August 18, 2007 | Favorites

Keeping Cool: 10 Minute Tricks of Great Chefs

Mark Bittman’s 10 minute summer dishes in the New York Times so tickled my lazy bone I decided to honor Mark with this imitation. I’ve canvassed my pals -- great cooks and cookbook writers, friends and family -- for their best 10 minute trick to stay out of the kitchen (or at least away from the oven.) If you click on “Recipes” in the navigator at the bottom of this page you’ll find my own quick “Morning after Fruit Soup.” Email me your 10 minute recipe and I’ll post it here. 

Liz Smith, grand dame of dish is a master of Texas dish too.Ignore the motto on her apron.
Liz Smith, grand dame of dish is a master of Texas dish too. Ignore the motto on her apron.

If you like fish soup, clam chowder, lobster bisque and the like but you don’t have time or what it takes to make it, here’s the poor man’s trailer substitute. I happen to love it though I know some people who just turn away.

Take a can of good red sock-eye salmon. Open it. Dump it in a sauce pan and artfully peel off the black parts of the “rind.” Be sure you include the oil on the salmon. Add two pats of butter and about a tablespoon of flour.  Crush, mix and blend it with a fork. Salt and pepper this liberally.

            Over moderate heat, slowly add about two pints of whole milk – and maybe a dash of cream if you want to really go crazy.  Keep mixing and stirring, being sure to break up the salmon throughout.  You’ll need to add more salt and pepper toward the end probably. 

Fish soup!  About twice a year I eat this with Lay’s potato chips but of course you can add croutons or crackers or whatever you like with fish soup.  

Read more of Liz Smith’s juicy gossip at  or


            Well, I could have guessed that my longtime chum Rozanne Gold, restaurant consultant and author of the wildly popular !-2-3 Cookbooks would have a bounty of fast tricks.


In a blender, whirl together equal amounts of very ripe cantaloupe and grape tomatoes until completely smooth.  Add a few droplets of dark Asian sesame oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt and slivers of cilantro or mint.



        Lightly oil a few 1-1/2-inch fresh tuna steaks.  Heat in a very hot nonstick skillet until seared on all sides, about 30 seconds per side.  Top with a tangle of pea shoots tossed with tamari and rice vinegar.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.


Rozanne Gold's small plates at the Rainbow Room bar set the stage for her 1, 2, 3 ingredient  recipe cookbook franchise.


             Toast a slice of rye bread; smear with cream cheese; top with a layer of sardines, heirloom tomatoes and sliced onions.  A little freshly grated lemon zest is nice.

(Rozanne put together this combination one day to the special delight of her mother.)



Toss chunks of watermelon and tomato together with finely minced red onion.  Drizzle with olive oil and crumble feta cheese on top. Add some toasted pistachios, if you happen to have them.


Throw a minute steak into a hot pan with a little roasted garlic oil and a sprig of rosemary. Top with baby arugula and thin slice of gorgonzola (add a few drops of grappa.)   Put on a piece of ciabatta for a hip 'steak sandwich.’



4 large ripe peaches
1/2 cup peach schnapps, chilled
2 tablespoons wildflower honey
1/4 cup julienned basil

            Wash peaches.  Cut into thin wedges and put in a bowl.  Stir together schnapps, honey and 1/4 cup water.  Pour over peaches and stir.  Let sit 5 minutes.  Transfer to wine glasses and top with basil.  Serves 4. 

        Rozanne Gold’s award-winning, best sellers include Little Meals: A Great New Way to Eat & Cook, Recipes 1-2-3-: Fabulous Food Using Only Thee Ingredients, Entertaining 1-2-3-, Healthy 1-2-3: The Ultimate Three-Ingredient Cookbook, Deserts 1-2-3 Deliciously Simply Three-Ingredient Recipes and more and more.


         This one's so easy that even Karen can do it, and it's so unbelievably delicious (talk about umami!) that you can even serve it to guests. Needless to say, as co-authors of What to Drink with What You Eat, Andrew and Karen know exactly what to uncork with this dish: a California Pinot Noir, or a sparkling rosé. 

        Rub a steak with miso paste.  Refrigerate overnight.  Wipe off the excess paste with a paper towel.  Grill to desired doneness (we suggest medium-rare).  Serve with white rice and a seasonal vegetable. 

Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, are James Beard Award-winning co-authors of Becoming A Chef, Culinary Artistry, Dining Out, Chef's Night Out, The New American Chef and the 2007 IACP “Cookbook of the Year,” What To Drink With What You Eat.



4 oz good feta cheese in one chunk
½ C chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 chopped seeded tomato
1-2 T dry oregano
1-2 T olive oil
Fresh ground pepper
Endive leaves
Warm pita triangles 

         Place feta in microwave dish, cover with olives, tomatoes & oregano. Drizzle oil on top, add a few grinds of fresh pepper. 

         Microwave for 3-4 minutes, or until feta is soft & creamy.
        Serve with endive leaves (no carbs) or pita triangles. Or both. 
        Vicki Polon is a screenwriter and foodophile.




           “This favorite of mine prepares in literally 5 minutes… 

            Thin slices of raw high quality tuna....drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, espelette pepper, rough chopped chervil (or parsley)  & chopped chives.....last, small squeeze of fresh lime or if available a squeeze of fresh yuzu....”

After 13 years at the Sea Grill in Rockefeller Center, Ed Brown, has left to open 81, his own restaurant at 81st between Columbus and Central Park West.  ETA November 1.



            Arthur Schwartz writes from his summer cooking classes in Campania --“ Cook at Seliano”-- where he is working on  The Big Book of Southern Italian Food & Wine,” to be published by Clarkson Potter in fall 2009: 

“This is something that is very dietetic as well as very fast. It is a take-off on a salad I have eaten in Sicily with raw, tiny red shrimp. Short of those, I use the very good pasteurized lump crab meat I was buying at Costco before I left.”

Call him Arturo Schwartz. He cooks in Italian.



Serves 2 or 3 as an antipasto 
2 cups lump crab meat
1 large navel orange, peeled, segmented, each segment cut into thirds
2 or 3 scallions, including most of the green, finely sliced white, coarser sliced green
Extra-virgin olive oil
Oil-cured black olives (optional), for garnish

            Toss the crab with the orange pieces, and any juice you can collect while cutting the oranges. Toss again with the scallions. Drizzle with olive oil to taste -- just a little will do. Garnish, if you like (I like -- only 5 calories each) with a few olives. 

            And how about my 5 minute tomato sauce -- a real Neapolitan sauce from “Naples at Table: Cooking in Campania.”


Serves 2, dressing 6 ounces of spaghetti 

1 1/2 to 2 cups well-drained, seeded, canned peeled plum tomatoes (preferably Italian), sliced lengthwise, or an equal quantity of very ripe fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and sliced lengthwise
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 rounded tablespoon finely cut basil or parsley (or mint, for a taste of the Aeolian Islands of Sicily)
1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (depending on saltiness of tomatoes, canned needing less than fresh)
Pinch hot red pepper flakes, or more to taste 

          In a 7 to 9-inch skillet, combine all the ingredients and place them over medium-high heat. Simmer briskly for about 5 minutes for canned tomatoes, about 8 minutes for fresh, stirring a few times. The tomatoes should remain in pieces and there should be no liquid in the pan, only reddish oil separating from the tomatoes.

Arthur Schwartz is also the author of  Arthur Schwartz’s New York City Food from Stewart, Tabori & Chang;  Soup Suppers: More Than 100 Main-Course Soups, Harper Collins, and What To Cook When You Think There’s Nothing in the House to Eat, Harper Perennial.


Paula Wolfert writes from Sonoma Valley:

“Pick up ‘Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant’ and in it you will find lots of stories with many ten minute recipes from the likes of Laurie Colwin, Nora Ephron, Ben Karlin, and sainted Marcella. You will also find my favorite ten minute meal in the book. It's a dish I simply love in late summer.  I have it for breakfast with black coffee. It doesn't go well with coffee au lait."


I toast a slice of peasant style bread, rub it with a half clove of garlic, and brush on each side a blend of grated late summer tomatoes, crumbly sea salt, and great olive oil.  And if I have some Serrano ham slices in the fridge I put that on top. 

Paula Wolfert is the beloved author of The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook, Mediterranean Grains and Greens, The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, Mostly Mediterranean, Mediterranean Cooking, Revised, and most recently, newly updated, The Cooking of SouthWest France.  Her Cous Cous and Other Good Food from Morocco has been in print since 1973.



       The hubby and I and our dear friends signed up for Celia’s cooking and painting class in Venice via the Internet ahead of our vacation there in September 2002. How fun to shop at a local market and learn how make Italian specialties from a local, we thought. Imagine our surprise when it turned out that Celia was from Fort Wayne, Indiana. She had moved to Italy many years ago as a young art student and two husbands and one child later, she was still there. In fact, she used the apartment of one of her ex-husband’s for her cooking class business. Nonetheless, the four of us had a blast making raviolis and gnocchi from scratch and this simpler than simple salad. Over lunch we learned that Celia was off to the States to cook Hannukah dinner for her latest boyfriend. We gave her detailed instructions on how to make potato latkes.                          

       I don't know the portions. I just use equal amounts of: 

baby arugula

      Trim away any tough stems from the arugula (baby arugula is probably small enough to leave the leaves whole, but tear if necessary for easy eating).  Trim the fennel and then julienne.  Tear the radicchio into bite-size pieces. 

      Mix the lettuces together and grind sea salt (Kosher salt is fine) and black pepper to taste. Squeeze fresh lemon and toss. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the greens. (It is important to toss first with the fresh lemon juice, before adding the olive oil.) Shave fresh Parmesan cheese over it and serve.  

This taste of Italy is easy as American apple pie and always a hit. 

Penny Pollack is the dining editor of Chicago Magazine and the co-author with Jeff Ruby of Everybody Loves Pizza.



            “This is an extremely simple dish, but one that’s well worth mastering.  It’s delicious, can be made in just 5 minutes, and perfect for breakfast, brunch, or a late-night snack. Adding a little Boursin cheese and chopped chive transforms regular scrambled eggs into something special.” 

6 large eggs
1/2t salt
1.5T sweet butter
1/2 cup crumbled Boursin cheese
1 tablespoon chopped chives or scallions
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 

            Break the eggs in a bowl and whisk for a minute until their color is uniform and they start to foam lightly. Stir in the salt. 

Preheat a well-seasoned 8-9” cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, turn the heat up to its highest level and add the butter, swirling it around to coat the pan’s cooking surface. When the butter is 60% melted, a lump or two should still remain solid, add the beaten eggs.

Wait a moment until eggs start to set at the edge of the skillet, then, using a spatula or flat wooden spoon, push and pull the eggs toward the center while tilting the skillet to distribute any runny parts. When the eggs are a little more than half set, mix in the crumbled Boursin cheese and 1T of the chives. 

Continue to turn and cook the eggs 30-45 seconds longer until they are just set and no liquid remains. Transfer to serving plates. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of chives or scallions and add salt and pepper to taste.

(Serves 2-3)

             Ed Schoenfeld, a restaurant consultant and Asian food expert, and his fiancée, Elisa Herr, a financial research editor who writes about business and food, cook and entertain frequently. They have recently written articles for Saveur and The Art of Eating.



Daniel Boulud is a home cook too.

             I slice some beautifully ripe melon (honeydew or watermelon or both) and remove the rind and seeds. Season the melon and some cooked, peeled shrimp with chopped mint, coriander, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and salt and pepper. Layer the shrimp and melon in glass bowls and serve chilled.


 “Guazzetto means to slow cook or simmer, usually with tomatoes and broth, in order to concentrate flavors - and that's exactly what goes on in this quick and easy dish. Best of all, as you finish up a good guazzetto, a flavorful, light broth should still cover the bottom of the bowl. Have some good crusty bread handy to sop it up. Manilla clams look sexy (and taste sweet, too) but you can use any small hardshell clam in this easy and quick dish. Serves two.”

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 cup chicken broth
36 manilla or other small hardshell clams
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
4 basil leaves chiffonnade

In a large saucepan or sauté pan with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and let it sizzle off the heat for a minute. Add the tomatoes and the basil chiffonnade, return the pan to the heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes release some of their juices. Add the chicken broth and the clams. Cover the pan and cook, tossing once or twice, until the clams open, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle the parsley over the clams, toss, and serve.

In spring, 2007, Scott Conant  left as chef at three starred L’Impero and at Alto to follow his own stars.  He is the consulting chef at Tutto Il Giorno in Sag Harbor.



            “Summery granitas can be simple and quick. Today, I looked into my refrigerator and found fresh raspberries from the farmer’s market, enough to do instant granita for two.”  

2 cups of fresh raspberries
2 cups of crushed ice
2 tbsp Bosco or Hershey’s chocolate syrup or your own

           Put 2 cups of crushed ice into the blender.  Add 1 cup of fresh raspberries.  Add two tablespoons chocolate syrup.  Puree or pulse the mixture until all the ice chunks dissolve. 

        Pour into small glass bowls.  Drizzle chocolate syrup over the top and garnish with raspberries.  If you’re chocolate averse, simply substitute honey, agave nectar, or sugar for the chocolate syrup.  My favorite variations are blueberry & chocolate, banana & chocolate and pineapple granita. 

If you have a little extra time on your hands, make your own chocolate syrup:

1 1/2 cups of water
1 cup of cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
a pinch of salt
Danyelle Freeman, won her nom de forchette on and is a restaurant critic for the Daily News.

Mexican Tuna Salad


1 can good quality tuna
1 medium ripe firm tomato, diced
½ cup white chopped onion
1 jalapeño chile, minced
1 garlic clove minced
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime

        Combine all ingredients and serve with soda crackers.

     Zarela Martinez is celebrating the 20th anniversary of her lively, popular restaurant Zarela this year with a series of events, including a raffle to benefit the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York and the launch of a new interactive portal on September 24.  Her at-home salon of free-spirited friends is legend among those privileged to be invited. Her books include Food from My Heart, The Food and Life of Oaxaca and Zarela’s Veracruz.



To serve four:
6 oz. ‘Dry Pack’ or ‘DayBoat’ Sea Scallops
1Bulb Baby Fennel
1 Lemon
6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sel Gris to taste
A White Pepper Mill
10 Chives cut into match sticks

Remove the “foot” from the scallops. I’m talking about the tough translucent strip that may be attached to the side of the scallops.
Slice the scallops as thin as possible crosswise.
Divide them into four portions and shingle them into four pinwheels onto a plate.
Squeeze half the lemon and drizzle half the olive oil on to the scallops. Refrigerate while you prepare the fennel.
Using a Japanese mandolin if you have one, shave the fennel bulb as thinly as possible. Roughly chop some of the green fronds found on the top of the fennel.

In a small mixing bowl, toss the fennel with the juice from the rest of the lemon, the rest of the olive, sel gris, and a couple of turns from the pepper mill. Arrange the fennel salad in piles on four chilled 4” plates. Drape the scallop pinwheels on top of the fennel. Season the scallops with the sel gris and white pepper. Garnish with the chives.

Note: Your fish monger may have scallop shells. You can use these as “plates” for a more dramatic presentation.

Jason Weiner is the chef-partner of Almond Restaurant in Bridgehampton and Almondito in East Hampton.




    “This combines the recipes of Michel Guerard and Jean Troigros with a small addition (the cilantro) from me."

1 cup of ripe tomatoes which have been peeled, seeded, chopped and crushed into small pieces
3/4 cup of good olive oil

1 crushed, unpeeled garlic clove

Juice of 1 large (or 2 small) lemons

1 teaspoon each of chopped fresh cilantro, Italian parsley and tarragon

1⁄2 teaspoon of crushed coriander seed

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

        Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir gently to mix.  Let the sauce sit in a warm, not a hot, place to allow the flavors to mingle for 15 to 30 minutes.  Remove the pieces of garlic skin, taste, and correct seasoning if necessary.
        Serve the sauce on any fish except salmon, as well as scallops, shrimps, and lobster.

    A note from Gael: Naomi is my name for one of the best home cooks I know, my longtime friend and co-conspirator in gourmand adventure, who is so determined to be anonymous not even her doorman knows her name.



    “This is best when the corn-on-the-cob is just out of the pot. Drizzle with lime juice. Sprinkle with chili powder. Roll in sour cream which you have folded minced, peeled, seeded cucumber into…then top with chopped chili-dusted pistachio nuts.”

    Barry Wine and his then wife Susan created the Quilted Giraffe in New Paltz and brought it to Second Avenue in New York City in l979 where it would ultimately win four stars from the New York Times.  Barry Wine is now a restaurant consultant.  He also designs fantasimagorical costume jewelry he calls "Come Talk To Me" rings – which women are clamoring to buy.  See them at


    “Our friends love this salad.”

Serves 4

24 Shrimp in their shells - 16-20 size - head and tail left on

touch of olive oil - more if  people have a big appetite

    Saute the shrimp in very hot oil, 3 minutes on a side in a 12 "saute pan so they are lightly colored on both sides, season with  sea salt and pepper. Set aside in the saute pan while you make the tomato compote.


4 heirloom tomatoes(different colors if possible) and very ripe
coarse sea salt, freshly ground, pepper

1 garlic clove

1 jalepeño (optional)

1 bunch of basil

    Peel the ripest tomatoes in the market, cut in small pieces, season with salt, pepper, one small clove of fresh crushed garlic, chopped jalepeño if you like, a big bunch of chopped basil, toss with good extra virgin olive oil. Put the shrimp around a plate and the tomato compote in the center. Serve cold rosé wine and voila!

    "Don't forget to put a big bowl in the center of the table for shells. Alain says if you are among friends reserve the shells  crush them, freeze them and  when you make a fish soup this give a great flavor."

    Alain Sailhac is VP Emeritus of the French Culinary Institute. Arlene Feltman Sailhac is director of De Gustibus at Macy’s.



            My husband and I loved a pasta with uncooked tomato sauce that we ate at a shack on the beach in Ischia during our honeymoon. I gave the idea to Craig Claiborne once. Later he told me he’d tried it and it was awful, but I noticed he ran a very similar recipe some months later. Only the best summer tomatoes will do. 

4 large beefsteak tomatoes
4 very large cloves of garlic
6 large basil leaves
1 tsp. salt
6 grindings of black pepper
2⁄3 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. bucatini or perciatelli 

Core and chop tomatoes coarsely, between 1⁄4 and 1⁄2 inch. (I never bother to peel them, but you can.) Put the tomato and all its juices into a large bowl. Peel garlic and smash with a chef’s knife if you want to remove it before serving, or mince two of the cloves if you want to leave it in for a more intense garlic taste. Add garlic to tomatoes. 

Cut 3 of the basil leaves into fine ribbons and add to tomatoes. Add salt and pepper. Stir in olive oil. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 10 hours, stirring occasionally. 

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes. Drain in a colander, reserving a third of a cup of pasta cooking water in the pot. Return pasta to pot and toss with reserved liquid. Ladle into soup bowls. Remove smashed garlic from tomatoes and ladle over pasta. Sliver remaining basil and scatter on top.  

Some will want a flurry of fresh grated Parmesan; purists will not. Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as a first course.





            This may be too primitive for some tastes but it’s delicious and could be a summer lunch or a starter for dinner with friends when you don’t feel the need to show off.

To serve two:  Chop two giant or three medium beefsteak tomatoes or pulse them in the blender into a pebbly puree.  Add to this mixture 2/3 cup of sour cream (or half sour cream and half low-fat yogurt or even all yogurt) and blend.  Pour into a chilled bowl and sprinkled snipped basil or mint on top. 
























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