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November 21, 2014

How to Cook Everything Fast

Celia Sin-Tien Cheng

As I review cookbooks, I’m seeing a common theme…make it ahead, cook it fast. I can certainly relate to not having enough time to cook an elaborate meal during the week, which is why I’m loving Mark Bittman’s latest tome, “How to Cook Everything Fast.” With 2,000 recipes, he’s streamlined the cooking process without compromising the use of fresh ingredients to create delicious dishes. Bittman weaves the prep work and the cooking instructions together to save time: if something needs to simmer for 15 minutes, it’s the perfect window to chop or prepare subsequent ingredients. The prep steps appear in blue, and cooking steps in black, so you can easily differentiate and know what’s coming up next. Each recipe also features suggestions for variations. Suddenly, one recipe turns into two, three or four. For example, the sriracha shrimp salad roll is just a few substitutions removed from a scallop roll with lemon-tarragon aioli. Bittman’s shortcuts, techniques and tricks are invaluable. Even though I’m more partial to cookbooks with mouthwatering photography, when it comes to Bittman’s cookbooks, I’ll happily swap the glossy photos for his tips on cooking in a pinch.

Hard Boiled Eggs with Dijon Mayo

Hard Boiled Eggs with Dijon Mayo

Mark Bittman

HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING FAST © 2014 by Double B Publishing, Inc. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Time: 30 Minutes
Serves: 4

All the flavors of deviled eggs without the hassle. Not sure why I never thought of this before now, but . . . they’re beauties. (For more ways to flavor the mayo, see page 144.)

  • 4 eggs
  • Ice cubes
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon paprika, plus more for garnish
  • Salt and pepper
Prep | Cook
  1. Fill a medium saucepan about two-thirds full with water and gently submerge 4 eggs. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and cover. Set a timer: Large to extra-large eggs will cook in 9 minutes. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Put 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons Dijon, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
  2. When the eggs are done, transfer them to the ice water with a slotted spoon. Leave them submerged for at least 1 minute.
  3. Crack and peel the eggs, transfer them to a cutting board, and halve them lengthwise.
  4. Sprinkle the eggs with a little salt and dollop about 1 teaspoon of the mayonnaise mixture on top of each. Garnish with a small dusting of paprika and serve.

Hard-Boiled Eggs with Curry Mayo
Substitute curry powder for the paprika.