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Easy Mark: Summer Cooking

My favorite M.O.T. chef and New York Times writer Mark Bittman (did anyone else catch him whistling Hatikvah at the start of his online Falafel segment a few weeks back?), published a masterpiece this week. Chef Mark's Wednesday columns get … Read More

By / July 19, 2007

My favorite M.O.T. chef and New York Times writer Mark Bittman (did anyone else catch him whistling Hatikvah at the start of his online Falafel segment a few weeks back?), published a masterpiece this week.

Chef Mark's Wednesday columns get me out of bed early any Wednesday morning, but yesterday's "Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less" literally brought tears of joy to my eyes. Clearly I'm not the only one who enjoyed: by noon yesterday it was the most circulated article on the Times website, and it continues to be today.

For good reason, too. All the recipes are less than four sentences in length, including the ingredient list. None require fancy equipment. And unlike most quick and uninspired summer recipes, Chef Mark did not succumb to the BBQ's lure. Though I'd devour a good steak or burger on the grill any night, how good does five minute scallop ceviche with lime and chili sound (nb: I'd add fresh cilantro or mint)?

Yes, Chef Mark's recipes are often brazenly trayf, but in a nod to his bubby, he included a "recipe" for blintzes ("Buy good blintzes. Brown them on both sides in butter. Serve with sour cream, apple sauce or both."). I'm sure he would love to teach us how to cook blintzes from scratch (a future column, dear Mark?), but that is not his point here.

Plus, who (besides me) really wants to make dough and roll blintzes in the heat of summer? For now I'll take cold soba noodles with dipping sauce instead. Indeed, there are plenty of vegetarian and kosher-able recipes on this list. Grilled eggplant with crumbled goat cheese and olive oil? Yum.

He even gets us cooking things most would avoid: five minute sautéed chicken livers on toast, for example. And you gotta love this one-liner dinner: "Canned sardines packed in olive oil on Triscuits, with mustard and Tabasco."

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