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THE MINIMALIST COOKS DINNER: More Than 100 Recipes for Fast Weeknight Meals and Casual Entertaining

Mark Bittman, Author . Broadway $26 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7679-0671-5

Recipes from the past two years of "The Minimalist," Bittman's widely read weekly food column in the New York Times, shape this latest collection from the author of the phenomenally popular How to Cook Everything. Cementing his reputation for quick, uncomplicated and rewardingly tasty fare within reach of any cook, Bittman overflows with inspiration in the basic recipes and in the suggestions that can be undertaken "With Minimal Effort" accompanying each one. For example, tinkering with Vichyssoise with Garlic, he proposes adding tomato and basil as one variation. To speed up a pasta meal, why not cook Pasta, Risotto Style? Adding stock a ladle at a time to a cut pasta yields a creamy dish without having to wait for a gallon of water to boil. Black Skillet Mussels couldn't be easier: heat a heavy skillet, add mussels and, when they open, eat. Suggested variations include a side sauce of butter, Tabasco and lemon juice. Combining unusual flavors comes naturally to Bittman, as in Roast Fish with Meat Sauce or Pot Roast with Cranberries, in which the meat quickly caramelizes with its dusting of sugar. Chicken-Mushroom "Cutlets" with Parmesan are basically chickenburgers gussied up temptingly with parmesan, porcini and garlic. The headnotes are much shorter than those in last year's The Minimalist Cooks at Home, but each recipe now brings pointers in the form of "Keys to Success" as well as suggested wines. Cooks with discerning tastes but little time will be very glad to add this to their library. (On-sale Sept. 11)

Reviewed on: 07/16/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
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