Cooking Light The Complete Quick Cook: A Practical Guide to Smart, Fast Home Cooking cookbook from chefs Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough calls itself “a practical guide to smart, fast home cooking”, but we think it has all the components of fabulous! (And don’t forget to mise your kitchen!) Doesn’t get better than this!
Check out this sneak-peek recipe from The Complete Quick Cook: Easy Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins. Yesssss!!!
Q. What inspired you to write this type of cookbook now?
A. Seems as if everything has sped up—dramatically. And everyone, too—dramatically. And cooking too often gets short shrift. We wanted to write a book that helps people become more efficient in the kitchen—while staying healthy. That’s the key: speed and nutrition. At least, that’s the key for an average Wednesday night!
Q. You have an incredible culinary resume! How is this project different from one of the many others you have done? How different did your focus need to be?
A. This book’s different because it has the know-how of COOKING LIGHT behind it. In other words, it’s a group effort, collaboration between the magazine, its editors, and us. Yep, our voice is in there. But we also are in line with their wellness guidelines. It’s really cool to be a part of a big collaboration like that because you’re not just listening to the voices in your head! And because you get to connect with food in a whole new way.
Q. You make a thought provoking statement in your introduction: “Ability balanced to task”. Can you explain a bit about how that applies to how we spend time in the kitchen?
A. People get frustrated when their abilities are weaker than the task at hand—and they get bored when their abilities are greater than the task at hand. We’d bet dollars to donuts that those are the two things keeping people from making healthy, fast meals: frustration on the one hand and boredom on the other. So we wanted to write a book that offers simple recipes for those just learning to cook—check out that mushroom farfalle in cream sauce—and more complicated ones for those who’ve been around the stove a while—like an herb-crusted rack of lamb. Plus, we’ve loaded the books with tips, secrets, and tricks—enough to help cooks of any skill level learn more.
Q. How easy did you find it to balance quick-cooking recipes with delicious, healthy ingredients – for average, everyday cooks?
A. Actually, pretty easy. We’ve been working in the wellness industry for most of our career—and working with COOKING LIGHT for almost a decade. In fact, cooking healthy is a key to cooking quickly. You want to keep the flavors simple because you don’t have two hours for a complicated braise. You want to keep the fat and carbs low, too, so the fresher flavors come through. So healthy is quick! Now that’s some good news we can all use.
Q. Are you finding people are becoming more receptive to cooking from scratch in general? Why?
A. We do find there’s resurgence in cooking. Our classes are always full these days! People seem interested in finding ways to connect back to fresher, more elemental tastes. We hope it’s because after years of food TV shows and great magazine features and web videos and cookbooks galore, people have gotten the message that it’s better when it’s from scratch!
Q. This cookbook is absolutely filled to the brim with tips, ideas, suggestions and ‘best practices’ for the average cook looking to streamline time in the kitchen! What is your most valuable time saving tip or skill?
A. Mise your kitchen! Most people know enough to mise their ingredients: to chop the onion, prep the herbs, drag out the flours and such from the pantry long before they start cooking. But they may not know that they should order and arrange their kitchen, too, to become a quick cook. Put the wooden spoons by the stove, not across the room. Put the spices in a drawer nearby, too. Keep the counters clutter-free. And have lots of clean kitchen towels right at the ready.
Q. Your recipes are perfectly suited for baby boomers and empty nesters – do you find they are among your most loyal followers?
A. Being boomers ourselves—we both turned forty-eleven this year—we can definitely say that we’re part of that generation that’s looking to return to more elemental ways of cooking and eating. Maybe ours is an idealistic generation, maybe even too idealistic—but we wouldn’t have it any other way. A person’s reach should exceed their grasp. With apologies to Robert Browning.
Q. What is your favorite recipe in the book?
A. You can’t pick among your children! We are partial to those turkey burgers. We make them quite frequently for lunch. And we love the plums roasted in balsamic vinegar with rosemary. Such an elegant dessert. We also like the Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs. Oh, and the make-ahead multi-grain waffle mix. Can you tell we could go on and on?
Whether you’re empty nesters cooking for two, baby boomers still working and pressed for time, or you just don’t want to live life in the kitchen, this is for you. Weinstein and Scarbrough cover all the bases here, from tools and tricks to cut down your time in the galley, to some incredibly smart and thoughtful suggestions for making your kitchen work for you, to some really great quick side dishes that are delicious, healthy, and fast.