Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, the powerhouse culinary pair behind 30-plus cookbooks and the instructors for our next game-changing Clean Eating Academy course, Shortcut Cooking: Easiest-Ever Clean Meals.
To be with Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein is to enter a world where food is fun and nothing can’t be made easier for the home cook. With 30 cookbooks to their names and counting — including The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book, The Great American Slow Cooker Book and, forthcoming in 2018, The Kitchen Shortcut Bible — the pair are naturals when it comes to simplifying, streamlining and, basically, making everything you cook taste better. Who better, then, to lead the charge for Clean Eating’s next online cooking course, Shortcut Cooking, which will teach you how to do more with less, and then some.
Clean Eating: How did shortcut cooking become your “thing”?
Bruce: We've been columnists on WeightWatchers.com for 12 years, and we’ve found what readers are most interested in is not the complicated stuff. So we’ve always had a piece of our career that’s focused on how to cook quickly and easily.
You’ve become the pied pipers of time-saving appliances through your cookbooks. Pressure cookers, slow cookers, food processors – what else do you love to use?
Bruce: We’ve been trying to convince publishers on the immersion blender, but we’re unable to get anyone to see that it’s more than for blending soup in a pot! I use it to make mayonnaise, dips, sauces, marinara… just yesterday I used it to process 25 pounds of tomatoes! Mark: I’m an avid fan of the turbo blender – Vitamix and Blendtec are brilliant.
When you’re short on time, what are your go-tos to add flavor to a dish?
Bruce: Leftovers tend to dull quickly, so condiments are an absolute must. Pepper sauces (such as sambal oelek and sriracha), chutney, pomegranate molasses, Worcestershire sauce — a little bit can brighten the flavor.
Mark: A Southern chowchow (pickled relish) can make a ton ofdifference. Here’s the thing about shortcut cooking: You are not getting the complex chemical reaction that a long braise gives you. So you have to figure out how to bump the flavor higher. For example, if I make chicken sauté with vegetables in a pan, the easiest way to bump the flavor is at the end by giving it a splash of lemon juice or balsamic or rice vinegar. Add a little acid, and you bump all flavors up.
What are your favorite cheats for a faster dinner?
Mark: I just made the Savory Cauliflower Waffles [from the course, featured below] with packaged cauliflower rice. They’re fantastic! Cooks in 3 minutes in the waffle iron. It’s so easy and you skip the food processor.
Bruce: I’ve discovered the joys of frozen, shelled edamame — not the cooked kind. Through freezing they are partially cooked, so you can add them at any stage of cooking. I’ll make an edamame hummus by microwaving them for 1 minute until they are al dente, or thaw them and throw them into bean salad.
Mark: When you’re quick cooking, use clean, prepackaged* tomatoes and broth; you’re not going to make stock from scratch or reduce something for an hour. The best $15 bucks you can spend is to go and buy four or five brands of clean, prepackaged diced tomatoes and open and taste them. Some will taste too salty, some too mushy, some will have too much liquid. You’ll discover the one that matches your taste. It’s the same with broth: Some are too vegetal, others too salty — tastes vary. It’s money well spent. And you may find the $1 watery variety is your favorite! [Laughs.] Whenever we teach a class, we refuse to answer what our favorites are. You have to decide. [*BPA-free canned, boxed or jarred tomatoes; boxed or frozen low-sodium broth.]
Sign up today for Shortcut Cooking: Easiest-Ever Clean Meals for discount codes and a chance to win a free course! cleaneating.com/shortcut
Tell me about your point of view for the food in this course. What will students be seeing?
Mark: What they’re going to see are actual techniques rather than hacks. That’s important. Also, the class brings a kind of holistic kitchen knowledge. It will cover a range of ingredients, and you'll learn not only ways to speed up those particular things, but also techniques and ways of cooking that speed everything up.
Bruce: Exactly that point. We are teaching a man to fish. We’re showing you a recipe, but within that recipe, we are teaching a technique to save you time that you can easily expand and vary. And we’ll talk to you about how to do that. Once we talk you through a technique, you’ll see 10 more dishes in your head.
How much time do you think people might save by taking your course?
Mark: We can’t quantify what you’ll save overall, but for every recipe, we aimed for 15 minutes of prep time.
Bruce: I don’t think anyone should have to spend more than 15 minutes of prep time for a recipe. We tried to use ingredients and techniques to allow that. Do you need to cut scallions? Instead of getting the cutting board out, and then having to wash that and a knife, use scissors. It’s those kinds of things all throughout. When you save 1 minute here, 30 minutes there, it adds up.
To learn more about Shortcut Cooking: Easiest-Ever Clean Meals with Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, click here.