Friday, February 10, 2012


The more I cook, the more I think simplicity is key. Take bread. I've fallen in love with the no-knead technique I discovered several months. I now bake bread every other day. It's so simple, just flour, salt, yeast and water, but so good. It's the best bread I've ever had outside of Europe.

And then there's what you can do with really good bread: Sandwiches, of course, not to mention toast for breakfast. Either inside or outside the bowl, it's a wonderful addition to soup. Stale bread can become bread crumbs, bread pudding or go into the salad. A quality loaf has endless uses.

That's true of many things. Take stock (no pun intended). Making it is cheap and easy: a chicken carcase, root vegetables, salt and pepper. It's a base for soups or sauces and a major flavor booster in stir fries.  It can show up in places you don't expect, like Julia Child's potato salad calls.

So think twice before shelling out $20 for that special ingredient in the fancy dish you found on the Internet. Something simple and skillfully prepared will almost surely be tastier and lead to greater understanding and appreciation of food.

1 comment:

  1. As regards the Bittman recipe, I shortened it by using his ingredients, more or less (3 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon yeast, 1 1/2 cups water) but using warm (bathwater temp) water, which shortens the rise time to about 4 hours in a covered bowl. Then I scrape the dough onto a very well-floured surface, and make it into a ball with floury hands and put it on parchment (so I can lower it into the pot). I cover with plastic wrap while the oven heats to 450, then put the pot and cover in the oven and let heat for half an hour, and finally just lower the ball of dough (minus plastic wrap) into the pot, cook for half an hour covered and 15 minutes without cover. Lots easier, in my book - no extra rising time. By the way, I figured out why I haven't commented before - your "copy these words" function took me four tries earlier.