Kate Bittman

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Dear Diary: It’s Me, Mark. I’m in Awe.

Mark and Kathleen are on a three-month trip to far-flung sites around the world. We’ll be publishing bulletins from them as they go. Today: Hong Kong, Keelung, and aboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer.

Food with Mark Bittman: Patrick Joyce

Leading British social historian Patrick Joyce talks to Mark and Kate about the actual meaning behind the word “peasant” and why it’s been co-opted so much, what we should be mourning about the near loss of peasant life and what we can learn from it, and the poignancy of seeing generations change.

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This “Condiment” Is Wildly Good — And Wildy Underused

What got me started on my roasted garlic journey was Mark’s recommendation that people spread roasted garlic onto any pizza before adding toppings. What genius is this? Evidence here, along with a ton of other ways to use this alluring allium.

Judy Hesser’s Oven-Fried Chicken

Thanks to my sister for sharing this gem with me — a recipe from Amanda Hesser’s mom. It’s only been in my life for a few months, but I’ve made it multiple times. It’s super easy — you just have to remember the morning step.

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Comically Easy — Yet Luxurious — Last Minute Snacks

The snacks that have become staples for me in these fall and winter months are stupidly easy, but really, really tasty and even sort of elegant, I’d say. I’m excited to share them, and hope that they can offer some holiday relief.

Blue-Cheese Stuffed Dates

This date snack is a revelation from my chat with Joan Smith, founder of Rancho Meladuco Date Farm, home of the best dates ever.

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Cucumbers with Smoked Fish, Cream Cheese, and Dill

Like a bagel with lox, but not! I got some really good smoked salmon and smoked sable from Popsie Fish Co, which is not doing mail order anymore (sucks to be us; I’ll let you know if I hear of any change to this); Sitka Seafood Market’s smoked salmon is also terrific, and, of course, regular lox will do just fine.

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Parmesan Popcorn

This is an old-school Mark recipe, one of his that you come across and can’t believe a) how obvious it seems, and b) that you never thought of it. The more butter the better, because the parmesan sticks to it. It’s popcorn, but luxury popcorn. A note: Mark calls the butter “optional,” but I heartily disagree.

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Boursin-Stuffed Peppadews

Our fantastic friend Max introduced us to these on a New Year’s Eve a bunch of years ago. The flavor punch they pack is unbeatable, baby. A two-ingredient wonder. Figure at least three peppadews per person — these go fast.

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The Books We Loved This Year

An enthusiastic recommendation goes a long way, and our team is nothing if not a group of readers, and we promised you a gift guide devoted to books, so we’re delivering. Also! We loved so many books this year that we decided to make the list all-inclusive — ie, not just food-related.

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Miso Egg Salad

A while ago, I was inspired by Mark’s Miso Deviled Eggs and decided to stir some miso into my egg salad. It worked. It was a delight. Here it is.

Curried Red Lentil Soup with Cauliflower

This is the fastest bean soup from scratch you’ll ever make. Chopping the cauliflower into bits helps it become quite creamy while the lentils cook.

Miso Caramelized Nuts

These are only slightly more involved than making straight roasted nuts and even more addictive. Use all one kind of nut or a combination. Add seeds to the mix if you like; sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds all add flavor and texture.

Lukas Volger’s Creamy Sweet Potato Chipotle Dip

The chipotle makes the dip, so go for the full two tablespoons of adobo that Volger says you can go up to (or more). It won’t be super spicy — just awesomely smoky. You can also put this dip on grain bowls or use it as a sandwich spread (both are Volger’s recommendations). And you can freeze the leftover chipotle chiles in adobo and use them in a future dish.

Real Sour Cream Onion Dip

Mark’s onion dip is one of my favorite things to make for people. It’s not unlike the canned stuff, only better in every way, so I feel a lot better about eating it in giant heaping quantities. (Makes no sense to you? Fine.) The onions get all jammy and sweet in the cooking and then color the sour cream so beautifully — it’s a transcendent experience.

Pasta Con La Bottarga

I fell in love with bottarga pasta at Peasant some years ago, when Frank DeCarlo was chef/owner. It’s incredibly creamy, which never fails to surprise me since there’s no dairy in it at all. It’s also not fishy tasting: You could very likely serve it to someone who isn’t a fish fan and they’d still love it.

The 2023 Bittman Project Holiday Gift Guide

Copper pans, fun potholders, food-based clothing, the best chili sauce, and much more …

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A Favorite Recipe, Never Before Seen

Plus, a standby that we go to again, and again, and again

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