You can cook with one pot, one knife and a blender or food processor, says cookbook author Betty Fussell.
"For cooking you need only one pot - a wok - and one knife: a Chinese cleaver kept sharp," Fussell says. Without a blender, "you can forget quick purees." With a blender, a food processor is not a necessity, "but when time is money, it sure helps."Fussell's latest cookbook, "Home Plates: A Shopping, Cooking, Eating, and Wine Guide for Every Day" (Dutton, $12.95), is a pocket-size guide to help busy cooks get organized in the kitchen.
"Since junk time is more valuable than junk bonds to urbanites on the run, this book is physically designed to make shopping and cooking as fast as possible," Fussell says.
Most of the recipes featured in "Home Plates" require only a handful of ingredients. Preparation is simple, and cooking times are relatively short.
Combinations of dishes are suggested. For example, you can start with Red Pepper-Garlic Soup, proceed to Hot Potato Salad with Mussels and follow with Banana Za-baglione.
The 212-page book is divided into Starters, Pasta, Shellfish, Fish, Birds, Meats, Miscellaneous (when you're not sure what kind of food you're in the mood for), Companions (side dishes) and Afterwards (des-serts).
Quantities in the recipes are designed for two, although they can be doubled or tripled. Many of the ingredients can be found in the kitchen pantry including flour, sugar, extra-virgin olive oil, red- and white-wine vinegars, sea salt and dry spices.
Fussell is also the author of "Masters of American Cooking," "I Hear America Cooking," "Eating In" and "Food in Good Season."
ALSO OF INTEREST
- What's bright red, shiny and shaped like a mouse? "The UltimateMousse Cookbook" by Jack Stone and Janet Cassidy (Contemporary Books, Chicago; $9.95). Stone, a graphic designer who lives in New York, teamed up with Cassidy, co-founder of New York's Santa Fe Restaurant, to create this eye-catching cookbook, which features 12 sweet and savory mousse recipes - including lemon mousse, pumpkin mousse and salmon mousse.
- Betty Crocker's "Old-Fashioned Cookbook" (Prentice-Hall, $17.95) is filled with 250 traditional recipes - from Meat Loaf and Minted Leg of Lamb to Marguerites and Apple Pandowdy. The cookbook includes modern kitchen techniques, including microwave and food processor instructions.
- "The Whole Chile Pepper Book" by Dave DeWitt and Nancy Gerlach (Little, Brown and Company, $16.95) documents the chili's past and lore while offering more than 180 recipes - from Broiled Salmon with Spicy Sauce Verde to Spicy Samosas. The authors include a field guide with color photographs identifying 27 varities of chilies, gardening and preservation instructions, mail-order and seed sources. DeWitt and Gerlach live in Albuquerque, where they are editors of "The Whole Chile Pepper," a bimonthly magazine.
- "The Prune Gourmet" by Donna Rodnitzky, Jogail Wenzel and Ellie Densen (Chronicle Books, $9.95) is for the creative cook, the health-conscious or the patient with special dietary needs. Roast Loin of Pork with Prune Filling, French Fruit-Nut Bread and Apple-Prune Dowdy are among the cookbook's 150 recipes.