Fast Flavors!

Make gourmet entrees in no time


Got a few minutes?


Then you have time to create a grand, impressive, gourmet dish.


No, really!


These five cookbooks are geared toward gastronomes who have busy lives outside the kitchen.


The following recipes can tickle your taste buds and save you time:

Seared Tuna With Salsa Verde
Tenderloin of Beef With Blue Cheese and Herb Crust
Pan-Seared Pork Chops With Hoisin Sauce and Dried Cranberries
Crabmeat and Chicken Potpie
Bow Ties With Artichoke Hearts and Sundried Tomatoes
Chicken Saltimbocca
Tomato and Goat Cheese Strata
Buckwheat Vegetable Pancakes With Spicy Yogurt Sauce
Pat King (Mushrooms With Ginger)
Steamed Fish With Lemongrass


“Gourmet Meals in Minutes”

By The Culinary Institute of America
Published by Levhar-Friedman Books


Seared Tuna With Salsa Verde

2-1/4 pounds yellowfin tuna fillet
Ground cumin, to taste
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil


For the salsa
1/2 cup tomatillos, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded, finely chopped
1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon honey
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 bunch cilantro, rinsed, dried and finely chopped
2 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped


Clean the skin and bloodline from the tuna, if necessary.


Slice the tuna into 6 even portions.


Season the fish with cumin, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.


To make the salsa verde, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.


Cook the tomatillos, jalapeno and onion until very brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook briefly.


Season to taste with honey, lime, salt and pepper. Stir in the cilantro and parsley. Reserve until needed.


Heat the remaining oil in a large sauté pan over very high heat until the oil is almost smoking.


Gently lay the tuna steaks in the pan and brown on each side for about 1 minute, for rare tuna.


Place the tuna on warm plates and spoon about 1-1/2 tablespoons of the salsa verde on top.

Makes 6 servings.



Tenderloin of Beef With Blue Cheese and Herb Crust


3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups beef broth
6 tablespoons Madeira wine
2-1/4 pounds beef tenderloin
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
6 tablespoons blue cheese
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup chives, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil


Combine the butter and flour together.


Bring the beef broth and Madeira to a boil. Whisk in the butter and flour mixture until completely dissolved.


Simmer about 15 to 20 minutes, until the liquid is thickened and reduced by half.


While the sauce is simmering, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the rack of a roasting pan with nonstick spray and place in the pan.


Slice the tenderloin into 6 portions that are approximately 3 inches in diameter and 1-1/2 inches thick.


Tie butcher's twine around the beef medallions so they maintain their shape while cooking, if desired.


Combine the breadcrumbs, blue cheese, parsley, chives and pepper to form a paste.


Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat.


Sear the medallions until just browned, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.


Arrange the medallions in a roasting pan. Coat the top side of each medallion with 3 tablespoons of the blue cheese and herb crust.


Roast until the crust is golden brown and the meat is cooked as desired, about 6 to 8 minutes for medium-rare, depending on the size of the medallions.


If butcher's twine was used, be sure to remove it. Serve the medallions on a pool of the warm Madeira sauce.

Makes 6 servings.



“Wolfgang Puck Makes It Easy”
By Wolfgang Puck with Martha Rose Shulman
Published by Rutledge Hill Press


Pan-Seared Pork Chops With Hoisin Sauce and Dried Cranberries


4 (10-ounce) boneless or bone-in pork chops
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 (plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup port
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 to 2 tablespoons bottled hoisin sauce or good-quality bottled
barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh chives


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.


Heat a large, heavy-bottom, ovenproof skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat.


Meanwhile, pat the pork chops dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper to taste and the fresh herbs.


Add the oil to the hot skillet. As soon as it is hot enough to swirl around easily, add 1 tablespoon of the butter and the pork chops, spacing the chops about 1 inch apart.


Let the chops cook undisturbed until their undersides are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.


Turn over the chops and sear about 1 minute more.


Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until the chops are cooked through but still slightly pink at the center, 12 to 15 minutes.


Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the chops to a platter, and cover them with aluminum foil to keep them warm while you make the sauce.


Pour off all the fat from the skillet. Return the skillet to the stovetop over medium-high heat and pour in the port.


With a wooden spoon, stir and scrape to deglaze the pan.


Add the dried cranberries and continue simmering the port briskly until it reduces to about half its original volume, about 5 minutes.


Stir in 1 tablespoon of the hoisin sauce and continue simmering, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Taste the sauce, and, if you like, stir in a little more hoisin sauce.


Whisk in the remaining butter a piece or two at a time until the sauce looks creamy and glossy.


Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.


Return the pork chops to the skillet, turn them in the sauce to coat, and continue simmering until the chops are heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more.


Transfer the chops to heated plates and spoon the sauce over and around them.


Garnish with chives and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.



Crabmeat and Chicken Potpie

1/2 pound lump crabmeat
1-1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken, cut into 1-inch chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 plus 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound red-skin potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium, yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of crushed red-pepper flakes
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock or good quality canned chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream plus 1 tablespoon for brushing
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup shelled or frozen peas
1/2 pound (1 sheet) frozen puff pastry, defrosted following package instructions
1 egg



Carefully pick through the crabmeat and discard any pieces of shell or cartilage.

Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed.


Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. In a mixing bowl, toss the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the flour until evenly coated.


In a large skillet over high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the chicken pieces, reduce the heat slightly and sauté, turning occasionally, until light golden and cooked through, about 5 to 10 minutes.


Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.


Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter to the pan, then add the potatoes, carrots and onion and sauté until they begin to look glossy and bright, 2 to 3 minutes.


Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the garlic, red-pepper flakes, thyme and bay leaf, and sauté just until the vegetables begin to color slightly, 2 to 3 minutes more.


Add the wine, turn up the heat, stir and scrape with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan deposits. Simmer until the liquid reduced by about half, 3 to 5 minutes.


Add the chicken stock and 1 cup of cream. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat slightly, and simmer briskly until the liquid reduces by about half again and is thick and creamy, about 15 minutes.


Remove the sprig of thyme and the bay leaf.


Stir in the reserved chicken pieces and the sherry. Stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and remaining 1 tablespoon flour and stir this paste into the mix


Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.


Gently stir in the reserved crabmeat and the peas.


Transfer to four large, individual, ovenproof soup bowls, four ramekins of the same size, or a 2-quart baking dish.


Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the filling is cold, at least 1 hour.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.


Make sure the puff pastry is no thicker than 1/4 inch. With the tip of a sharp knife, cut the pastry into four circles that will overhang the rims of the serving bowls or ramekins by about 1/2 inch (for a single, large baking dish, cut four circles that will overlap the top by 1 inch, or use one large sheet).


In a small bowl, beat together the egg and the remaining 1 tablespoon of cream to make an egg wash. Brush it along the outsides of the rims of the ramekins.


Place the bowls, ramekins or baking dish on a baking tray and place the puff pastry circles on top, draping them over the sides of the dishes.


Pierce the tops with the tip of a paring knife. Brush with the egg wash and press the pastry gently against the sides of the dishes.


Carefully transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbling hot and the pastry is a deep, golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes.


Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.


“Kitchen Quickies: Great, Satisfying Meals in Minutes”
By Marie Caratozzolo and Joanne Abrams
Published by Square One


Bow Ties With Artichoke Hearts and Sundried Tomatoes

1 pound bow-tie pasta (farfalle)
2 teaspoons olive oil
6 large cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup thinly sliced sundried tomatoes
2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained
2 cups reduced-sodium, fat-free chicken broth, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese



Bring a 4-quart pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.


While the water is heating up, coat a deep, 12-inch, nonstick skillet with cooking spray.


Add the oil and preheat over medium heat.


Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, 1 to 2 minutes, or until soft but not brown.


Add the sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and 2 or 3 tablespoons of the broth to the skillet. Toss well to mix and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the ingredients gently as the pasta cooks.


When the pasta is almost cooked, add the remaining broth to the skillet, along with the parsley and black pepper. Increase the heat to medium and continue to heat.


Drain the pasta well and return it to the pot.


Add the sauce and toss well to coat.


Spoon the pasta into individual serving dishes and serve immediately, as is or topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
Makes 4 servings.



Chicken Saltimbocca

1-1/2 pounds thinly sliced chicken breast cutlets
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces reduced-sodium ham, thinly sliced
2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup Marsala wine



Sprinkle the sage and black pepper on each chicken cutlet, and top each with a slice or 2 of ham. Press the ham so that it sticks to the chicken.


Coat a 12-inch, nonstick skillet with cooking spray, add the oil and preheat over medium heat.


Place the cutlets, ham-side down in the pan, and cook 3 to 5 minutes.


Then turn and continue to cook another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink inside.


Transfer the cutlets to a platter and cover to keep warm.


Add the wine to the skillet and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to mix with the pan juices.


Spoon the sauce over the cutlets and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.



“Fresh Food Fast”
By Peter Berley
Published by Regan Books


Tomato and Goat Cheese Strata

6 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons minced, fresh, flat-leaf parsley
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon minced, fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon crushed, red-pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 pound day-old artisanal bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
1/4 pound fresh goat cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese



Set a rack on the middle shelf of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.


In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream and parsley. Set the mixture aside.


Place a 10-inch, ovenproof sauté pan or 3-quart brazier over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the onions. Cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.


Add the oil, garlic, sage and red pepper flakes and sauté, stirring, 1 minute more.


Add the tomatoes and salt and bring to a simmer.


Stir the bread into the tomatoes. Crumble the goat cheese over the bread, then pour the egg and cream mixture over everything. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and bake until the strata has set and is golden on top, about 25 minutes.


Let it rest 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 servings.


Buckwheat Vegetable Pancakes With Spicy Yogurt Sauce

For the sauce
2 cups whole-milk yogurt
1/3 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
For the pancakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup buckwheat flour
2-1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups whole-milk
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons melted butter or neutral oil, such as grapeseed, canola or sunflower
3 cups shredded green cabbage (1 small head)
1-1/2 cups shredded, peeled carrot (about 3 medium carrots)
6 scallions, white and tender, green parts only, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh dill
1/4 cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed, canola or sunflower, for frying
Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish



Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.


To prepare the yogurt sauce, in a small bowl, stir together all the sauce ingredients until well combined. Chill until ready to serve.


To make the pancake batter, in a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt and baking powder.


In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs and butter or oil. Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and stir to combine.


Add the cabbage, carrots, scallions and dill to the batter and mix well. The batter will be thick.


In a large (or 2 small) sauté pan(s) or skillet(s) over medium heat, warm 1/4 cup of oil.


When the oil is hot, pour a scant cup of batter into the pan to form a pancake and fry 5 minutes.


Flip the pancakes and fry 5 minutes more. As you finish each pancake, transfer it to a rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.


Transfer the pancakes to a clean surface and cut each into 4 wedges. Arrange 4 to 6 wedges on each of 4 plates. Pour yogurt sauce on top and garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Makes 4 servings.


“Thai in Minutes”
By Vatcharin Bhumichitr
Published by Laurel Glen


Pat King (Mushrooms With Ginger)

2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
2 ounces presoaked, dried wood-ear mushrooms, coarsely chopped if large
1 onion, cut in half, then chopped into thin slices
1 carrot, julienned
1/2 sweet red pepper, julienned
2-inch piece fresh ginger, julienned
2 medium scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon yellow bean sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup vegetable broth
Cilantro leaves, for garnishing



In a wok or frying pan, heat the oil and fry the garlic until golden brown.


Add all the remaining ingredients, except the cilantro, one at a time, stirring constantly.


Turn onto a serving dish and garnish with the cilantro.

Makes 4 servings.


Steamed Fish With Lemongrass

For the fish

1 (1-pound) sea bass, scored diagonally on both sides
4 lemongrass stalks, roughly crushed
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
For the sauce
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 small, fresh, red or green chilies, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
2 teaspoon sugar



Place the fish on a bed of lemongrass on a steaming tray and steam over boiling water about 15 minutes until cooked.


To make the sauce, combine the garlic, chilies, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar in a bowl.


To serve, arrange the fish on a serving dish, pour the sauce over it, and garnish with cilantro.

Makes about 4 servings