If you’ve a reader of my blog, you know I’m a fan of Smitten Kitchen. And if you’re not regular reader, welcome! But if you don’t have the faintest idea who or what Smitten Kitchen is, well, I’m not so sure we can be friends anymore. I reference Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman’s recipes, well, a lot. So you could imagine my excitement when I learned she was writing a cookbook. And going on a book tour. That had several stops in Brooklyn and Manhattan. And I was going to MEET HER.
Let’s see, how do I explain this? So let’s pretend you’re a huge of the Obamas, like my friend Caitlin. She voted,
encouraged forced others to vote, thinks their family is perfect, etc, etc. If she met one of the Obama’s, even just their dog, she’d probably pee her pants. That’s kind of my feelings about Smitten Kitchen. I couldn’t wait to get my copy of the book, stand in line for HOURS if need be (ended up being less than an hour; yay being on time!), to TALK TO HER for just a minute, and GET MY BOOK SIGNED. And Monday, at Fish’s Eddy in Manhattan, that moment happened.
Now I can be the most organized person in the world. When it comes to work, I have my to do lists, schedules, schedule of schedules to write, etc. For grad school if I had a presentation, I would have my PowerPoint slides all set, my talking points rehearsed. For interviews, I know the company I’m speaking to and have a number of intelligent questions written down, ready to discuss. But in the event of meeting my idol, a semi celebrity? Nothing. Zilch. Then it dawned on me, with about 5 people still ahead of me, “I have to say something to this woman!”. My mind was blank. I felt gushing that she was my cooking idol, an inspiration for my blog, the reason I write,
the reason I exist was going a bit too far. I did to work that in but we needed to start slowly. Car Bomb Cupcakes. The recipe (that my friend gave me) that introduced me to Smitten Kitchen.
Isn’t it funny how the internet connects us in a way that we actually feel like we know someone, without ever even meeting them? Sure I’ve seen photos of Deb Perelman before, so knew what she looked like. And I’m pretty familiar with her friendly yet punchy writing style, but I’ve never heard her speak. Yet somehow, walking up and introducing myself to her, I felt like I would have recognized her voice anywhere. It just fit. I told her I loved the cupcakes and tentatively admitted that I altered it a bit with a Brooklyn Chocolate Stout once rather than Guinness. She was excited and thought it was a great idea. I felt like my kindergarten teacher had just given me a gold star.
Yes, yes, you now know that I’m a huge fan of Smitten Kitchen. But isn’t this post about a cookbook? That’s what you want to learn about. Is it good? Should I buy it? Well let me just start with saying this is not just any cookbook, but something almost entirely brand new. Deb is cool (yes, I’ve decided we’re on a first name basis now). She’s not going to make her almost cultish fans go buy a fancy new book composed of everything you can find right on her already awesome blog. The book is comprised of about 85% BRAND NEW content. New recipes we’ve never seen before! And as if I even need to say it, they all look amazing. Filled with multiple pictures with almost every recipe, step by step idiot proof directions and manageable. Most recipes are ones you can get home after work and whip up rather than spending hours (days) preparing a gourmet feast. And of course each recipe has a story to introduce it, filled with the same humor and honestly that we’ve come to love from Deb’s blog.
I promised myself I was done with cookbooks. I have SO many. Some are great reference guides but others just sit on my many bookshelves, gathering dust–an impulse purchase because they were pretty. The the Eleven Madison Park cookbook. BEAUTIFUL photos and recipes, but I think I need multiple cooking degrees to even attempt one on my own. But when The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook came out, I knew I needed it. I knew it would be covered in oil and spices and tomato sauce (the signs of a well loved cookbook) all too soon.
I have yet to try a recipe, but I’m sure you’ll see the book referenced again and again very soon. For now, let me leave you with my perfect day menu, complements of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.
Morning Tea with a Basket of (I couldn’t decide)
Chocolate Chip Brioche Pretzels
Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones
Cheddar Swirl Breakfast Buns
Avocado Tartine with Cucumbers and Sesame Seeds
Broccoli Rab Panini with Mozzarella
Wild Rice Gratin with Kale, Caramelized Onions and Baby Swiss
Balsamic and Beer Braised Short Ribs with Parsnip Puree
Alex’s Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach
Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake
- The Little Kitchen That Could (nytimes.com)
- Brooklyn Locavore Approved: Benchmark (brooklynlocavore.wordpress.com)
- Letting the Pig Out of the Bag (brooklynlocavore.wordpress.com)