Most of my weekday cooking has to bring a satisfying, healthful meal to the family dinner table within a half hour or or less. So the promise of Mark Bittman's new cook book "Kitchen Express: 404 Inspired Seasonal Dishes You Can Make In 20 Minutes Or Less" made me eager to purchase the book and see if it delivers the goods.
Kitchen Express is not a book for the novice; there are no ingredient lists or step by step instructions. The book is devoid of photographs of food, relying instead on the working knowledge of a competent family cook to use the dishes described as a springboard to assemble the meal. From where I stand in my own culinary education, that suits me just fine.
My favorite part of the book is the division of the recipes into four seasonal groupings, each with a brief introduction about the kinds of produce available and cooking styles that highlight that season's offerings.
One of my favorite quick meals is sausages and peppers. So despite the fact that I was cooking in summer, the first dish I cooked from Kitchen Express came from the Winter chapter: Sausages and Potatoes.
The recipe is the height of simplicity: Peel, cut up and boil some potatoes. Meanwhile, broil some chopped onions with cut up sausages. Drain the potatoes, mix them with the sausages and onions, then season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the bowl with olive oil, toss gently and garnish with fresh herbs such as basil or parsley. NOTE: Although Bittman suggests you broil the sausages and onions, you can just as easily saute them on the stovetop in a small amount of olive oil.
I was truly surprised at how warming and comforting this bowl of sausages and potatoes was. My husband devoured it. This is a welcome variation that takes a classic into new territory, and I know I will cook it often.
I can hardly wait to cook more from this deceptively simple book. I rate Kitchen Express highly for the competent home cook.