Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express: 404 Inspired Seasonal Dishes you can Make in 20 Minutes or Less (by Jen Bergevin, CSA member)

With summer upon us, my family’s cookbook needs change. ( I did actually test this cookbook out last June, but didn’t get to turning my notes into sentences until now.) During the school year, we want a cookbook that contains recipes that are fast and easy, with equally convenient sides and everyday, nutritious ingredients. Of course they have to be delicious too! During the summer, I’m home every day and have more time. Of course, for us the ultimate cookbook still contains recipes that fulfil all those requirements, but would also use up the abundance that we get in our CSA baskets from Wellspring Gardens.  “Kitchen Express” by Mark Bittman  delivers on all of these.

His simple recipes are more like ideas than true recipes. Each is less than 10 lines long and while, not separated in a numbered list, the instructions are clear with no guff or extra stuff. Oddly, his minimization of measurements did not bother me. It felt like, “You are not baking a cake for the Queen, you are making a quick soup in the blender. Does it really have to be perfect?”

The chapters are separated by season, which is ideal for CSA members. The titles are in colour and each has a one-line subtitle. The colour makes it easy to see the division between recipes. Often, the subtitle contains a variation or a side dish suggestion. I found that I could pick 2 or 3 recipes from the same seasonal section (or steal one that used frozen veggies from “Winter” ) and make a fabulous, albeit slightly unusual, meal in about 30 minutes. Overall, I really liked it and may pick it up for my personal collection.

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