Talking Food With Mark Bittman45:53

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Just in time for the holiday, we’ll talk turkey and a whole lot more with the New York Times’ cooking guru Mark Bittman.

This screen grab provided by Robin Insley Associates shows chef Mario Batali and New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman. (AP)
This screen grab provided by Robin Insley Associates shows chef Mario Batali and New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman. (AP)

We’re on the roads today.  Headed home.  At the grocery.  In the kitchen.  Thanksgiving, the autumn feast, is upon us.  Turkey. Cranberries.  Pie.  And every variation in the American tapestry.  It’s a day when we cook. Pull out the old family recipes.

Think, with gratitude we hope, about the fields and farms and farmers who feed us.  About the earth that yields the crop and the traditions that shape how we use it.  We’re going to the farm today, and sitting down with the great New York Times food writer Mark Bittman.

This hour, On Point: Mark Bittman and Thanksgiving – the autumn feast.
-Tom Ashbrook


Mark Bittman, an opinion columnist and the New York Times magazine’s food columnist.

Clotilde Hryshko, Owner of Camp Merrishko, a farm and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in Brookfield, Vermont

From Tom's Reading List

USA Today "It's the Thanksgiving nightmare scenario. You go to the refrigerator Thursday morning and realize your 15-pound turkey is still a frozen block. But food-safety experts have a solution, one that will not only will get dinner on the table by 3 p.m., but that's also a lot safer than trying to soak Mr. Tom in a sink of hot water (and potentially splash salmonella juice all over your kitchen)."


45-Minute Roast Turkey


8- to 12-pound turkey

10 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed, more to taste

1 branch fresh tarragon or thyme separated into sprigs, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or tarragon

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil or butter

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Put turkey on a stable cutting board breast side down and cut out backbone. Turn turkey over, and press on it to flatten. Put it, breast side up, in a roasting pan. Wings should partly cover breasts, and legs should protrude a bit.

2.Tuck garlic and tarragon under the bird and in the nooks of the wings and legs. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

.Roast for 20 minutes, undisturbed. Turkey should be browning. Remove from oven, baste with pan juices, and return to oven. Reduce heat to 400 degrees (if turkey browns too quickly, reduce temperature to 350 degrees).

4.Begin to check turkey's temperature about 15 minutes later (10 minutes if bird is on the small side). It is done when thigh meat registers 165 degrees on an instant-read meat thermometer. Check it in a couple of places.

5.Let turkey rest for a few minutes before carving, then serve with garlic cloves and pan juices.

-Mark Bittman

YIELD: 10 servings

Braised and Glazed Butternut Squash

Makes: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1-1/2 pounds butternut or other winter squash, peeled and cut into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes

1/4 cup vegetable stock or water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped parsley leaves for garnish


1. Put the oil and garlic in a large, deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. When the garlic begins to color, add the squash and stock and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and turn the heat down to low. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes.

2. Uncover the pan and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally and stirring somewhat less often, until all the liquid is evaporated and the squash has begun to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Turn the heat back down to low and cook until the squash is as browned and crisp as you like. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish, and serve.

-Mark Bittman


Roasted Carrots with Cumin

Makes: 4 servings
Time: 35 minutes


1 to 1 1/2 pounds baby carrots, green tops trimmed, or full-sized carrots, cut into sticks

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat the oven to 425°F. Put the carrots on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil; sprinkle with the cumin and salt and pepper. Roast until the carrots are tender and browning, about 25 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

-Mark Bittman

Broiled Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts


1 lb Brussels sprouts

2 tbsp olive oil

1 handful hazelnuts

Salt, Pepper, Lemon juice, Parsley to taste


Heat the broiler. Trim about a pound of Brussels sprouts and pulse in a food processor—or use a knife—to chop them up a bit. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with two tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss. Broil the sprouts for about five minutes, until browning on the edges. Meanwhile pulse a handful of hazelnuts (or chop them). Shake the pan to flip the sprouts, add the nuts and broil for another three minutes. Sprinkle with freshly squeezed lemon juice and plenty of fresh parsley.

-Mark Bittman

Curried squash soup

A thick, delicious, easy vegan soup. I used to sell it at the farmer’s market, and I made it last week with a class of 5th and 6th graders. The recipe is given in proportions, for pan size, rather than in exact amounts – so you can scale to a batch of any size.

Olive oil

Onions (I use red, yellow, and white onions)

Garlic (1 large clove per quart of soup)

Butternut squash


Curry (1 tsp per cup of soup, but season to taste)

Salt, pepper to taste

Whatever pan size you’re going to use, put olive oil in to cover the bottom. Add onions to fill the pot half full. Add the garlic. Caramelize the onions on low.

In the meantime, peel and chop the butternut squash.

Once the onions are caramelized, down to 1/5 of the pot, put in enough squash to bring it to 3/4 full. Add a couple of apples that have been peeled and quartered. Add water to not-quite cover – let it simmer down.

Add curry, salt, and black pepper to taste.

When it’s cool, blend it with a food processor, blender, or immersion blender.

-Clotilde Hryshko


This hour features music from the album “Harvest Home” by Jay Unger and Molly Mason.

This program aired on November 23, 2011.