What do you feel like eating this week? (At least, just in this moment. We all know it changes by the minute.) These Monday recipe columns are obviously based around what we – what our team agrees on in any given week – feel like eating. And for us, this week, we were inspired by two things.
The first is the wild amount of feedback we still get about Mark’s columns in the Times from years ago, you know the ones: “101 Simple Salads for the Season,” “Mark Bittman’s Customizable Soups,” “101 Simple Appetizers in 20 Minutes or Less.” We hear about how much people love these mini recipes all the time, and with good reason.
We were also inspired by our recent podcast interview with Via Carota owners Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, who are passionate advocates for the seasons and for cooking with the ingredients that nature is handing us in the current moment. There’s a reason that the food at that restaurant always tastes so fresh – and that’s because it is.
So we went through a copy of Mark’s 2009 book, Kitchen Express, and chose four dishes that represent the way we (tend to) want to eat in the fall and winter seasons. Here’s a cozy and fresh mix, perfect for this time of year.
Date, Bacon, and Bean Salad,
Broccoli Rabe and Garlic Soup,
Pasta with Balsamic Onions,
and Sausage and Red Lentils.
Date, Bacon, and Bean Salad
Arugula or watercress works best here, but endive, escarole, frisée, and so on, are all good.
Cut some bacon into one-inch pieces and fry until browned; drain off most of the fat. Add a can of drained cannellini beans to the bacon along with a handful or more of chopped pitted dates; continue cooking until everything is just warm. Serve over a big bed of bitter greens with good-quality whole grain bread.
Broccoli Rabe and Garlic Soup
Some crushed dried chile flakes are nice here.