August, 2008 Archive

Thursday, August 21, 2008

dimply plum cake

dimply plum cake

All of a sudden, the summer is as awesome as any summer could possibly be–the days are no longer oppressively hot, swinging from a temperate high-seventies to mid-eighties and the humidity has dropped–and just like that, it is also almost over. Noooo!


I’m not handling this very well. I don’t want summer to be almost over. I don’t care that I love fall; I love even more not having to wear jackets and toe-covering shoes and socks. I hate socks most of all. Everyone knows that fall is abundantly short-lived and all of a sudden you’re catapulted into the longest, winter ever, and …

I’m not ready.


And yet, there’s something happening in our kitchen that subverts my insistence that summer must not end. I made a tiny braise (it was vegetables but still, a braise), I’ve started missing that butternut and chickpea salad we made almost weekly last winter and now this too: I put cinnamon in a coffee cake.

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

kefta and zucchini kebabs

kefta and zucchini skewers

One of my favorite things about cooking is being surprised. As much fun as it is chasing some childhood recipe or flavor ideal I caught a whiff of at some restaurant, somewhere, nothing matches the surprise of finding a recipe that you’re not entirely sure will be your thing, trying it anyway and then spending the rest of the night going “this is good,” “wow, this is so good,” and “wow, I had no idea it would be this good.”

zucchini coinsmarinating

Well, that part is kind of boring to anyone but the person experiencing the delicious surprise but still, this recipe is one of those. I have to admit that my fearful-of-combining-sweet-and-savory husband has poisoned me a little, and when I see warm spices like cinnamon and allspice in a savory recipe, I’m doubtful I will like it. Not that it won’t work, per se, just that it won’t work for me. Even though a good part of the world adds these spices to their savory dishes and surely they can’t all be wrong.

mm, raw meatskewers

But these meatball skewers are awesome. Awe-some. And then some. I expect that some astute readers might have noticed that I rarely feature meat recipes; I’m not enthralled enough with it that I am easily impressed into trying new recipes. But when I am, well, hot damn. I didn’t think I could even like a meat anything this much, nonetheless a meatball. They’re spicy and juicy and delicious charred at the edges, and the minty yogurt sauce is the perfect contrast for the kefta as well as the zucchini skewers and I want more right now.

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, August 17, 2008

tell me more, tell me more

rainbow chard

Be glad you’re not in the room with me these days, because I’ve been singing, or “wailing” as Alex likes to call it, “getting to knooooooow yoooooou” for days. Except that’s the only line I know, and as usual, it has not stopped me from restarting the tune every 20 seconds or so. Oh, and I don’t even know what “pitch” is or how to approximate attaining it. Really, I’m a delight.

tiny tomatoes

Nevertheless, as painful as it might be to hear about in person, I really do want to get to know you better and I’ve finally buckled down and begged Alex (see how I did that there?) to put together a questionnaire-type thing that will help me towards that goal. Despite the fact that you’ve given this site such a fun and enthusiastic comment section, I suspect that only about 5 to 10 percent of you have ever chimed in, which is totally fine but means that the rest of you are something of a mystery to me.

stone fruit heaven

For example, do you like pie after a movie or are you completely tired of me overusing this True Romance reference? Do you like your pancakes with butter and jam or maple syrup? How many days a week do you eat PB&J for lunch? Is four too many? Do you think that I could shatter wine glasses with my high notes?

donut peaches and plums

Okay, fine, I don’t really get into any of those questions, mostly I just want to know a little bit more about who you are, where you’re from and how you feel about cooking, and the answers are just for me, me me–not some marketing research group or an ad network–and to satisfy my curiousity, so I hope you’ll consider taking a few minutes to answer 15 easy questions. In fact, I’ll even leave it open for a whole week, so you know, you’ll have no excuse not to regale me with your answers.

[The Smitten Kitchen Getting to Knooow Yooou Poll]

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, August 14, 2008

slow-roasted tomatoes

slow-roasted tomatoes

I am sometimes certain that I wait all year for tomato season, you know, the way a more normal person might be excited for the Giants to get back to the field or eagerly anticipate whatever sleek and minimal trinket Apple has coming out this fall. But for me, it’s just tomatoes. I eat them on eggs, in sandwiches, cooked and raw in every possible format from paste to pasta to chili and seriously, don’t even try to bring me a cream cheese-schmeared bagel without a thin slice of tomato on it. Alex did once and let’s just say, it didn’t go over well. Poor Alex.

bagel heaven

I love tomatoes so much that I even occasionally take part in the blasphemy that is “sun-dried tomatoes,” most of which are about as dried out in the sun as I am this week–unfortunately not the case for either of us. But lets talk about what sun-dried tomatoes aspired to be before their dreams were co-opted by food packagers and evil-minded chemists: tomatoes roasted slowly at a low temperature.

real cherry tomatoes

Continued after the jump »

Monday, August 11, 2008

chocolate peanut butter cake

chocolate peanut butter draping

Alex’s birthday was this past weekend and in case you are new here, let me give you a loose outline of a Standard Dessert Alex Politely Requests: Chocolate. Chocolate with chocolate. Chocolate with caramel. Chocolate with toffee. Chocolate with coffee. Chocolate with hazelnut cream. Chocolate with Oreos. Chocolate cheesecake with brownie chunks. Chocolate icebox cake. Chocolate with raspberries. Chocolate with white chocolate. Chocolate with dulce de leche. Chocolate with banana cake.

What, can you sense a theme or something?

cake batter

This year we added one more to the chocolate cake pile: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. Well, actually, the technical title of the cake is Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze, though it is actually a Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze, but all you really need to know is that if you know a chocolate-and-peanut-butter lover, you must make this cake.

peanut butter cream cheese frosting

Because did I mention the chocolate cake? With the chocolate-peanut butter ganache (I bet you didn’t even know such a thing existed, I sure didn’t and my life may never be the same again. I wish I could quit it.) And the cream cheese peanut butter frosting and filling? Actually, let us pause on that last part. If you’re anything like me, the thought of cream cheese and peanut butter intentionally mixed probably gives you a bit of pause. I don’t know cheese + sweetened peanuts? That can’t be right, I thought. Well, I was wrong. They are perfect together, with the tangy/saltiness of the cream cheese helping the peanut butter hit all the right notes.

peanut butter filling

Continued after the jump »