July, 2007 Archive

Monday, July 16, 2007

double chocolate layer cake

double chocolate layer cake

Last week, when it was 95 hateful, humid degrees outside and the 13-block walk home had entirely sucked what traces of motivation remained out of me, I had what I still consider The Best Dinner Idea Ever: chocolate cake with chocolate icing and watermelon.

I’ll give you a moment to absorb my utter genius.

double chocolate layer cake

Let’s just be honest here: when you were of single-digit age and night after night your dinner plate was filled with, ecch, vegetables and protein and your glass with what seemed like a gallon of milk, did you not swear that one day, no, One Day With the Capital Letters and the Chest-Thumping Conviction of Grownups that you would eat cake and watermelon for dinner and Nobody would be able to stop you.

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

red bean chili

red bean chili

Last week someone said to me, “You know, my tastes are more Julia Child but my lifestyle is more 30 Minute Meals,” and I thought–really quite smugly, I’m embarrassed to say–”I’m so glad I have all this free time.”

This week I am more certain than ever of the crack I was smoking. Seriously, does anyone else have such denial over what their schedules are and are not? Let me tell you what actually happens in the Smitten Kitchen most nights of the week: My husband, being management and all (I tease), leaves work at 5 p.m. but first asks me if we need anything from the store. I IM him some goofy aspirational shopping list in segments (“this is for dinner,” “this for a side dish,” “and these are for the frozen yogurt I am making for dessert,” “and this is so I can get a head-start on the cake I am baking this weekend!”) and then actually end up leaving the office at 6:30 p.m., running two errands, coming home dead exhausted and always a bit winded from four flights of stairs to a neat cluster of grocery bags on the kitchen floor and say meekly “Order sushi?” Because if there is anything I am not going to be starting at 8 p.m. on a Tuesday night, it’s dinner. And a side dish. And frozen yogurt. And cake.

Continued after the jump »

Monday, July 9, 2007

ratatouille’s ratatouille

ratatouille's ratatouille

Tell me I’m not alone in this: You saw Ratatouille, fell in love with Remy (though you still jumped a foot in the air when you saw a significantly less-charming rodent scamper across your path on the way home) and found yourself with a pressing craving, not for the heavy and too-often soggy traditional Provençal ratatouille, but that kaleidoscope of spiraled colors they served to the haughty and (spoiler!) soon-humbled restaurant critic.

I can’t believe how well this worked out. I also can’t believe I cooked a cartoon dish created by an imaginary rat. But I can believe I’ll be making this again tomorrow, because it’s delicious, seasonal, and an incredible cinch to make.

uncooked

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, July 8, 2007

quick potato pierogi

quick potato pierogi

Alright, although I don’t know who, someone has been holding out on me because potato pierogi are so easy to make, I feel that I should have been privy to this information earlier than Friday night.

alex's jobcubes of boiled potato

Perhaps I should backtrack and give you some good explanation for eating Eastern European keep-you-padded-over-the-long-winter-months fare in the stickiest (or so I hope) part of the summer, but I don’t really have one–they just called to me. Plus, a recipe that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle last month suggested that the home cook use wonton wrappers instead of making dough. I had initially poo-pooed this idea–how inauthentic! This will not do!–until my trusted Russian friend, Olga informed me that at home her family made dumplings with wonton wrappers all the time. And I realized that using such a thin, light casing might make the difference between potato pierogis seemed to me the quintessential biting-cold winter dish and something you might eat with a light, crunchy slaw for a summer dinner.

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, July 5, 2007

rosanne cash’s potato salad

weathered barn country

Is there anything bursting with more flag-draped-weathered-barn American nostalgia than potato salad? How about a recipe from Rosanne Cash, daughter of the late Johnny Cash? It really adds to the experience if you sing “Walk the Line” off-key in the kitchen while your husband grimaces in the next room as your chop your eggs and pickles. And it doesn’t get any better than bringing it in a big old bucket to a 4th of July barbeque.

red potatoes

I know I told you just two weeks ago what our favorite potato salad was but as it turns out, I’ve got room in my allegiances for another. Though this may be the classic potato salad most people grew up with, I had never tried it before yesterday, driven away by the mysterious glop of it all. But if you make it yourself, there’s no smoke-and-mirrors to it, just everything but the kitchen sink: big chunks of red skinned potatoes, cubes of hard-boiled eggs, slivered celery, diced onion, a few pinches of free dill and the dreamy dressing trifecta, vinegar, mayo and mustard.

Continued after the jump »


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