Wednesday, October 7, 2015

cook | Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix

Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix by, you guessed it, Mark Bittman is all about playing with your food. It gives you base recipes for a variety of dishes and then lists several variations on the theme. Most of the dishes only take up a two-page spread, which is nice if something is seafood (none for me, thanks) based. It’s great not to have to page through tons of irrelevant information to find what I need. That being said, this book is by no means sparse. It just makes very good use of its space, often including nine recipes on one page.

One thing that I, a novice cooker, really appreciate is that when a recipe is for, say, poached chicken, it doesn’t tell you to poach chicken – it lays out the steps. Thank goodness, because otherwise I’d need a cookbook to learn how to cook recipes from this book.

Approach with caution: This book’s minimalist layout (stunning, by the way – this one can double as a coffee table book for sure) and approachable tone makes it seem like it draws from the basics. While this may be true technique-wise, it is not so for the ingredients! I keep an admittedly slim stock of foods on hand, but most of these recipes use for items I haven’t even purchased in the last year. They have, however, made it to this week’s grocery list. There are a bunch of recipes I’m excited to try (I’m looking at you, savory shortbread! Oh cornstarch…).

Spinach and mushrooms and mozzarella, oh my!
My mix-ins

This book arrived just as I was ready for dinner, so I decided to try out a recipe right off the bat. Pretty much the only thing I was fully equipped for was the “tiny pancake” recipe – an egg, some flour, and whatever mix-ins you desire. Blend it all together and fry in lots of olive oil – no complaints from my taste buds! I used mushrooms, spinach, and mozzarella this time out, but I have a hunch that if I made these cinnamon-sugar style they’d taste a lot like churros. Mmmmm!

A fantastic pile of pancake fritter-type things
4 out of 5 stars

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I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.