The Best Recipes in the World : More Than 1,000 International Dishes to Cook at Home
With his million-copy bestseller How to Cook Everything, Mark Bittman made the difficult doable. Now he makes the exotic accessible.
In this highly ambitious, accomplished, globe-spanning work, Bittman gathers the best recipes that people from dozens of countries around the world cook every day. And when he brings his distinctive no-frills approach to dishes that were once considered esoteric, America's home cooks will eagerly follow where they once feared to tread.
In more than a thousand recipes, Bittman compellingly demonstrates that there are many places besides Italy and France to which cooks can turn for inspiration. In addition to these favorites, he covers Spain, Portugal, Greece, Russia, Scandinavia, the Balkans, Germany, and other European destinations, giving us easy ways to make dishes like Spanish Mushroom and Chicken Paella, Greek Roast Leg of Lamb with Thyme and Orange, Russian Borscht, and Swedish Äppletorte.
Asian food now rivals European cuisine's popularity, and this book reflects that: It's the first to emphasize European and Asian cuisines equally, with easy-to-follow recipes for favorites like Vietnamese Stir-Fried Vegetables with Nam Pla, Pad Thai, Japanese Salmon Teriyaki, Chinese Black Bean and Garlic Spareribs, and Indian Tandoori Chicken. Nor is the rest of the world ignored: there are hundreds of recipes from North Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South America, too. All will be hits with home cooks looking to add exciting new tastes and cosmopolitan flair to their everyday repertoire.
Shop locally, cook globally-Mark Bittman makes it so easy:
• Hundreds of recipes that can be made ahead or prepared in under 30 minutes
• Informative sidebars and instructional drawings explain unfamiliar techniques and ingredients
• Fifty-two international menus, an extensive International Pantry section, and much more make this an essential addition to any cook's shelf
The Best Recipes in the World is destined to be a classic that will change the way Americans think about everyday food. It's simply like no other cookbook in the world.
Mark Bittman thinks big, as we saw in his Great Wall of Recipes, How to Cook Everything. That doorstop of a title sold big, too; there are now more than 1.7 million copies in print. This volume, in the same I-can't-believe-I-wrote-the-whole-thing vein, collects recipes from 44 countries. Bittman successfully avoids the usual suspects, drawing as heavily from places like North Africa (home of Harira, a satisfying soup traditionally used to end Ramadan fasting) and India (Marinated Lamb "Popsicles" with Fenugreek Cream) as he does from easy targets like Italy and France. The recipes are terrific in both their variety and execution. Bittman, who writes the New York Times's "Minimalist" column, has a steady authorial voice and a knack for offering clear instructions, and he smoothly makes the exotic seem easy, or at least familiar (e.g., he compares Moroccan Chicken B'stilla to chicken pot pie). The everything-in-one-place format works differently here than it did in his earlier book, which was, ultimately, about technique, not individual recipes, so while there are more than 1,000 recipes here, the reader doesn't acquire quite the same "take-away." Still, for one-stop-shopping on the world's cuisine, it'd be tough to find a better book.
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February 25, 2009
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Excerpt from The Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman
Appetizers and Snacks Just because we call something an appetizer doesn't mean it must be served that way. In fact, the concept belongs more to restaurants, which have the staff and the time to serve meals in stages; at home we tend to put everything on the table at once. The exceptions, of course, are dinner or cocktail parties, holidays, and other special occasions. For those, the dishes in this chapter become extremely important. But if you think of them as light dishes, or those you can prepare in advance, or serve at lunch or late at night, or use as side dishes, everything in this chapter has value beyond the meal-starter. So it's a section well worth browsing. Cold Appetizers Requiring No Cooking This first group comprises cold, uncooked starters. Some--marinated olives, for example--are as simple as can be and are great for stand-up tidbits. But not all of them are little nibbles; some are quite elegant and actually require forethought. Some can be (or must be) made ahead and some are last-minute preparations. But they're all perfect for making on a hot day when you don't want to use the stove. Spicy Cold Celery China Makes 4 servings as a starter or side dish Time 10 minutes, plus 3 hours to marinate Northern Chinese and Taiwanese meals--especially in restaurants--often begin with a little nibble, dishes of savory snacks that are set on the table with tea. They are generally items that you can pick up with your chopsticks and pop in your mouth in one motion. This cold celery dish is a perfect example, with just the right gentle crunch and bite to whet your appetite. 1 pound celery stalks 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar 3 tablespoons dark sesame oil 1 tablespoon soy sauce 2 teaspoons vinegar, preferably rice or cider 1 garlic clove, minced 1 teaspoon chili oil, optional 1. Cut the celery into 2-inch lengths. Mix with the salt and 1 teaspoon of the sugar and set aside for 10 minutes while you whisk together the remaining ingredients. 2. Rinse, drain, and pat dry the celery, then toss with the dressing. Let stand in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to a day. Serve chilled. Marinated Olives Italy Makes about 8 servings Time1 hour, largely unattended Throughout the Mediterranean, you'll find olives already on the table when you sit down to a meal. But they're far different from the canned olives (usually Mission) routinely--and unfortunately--sold in supermarkets here. Not only are they a variety of different types; they're simply but wonderfully seasoned. This easy treatment is so effective that most people are shocked at the results. Use an assortment of olives if at all possible--Kalamatas, some of the good green type, tiny Niçoises, and so on--and the olives will be not only beautiful but varied. You can make this recipe in any quantity, using the same proportions. 2 cups assorted olives 2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves 1/2 lemon, cut in half and segmented as for a grapefruit Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl. Marinate for an hour or longer at room temperature. Toss again just before serving. If you are not serving them the same day you make them, refrigerate, then remove from the refrigerator an hour or two before serving. Olives Olives are among the oldest and most symbolic foods, the tree and its branches ancient symbols of life, prosperity, and peace. And the oil--the most easily extracted, most useful, delicious, and healthiest of all cooking oils--has been treasured as long as there has been "cuisine." The Mediterranean is the bir