Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express: 404 Inspired Seasonal Dishes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less

Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express: 404 Inspired Seasonal Dishes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less

by Mark Bittman


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Cooking can be one of life's essential pleasures, even when you have to put dinner on the table every night. Now, with Mark Bittman's trusted voice as your guide, quick, easy, and fresh meals are always a realistic option.

Presented here are 404 dishes -- 101 for each season -- that will get you in and out of the kitchen in 20 minutes or less. Mark Bittman's recipe sketches provide exactly the directions a home cook needs to prepare a repertoire of eggs, seafood, poultry, meats, vegetables, sandwiches, and even desserts. Add a salad here, a loaf of bread there, and these dishes become full meals that are better than takeout and far less expensive.

These 404 recipes are as delicious and sophisticated as they are simple: Make the most of summer produce with Scallop and Peach Ceviche or Apricot Cream Upside-Down Pie. When the air starts to cool, try Salmon and Sweet Potato with Coconut Curry Sauce or Broiled Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts. On a cold winter night, warm up with White Bean Stew served over crusty slices of olive oil-brushed baguette. Or welcome spring with Shrimp with Asparagus, Dill, and Spice or Poached Eggs and Truffled Arugula Prosciutto Salad.

Because good ingredients are the backbone of delicious home cooking, Bittman includes a guide to the foods you'll want on hand to cook the Kitchen Express way, as well as suggestions for seasonal menus and lists of recipes for specific uses, like brown-bag lunches or the best dishes for reheating. With Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express, you can have dinner on the table in not much more time than it takes to read a traditional recipe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416575672
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 06/21/2011
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 424,139
Product dimensions: 7.18(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

Mark Bittman is the creator and writer of the popular The New York Times column “The minimalist.” An award-winning cookbook author, he lives in Connecticut.

Read an Excerpt


The simple format of Kitchen Express belies all that it has to offer. Here are 101 incredibly fast and easy recipes for each season — 404 in all. The experienced home cook can play with each to great advantage, yet at their core, they're recipes presented in the simplest form possible, understandable and readily executed by anyone who's done some cooking.

As a group, they are precisely imprecise. This is unusual for recipes, but it's long been my belief that the most specific recipes are the most limiting. Specificity is fine for baking, where the chemistry among the ingredients often determines success or failure. But in savory cooking, where amounts can vary wildly — there's almost never a critical difference between one onion and two: A "head" of broccoli might weigh one or one-and-a-half pounds; a steak may be three-quarters to an inch and a half thick — to try to force cooks to follow recipes demanding precision robs them of the ability to improvise, to relax, to substitute, to use their own judgment.

Jacques Pepin once remarked to me that the old adage about never stepping foot in the same river twice holds true for recipes also: You don't start with the same amount of ingredients, they're not at the same temperature, they're not the same age or from the same place, the ambient temperature and humidity are probably different, as are your equipment and mood. Everything is different, and the results will be too.

These little recipes acknowledge that up front. I don't really care how much garlic you use in most recipes, so "some" is as good as "a teaspoon." Similarly, garnishes are garnishes: You use more, you use less, you leave them out — it shouldn't matter. "A carrot" in a soup could certainly be a big one or a small one, and so on. So I rarely give exact measurements, unless proportions are critical.

This style of cooking is about three things: speed, flexibility, and relaxation. If you read one of these recipes, if it inspires you, and if you have the ingredients (or something approximating them) to throw it together — then go into the kitchen, assemble what you need, and have at it. Twenty minutes later, max, you'll be eating something delicious. What's wrong with that? Copyright © 2009 by Mark Bittman

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“I’d buy any cookbook Bittman wrote.”

The Miami Herald

“This is a man who loves food in the most unstuffy way possible.”

The Chicago Tribune

Customer Reviews

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Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express: 404 Inspired Seasonal Dishes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
dakotareader More than 1 year ago
I'm a full-time professor who seldom gets home before 6:00 pm. The kitchen is dark and I'm usually starving. Kitchen Express has more ideas in one book for dealing with this situation than any ten other cookbooks combined. Twenty-minute, healthy recipes and lots of them. They all work. They make eating healthy a lot easier. And they keep me out of the cooking-the-same-old-thing every day rut. The book is organized by season, which saves money on food and inspires variety. This is not a book for the inexperienced, as it does not provide technique or even quantities. It's an idea book for assembling common ingredients in fast and interesting ways. I've given this book as gifts to a number of friends and relations who all use it regularly. I'm systematically working through recipes and enlarging my everyday repertoire. This weekend I made pumpkin creme brulee (takes five minutes to put together) for a dinner party and it was a hit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent cookbook, but it is not for novice cooks. The book is broken down by seasons so you can take advantage of what is fresh and there are no amounts so you have to be more than passingly familiar with cooking. All the recipes I have tried to date are excellent.
CraigFL More than 1 year ago
101 short paragraphs featuring a quick "how to..." create some fabulously quick and easy offerings. Additional info on ingredients, a well-stocked pantry, 4 season menus, week night dinner party ideas, better than Asian take-out, romantic suppers, kid's night, room-temperature buffets, finger foods for cocktail parties, holiday blowouts, weekend brunch, and even picnic or road trip ideas. Sadly, there are absolutely NO illustrations (unless you count the author's mug shot in the inside back cover flap)--a major flaw and a real 'bummer' for a beginner.
ben_h on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Recipes distilled to their essence: this is good to eat; here's how to make it. I am the biggest Mark Bittman fanboy, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy, fresh meals, no measuring required.  Minimalism at its yummiest!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Recipes short and ingredients are easily found anywhere. Perfect for the cook who wants to keep things simple aqs well as tasting great.
BklynNat More than 1 year ago
I bought this as a gift as I have found it very useful and easy to follow. It broke my rut of cooking the same things adding great variety to my cooking.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know if it would be different if I'd gotten the actual book, butthough the recipes look yummy, I rarely make any because it is so hard to find anything in the Nook. I wish I'd gotten a real book for this.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very usefull for an express nice meal