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5 Ingredients/10 Minutes cookbook - great recipes for a busy hacker [pdf] (thestonesoup.com)
263 points by nirmal on June 21, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 34 comments

Beautifully produced. Mostly healthy, intelligent recipes. Lovely "food porn" illustrations. I like that several ingredients recur in several recipes so there is an implicit nudge in the direction of good pantry management. This looks like a good "browser" book for anyone who cooks and a possibly quite good book for someone just getting started.

The discussions at the end about equipment and pantry could be expanded, although they fit the recipes given.

I feel like it could use more discussion of technique although writing about technique (rather than teaching through demonstration) is always tricky.

Perhaps I'm just reacting to current fads but I wish it included some discussion of sourcing of ingredients and had less emphasis on canned beans, canned tuna, etc. Canned lentils - seriously? Sheesh.

A quote that bugs me: "The tricky thing with this salad is that a whole tin of chickpeas can be quite a big eat. If you’re not super hungry feel free to ditch some of the chickpeas."

Every kitchen has waste and nearly every kitchen compromises on ingredients but that quote makes me shudder. I suppose if you're moving from heating up frozen french bread pizzas to a cuisine as in this book that's a large positive step so I shouldn't find too much fault here. Still, a little discussion of buying dried legumes and cooking up batches ahead for use in several dishes would be nice.

Perhaps it needs a sequel :-)

As a single and not so young hacker that does not cook, I found it refreshing. Most cookbooks suggest food that takes a lot of prep, is bad for you, and or is just bland. This looks like a great jumping off point to actually cooking more than I eat out even though I can afford to eat out.

Sometimes i envisage writing something similar, targeted to single cooks(or better techies), with some optimization tips and sold solely in ebook format. Could this kind of books have a market? HN what do you think?

Cooking for Engineers ( http://www.cookingforengineers.com ) is pretty targeted at techies. They have an innovative graphical recipe format that shows a horizontal timeline with ingredients in rows and instructions occupying combined cells on the graph.

As a young person in a shared house, I'd really like to find something that included pantry management for people like me. Perhaps it is not possible to eat well from a single cabinet of ingredients that don't spoil quickly and are easy to prepare. If I need to compromise on something, it would probably be price. It just has to be cheaper that eating out.

Definitely needs a sequel. I just like the really simple recipes. If you like the recipes check out the rest of the site.

Agreed, the author's blog has a bunch more interesting recipes: http://thestonesoup.com/blog/

"Lovely 'food porn'" ! Absolutely. I got to the figs on page five and my pulse started going crazy.

Given the “five ingredients/ten minutes” constraint, you can’t do much with dried beans, can you?

Sure you can, if you amortize your time (the concept of making components ahead, in batches). Your point is well taken, of course. It's just that I would hate to see a new born self-feeding foodie get "stuck" in the rut of using needlessly expensive and environmentally dubious canned goods.

There are some specially prepared dried beans that you can use basically straight away.

[1] Something done to them with hot steam or so.

If you're a busy geek, invest in a crock pot. Crock pots make cooking pretty simple... and if you're single (and not scared to leave an appliance turned on while you're gone to work during the day) you can coordinate it so that you have a nice, hot, freshly cooked meal waiting for you when you come home, no significant-other required. (Or "your mom" or a paid chef, or whoever else would cook for you if you didn't do it.)

Just fix up the ingredients the night before, and put everything in the refrigerator. Morning comes, just pour the "stuff" into the crock pot and turn it on the "slow" setting and head out. Come home approx 8 hours later and bob's your uncle.

There are plenty of good books available with piles of slow-cooker recipes as well, and I'm sure you can find plenty on the 'net. Seriously, give it a try.

More generally, most people cook their food too quickly. Next time you cook chicken, cook it on very low heat with oil for a long time. It will still get a nice brown crust but it won't be all dry.

Here's a way to cook chicken quickly without drying it out:

1. Warm up to room temp, salt & pepper (maybe garlic powder) 2. Heat pan with olive oil to hot enough that a water drop spits around on it 3. Place chicken skin down in oil 4. Salt, pepper, etc. the bottom (now facing up) 5. Cook ~3-4 minutes on that side, flip it, and insert into oven waiting at 375° 6. Cook for 35-45 more minutes, or a temp of about 175-180F internal.

Chicken that is cooked this way is awesome and the time it takes in the oven is just right to prepare side dishes.

Are we talking about a whole chicken here or chicken breast. My method was intended for chicken breast. I assume your method is for a whole chicken, because 35-45 minutes at 375 Fahrenheit will certainly overcook a chicken breast.

Chicken parts, bone-in.

The bone regulates temperature and moisture levels.

Trust me, it won't overcook. If you're worried, turn the oven down to 350 F.

30x agree. I got a crock pot for my dorm. Best decision ever. Being able to come back from classes to have the entire hall smell like delicious chili is only surpassed by eating it.

...have the entire hall smell like delicious chili...

How do your floormates feel about that? I hope you at least share the chili with them. :)

Of course I did. No way I could go through a gallon of chili before in a reasonable amount of time.

There's a great (and beautiful) cookbook like this that I've bought for a ton of my friends:


Super simple, talks you through every process (including how to chop food, how to slice, etc) and very nice typography for the graphics nerds out there.

Yes, you have to spend $15 but it's well worth it. Everything is fresh, healthy, and fast.

Looks nice but the "cheese with celery" one made me laugh. Sometimes minimalism can be quotidian.

I have a feeling that it was a pretty picture that was too good to leave out.

Im actually impressed; stuff like this usually tends to be pretty uninspired and, really, not something you could live on (portions too small mostly). But this is extremely well thought out.

I can actually see some recipes I've thrown together in here; I could definitely seeing people using this to live off and slowly evolving them into their own recipes with additions, expansions etc.

The only gripe I have is "fresh egg mayonaise" - which is an art form and recipe in itself if you make it :P and I am not sure I have ever seen it on sale anywhere cheap... (this is in the UK so it may be de rigueur over there)

(hackers tend to make either the best or worst cooks; one of my hacker friends is quite useless in the kitchen because he can't understand the concept of "roll with it" and reads the recipe like a program :))

one of my hacker friends is quite useless in the kitchen because he can't understand the concept of "roll with it" and reads the recipe like a program

I used to be like this when I was in high school. I was preparing something almost fool-proof (Pasta Roni), and was devastated when I discovered I'd added the milk before directed. I was sure that it was going to crash and burn. When the food turned out just fine (as fine as boxed pasta can be, that is), I learned the valuable lesson that not everything requires engineering precision.

I am not sure I have ever seen it on sale anywhere cheap... (this is in the UK so it may be de rigueur over there)

I haven't in the US.

one of my hacker friends is quite useless in the kitchen because he can't understand the concept of "roll with it" and reads the recipe like a program

Maybe try getting him to work without a recipe? Plenty of dishes allow a lot of wiggle room (or "___ to taste"). Most of my cooking at this point is based on trying to guess which basic ingredients have tastes that fit well together (with a fair bit of experimentation, e.g. this is the first time I've used strawberries in a marinade). It's also fun to try to reverse-engineer someone else's cooking (though I'm having trouble duplicating the texture of some curry sauces I've had).

Cooking itself usually takes little, a few minutes. It's the food preparation and cleanup that take time.

Indeed, and this book takes account of that. The recipes I've looked at have pretty quick, straightforward preparation and don't use many utensils.

About the "Bocadillo de Jamón" (cured ham sandwich page 18):

It's only 2 ingredients, so you still have leeway to add some more, and so you have to add tomatoes (and a bit of olive oil and salt) to make the typical catalan "pa amb tomaquet" (pan with tomatoes).

1/2 1/3 Baguette 2-4 slices jamón 1-2 ripe tomatoes (red and juicy) 1-2 teaspoon olive oil 1 pinch of salt

Open baguette. Cut the tomatoes in half and spread their innards on the bread. Oil and salt it. Layer with jamón, close up and enjoy even more than the original recipe.

"Pa amb tomaquet" looks like this: http://jaumepros.blogspot.com/2007/11/pa-amb-tomquet.html

You can do it with any kind of bread, but with toasted bread it's even better.

Man I wish I could find reasonably priced jamón in the states. Anyone?

The "bocadillo with jamón" recipe says "sometimes the bread is moistened by rubbing the cut side of a tomato onto the bread, or drizzling some olive oil – or both.". I'm only familiar with the Barcelona area, but I've never seen it made without the tomato and the Spanish put olive oil on everything. As he says, it will be pretty dry without at least tomato or oil.

Interesting... very well produced and they sound great. A bit off my normal foods, but I need to broaden back out again, and I'll drag my roommates with me >:) Mwahahahha

* adds yet another blog to Reader * Damn you, Google Reader! You're devouring my life, and I love it!

Great find! Similar in style to http://101cookbooks.com/ They both encourage you to work with what you already have in your pantry, making substitutions when necessary.

OMG s/he adds butter and mayo to cheese-on-toast... my arteries just exploded :-)

..because butter and mayo help make it healthier?

The soup recipes are really good. Thanks =)

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