Today my second cookbook, five years in the making, Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant & Unfussy New Favorites, at last leaves my noisy, messy kitchen and, perhaps, makes its way into yours. I am, as ever, a nervous wreck. I hope you love it. I hope ...
I hope you make the granola biscotti and have them on hand for breakfasts and snacks for weeks; I hope your weekend is filled with sticky toffee waffles and breakfast potato skins. I hope you make a big batch of the dressing and the crumbs tonight for the kale caesar right away and keep them in jars in your fridge so that you can make more every night, as we do for weeks on end throughout the year and when you need a break, move onto the sushi takeout cobb. I hope you’re as excited as I am that there’s a soup section this time (including a mini-matzo ball soup that’s completely vegetarian and a grandma-style chicken noodle soup that’s cozy and economical and the only way I’ve made it since). I hope you find that the artichoke galette tastes a whole lot like that retro parmesan artichoke dip and it’s not an accident; I hope you don’t roll your eyes when you read about Debröd (but I’ll understand if you do); I hope you see why I make that herby baked camembert for every party and probably always will. I hope you’re excited that most of the mains are vegetarian again (halloumi sheet pan roasts and puffy dinner pancakes and a wild mushroom shepherd’s pie) but the meat dishes are ones I couldn’t shut up about (meatballs marsala with buttered egg noodles, street cart-style chicken and rice and short rib carnitas). And I hope you know that one of the most bonkers parts of this book is the Party Cake Builder, 7 different one-bowl, dead-simple cakes and 4 easy frostings (think: The ‘I Want Chocolate Cake’ Cake and then some) you can mix and match and present as cupcakes or sheet cakes or layer cakes without a lot of planning because I know — believe me, I know — most birthday cakes are made with love, devotion, and good intentions, but also at the last minute. And I hope you’ll see why I think the cookie section has some of my favorite recipes yet, because we’re finally going to crack the code of those bakery cookies so they at last taste even better than they look.
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.