Note: Most of the links in this post are to The New York Times which requires you to log in.He's A.K.A. The Minimalist with good reason. Mark Bittman is the no fuss master presenting recipes that cooks with minimal skill level can make easily. His "No Knead Bread" technique from Sullivan St. Bakery sparked an Internet buzz still ongoing. Is it really possible to have awesome bread without giving your biceps a workout? Yes. He proved with Mario Batali that risotto doesn't need the ground and pound of a Jiu Jitsu master to be creamy and elegant. Mark Bittman takes the drama out of cooking and infuses it with honest, straightforward flavors. He guides with technique that can be applied all over my kitchen.
Last week we had 3 nights of Bittman food. I used his method for grilling chicken wings and applied it to some thighs which are my favorite. Previously I had parboiled chicken parts before grilling, like I do for ribs. This left them well seasoned but Bittman's chicken cooked over indirect heat and then crisped over a higher flame was, well, more chicken-y. If you put raw chicken over high flame the outside burns and the inside remains raw. His video for twice cooked Chinese pork left me drooling. I braised the pork while the chicken was grilling and served it the next day. I served it along side a stir fry of rice noodles and bok choy with black bean sauce. Exciting. Night #3, a few days later I sliced the remainder of the pork and served it atop homemade fried rice, a new staple for me. I'll use the pork braising liquid in a dish of Lion's Head Meatballs next week. More on that later.
Check out Bittman every Wednesday in The Times, and be sure to catch his video that usually accompanies his article.