One of the places I love to lurk on the internet is on boards and groups where people discuss their menu plans for the week. I am so sorry you thought I was going to say something more exciting here. I mean, of all the place to lurk on the internet, Deb. I am truly a bore — possibly to everyone but people who love to cook.
But these posts! Forget the blogs, forget the cookbooks — just kidding, please do not do either — this is how people really eat, or aspire to at the ambitious start of their week, and I can’t help but take mental notes. One of the things that comes up frequently is something called a “sweet potato taco,” and it got stuck in my head because we like sweet potatoes, we like tacos… Maybe I should try my hand at them! I envisioned cubes of sweet potatoes roasted with so much spice, it almost forms a crust, and then something with black beans, and a bright, acidic finish to cut through the carb-starch-carbiness of...
Happy Valentine’s Day! I thought we should make this for a date night in… erm, three weeks ago. It was on my editorial calendar and everything! (Okay I don’t have one, but it was definitely something I would have put on one.) The fact is, I’ve always been a slow cook but I’ve gotten so much worse in the last year or so, and I think I’m just getting fussier. I can’t sleep well until I know I am not making you use even one more bowl or egg yolk than the recipe requires and I wish I was joking because it sounds more quirky and charming that way.
Take this. For years, I’d be hearing about the wonder that is Nancy Silverton’s Butterscotch Budino, one of Los Angeles’s most famous desserts. Think of it like a classic, homey butterscotch pudding (kinda like this) made as luxe as possible with more butter, a deeper caramel, egg yolks, cream, salted caramel, whipped creme fraiche, yes, I too would be on a flight to Los Angeles right now after reading that if they weren’t all grounded.
A couple years ago, at my second home (the grocery store, alas, not, like, the shore) I was passing through the boxed macaroni and cheese section and realized my son, then five, had grown up so far without ever trying it. I realize some people pat themselves on the back about this, but I’m more skeptical about things. Realistically, by the time my kids grow up, I will have inundated them so with so many kale caesars, farro salads and wholesome slaws, sweet potatoes, and homemade from-scratch birthday cakes they’ll have no choice but to rebel with a steady diet of sugar cereals, frozen pocketed foods, and frosting from a can. Maybe leveling things up earlier on will help avoid this outcome? So I bought a box, made it for dinner that night (with the requisite steamed broccoli on the side, nobody ever tells you how much broccoli you’re going to steam when you become a parent) and oh, I’m sorry, were you waiting for me to call it terrible? A disappointment? A memory from childhood that did not hold up? It was anything but. I love orange cheese powder and I do not wish to keep it to myself any longer.
The single most frequently asked questions on this site of late has not been “Wait, you just put peanut butter inside a chocolate cookie, are you pregnant?” (Which is too bad because I want nothing more than an excuse to say this.) It’s not “Can I make this recipe gluten-free/dairy-free/Whole30-compliant?” (Me.) And it’s not even, “How do you do your daughter’s hair?” (We wake her up at 4 to set it in curlers, it’s a little crazy but obviously worth it). It is, in fact, some combination of “I need Instant Pot recipes.” and “How do I make this in an Instant Pot?” or “Should I get an Instant Pot?” Today I’ll do my best (and, of course, just skip ahead if you’ve already made peace with the presence or absence of one in your life):
* Is it worth the space? While I cannot answer for you whether you have the space for another large kitchen appliance, it’s worth noting that the IP could ostensibly replace a slow-cooker (or slow-cookers, in my crazy case), a stovetop pressure cooker, should you have one, and a rice cooker, although I’ll get rid of mine when you pry it out of my cold,...
I have been obsessed with the Argentinian chef Francis Mallman since I saw his of Chef’s Table episode in 2015. Sure, about the only thing we have in common is a desire to set food on fire, you know, artfully. He does so these days to great acclaim on his private Patagonian island (and 8 other restaurants around the world), accessible through two flights, a five-hour drive, and then 90-minute raft across a lake. I live on a busy block of a crowded city accessible by nearly every format of public transportation, and do so to moderate acclaim (relative mostly to how well the patrons slept that day) under a wispy-by-design gas broiler.
A few weeks ago, my obsession led us to a restaurant named Mettā in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, where everything is either cooked or finished over an open fire (if you go, do so on a cold night and sit at the counter, you’ll be glad you did) where the chef is protégé of Mallman. On the dessert menu is a highly regarded ash-roasted sweet potato with an infused whipped cream* and while it was delicious, forgive me, I didn’t have...
The internet, or at least as far as I’ve seen, has three favorite peanut butter cookies. The first is a thing where you take a peanut butter cookie dough or prepared chocolate chip cookie dough, press it into a mini-muffin tin, press a miniature peanut butter cup inside of it and bake them together. Nobody has ever made these for me and I’m kind of mad about it. The second is this 4-ingredient, one bowl, hand-whisked salted peanut butter cookie, curiously absent in flour, butter and leaveners, that’s been around forever until the clever cooks at Ovenly figured out that using brown sugar instead of white, them into larger half-domes, and covering them with sea salt raised them to the unforgettable. The third is a soft chocolate cookie wrapped around a peanut butter filling and bakes into peanut butter cup cookies. No wait, pillows.
This is not a stromboli. If we’ve spoken in the last day, I’ve demanded that you weigh on a name for this dish. Pizza Streudel? Thousand-Layer Stromboli? Stromboli Babka? But that’s not where it began. It began as a dish called Scaccia Ragusana, which I found in an old Saveur issue. This stuffed flatbread is a Sicilian specialty from the province of Ragusa, made with a very thin rectangular layer of dough that’s folded in on itself a few times to make a veritable mille-feuille of a pie, with a dozen stunning layers greeting you when you, lucky you, cut into it. Not all scaccias have these thin folded layers; usually only the tomato and cheese ones do, while others have fillings from ricotta and fried eggplant, ricotta and sausage, greens, beans and more, folded over and crimped at the edges, sometimes elaborately with a braid, like a giant empanada.
I haven’t heard of any that are tweaked to taste like an American pizzeria pepperoni pie — fluorescent red salami rounds, oregano, red pepper flakes, mozzarella and all — but we can thank my husband for this suggestion.
My favorite buttermilk pancakes are tall, fluffy, buttery show-offs. I make them on the weekend because my mom always made pancakes on the weekend and it feels as weekend-y as cake for breakfast should. But does Thursday morning deserve a pancake, just for being Thursday? I realized recently that a weekday pancake is different to me — fork-mixed, one-bowl, and fairly nutrient-packed, something I could make the kids before school and feel like I was sending them out armed with essentials — and also that my existing recipes left me short. Even these very beloved oatmeal pancakes require you to have or to make oatmeal before you begin, and then use two different flours and two different sugars. I love them… it’s just not happening on a weekday. [See also: complex thoughts or even a bare modicum of functioning before 9 am; alas, I live with two charges who disagree.]
I found what I was looking for in an old recipe from Gourmet that uses only whole wheat flour plus quick oats, but it somehow not dry or heavy or even overly wholesome-tasting....
In October of last year, I made one of the best, and prettiest, dinners I’d had all year and couldn’t wait to tell you about them. Then I got a *little* (29 flights and 24 cities in 7 weeks) busy and somehow (somehow!) they — along with the Dutch apple pie, this endive salad and some brown butter carrots I’m still holding out on you — fell by the wayside. And so let me present a long-overdue entry in the Best of 2017 files, eagerly hoping to make a run in 2018.
This dish is inspired by two others. The first is a favorite recipe from my first cookbook, the sesame-spiced turkey meatballs that teeter on a lemony smashed chickpea salad; I will forever love the combination of lemon, spices, chickpeas and just enough protein to balance the meal out....
According to my calendar, on December 19th I ostensibly signed special ordered books at The Strand and then took my two year-old to a holiday party, but I know the truth, which is that I was actually reading this hilarious piece on Bon Appetit from Alex Delany in which he complains that winter cocktails are usually too unsubtly wintery, that he doesn’t need “seven sticks of cinnamon, half a holly tree or a metric ton of cloves, mulling spices or liquor that tastes like cookies” to entice him to drink booze in the winter, and texting my husband that we should make boulevardiers that night after the kids went to sleep.
Here are a few things I know to be true: Split pea soup is never going to win the winter soup Olympics. Its signature hue of mushy pea green will never be prized as fashionable by anyone but the unfashionable likes of me. If you know people who stand up and cheer when they hear that it’s a split pea soup for dinner kind of evening, you know amazing, rare unicorn people I would like to have over for dinner more often. It could be argued that split pea soup doesn’t help its cause by its, ahem, mushy texture that usually solidifies into a brick in a fridge overnight, which is why it surprised me as much as it did that when I mentioned making it — along with this black bread — in this food diary I kept for Grub Street last week, so many people asked me for the recipe.
I had been eating split pea soup for at least half my life before I realized it was not traditionally a vegetarian soup. Growing up, my mom made it from, well, tubes from the grocery store that included the dried peas and...
Can there be a cookie of the year? Sure, it’s possible that I spend too much time consuming food media, the takes, the Tweets, the Instagram Stories. But if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have seen Alison Roman’s Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies virtually everywhere, weakening my resistance to the point that I had to try them, and when I did, realizing that just in case you’d missed them on, like, Refinery 29 or Eater or in her incredible first cookbook, I had to tell you about them because they should not be missed.
Roman’s book, however, was not new to me. I was lucky enough to read it the moment it was ready and it instantly became a favorite. If you saw me on book tour asked me what cookbooks I was into this year, I guarantee it came out of my mouth first. Roman has done stints at Milk Bar and Bon Appetit and writes regularly for the New York Times Food and her recipes show: she knows how to make the food we really want to eat. She’s also a sharp writer; I love her love letter to boiled potatoes....
Before I abandoned you (online) to spend time with you (in person) the better part of the last two months, leading to premature but rightly deserved obituaries*, I spend about half of the fall I was in town for obsessed with Dutch apple pie, and a significant amount of that time trying to understand what it was and was not. There seems to be a divide wherein American home cooking sites largely refer to a Dutch apple pie as a deep-dish apple pie (sometimes, but not always, in a cake pan) with a crumb topping and Dutch (or Dutch-sounding; I do not speak the language** so am making an educated guess) cooks use a more cookie-like dough that’s cross-crossed on top with a shiny finish. Fortunately, around this time I remembered that one of my son’s good friend’s mom is Dutch and she was happy to set me on the right course: yes the lattice is shiny, the dough is sweet and more buttery tasting than its American counterpart, the end result looks more like a cake, and please remember to send all samples over.
I understand that most people, normal people, can outline phases of their lives through jobs or photo albums or even where they lived; I apparently can do it through endive salads I was obsessed with at the time. In 2005, there was one from Nigella Lawson in the New York Times with toasted hazelnuts, grain mustard, lime and orange and sesame oil. My husband and I were a relatively new thing at the time and he wasn’t terribly into endive but he ate it politely for weeks and weeks, and eventually came around, or caved. Same thing, right?
Nine years later, I surprised my husband with a weekend in Miami for his birthday, although I hadn’t realized when I booked it four months earlier that I would be pregnant at the time and unable to enjoy so many of the culinary wonders of José Andrés’ Bazaar — tartares and raw oysters and his signature gin and tonic and no I’m not still mad about it, you’re still mad about it and want a do-over. The endive salad with orange segments, goat cheese, almonds and chives made up for a whole lot; I...
I evicted a longtime resident of my To Cook list this week with this corn chowder. I have no argument with traditional corn chowder — it has cream, bacon, and potatoes and thus would be impossible not to love as soup or salad — but I adore to the point of boring everyone around me with my gushing, Mexican-style corn either elote-style (on the the cob rolled in butter, mayo, lime juice and coated with salty crumbled cotija cheese and chile powder or a chile-lime seasoning blend) or esquites-style (all of the above, but in a cup). This corn chowder attempts to celebrate the best of both.
I realize that if you want to toss some sausages and vegetables on a sheet pan on a weekday night and roast them to crispy, self-seasoned blister, there are innumerable ways to do it. I’ve fiddled around with this broccoli and chunks of sausage; I’d intended to try a version with cherry tomatoes and garlicky croutons before my tomatoes went south. You may not need a recipe.
Two weeks from today, my second cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant & Unfussy New Favorites will be leaving warehouses* to reach bookstores or perhaps your front door (if you’ve preordered the book) and I cannot believe it’s so close now. Last month, I shared the trailer for the book and told you all about the book tour that begins the day the book comes out and I promised additional cities would be added. Today is the day! The book tour page — see it in full right here, or click on the image below — now includes Minneapolis, Atlanta, Montreal, Kansas City, Denver, Boulder, Tulsa, Maplewood NJ and an additional book signing in New York City, in addition to the events already planned in Boston, Toronto, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles.
Pasta e ceci (pasta and chickpeas) is one of Rome’s most iconic dishes, the only dish so essential that it shows up on both Tuesdays and Fridays on the informal meal calendar.* And while there are no two matching ways to make it (a fine excuse to spend as many weeks in Rome as it takes to try them all, if you ask me), the rough guiding recipe principles are fairly consistent: a sautéed base of garlic, sometimes onion, celery and carrot too, and seasonings to which chickpeas, water or chickpea cooking broth, and pasta are added. Some are a more brothy like soup, some blend some chickpeas for a thicker base, some more herby with rosemary or sage, some are light and others are heavy on tomatoes. And then then came Victoria Granof’s version that took the internet by storm over the last couple years as word of it trickled out from her Chickpeas cookbook (which goes so far beyond hummus in ways that only a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef and famous food stylist would think of) in the lovely Short Stack single ingredient cookbook series.
Challah, that stretchy, rich, lightly sweet, braided glossy bread that’s brushed with egg and baked to an burnished burnt umber shine, like many great traditional foods, does not exist in a vacuum. While challah is a Jewish ceremonial bread, eating on Sabbath and major Jewish holidays, and is usually paerve (dairy product-free, so it’s Kosher regardless of what is being served), pulled away from the Judaic lens, it’s a close cousin to brioche and other enriched breads.
Good morning! In less than one month (28 days, not that I’m nervously counting or anything), my second cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Every Day, will be ready to leave warehouses and head to you or your favorite bookstore. A book tour will be quickly under way (I hope we get to meet!). And all of this means that today, I get to share two more awesome things: