It all starts with simplicity, states Mark Bittman, aka The Minimalist, whose hugely popular column has appeared in The New York Times Dining In, Dining Out section every Wednesday for the last 10 years. That's a long time to appeal to a savvy audience and that appeal comes not just from the fresh, sophisticated recipes, but from Bittman's underlying culinary philosophy. He believes that less is more, that flexibility interchanging, omitting and substituting ingredients is paramount and that recipes are not ironclad dogma, but descriptions of a general technique applied to a preferred set of ingredients. If that sounds a bit stuffy and academic, it's anything but and Mark Bittman's Quick and Easy Recipes from The New York Times a one-volume edition with 350 agile, appealing recipes of his three previous Minimalist cookbooks, plus a few new additions, proves that his brand of everyday easy is elegant and exciting and a godsend to time-tormented cooks, whatever their level of expertise. This soup to sweets collection with fast, fabulous, foolproof dishes like Asian-style cucumber soup; coq au vin with prunes; kale, sausage and mushroom stew; pasta with zucchini; and super-easy strawberries with Swedish cream is bound to do wonders for your recipe repertoire.

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