Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

I am so unqualified to write this post. I have spent the past four years doing anything but cooking dinner. Don't get me wrong, I believe in cooking your own meals, I just didn't like doing it. I have a Pinterest board full of recipes, a shelf full of cookbooks and a wonderful momma full of good food ideas. But still, when it would come time to choose meals for the week, nothing sounded right. Too much work, too many weird ingredients, too much like spaghetti (which I love, but really shouldn't eat every night even though I would in a heartbeat).

And then.

I put this book on my Christmas list.

My mom picked it up and wrapped it and put it under the tree.

And it has changed my feelings about dinner. And kale. That is a serious accomplishment for a food that seriously tastes like fart. And no I'm not kidding, that's really what it tastes like when I put it in my mouth. Gross, I know. But I kept giving it a chance because it's a superfood, and finally found a good way to consume it in mass quantities. The answer was actually not a surprise - cook it and smother it with cheese!

For the past week and a half, almost every single breakfast, lunch, and dinner has come out of this treasure trove of not too heavy, not too light recipes. I'm no foodie, but the ingredient combinations are divine and the final product actually looks like the pictures in the book and it actually tastes as scrumptious as it looks. So far, we have made latkes (twice!), risotto stuffed pablanos (which were actually cubanelles because that's all that the grocery store had and thankfully wikipedia said they were an acceptable substitute in the U.S. for pablanos which I didn't find out until after desperately hoping that whatever this previously-unheard-of pepper that I bought wouldn't destroy the mouths of our dinner guests coming that evening), white chocolate pudding with raspberry curd, a wild-rice-baby-swiss-and-kale casserole, artichoke stuffed shells, cheddar cheese buns, and - for dinner tonight - sour cream pancakes with peaches. And on a whim, I also pulled up a recipe on the Smitten Kitchen website for whole wheat apple muffins that tasted exactly like you would imagine apple pie tastes like in muffin form. Everything was deee-lish.

Okay, so my latkes didn't turn out quite as perfectly round, nor my eggs quite as beautifully white as the picture below, but they certainly tasted as good as that picture looks.

The only slight downside I've found so far is that the recipes are not focused on clean eating and include a lot of dairy, but I've done several substitutions to try to reduce/eliminate the dairy or use less commercially processed ingredients and have not had any problems so it's not really a big issue. I won't complain, though, because all of a sudden I've gone from worst wifey ever to Martha freaking Stewart.

To Deb Perlman (who will probably never read this), THANK YOU. You are my Julia Child, and I am so grateful that you have shared your talent for creating dishes that are accessible for a "normal" person who is short on time and imagination when it comes to food.

(And just to note, I did not get asked to review this or get any other incentive for doing so; I just figured that, because it has been a part of my daily life since I got it, it would be worth sharing for everyone else who just wants an answer to "What am I going to make for dinner?")

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