream frosting in a blender. His recipe clearly states in step 3: “To make the butter cream, place 2 egg yolks in the container of a blender.” When I read that, I thought to myself, this doesn’t sound right, but ok, if Bittman says to do it, I’ll do it. So I followed his instructions and at one point about 1/3 of the way into adding all of the butter, my blender stopped blending the ingredients. The egg yolks were pooling at the bottom of the blender and the butter, sugar, and chocolate were sticking to the sides of the blender. At this point, I should have taken everything out of the blender and used my hand mixer, but stupid me trusted Bittman, so I continued adding the rest of the butter with absolutely no success. I ended throwing away the entire thing because there was no way to salvage it. I decided to forego the butter cream filling and just do the dark chocolate glaze on top.

The Dark Chocolate Glaze recipe (HTCE, p. 727) has you mix all of the ingredients (cocoa powder, heavy cream, butter, powdered sugar, and salt) together in a small saucepan and cook it over low heat until it’s combined and thickened. When I read this recipe, a second red flag went up as I thought to myself that I should heat the butter and the heavy cream together first and then slowly whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar. But Bittman’s method was much easier since all I had to do was dump everything into one pan and cook it over low heat. Well, that turned out to be a disaster as well. The butter, although cut into small pieces, did not melt quickly enough. So the entire mixture seized up and I was left with a disgusting clump of greasy, lumpy chocolate goop. I ended up having to throw that out as well. And at that point, I almost cried.

Instead of crying though, I started over, using the method I originally wanted to use, which was to slowly heat the butter and heavy cream together, mix together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt, and then slowly whisk that mixture into the butter and heavy cream. This method turned out well, but I thought the mixture was too thick to be a glaze, so I used a bit more heavy cream and everything turned out ok in the end. I don’t think I will ever make this recipe again, and if I’m craving something dark chocolate, I’ll follow my instinct and use a recipe from Chris Kimball’s “The Dessert Bible”.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Black Beans with Orange Juice--Beet Variation, p. 606–7, HTCEV

Confession: I have never cooked with beets before. I don't know why. I like beets. But I have a weird phobic reaction about cooking with certain foods. I just worry that I won't cook them right, or I won't know how to cut the vegetables—or I'll cut myself (It's been known to happen). If there's any kind of special prep work, I over think the whole thing. Just mention salting to me and I get all worried. Salting? How much? How long? what
kind of salt? What kind of draining system? You get the picture. This is a little crazy, I know, especially since I'm a vegetarian. Perhaps the Bittman project will help encourage me to boldly branch out  into the world of vegetarian options.

We love chili and rice and beans here and so I was intrigued by the Black Beans with Orange Juice recipe, and I took up the challenge to incorporate a beet into the mix.  Guess what?  Beets are easy!  (Don't say "duh."  Did you really say "duh?")  They're messy but easy. Plus the mess is so pretty, I didn't even mind it.   

I have to give  a shout out to Monique again, as she had to talk me through the beet prep  part of the recipe (see above about vegetable prep neurosis). Bittman didn't really go into it, and I was worried that I might be doing it wrong. I boiled the beet, then peeled it and then diced it up into sweet little garnet-colored cubes. 

As easy as the beet was to cook with, I thought the taste totally overwhelmed the dish.  I would have loved to have had more of an orange-y experience. Next time, I will try the dish without the beets to get a sense of how orange-y the dish can be. Then for the third try, maybe I'll try adding about a quarter of the beet to the dish. 

Beety or not,  this is definitely a hearty winter dish and I'm glad I overcame my beet reluctance! 

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pureed Vegetable - Parsnip, HTCE p243

Parsnips has a strong, nutty, earthy flavor and is one of my favorite winter vegetables. The book only offers up pureed vegetable as a guideline, indicating several vegetable that can be pureed. I had actually made a large batch of roasted parsnips in the oven (peel and toss with olive oil and salt, roast in 350 degree oven about 45 minutes), and had leftovers. Several days later, I decided to make soup.

Modifying the puree recipe is easy, just add some stock - approximately enough liquid to cover the parsnips in a blender. Although I can't quite tell how many parsnips were used, or how much water, the blender showed about 4 cups total. You can also adjust the liquid based on the consistency. To finish the soup, I sauteed shallots and sliced salami (*I know, I didn't have prosciutto on hand) and added it after plating. It was perfect for the cold weather, hearty and good for you at the same time.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Salmon Scallops with Garlic Confit, FISH pg. 231

We eat a lot of fish in our house – I cook it like 2 or 3 times a week. Mr. Bittman’s “Fish” book has been a great help and inspiration in my search for something different to put on the table. Almost all of the recipes in this cookbook have been hits….almost.
I have wanted to try this recipe for some time. Bittman says it’s “the kind of dish you’d pay a small fortune for in a restaurant”, and who could resist that glowing remark? I happened to have some salmon that had the skin and scales (don’t ask) still on it, so I needed a recipe that called for the cooking of the meat only. This seemed like the perfect time to try the million dollar recipe.
The recipe calls for you to cut the salmon into “scallops” by cutting thin slices almost parallel to the surface of the fillet. It all looks so nice (and easy) in the provided illustration… Well, needless to say some of my slices were beautiful, the others looked like bait. I thought I was doing O.K. – my knife was nice and sharp - but look at the picture and judge for yourself.
Since my salmon pieces were smaller than they should have been, they cooked WAY too fast and most were WAY overcooked.

The garlic confit, on the other hand was wonderful. Nice and mild and especially nice with the fresh basil that the recipe calls for.

We had some roasted asparagus (not a Bittman recipe, but so simple we have it all the time – asparagus rolled around in a little olive oil on a baking sheet and sprinkled with salt and pepper – in a 400 degree oven for 12 minutes – YUM!) with the fish to round out the meal.

I wouldn’t say I’d never make this again, but I think I need to brush up on my technique prior to my next attempt.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Simplest Apple Tart, HTCE p938

My upgraded food processor came today and boy is it a dream. I used to make pie crust by hand, which is time-consuming and pain in the behind. Yet, I have never compromised and bought frozen pie crust. So with a shiny (literally) toy I scored on eBay, I went to work. I decided to make an apple tart to try out the blades.

The Crust: I used a Martha Stewart pie crust recipe, similar to Flaky Piecrust (HTCE, p928). Rather than lining a pie plate, I decided to shape it into a flat dessert pizza. So I rolled it out, trimmed it, and baked it on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Apples: It is therapeutic to watch the apple slices spinning in the food processor. In my excitement to try out the blade, I forgot to peel the apples. However, with the slices at 1/8 inch thickness, the peel was not a problem. With the crust trimmed to an approximate square, I arranged apple slices in rows rather than circles.

Glaze: The glaze was simply melted apricot jam, brushed on after 40 minutes, and baked for an addition 8 minutes.

The thin, crispy, buttery crust was probably the best part of the dessert. Since the apples were dry and the crust was dry, this probably could have used a syrupy layer below the apples. Next time, I might try some applesauce.

Watercress and Sesame Salad, HTCE p. 99

Monique invited us for dinner on Sunday, so I told her I would bring something to share. (Dinner at Mo's is always fun because of the wonderful food and company.)
I decided to make Bittman's Watercress and Sesame salad since it looked delicious and I had all of the ingredients on hand. I prepped everything at my place (washed and trimmed the greens, toasted the sesame seeds, and made the dressing) and had intended to put the dish together at her place. But when I arrived, I realized that there already was a salad on the table, but no cooked greens, so I modified the recipe.
Instead of dressing the watercress raw for a salad, I sauteed them with some chopped garlic and olive oil and then added the soy/rice wine vinegar/sesame oil dressing and tossed them with the sesame seeds. The recipe calls for cayenne pepper, but if you don't like it spicy, you can omit it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tomato sauce, spicy variation, HTCE Red, pg. 502

We went food shopping today and as I reached for my normal bottle or two of tomato sauce, I thought against it and decided to make some homemade sauce, some for tonight, some to freeze for another evening. I tried making sauce from scratch once and it was bland, boring and not as good as store bought. Bittman's recipe has changed all that. The sauce was spicy as promised and delicious.

The recipe is simple, saute garlic and onions then add two cans of whole tomatoes, spices (I used cayenne pepper instead of chilies, because we were out, some bay leaves and an amazing pizza spice mix we bought in Argentina), salt and pepper. As I added the tomatoes I squeezed them to help the process of breaking down the pieces. One way to get around this step would be to use crushed tomatoes, but I have to say the process was cathartic, albeit slightly messy.

Bittman says to leave it simmering on the stove for 15-20 minutes, but I wanted the sauce to have great depth. I left it simmering on a low heat for nearly three hours while I prepared food for the week and made a gluten-free artichoke tart (this is the non-Bittman recipe for the crust, and this is the recipe for the artichoke filling--I made it without prosciutto).

Like Clare wrote the other day, I am also finding that I have a hard time following recipes. That's why I've always preferred to cook rather than bake. I like to play with the spices and find new flavors on my own. In that vein, I played a bit with this recipe in terms of spices, adding to Bittman's base. I pureed some fresh basil with olive oil and added it to the sauce, creating a pesto hint to the overall flavor. I think this worked well.

I plated the dish with a slice of the artichoke tatin. This might have been close to the perfect late afternoon Sunday meal. The recipe made a lot of sauce. We had enough for tonight, leftovers and a large container of sauce that's getting chilled in the freezer for a quick weekday meal sometime in the future. Can't wait.

(Thanks to Kali Kitty for being the best kitchen aide ever.)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Light and Fluffy Pancakes, HTCE p812

Pancake recipes seem easy enough, but I've had a devil of a time finding a consistent recipe. I've tried many recipes over the years, and consider myself an unsucessful pancake maker. They either come out too flat, too chewy, too dense, too light, too waffle-y, too doughy, too coarse, too bubbly, or too soapy (baking soda, ugh). A rare few times when the texture was decent, the recipe did not yield same results from batch to batch.

So I tried this recipe with usual skepticism. Was it going to be runny? rubbery? doughy? Nope. It was fluffy! The pancakes had weight to them, so I wouldn't call it "light". But the texture was tender and had the right chewiness. I made a stack of banana pancakes, and some blueberry pancakes with frozen berries.

Lamb Pilaf with Cinnamon, The Best Recipes in the World pg.412

I’m all about the one-pot meal. I can do one main entre and MAYBE two sides, but that’s pushing it. I’m still rather new at this and I don’t feel comfortable with the whole timing aspect…yet. So that’s why I like to cook meals that have everything in one dish whenever possible. We also love lamb so this seemed like the perfect recipe for us.
First I had to cube a 2 lb. cut of lamb leg (shoulder, which is called for in the recipe was unavailable at my grocery store) with the bone still in. That was no fun, but I’ve done it before and I’m sure I’ll do it again (Jessica, I think you would have passed out). Mr. Bittman suggests that you brown the meat first if you have the time, so I did. This step definitely added an extra layer of flavor to the finished dish.

top=before, bottom= after

The remainder of the recipe was very easy and I liked all of the players (onions, garlic, tomatoes, raisins, red wine, cinnamon, pine nuts and basmati rice). I only had to buy the pine nuts – it’s so nice when you already have most of the ingredients!

Although the book lists this as a Greek dish, Thomas and I thought it tasted more North African or Middle Eastern. This was fine with us since we’re big fans of both of those cuisines. Overall, we really loved the potent flavors and how they blended so well together to make a very satisfying whole. The foods behaved exactly the way that Bittman said they would in the recipe and I had no problems. A yummy and hearty wintertime meal!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Braised Broccoli with Garlic and Wine, HTCE p544

We eat a lot of broccoli, and I had some on hand that I wanted to use. We pretty much always steam it, occasionally par-steam and stir-fry. I am always looking for new ways to cook vegetables. HTCE did not disappoint, offering up Braised Broccoli with Wine and Garlic. I’ve never braised broccoli so I was curious how this would turn out. Since we also had about a cup of wine, this recipe was a perfect fit. Anchovies are listed as optional in the recipe but anchovies are never optional for us. We make a lot of pizza and they are a regular pantry item for us.

The recipe is very easy to cook and the flavor was great. One odd thing is that the broccoli turned a golden yellowish color where it was submerged in the braising liquid. I was concerned that it over cooked, but it was just a color change. I added an extra anchovy and didn’t add any salt.

Ziti with Chestnuts and Mushrooms, MCAH p52

Simplicity. That is what we strive for cooking on weeknights when one or both of us are working late or at yoga. Since Doris is teaching at night two days a week, I am responsible for having a hot dinner on the table when she gets home. In these situations, pasta is typically the go-to meal. Usually frozen ravioli, but that would not be blog worthy. I chose this recipe for the unique flavor combination and the ease of preparation.

I was looking forward to trying Bittman’s boiling method for peeling fresh chestnuts since we always do the pierce-roast-peel technique to mixed results. However, FreshDirect only sells pre-roasted, shelled chestnuts, which cuts out a big chunk of prep time. The recipe calls for 15 chestnuts. Not being sure of the weight to nut conversion, I ordered two packs. About 5 oz. of nuts (one pack) is sufficient. Rehydrating dried mushrooms always renews my love for our hot water pot. If you don’t have one of these, they are really useful, especially if you are big tea drinkers like us. Make sure you save the resulting mushroom “tea” to make the sauce.

The cooking method is very straightforward. Instead of dressing the cooked pasta with the finished sauce, I cooked the pasta until just before it was done and finished it with the sauce, allowing it to soak up the mushroom flavor. I also substituted penne for ziti since we buy it by the case from Costco.

One bite and we all loved it. The earthy flavor of the mushrooms and the sweetness of the chestnuts worked well together. The pasta really absorbed the flavor as well. I am looking forward to adding this to our regular rotation for when we need a break from tomato sauce. Luckily I have chestnuts ready to go.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Basic Biscotti, HTCE

It has been 4 days since I last baked... and I didn't have the patience to wait for the book (apparently it is in Ohio somewhere at a UPS shipping center.) For the last few weeks, I had been making scones from the Joy of Cooking book and often thought the taste is similar to biscotti.

So I found Mark Bittman's Basic Biscotti posted online, and began today's journey. The many recipes I've tried have yielded wide-ranging results. They can be crumbly or dense, hard as rock or slightly chewy. When dunked in tea or coffee, they can hold their shape or disintegrate.

This is a relatively low-fat recipe, with a ratio of 4 Tbsp butter to 2-1/4 cup flour. By comparison, Giada DeLaurentis's Holiday Biscotti uses about twice the butter. I only used 75% of the sugar "recommended" by the recipe.

When the wet and dry ingredients were mixed lightly, the resulting texture was pretty dry. I was going to use white chocolate chips and cranberry, but decided at the last minute to leave out the cranberry. When the texture is this dry, the dough does not always hold together well. Some reviewers said the 375 degree oven browned the underside too much, so I went with a normal 350 oven for 30 minutes.

The texture is fine-crumbed and crisp, without being too hard. Because of the lower heat, leavening power was not at its fullest. Next time, I will use 375 but reduce the time in the oven. The base flavor is nice, but since vanilla is the only flavor, it lacks depth. A bit of lemon zest will add more complexity. For the next time, I'll add dried fruits and/or nuts as well as decrease the sugar even more.

Meatballs, Three Ways, Ground Turkey variation, HTCE p 114

Here is my second attempt at following a recipe. For me, the hardest thing is to follow directions when cooking. I find that I always want to add my own touch, change something here, change something there..... a little more cheese, a little less onion. It's easy with Mark Bittman's books because he usually gives a basic recipe, and then gives many variations and ways to tailor it to your own tastes.

This is how my babies looked before baking. I wasn't sure how many the recipe would make but one pound of ground turkey filled one baking sheet. The recipe calls for 7-8 minutes in a 350 oven, but after 10 minutes I wasn't sure if they were done. I left them in for another 15 minutes and then figured it was time. I kept waiting for them to get a little brown but it never happened. Turkey doesn't brown the way meat does, and this recipe was originally for ground meat. I did put a little more Parmesan cheese in ( because I love it) and a little less onion, but I followed everything else to the letter.
They were perfect as an appetizer but we sat and ate the entire plate for dinner! Thank you.

Chickpea Pancake, HTCEV, p 633

JOY!!!!! My books arrived and I couldn't wait to get started today. I bought gram flour recently and was happy to find the recipe for this chickpea pancake. I made the batter following all the directions, but I was afraid that it wasn't thick enough. I poured it into my pan and crossed my fingers. I was sure that it would never cook properly in 15 minutes. After 14 minutes in the oven it still didn't look right. At 15 minutes exactly, it was perfect!!!!! Amazing.

This is how it looked in the pan when it was finished baking.
But this is how it looked when I placed it on the serving plate.
Somehow I was able to get it out of the pan in one piece. It was absolutely delicious. I will make it again. I will make variations. I will trust The Bittman!!!!!
Bon Appetit.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Grilled Chicken Kebabs (Spicy variation) & Breaded Sauteed Cauliflower - HTCE (10th ed.) pgs. 669 and 268

Chicken is healthy (low-cal and low-fat) and relatively cheap to make for dinner, that's why it's a on a repeat star in our kitchen. But, as with anything that repeats regularly, chicken gets pretty boring. This spicy chicken kebab recipe made it anything but boring. It was delicious and unexpected.
To begin with, I made a marinade of garlic, juice and zest of lime, cayenne pepper, cumin, tomato paste and onion. The mixture seemed a little dry, so I added about 1/2 a cup of water.

I then cut up two chicken breasts into cubes and mixed them with the marinade. I let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes, while I prepared the cauliflower that I had blanched in hot water for three minutes as Bittman recommends before the grilling process.

After removing the cauliflower and patting off the water slightly, I dipped the florets (not the stem) into an egg white wash and followed with bread crumbs. Bittman does not specify what type of breadcrumbs. I used gluten free crumbs, as I am trying to limit gluten in my diet. At the end I mixed the tiny florets at the bottom of the dish with the remaining egg white and breadcrumbs. I placed all of the cauliflower and mixture into a cast iron pan with a small amount of olive oil.

Next, I skewered the chicken. Two regular-sized cutlets made four kebabs. If I had added vegetables to the skewers (which I would do next time) it could have made eight kebabs.

The kebabs then went onto a flat cast iron pan next to the cauliflower.

Both cooked for about 15 minutes. I used a medium flame for the cauliflower and then reduced it to low while the chicken (on high, then cooked through. I turned the skewers every three to five minutes. Make sure to wear oven mitts if you're using metal skewers. They are HOT.

The chicken came out juicy and the cauliflower tasted so good that Ben and I said it felt like we were eating something that wasn't so healthy. Make sure to spritz the cauliflower breading with lemon juice.

I served it with romaine lettuce topped with blueberries, some extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. The sour of the lemons against the sweetness of the berries was delicious. Not a Bittman suggestion, but something that balanced the meal well.

What a lovely way to spend a Monday night.

How to Cook Everything, 10th Anniversary Edition, pgs. 669 and 268