WHO IS BEHIND FIVE MINUTE MEALS and WHAT’S MY STORY?
I’m Marni Bistany, and I’ve been a private chef for the past twenty five years. I’ve traveled the country cooking for private clients and in fine restaurants, and my passion is creating beautiful food and making it as healthy and organic as possible.
I started the first all-organic private catering company in the Hamptons, ChefOrganic, in 2005 after a health scare with an allergy to an artificial sweetener called Splenda. I also discovered that I was highly sensitive to any artificial sweetener, and noticed that whenever I had my favorite, Bison (processed) chip dip, I developed a headache almost immediately, and then discovered that there was MSG in the dip.These things were a wake-up call- I knew that chip dip wasn’t healthy but I did think that it was okay to eat a food product labeled “all natural”. Well, it’s not okay, because the food label, “all natural” is deceiving.
Going forward, I gradually eliminated anything artificial and unhealthy from my life, and began cooking strictly with organic produce and raw, unprocessed ingredients both for myself and for the people I cook for.
My mission is to simplify food preparation into its most basic and pure form, and turn it into a workable template so that anyone can cook these meals in five minutes, and make gorgeous plates that look just like your favorite dish at a restaurant, except maybe even prettier.
What is Five Minute Meals About?
Five Minute Meals brings organic, restaurant-quality meals to life with simple instructions, minimal or no measuring, a short list of ingredients, and seasonal, delicious and healthy original recipes. And guess what? You can click on most of the recipes, where it says, “print” and you’ll see a printer icon- and voila, a recipe to take with you while you shop.
Why Read the Five Minute Meals blog? Because you’re getting 25 years of experience from a private chef who’s worked in excellent restaurants and amazing private homes. It’s not your average food blog!
Why don’t I always include exact measurements in my recipes? Because I feel it’s more important to get it done. Cooking is not an exact science unless you’re baking and even then there’s plenty of room for error. Measuring ingredients slows me down and I’ve never done it. I will occasionally use teaspoon(t), tablespoon(T) and cup(c) as qualifiers when appropriate and helpful.
I use the word, “handful” a LOT. I like handfuls, because there’s no measuring, and it’s approximately a cup’s worth of food. “Sprinkle” is another one- and “splash” and “squeeze”…you get the picture. No measuring spoons and cups needed. It’s about having fun and enjoying cooking.
Cost is important, and most recipes here do include the food cost on a per serving basis. Common knowledge is that organic food is more expensive than conventional. However, when deconstructing food cost for the recipes I’m making, I’m finding that the price difference is nominal because the objective is to make satisfying meals with nutritionally optimized food, which inherently is more filling, and therefore we need less of it to feel “full”.
Also, organic food is considerably less expensive than it used to be, because of supply and demand and because we’re cooking and eating seasonally more often than not.
Calorie counts are not generally included here because the recipes are trimmed for optimal nutrition and are packed with nutrients and fiber and a modest amount of protein. Trust me- they’re not fattening. I’ve added calorie count to a couple of recipes just to keep it real- so you can see that what you think is “high calorie” might not always be the case.
I’ve designed these recipes to be super easy and fast because you’re picking a protein and some vegetables and giving them a quick sear in a tiny amount of fat, or grilling with a rub or a bit of oil.
Veggies are best at their seasonal peak, and when they’re that good, you don’t need to make complicated meals, and you don’t want to overcook them. The food will stand on its own when it’s gorgeously fresh. Many of the recipes here are salads, requiring chopping, slicing, dicing, shredding, simply. Or veggie dips, which I often crave for the texture.
Safe cooking temperature: With the exception of chicken, I prefer food cooked rare or medium rare. The way that I manage to cook chicken to a safe temperature within five minutes is to butterfly it so it’s thin or cut it into smaller pieces. Then it should rest for a minute or two, to continue cooking and redistribute juices. If you’re not sure, do use a meat thermometer.
WHY MAKE MEALS IN FIVE MINUTES?
Because you can! Are you really going to make them in five minutes?
Here’s the deal: If you can, great. Once you get the hang of it, and your ingredients are assembled in advance so you don’t have to think about what you’re doing(just like restaurant cooks) you can and you will make any of these meals in five minutes. But please be careful with your knives. 🙂
Have you ever watched chefs cook your food at Asian restaurants or at a Benihana style restaurant? You can do this just as easily at home.
All you need to do is set up your mise en place, heat the oven or grill to temperature, assemble your cooking tools and have fun. There’s no need to over-complicate food with starchy and fat-laden meals containing endless steps and instructions. I find it much easier to cook when I don’t need to follow a recipe- I’m just using a few simple techniques to prepare some pretty fantastic food.
I’ll show you how to set up your kitchen with simple marinades, salad dressings, quick pan sauces- and what to have on hand so you can easily prepare any recipe that you’ll see here. You’ll be happiest with some organic herbs growing outside or on your window sill, so you don’t need to spend money on grocery store herbs that are highly perishable. The tricks that you’ll learn here will enable you to have more fun in the kitchen, find more free time, and actually look forward to cooking a yummy meal instead of dreading it.
About Primal: Unintentionally, most of the food here is what people are categorizing as “Primal”, which basically entails eschewing grains, processed food and empty calories and cooking with organic, fresh produce. This is how I cook, naturally, so it’s no surprise that all of these recipes fall into that category. Red wine is fine as is dark chocolate and/or cacao(raw chocolate) and the occasional legume(lentils are best). Yay!
I can’t promise that you’ll lose weight eating this way because this isn’t a diet. It’s a lifestyle, and common sense, healthy way to eat. I can promise that you’ll rid yourself of some unhealthy cravings, and probably find that you’re lighter because of it. I’ve been experimenting on myself through this recipe writing process and I find that the thought of eating a heavy meal replete with starches is completely unappealing to me.