It’s citrus season!

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Moro blood oranges, kaffir limes, cocktail grapefruits… At this stage, the best plan is to simply make one big fruit salad and be done.

Fried hijiki with pork

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This turned out really well. Soaked in water until it ballooned to about 10 times its dried size, then sauteed with pork in a nice sauce that was on the package of hijiki: dashi, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar.

It’s pom season.

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Carl and Mark: I’m done!

That’s right. I’m done. Over the last four months, as a tribute and adventure, I made all 25 of Mark Bittman’s favorites from The Minimalist. I did them mostly in batches of two or three when time allowed. This was not by any means a Julie Powell-scale endeavor. If anything, it gave me more appreciation for the breadth of Powell’s accomplishment.

Pear, gorgonzola and mesclun salad
Pear, Gorgonzola, and Mesclun Salad

We’ll start at the end. Tonight I made the final dish. Pear, Gorgonzola, and Mesclun Salad. This salad is to the 90s what the Caesar was to the 20s. Who knows how many times I’ve eaten this (plus or minus the toasted walnuts). But it definitely stands the test of time.

Continue reading ‘Carl and Mark: I’m done!’

Carl and Mark, part 4

Here we are with five more dishes from Mark Bittman’s 25 Favorite Minimaist Recipes. Now that I’ve made 20 of them, I can look back a little. Most of the dishes have been quite good and have come together quickly. And when I make a dish for this project, it often stands out in an otherwise humdrum week of cooking. If I see a watermelon now, I definitely think of the Watermelon and Tomato salad. It’s not just a dessert or snack to me anymore. So a couple of these dishes will probably become standards for me at some point.


Braised Turkey was lovely and yields enough turkey for an army. The mushrooms and italian sausage lend great flavor to this, too. The turkey breasts came out beautifully thanks to the short cooking time, but the thighs had dried out by the end, like the braised duck legs in Carl and Mark part 2. That was frustrating. I still feel like I don’t understand how to slow-braise dark, tough meat so that it falls off the bone, rather than being dry and chewy. I think it needs to stay wetter (maybe be basted?) and probably cook for less time (the above turkey thigh cooked for 2.5 hours).

Continue reading ‘Carl and Mark, part 4′

Carl and Mark, part 3

I’m already past the halfway point. I’ve made 15 of the Minimalist’s 25 favorites. Including this bad boy:

Continue reading ‘Carl and Mark, part 3′

Carl and Mark, part 2

So! We continue with five more recipes from The Minimalist’s “25 favorites.” This set includes one of the biggest cooking disasters I can remember—and perhaps the most delightful thing I’ve ever cooked:

Oh. My. Cod. This was magnificent. Black cod with miso. Broiled black cod fillets with just three ingredients: miso, sugar, and mirin. How did I not know? How could I have gone so long without eating this? This dish makes the whole thing worthwhile. The whole “learning how to cook” thing. Not that it wasn’t a worthwhile endeavor already. But this dish really seals the deal. And it took no time at all to put together. Cod, rice, salad. Why go out? Why go anywhere? BTW, I believe this was originally a Nobu recipe that Mark adapted.

Continue reading ‘Carl and Mark, part 2′


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