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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Department of Book Reports: Kitchen Express

Happy New Year! Here's to a better year and a better decade. This book report will certainly help you eat better in the coming days and years.

Kitchen Express, by Mark Bittman (Simon & Schuster $26) Mark Bittman has long been one of my favorite cooking writers, and a main reason for continuing our NYT subscription out here in the boonies. I love his common sense approach to cooking, and his ability to get to the bottom of a recipe by concentrating on the basic ingredients.

This wonderful volume was under my tree this year, and I recommend it as much more accessible than tearing out and saving the pages in stacks of newspaper on the table. The articles have all been in the NYT, by seasonal subject. Appetizers, Salads, Picnics, and Headstarts on the Holidays. I know I have those sheets around here somewhere! Trust me, the book is easier to find.

I will share my favorite recipe from his column: Creamed Corn. Really? Teh kid complains when I cook this... that I don't make enough of it. It's super easy and if you toss your Ginger root into the freezer you can easily grate it for a fast stir fry improv following this. Use different veg, or meats (it's great with stirfried Beef stew bits or tofus), and the marinade sauce works on any stirfry.


1 pound boneless chicken (breasts or thighs), in 1/2-inch chunks
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sherry, rice wine, sake or white wine
2 tablespoons peanut oil or another neutral oil, like corn or grape seed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 small chili, seeds and stems removed, minced (or dried red chili flakes to taste)
1 15-ounce can creamed corn
1 cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned)
Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

In a small bowl, mix the chicken with the soy sauce, the sesame oil and the wine. Put the peanut oil into a deep skillet or wok, preferably nonstick, and turn heat to high. Drain chicken. When oil is hot, add chicken to skillet, and cook, undisturbed, until bottom browns, about 2 minutes. Stir once or twice, and cook 2 minutes longer. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
Add the garlic, the ginger and the chili to the skillet, and stir; 15 seconds later, add the creamed corn and the corn kernels. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 3 or 4 minutes. Garnish, and serve over white rice.
4 servings

Bon Apetit!

I would also like to thank Miss Poppy for once again filling my stocking with Jeebus-y goodness!

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  1. Love the Bittman. I learned of him through the TED lecture:
    "What's wrong with what we eat".

    Type 'bittman' and 'ted' into the youtubes and you can watch it.

    I read Bittman's "Food Matters" after I'd exhausted Michael Pollan.

    Of course, if all your recipes need to begin with a can of sweetened condensed milk you cannot beat "Simply Sara" making Wanda's macaroni salad. Don't worry, she does not expire wrestling open the bag of carrots, though her breathing does become frighteningly erratic. And, appearances aside, you do not have to make it on the stove top.

    Happy New Year Seattle Tammy, the General, and all his Faithful Readers. <3

  2. That chickeny creamed corn shit sound fucking delicious!

  3. Dear SeattleTammy and SeattleDan:

    Happy New Year. I hope that Bittman book sells right off the shelves, to make room for my tome, "Al Fresco Dining With The Donner Party--The Other White Meat". Mr. Bittman has a very well deserved reputation for demysteriousnessfying all sorts of scary things about cooking. However, I think I'd go head to head with him on "Iron Chef--The Long Pig Challenge.". I mean, it's tough enough convincing folks to get over their silly notions about propriety and those stupid dietary taboos. I think that it's really a question of seasoning. Since things like saffron are generally unavailable when one is stranded, and starving, in some GODforsaken hellhole--ya just gotta improvise. I find that combining a dash of water hemlock, a pinch of peyote and a soupcon of jimson weed will work wonders. Oh, no, not for seasoning the meat, but for procuring it. Jack Daniels will do the trick in some cases.

  4. Anonymous3:22 AM

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We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.