Smitten Kitchen Recipes
It’s hard to get through fall without encountering more than a few roasted vegetable salads. They’re earthy, filling, and entirely seasonal. In The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Deb Perelman writes about a few such salads, but the one that drew my eye was her Honey and Harissa Farro Salad. I’m a big harissa fan, and the idea of tempering its spiciness with honey sounded like a perfect dressing base. But what the title of the recipes leaves out is that over half of this salad is made up of roasted batons of carrots and parsnips—two of my favorite fall staples. And if you’re lucky enough to live in a place with choices in your carrots, go for a rainbow of colors for a vibrant fall meal.
Smitten Kitchen Recipes
About a year ago, over a series of weekends I was up too early anyway, I went on a buttermilk pancake-making bender. I tried, well, not all, but several of the recipes I always read about, the loftys and the fluffys and the best-evers. I used, in turn, cornstarch and vinegar and unseemly amounts of butter, I separated egg whites, I rested batters, and every single one of these pancakes was consumed by happy children but not a-one of them stayed as tall as they left the pan for more than a few minutes and I was gravely disappointed. It was very possibly user error; all pancakes were made before 8:30 a.m. on weekends, pre-coffee. Regardless, I tabled it and moved on. Recently, in an attempt to extract myself from the 1008-page book I began in the fall and needed to accept I was probably never going to cross the halfway point of, I read Nora Ephron’s Heartburn. I honestly didn’t know the narrator was a food writer going into it but this made it even more delightful.* (I promise, I’m getting somewhere with this.) In some passage that I now cannot find, she essentially says that there are very few truly new recipes, that most things have been made well before, and this led me to send my kid to take down the 1896 Fannie Farmer cookbook and look up her pancake recipe. “It’s not in here.” “Yes, it is. Look in the index.” “I did, there are no pancakes.” But I knew there were pancakes in there and grabbed the book from him and hrm, he was totally right, there were no “pancakes,” but there were many recipes for “griddle cakes.” Read more »
Smitten Kitchen Recipes
This one for pita bread is a keeper, a no fail recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I had always wanted to make pita bread, but found it a bit intimidating. What if they didn't puff up? How could I fill them? The worries were unfounded, these turned out beautifully and dare I say the recipe made in a stand mixer is almost easy.
I don’t understand why people come on here to say that they don’t want this kind of recipe. If they try it and it doesn’t work, they could say so, but just to say “this doesn’t appeal to me personally, so don’t post it”?!! I wanted to say – please DO keep posting all kinds of recipes. I love simple ones like this as much as the complex ones – with simple recipes, I can get the idea and go and cook it without following an intricate recipe. This sounds fantastic. Thanks Deb!
Recently, in an attempt to extract myself from the 1008-page book I began in the fall and needed to accept I was probably never going to cross the halfway point of, I read Nora Ephron’s Heartburn. I honestly didn’t know the narrator was a food writer going into it but this made it even more delightful.* (I promise, I’m getting somewhere with this.) In some passage that I now cannot find, she essentially says that there are very few truly new recipes, that most things have been made well before, and this led me to send my kid to take down the 1896 Fannie Farmer cookbook and look up her pancake recipe. “It’s not in here.” “Yes, it is. Look in the index.” “I did, there are no pancakes.” But I knew there were pancakes in there and grabbed the book from him and hrm, he was totally right, there were no “pancakes,” but there were many recipes for “griddle cakes.”
But it makes it that much more exciting when one arrives in which it’s so obvious that every single recipe in it has been so carefully considered and executed in a way that clears its throat and announces Here is something new. Now, I’m not going to pretend that I’m a neutral observer of Tara O’Brady’s career. I’ve loved her Seven Spoons blog from the beginning, with its unique blend of Canadian, Irish, English, Northern and Southern Indian influences, all modernized with seasonal produce. And I’ve always wondered when she’d write a cookbook, but I’m starting to think that this, too, might be one of the quiet attributes of the best cookbooks: the wait for it felt like forever. The book does not disappoint. Yes, the pages are matte, the backgrounds are concrete and marble slab (but swoonishly so), the food looks farmers market-fresh but you won’t even be two recipes into the Lunch section — Fattoush with Fava Beans and Labneh! Messy Bistro Salad with Spanish-Fried Egg and Crispy Capers! — before realizing that this book is teeming with just the kind of inspiration we all need. What, that didn’t tempt you? How about Baked Eggs, North Indian-Style or Hummus with White Miso? And guys, I haven’t even left the Lunch chapter yet. There are six others.
The recipes are inspiring in a very specific, homespun way, clearly the product of years of honed repetition at a family table. While it was hard to choose where to begin, we couldn’t resist the idea of Mushrooms and Greens with Toast, which feels like a cross between a rustic casserole and a skillet of torn-up grilled cheese and butter-seared vegetables that could not be easier to make in that tiny margin of time between realizing dinner has yet to make itself and a small exhausted person returning from soccer practice with expectations of sustenance. You get the feeling the author has been there; Tara wants you to tear everything up by hand (she thinks many mushrooms “look best when spared the blade”). She doesn’t expect you to crank up the broiler just to finish the dish with melted cheese (you just put a lid on the pot and let the heat do its thing). Serving instructions? “Hand out forks, then bring the pan to the table.” What she doesn’t say is “Repeat again tomorrow,” but we most certainly will.
I have never posted before, but am an avid fan of your blog and your recipes. I just wanted to add my voice to those saying “ignore this crazy Cindy person”! I actually went back and re-read the whole thing to see which bit was pretentious, and I still can’t see it. Just wanted to say that, in case you’re the type to take the one negative comment to heart, rather than the hundreds saying how good your food and writing are.
Deb, I had the pleasure of having you speak a few years back in Toronto, during your book tour. I remember later telling my aunt and uncle, who are also big fans of yours that in person, you were adorable, charming, funny, and down-to-earth, just exactly like you are on the website. Pretentious is the last thing that would come to mind. sheesh. I look forward to reading the pre-recipe posts nearly as much as the recipes – they are always so much fun.
Not to derail from the food – which is both swoonworthy and spoonworthy – but what on earth is up with people? More than one. I’m going to say they were just hangry – maybe that’s why they were looking for recipes, and yours look so good that the time gap (even with such wonderful instructions as yours) between seeing deliciousness and being able able to consume such deliciousness triggered the hangriness. (Hanger?) Deb, you’re fantastic, please keeping doing what you do.
P.S. Sarah, have you made this? I think there is a reason Deb shared it – I was’t expecting a huge amount from it, but it’s actually super delicious — and a really nice spin on that whole mushrooms-on-toast thing. I have had the latter a million and one times; this really was a much better version of it, but just as easy. Sometimes, I really feel like it’s these simple recipes that elevate something ordinary that are the best finds.
Made this tonight and it was incredible. Used spinach, baby Bella’s, and white mushrooms since that’s what I had on hand. Also used crusty rye, sriracha for the heat, rice vinegar and fontina. Made about a third of the recipe since it was just me tonight and liked it so much, I ate it all! I’ll make this again soon and will try it with an egg. Love the blog Deb-have tried many recipes and enjoyed them all so please keep on keeping on.