Monday, February 1, 2010

Recipes Tried and Ratings Given

These are recipes I've tried from Bittman's How to Cook Everything, 10th anniversary edition. In case you're ever interested in trying it out for yourself, you might consider these a good starting point. My friend Bridgette started a blog devoted to reviews of Bittman's recipes and charts, including the variations and substitutions that have worked well. (She didn't know I'd started compiling this list!)

***** means it merits repeating on a regular basis
**** means I'll repeat it but maybe not every week/month
*** means it's worth considering again
** means edible but not our favorite
* is for x-ing out of the cookbook

(this is for my ordinary, daily cooking--not trying to win over America's Test Kitchen, Julia Child, or Jacques Pepin if they're coming for company).

One final note: I like Bittman's style because he gives such liberal substitution ideas; that being said, my favorite recipes from his book might not taste the same for you, depending on how you make them! Please let me know if you really like a recipe, too, or if you really disagree with me. You can also leave a comment on Bittman Recipe Reviews.


  • Soy Dipping Sauce *****
  • Traditional Pesto *****
  • Cilantro-Mint Chutney ***** (MAKES the meal if you're having Indian food and naan)
  • Coconut Chutney *** (not what I was expecting; much prefer the cilantro-mint)
  • Basil-Soy Dipping Sauce ****
  • Thai Chile Sauce ** (ok; not my favorite, but I was expecting something different)
  • Ginger-Scallion Sauce **** (works best with Hainan Chicken and/or as basis for fried rice)
  • Green Ketchup **** (yummy for sure)
  • Simpler Peanut Sauce ****

  • Chinese Noodle Soup with Cabbage and Ginger ****
  • Chicken Soup with Rice, Chinese Style ****
  • Thai Coconut Soup with Chicken *** (I like the other version I make better)


  • Tuna Salad with Lemon and Olive Oil **** (nice change from the mayo version)
  • Pan Bagnat with Chicken Breast **** (very good but a lot of effort even with leftover grilled chicken/veggies; I also left out the anchovies and artichokes)
  • Pizza *****
  • Calzones *****
  • Empanadas ****

  • Simple Green Salad *****
  • Greek Salad, Simplified ***** (as a big fan of restaurant Greek Salad, this was a terrific, easy home version)
  • Warm Spicy Greens with Bacon and Eggs **** (I even tried it with dandelion greens--amazing)
  • Spicy No-Mayo Coleslaw *** (needs some tweaking I think--maybe salting the cabbage)
  • Spicy No-Mayo Coleslaw. Apple Slaw var. **** (I used napa cabbage)
  • Chicken Salad with Olive Oil and Fresh Herbs **** (nice change from the mayo-version)
  • Kosher Pickles, the Right Way ***** (hello, garlic, and so many requests for this recipe--I'll be putting it on the blog at some point)


  • Stir-Fried Vegetables *****
  • Pre-cooked Vegetables in Butter or Oil ***** (terrific treatment for frozen veggies)
  • Asian Greens, Chinese Restaurant Style ***** (JUST like your favorite Chinese joint)
  • Stir-Fried Broccoli ** (must have done something wrong--I WANT to like this recipe because we love stir-fries and love broccoli...)
  • Cabbage Braised with Wine and Nutmeg ** (used cabbage that was a bit old--this was just not terrific, but it might be the cabbage's fault)
  • Creamed Corn ***** (YUM YUM YUM YUM)
  • Pan-Roasted Corn with Cherry Tomatoes *** (potential here)
  • Sauteed Eggplant with Basil ** (we're not eggplant fans; we still haven't been converted)
  • (Dandelion) Greens with Double Garlic ***** (Yummy with Bok Choy!)
  • Anything-Scented Peas *****
  • Braised Potatoes, Ten Ways **** (we really like the sausage variation)
  • Winter Squash Curry *** (this made a really big amount; next time, I'll cut it down some)
  • Coconut Milk ** (I'll stick with the canned variety)
  • Grilled Peaches ** (tasted like our grill--hmmmm)

  • Buttery Lentils and Potatoes with Curry ***** (even our kids like this curry!)
  • Baked Beans *** (maybe I didn't cook them long enough; worth another try for sure)
  • Black Beans with Orange *****
  • Refried Beans *****
  • White Beans with Cabbage, Pasta, Ham *** (not bad, just not remarkable)
  • Red Beans and Rice with Vegetarian Red Beans ****
  • Stir-Fried Tofu with Bell Peppers **** (next time, I'll cut down on the tofu some)

  • Rice Pilaf *****
  • Stuck-Pot Rice with Pita Crust and Chicken *** (I think the potatoes would be better than pitas)
  • Simple Risotto **** (would be five stars if I'd used white rice and it didn't take me FOREVER to make it)
  • Sticky Rice, Thai Style *****
  • Fried Rice ****
  • Parmesan Rice Cakes ***
  • Oat Griddlecakes *** (kids weren't crazy about them--I made the peanut butter variation)


  • Fast Tomato Sauce with Fresh Herbs ****
  • Spaghetti with Pesto ***** (can you mess this up, though?)
  • Pasta with Broccoli **** (didn't puree the broccoli and added bacon)
  • Penne with Winter Squash ****
  • Pasta with Lentils ****
  • Ziti with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce (the Cherry Tomato Version) ***
  • Pasta with White Sausage Sauce ****
  • Classic Lasagne (with Bridgette's mom's sauce!) ****
  • Stir-Fried Noodles with Vegetables and Meat *****

  • Broiled Fish Fillets *****
  • Oven-Fried Fish Fillets (in sticks) ****

  • Broiled Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts *****
  • Broiled Chicken Parts *****
  • Simplest Whole Roast Chicken *****
  • Chicken Cutlets over Tomatoes *****
  • Chicken Biryani *** (a touch bland, but a nice weeknight dish--kids enjoyed it)
  • Chicken with Rice, Hainan Style **** (leftovers, with the sauce suggested, make killer fried rice beginnings!)
  • Stir-Fried Chicken with Basil and Chiles, Thai Style ***** (one of our top favorites; superb with Thai basil and fresh chilies from the garden!)
  • Poached Chicken with Lemon Sauce ****
  • Poached Chicken with Ginger Sauce ****
  • Roast Chicken with New Potatoes *****


  • Meat Loaf with Spinach ****
  • Beef Stew ***** (Mmmm....)
  • Stir-Fried Beef with Onions and Ginger ****
  • Beef Daube ****
  • Pot Roast ***** (Mmmm....)
  • Roast Pork Shoulder, Puerto Rican Style ****
  • Braised Pork with Spicy Soy Sauce ****

  • Frittata with Crumbled Sausage ****
  • Spanish Tortilla **** (you really do pour almost all of the olive oil off)
  • Cheese Quiche ***** (divine)
  • Cottage Cheese and Sour Cream Pancakes ***** (does not make tons)
  • Fresh Cottage Cheese Cheese, the Easy Way ***** (too much trouble to make fresh cottage cheese like this all the time, not to mention that you can use vinegar instead; but I credit Bittman with introducing me to the superb creation that fresh cottage cheese is--to die for)

  • Olive Oil Salt Bread *** (biscuit-like)
  • Corn Bread *** (I'm partial to my grandmother's and Fannie Farmer's, but this is easy and respectable)
  • Muffins, Infinite Ways *** (good basic recipe, but nothing spectacular)
  • Lighter Whole Wheat Quick Bread *** (interesting, but I prefer yeasted whole wheat bread)
  • Fruit-and-Nut or Vegetable-and-Nut Bread **** (enables me to use up bits and pieces and turn out pretty tasty products!)
  • Yogurt Biscuits *****
  • Fast French Bread ***** (I've even had requests for "my" recipe)
  • Bran and Oat Sandwich Bread **** (a touch dry, but held up great for sandwiches)
  • Half Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread **** (great flavor, held up well)
  • Rich Gold Sandwich Bread (used for hot dog buns) *** (not what I'd wanted, but worth trying again for a different purpose)
  • Sourdough Bread ***** (not very sour, but a real staple around here)
  • Olive Oil Bread without Olives ***** (My "go to" bread for company, soup, etc.)
  • Pita **** (I like a different recipe better, but these were great)
  • Stuffed Pita ***


  • Chocolate Tofu Pudding **** (not as good as regular, but pretty tasty)
  • Chocolate Pudding ***** (great substitute for storebought; not as rich as egg-enriched)
  • Butterscotch Pudding ***** (I'll never eat storebought again)
  • Butterscotch Brownies **** (I always add chocolate chips)
  • Lemon-Lime Gelee **** (VERY good and so much better than storebought)

2 comments:

Bridgette Boudreaux said...

And what a list it is!! This is way longer than I was expecting. I loved that you put bean recipes on it because that is where I struggle (especially because I don't eat them).

Bridgette Boudreaux said...

Now I'm off to make some butterscotch pudding!!