Tag Archives: Mark Bittman

Mark Bittman’s Potato and Leek Soup


Bill and I wanted grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch on Day 4 of our challenge, “How to Eat Healthy on $5.00 a Day.” So I was trying to think of an easy soup to make as an accompaniment. I knew some of last summer’s leeks (one of my favorite veggies) were in the freezer.


And we had some potatoes that Bill picked up at the Fulton Street winter farmers market last weekend.

Since my favorite recipe for leek and potato soup has several ingredients, which would complicate the process and add to cost, I decided to look in my trusty Mark Bittman cookbook, How to Cook Everything. There it was: a simple recipe for  Potato and Leek Soup.

That’s what I love about Bittman. If you want to learn–or relearn–how to cook, get this book. You won’t regret it.

An avid home cook, Bittman has filled his book with easy recipes and many variations, suggestions, and techniques for simple, healthy cooking.

His book may even be a replacement for the standard cook’s “bible” in my kitchen, The Joy of Cooking.

Anyway, here’s how  you make the soup:

Saute the potatoes and leeks in olive oil until slightly tender. Add stock or water, bring to boil, and simmer 20 minutes. When I made it I used water since the goal is to reduce costs. And it was still very tasty–a great soup for vegetarians. Normally, I’d use fresh leeks from the farmers market but that’s just not an option in Michigan in February!

Six Recipes for Root Vegetables


Photo via The New York Times

If you eat seasonally and live in the northern half of the U.S., you may be wondering by now what else you can do with all those root vegetables.

From Mark Bittman, one of my favorite food writers, comes six recipes for root vegetables in The New York Times.

Baked Celeriac

Mixed-Root-Vegetable Saute

Potato Nik

Creamy Carrot Soup

Braised Beets

Parsnip Gratin

I like what he suggests to offer variety and creativity with these vegetables, which are often interchangeable: “Mess around. Bake beets instead of celeriac; make creamy potato soup, braise carrots, braise parsnips and so on. And don’t stop there: please consider turnips, rutabaga and yams, as well as taro, yucca, boniato and cassava….By the time you’re sick of all that, it’ll be spring.”

I Agree with Mark Bittman: We Can Feed the World through Sustainable Agriculture


Earlier this week in the Opinionator blog of the New York Times, columnist and author Mark Bittman built a good argument for how to feed the world through sustainable agriculture.

Bittman claims, “there is good news: increasing numbers of scientists, policy panels and experts (not hippies!) are suggesting that agricultural practices pretty close to organic — perhaps best called ‘sustainable’ — can feed more poor people sooner, begin to repair the damage caused by industrial production and, in the long-term, become the norm.”

He cites a report from Olivier de Schutter, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on the Right to Food, that suggests “agriculture should be fundamentally redirected towards modes of production that are more environmentally sustainable and socially just.” (Read the press release for the quick summary version.)

And he cites experts from the U.N Food and Agriculture Organization, as well as the University of Michigan, who believe that sustainable agriculture is a system more people should choose.

He sums up his article with this quote from de Schutter: “We have to move towards sustainable production. We cannot depend on the gas fields of Russia or the oil fields of the Middle East, and we cannot continue to destroy the environment and accelerate climate change. We must adopt the most efficient farming techniques available.”

Those techniques are sustainable, not industrial.

With a recent special report in The Economist on the world’s population explosion and National Geographic highlighting the topic in a special series this year, the problem of how to feed 9 billion people is real. Food prices are at an all-time high. It is time for a change that works.