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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”