Tag Archives: Mark Bittman

11 June 2017: “Best” Pea Soup Recipe

2017-Jun-11_FourNightsAWeek_0910One of the best things about travel for me is getting ideas about ramping up our food game. Last week, we were in New York City and landed a reservation at Bar Boulud. The prix fixe for the night included a bowl of chilled pea soup which was simple, fresh, and stunning. And no, that’s not the wine talking! This recipe from Mark Bittman reaches back to when he wrote the Diners Journal for the NYTimes comes very close; the flavoring at Bar Boulud was rosemary infused, but either rosemary or tarragon as suggested in Mark Bittman’s recipe makes this a great summer-time soup to start off a meal, or on its own.

Our reason for traveling to NYC this time was to see the Irving Penn Centennial exhibit at the Metropolitan. If you have a chance to get to NY before the show closes on July 30, 2017, by all means go! It is an amazing and inspiring show of Penn’s personal projects and more commercial endeavors.

Possibly the Best Pea Soup – Mark Bittman, NYTimes


  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced shallots
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound shelled fresh sweet peas (I used WFM frozen; not a fan of shelling peas)
  • 1/2 TBSP chopped fresh tarragon*
  • 1/2 TBSP salt
  • Pinch pepper
  • 1/4 cup half and half or light cream

*If adapting for Bar Boulud version, experiment with fresh rosemary here


  1. Heat olive oil in soup pot. Add shallots and garlic and cook over medium heat until shallots are just wilted. Add 3 1/2 cups water, bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer for 1/2 hour.
  2. Add peas, tarragon, salt and pepper and bring back to boil. Turn down heat and let simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and let cook to room temperature. Puree in a blender in batches until very smooth. Force through fine sieve into clean pot, discarding small amount of pea skins left in sieve. (I used my handy stick blender and left the skins in. They were pulverized and added a bit of texture to the soup)
  3. Stir in half and half and add salt if necessary to taste. Can be reheated and served hot or chilled and served cold. (Top with a dollop of creme fraiche and chives if you want to fancy this up)

21 July 2015 African-Style Chicken Stew, Slow Cooker Style

It’s been a hot week in New England and that makes cooking more of a chore. This week I had planned a West African Chicken Stew – something I’ve made several times – but rather than add heat to an already hot kitchen, I decided to pull out my slow cooker. DSC_0577

I get a feeling of accomplishment when preparing a slow cooker meal. For one thing, once it is set up, there’s no more cooking prep to do.  And the aroma of what’s in the cooker fills our space for most of the day.

This recipe is an amalgam of sorts. The original recipe was adapted from Mark Bittman’s VB6 Cookbook, but the cooking method came from this link ReadySetEat.com. Peanut butter, sweet potatoes and chicken – tasty, enjoyable and filling.

African Style Chicken Stew

adapted from Mark Bittman, The VB6 Cookbook


2 Tbsp oil (I use coconut oil)

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 Tbsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp minced ginger

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1/4 cup chunky peanut butter

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 (approximate) cups water or vegetable stock

1 1-lb can chopped tomatoes, undrained

1/2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 lb kale or other greens

1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts (garnish)


1. Prepare the sweet potatoes and onions. Add to the bottom of a slow cooker (I spray the cooker insert so things don’t stick). Prep garlic and ginger.

2. Add oil to a 10-inch skillet, Add garlic and ginger and let these cook for a minute or so being careful not to burn them.  Add the chicken thighs and brown (5-10 minutes). Sprinkle with red pepper flakes (if using)

3. Add peanut butter to the pan and allow it to melt. Now add about 1/2 cup water or stock to thin the mixture. Mix and then add in the can of chopped tomatoes (do not drain the juices out).  Mix well and be sure to coat the pieces of chicken thigh.

4. Add this pan mixture to the slow cooker, layering it on top of the sweet potatoes and onions.  Add water/stock to cover the sweet potato layer (about another 1 1/2 cups). Cover the slow cooker and set on high for 7-9 hours. Add additional stock/water throughout the cooking process if things seem to dry out.

5. About 15-20 minutes before serving, add the greens to the slow cooker, stir and recover. Continue cooking until the greens are wilted.

6. Adjust seasonings as needed at time of serving and serve in bowls. Garnish with chopped roasted peanuts.

04 May 2011 Miso Baked Tofu

Adapted from Bittman, Mark. How to cook everything vegetarian. (2007). New York: John Wiley & Company. p 641.

My Comment: We’ve been incorporating tofu into our meals since we were

Miso Baked Tofu

Copyright © 2011. Adrien Bisson.

  first married… never mind how long ago that was. In those days we went to Erewhon (remember them?) and bought chunks of tofu out of a bucket; it wasn’t readily available in regular food markets. And mostly I stir fried tofu — so when I read Mark Bittman’s recipe for baked tofu, it seemed like it was time for a change.

The neat thing about the way Mark Bittman organizes his “How to cook…” books is that once you’ve got the basic recipe down, there are a gazillion variations on a theme, allowing for endless variations.

Bon apetit!


Sake, white wine, vegetable stock or water
16 oz. block of tofu


1  Preheat the oven to 350 F. Dry the tofu with paper towels – don’t be too compulsive just blot the excess – and sprinkle with salt. Place on a tray covered with foil and sprayed with vegetable spray.

2. Bake for about 1 hour undisturbed. The tofu is done when the crust is lightly browned and firm. Remove and use immediately or cool, wrap, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

The Miso Variation:

Thin a couple of tablespoons of any miso with either sake, white wine, vegetable stock or water just to brushable consistency. After blotting off the water, brush the tofu liberally with this mixture and bake as directed above.

Serves 4 or so.

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