Video: Mark Bittman breaks down kitchen basics
Recipe: Boiled greens
- 1 1/2 pounds sturdy greens (like chard) or tender greens (like spinach)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a stockpot of water to a boil and salt it. Meanwhile, trim the greens and rinse them well. If you're using sturdy greens, separate the leaves from the stems and chop both separately. If you're using tender greens, roughly chop any big leaves.
To cook sturdy greens, first add only the stems to the boiling water; when the stems are almost tender, 3 to 4 minutes later, add the leaves. To cook tender greens, add everything to the boiling water all at once. Cook until the leaves are just becoming bright green and tender: 1 to 3 minutes for watercress and arugula, 3 to 5 minutes for spinach, 5 to 7 minutes for chard, and 7 to 10 minutes for kale, collards, and bok choy.
Drain the greens in a colander or strainer, pressing down lightly with a large spoon to remove as much excess water as possible. (Or "shock" them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, then drain and squeeze them dry with your hands.) Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and toss them with the butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve right away.
Time: 10 to 30 minutes
Recipe: Rosemary-roasted potatoes
- 2 pounds any potatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, or more as needed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Scrub and rinse the potatoes well and peel them if you like. Cut them into 1- to 2-inch chunks, put them on a baking sheet, and toss them with the oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. If they're too crowded, consider using 2 pans. Put the potatoes in the oven and roast without stirring for 20 minutes, then check. If the potatoes release easily from the pan, stir or turn the pieces with tongs. If they look dry and are sticking to the pan, drizzle with 1 tablespoon more oil. Continue roasting, stirring or turning the potatoes once, until they're golden but still not tender all the way through, another 20 minutes or so. Stir in the rosemary, then return the pan to the oven to finish cooking.
The potatoes are done when they're crisp on the outside and tender inside (a sharp, thin-bladed knife will easily pierce the center of one piece); this will take another 20 to 40 minutes depending on the type of potato and size of the chunks. Remove the potatoes from the oven, taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt or pepper. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Time: 1 to 1 1/4 hours, somewhat unattended
Recipe: Carmelized onions
- 2 pounds any onions (6 to 8 medium)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter, or more as needed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Trim the root ends from the onions and peel them. Cut the onions in half from top to bottom, then lay each half flat side down and cut it into thin slices (it doesn't really matter which direction you slice).
Put the onions in a large skillet over medium heat. Cover and cook, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the onions are dry and beginning to stick to the pan, 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the oil and a large pinch of salt and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, tender, and as browned and soft as you want them, another 5 to 40 minutes. As they cook, add a little more oil if necessary to keep them from sticking — no more than 2 additional tablespoons — and lower or raise the heat so that they sizzle gently without burning.
When they're as you want them, taste and adjust the seasoning, adding some black pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature. (They'll keep in the fridge for a week.)
Time: 30 to 60 minutes or a little longer
4 servings (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
© 2013 NBCNews
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