The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
I know I've linked to recipes on Deb's blog
before, and they're all pretty damn good.
I got the book from the library. I'm pretty picky about my cookbooks at this point, but I will be buying this one.
I figured I'd like the food in the book, and indeed I do. It's both adventurous and pretty tame at the same time, new twists on old favourite.... like the brown butter rice krispie treats. Genius. Because of her kitchen "philosophy" nothing requires weird implements, or bizarre equipment that you will use once a year at most.
The recipes have all been good. One of the problems I've had with a few recipes from her blog have been cooking times, but in the book, it's been more consistent. I'm looking forward to trying her sweet bread doughs, once of my lacks as a baker, as well as comparing her pizza dough to the fabulous one I have now.
Like on the blog, the photography is very good, and what you get at home is either not far off, of you can easily see how you could make yours look as nice, if you wanted. I like this.
Also, just a word of warning, this is NOT a diet friendly cookbook in the slightest. Which is perfectly fine, and leaves the flexibility to make it a bit better if you want. It's also not cheese heavy, which is what allows that flexibility.
Note to the publisher: the provided summary says: "The long-awaited cookbook from the food-blogging phenom
Deb Perelman", bolding mine. PHENOM? Really? Yech. One of my pet peeve I DETEST that word things, perhpas, but Really? I mean, REALLY? Ugh. Go away, publisher summary! I wish I hadn't read you!
Now the one.... well, it's not really a gripe, it's more of a.... dunno... impression maybe?
This book speaks autumn to me. Oh yeah, there are quite a few recipes that showcase the ingredients of summer, but overall, it feels like a good solid fall book. I love that, even if it was not intended, and while I'm trying recipes now, I'll probably buy the book in the autumn, when so many of the recipes fit seamlessly into the shorter and cooler days.
[eta] The recipes I've tried, with a word or two on 'em. Forgot this earlier. Harvest roast chicken with grapes, olives, and rosemary
. Delish. That was what I made last night, so the sauce wasn't as expected, dh just plunked it on the table while I held ice packs on my hand, yet it was still so good. She's right, the olives and grapes are perfect together, and the rosemary (which dh initially forgot) was a perfect last second addition. Will be on my repeat list with one modification: she suggests leaving skin on the chicken to brown it, but since there is a rather moist even cooking phase, the skin might be brown, but it's a bit soggy, and ew. I'll remove it next time.Sesame-spiced turkey meatballs and smashed chickpea salad
. Another major hit at my house. Think, as she mentions, felafel, only with turkey instead of veg. The smashed chickpea salad was wonderful, nice flavour balance, the kids all liked it (MIL did not, she's picky). One small change for me would be to pop the skins off the canned chickpeas, but it's not essential. I bought a spice for the recipe (sumac), but it's been one I've been meaning to for a while.Buttered popcorn cookies
. Totally bizarre. Think chocolate chip cookie with popcorn instead of chocolate chips. I didn't salt the popcorn enough, I think, and they were really good when just cooled, less after they'd gotten a bit softer, but again, a very interesting pairing, that Perry's 7th grade class really liked.Salted brown butter crispy rice treats
OMG-wonderful! Seriously, if you like rice krispie treats at all (I do, even though I wish they were less sweet), these do take them to a new level. The brown butter flavour comes through nicely.Chocolate peanut butter cookies
. The peanut butter cookie itself is pretty good, turning it into a chocolate-and-peanut butter sandwich cookies makes it even better. Grapefruit olive oil pound cake
. This will probably become my go-to cake of this type. I like plain, dense poundcake, this is less like that, but more like... a velvety-citrussy cake. The texture was really nice, and the grapefruit a nice departure from more traditional lemon flavoured. I'll certainly make this one again and again and...Blueberry cornmeal butter cake
. I love cornmeal and/or semolina in cakes, they avoid the floury pancake texture that some cakes get, and give the cake more... dense-ness, I guess. Anyhow, this one was great, the strudel with cornmeal was crispy, and the buttery-blueberry cake was well balanced, with, again, a nice texture, and a good blueberry to cake ratio. Another one which will become a summer classic in my repertoire, I think!
Lots of sweets, but I had several school (kids, mine) events to bake for, as well as two dinners with guests.