Mark Bittman’s 10-Minute Asian Salad and iPhone App Giveaway

New York Times food writer Mark Bittman has a way of making cooking effortless.

Take his “Watercress and Sesame Salad,” for instance.

Many times before, I’ve made a similar dressing using soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and sesame seeds, but never thought to pair it with delightful, peppery watercress like this.

It’s a light, bright little salad that comes together in 10 minutes for a quick first-course for any type of Asian meal. You could even make it more substantial by adding sliced cucumbers, carrot slivers, radishes, cherry tomatoes or even poached shrimp or seared tuna.

The recipe (reprinted at the end of this post) is from his classic book, “How to Cook Everything” (Wiley). This weighty, 944-page book is front and center on my bookcase. It’s a handy reference, because its plethora of recipes forms the basics of just about anything you’d want to make.

Now, there’s another handy way to enjoy this massive book — the “How to Cook Everything” iPhone app.

All 2,000 recipes from the book now are available with just a touch of your snazzy phone.  The app even helps you jot down a grocery list.

Five lucky Food Gal readers — located anywhere in the United States — will win a “How to Cook Everything” app, courtesy of John Wily and Sons, and Culinate. Here’s how:

Just tell me what you wish Mark Bittman could make easier in your life. Your answer can be food-related or not. The best five answers win the iPhone app. Deadline to enter is end of the day May 1. Winners will be announced May 3.

Here’s my own answer of what I wish he could make easier for me:

“Running on the treadmill. I hate almost every minute of it. (pant, pant, pant) If only he could make it feel effortless, I would kiss the ground he cooks on.”

Watercress and Sesame Salad

(Makes 4 servings)

About 4 cups coarsely chopped watercress (trimmed, washed, and dried)

2 tablespoons rice or wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Place chopped watercress in a bowl. Mix together the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and cayenne, and dress the cress with this mixture.

Toss, add sesame oil, and toss again. Taste for salt and add it if necessary. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve.

From “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman

More: Mark Bittman’s Recipe for “Penne with Ricotta, Parmesan and Peas”

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  • This is a great-looking salad. The warmer the weather gets, the more I enjoy cucumbers. I wish Mark Bittman would make preparing perfect gnocchi an effortless task. I live in fear of wasting a lot of time on what could easily be heavy, starchy blobs, but I want to try it anyway!

  • I don’t have an iphone but I would love to make this salad – sounds terrific with sesame flavor!

  • I wish Mark Bittman would teach me how to make a perfect whipped cream for cake (like strawberry short cake) that never weeps…they make me cry!

  • I wish Mark Bittman would design an app that would deploy arms and legs on my iphone and turn it into a cooking robot that’s able to cook all these delicious recipes for me (and cleans the dishes afterward <-very important).

    Now that's not to much to ask, is it? πŸ™‚

  • OMG! this is awesome, a great salad and an iphone, can he make a one day meal for me! πŸ˜‰

  • That salad looks so refreshing!

    I wish Mark Bittman could teach me how to make a gourmet meal using a hotel coffeemaker and a blow dryer (because those are often our only heating elements!)

  • Thanks for pointing out the Bittman app – it’s only 2 bucks and it’s already giving me ideas for tonight’s dinner. I love it! Good luck to all on the contest!

  • Gosh, there really is an app for everything! I don’t have an iPhone so won’t be playing along, but I do love watercress!

  • Here’s my submission, Carolyn: I actually own Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” cookbook. For many years, it guided me through many cooking frenzies. However, with a one-year-old baby roaming my kitchen now, my cooking bible has fought its unfortunate fate. She has managed to rip the pages out, gnaw on the binding, and drool all over the print, making it illegible. In fact, she has done this with most of my cookbooks.

    I would love Mark’s iPhone application because it would be super handy when I’m at the supermarket trying to figure out what ingredients I need; what mother (or any busy person) has time to carefully write down ingredients and quantites? Plus, I can look things up anytime, anywhere–like when I’m sitting silently in my parked car trying not to wake my baby up. Best of all, it’s neither rippable nor edible!

  • I own an old copy of How to Cook Everything and it’s always come in handy (like when i need to make bbq sauce from stuff in the pantry).I don’t have an iphone so I can’t enter the contest however, I would love it if Mark Bittman could simplify making sushi. It takes me forever from start to finish with all the ingredient prep involved.

  • I just entered into the fascinating world of cooking and I always get so much inspiration from your blog! I wish Mark Bittman will help me compensate for all the lost years and teach me how to cook even more delicious food than my mother-in-law!:P

  • I own the original yellow covered H2CE. If Mark Bittman were to move next door or move his test kitchen next door, that would probably make things very easy for me!!

  • Great Giveaway! I love how you always ask for creative answers. πŸ™‚ Here’s mine:

    I wish Mark Bittman could make me better at being an intuitive cook, a cook who wouldn’t need exact recipes because she would know basic rules about cooking, and that would enable her to be even more inventive and creative in the ktichen. That’s where it gets fun!

  • I wish he could give me the skills to not need recipes for inspiration…I guess I just need to read more cookbooks!

  • a 3D mark bittman would be nice eh? one that wouldn’t so much do the work for you, but alert you when you’re doing it wrong. ha!

  • Oh! I cannot believe, I just download this application on my iphone πŸ˜‰ and I am enjoying very much πŸ™‚
    By the way, the salad looks so refreshing…love the Asian touch.

  • I wish Mark Bittman can just give up his job to me. I know it’s not easy being a food critic and columnist…but oh, what a job! He’s apparently on a diet anyway!

  • p.s. Don’t have an iPhone, so please don’t enter me! >.<

  • I wish he’d release an app or a book that made tea for me. I’m always cold, thirsty and lazy πŸ˜‰

  • Oh can I please enter please? I live in Singapore but I have a US itunes account…

    Anyways whether or not I qualify, what I wish could be made easier for me is getting to bed at a decent hour. Try as I may, no matter how much or little I have to do at night, I always end up crawling into bed at a hideous hour… Help!

  • Clare: You can indeed enter if you have a US itunes account. πŸ˜‰

  • I love, love, love Mark Bittman. He’s a master of what I try to do at Feedme — break it down to the really important steps and eliminate anything unnecessary.

    Since Bittman and others (including FoodGal) have already wonderfulized my foodie life, I turn to the most stressy activity I have. I want a Bittman Travel Button. Press it and it tells me where to go, what to wear, and when to be there. It takes care of all the crazy rules, goofy pricing, and secret handshakes you need for low-stress travel. It decides when and how to avoid crowds and get the best deals and shows me the cool things to do and see. Oh, and it packs my bags and lets me take my Swiss Army Knife on the plane. Plane? What plane? The Bittman Button has a built-in transporter.

  • I’m in Sydney but do have an Itunes US account. I’d love it if Mark Bittman could make it easier for me to ask my hubby to take out the trash or wash the dishes!

  • Mark Bittman could do my grocery shopping every week. I’m sure he would pick up the perfect combo of staples and new, interesting ingredients πŸ™‚

  • I wish Mark Bittman could make finding some great farmland easier! My husband and I are on the search for a great piece of farmland where we can start our organic farm/bakery and it has been a hassle to look for land that is a fair price and in the right location. I can only imagine all the great food I’ll have when we finally find our perfect spot!

  • This sounds so tasty and love the idea of the watercress. I’m going to have to make this soon, just sounds so simple and refreshing.

  • Contest is now closed. Check back on Monday to find out who the five winners are.

  • Pingback: Food Gal » Blog Archiv » A Chicken Stew with Lovely Riesling & Winners of the Mark Bittman iPhone App

  • what i love about asian foods is that they are always tasty and spice,*,

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