April 03, 2004

Hu to gearwienne æghwilcne mete

Having already sung the praises of the venerable cookbook The Joy of Cooking, I thought it meet that I also write an entry on a more recent book with a similar scope, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. Like The Joy of Cooking, Bittman’s book is an attempt to provide a comprehensive resource of standard recipes and basic cooking techniques. I am constantly consulting both works. On Wednesday night, we prepared sautéed pork chops with dried apricots, a variation of Bittman’s Sautéed Pork Chops, Eight Ways:


We browned the pork chops, seasoned with salt and pepper, on both sides. Then we added garlic and dry Fino sherry — this was our own slight modification of the recipe which calls for dry white wine — and cooked until the liquid was all but evaporated. Next in the pan was chicken stock, and the pork chops were simmered until cooked. We then removed the pork chops from the pan and kept them warm in the oven.

The next stage is to make the sauce. We added dried apricots, which had been soaked in boiling water, along with the soaking liquid to the pan and boiled the sauce until it was thickened and the apricots were soft:


When plating up, we poured the sauce over the pork chops and had boiled new potatoes and salad, consisting of romain lettuce and radiccio, on the side. The apricots are a fabulous complement to the pork chops. Like the sautéed chicken breast recipe, this sautéed pork chop dish has become part of our standard repertoire; it is quick and easy, as well as very satisfying. Mark Bittman certainly does good work!

Posted by Mark at April 3, 2004 04:57 PM

Bittman is awesome, his books are the ones I cook from most often. I have to disagree about the “Joy of Cooking,” being underrated, though. (Probably at least in part because I think it’s well-thought of. If that makes sense.) I guess as a comprehensive guide it’s fine, but when compared to “How to Cook Everything” I find “Joy” sorely lacking in… well, flavour. Bittman’s recipies are generally so yummy, and often so simple, that I really think it should be considered the new standard. Although, I must admit that the Joy’s baking section is still very good.

Posted by: at April 4, 2004 11:27 AM

You’re the second person in as many weeks to recommend How to Cook Everything. I’ve been relying on the Joy of Cooking, plus a few more specialized cookbooks, for several years now. I’m intrigued enough by multiple recent recommendations that I might go out and buy this one now. The food sounds good!

Posted by: S. Worthen at April 9, 2004 08:07 PM