Fall Archive

Friday, October 11, 2013

purple plum torte

marion burros' famed plum torte

This may look like an ordinary piece of plum cake, but it is not. It is a famous plum cake, so renowned that I suspect half of you out there have already made it, and the rest of you will soon commit it to memory, because this cake is like that — it is worthwhile enough to become your late September/early October staple. First published in the New York Times by Marian Burros in 1983, the recipe had been given to her by Lois Levine, her co-author on the excellent Elegant but Easy), the recipe was published every year during plum season between then and 1995, when the editor of the food section told readers they were cutting them off, and it was time to cut it out, laminate it and put it on the refrigerator door because they were on their own if they lost it. As if anyone would dare.

plums, found, icebox, etc.
dark italian plums

Amanda Hesser, who compiled and tested 1,400 recipes dating back to the 1850s, when the New York Times began covering food, the James Beard award-winning 2010 Essential New York Times Cookbook, said that when she asked readers for recipe suggestions to include the in book, she received no less than 247 for this one, and suspects that is because it’s a nearly perfect recipe. There are only eight ingredients, seven of which you probably have around and, if you took my hint earlier this week that “buttery plums” were coming later this week, you might even have the eighth. There are only four brief, simple steps, and the batter seems so simple (“like pancake batter,” says Hesser) that you might have understandable doubts about the greatness of this cake.

the plums had been neglected in the fridge

Continued after the jump »

Monday, October 7, 2013

miso sweet potato and broccoli bowl

miso sweet potato and broccoli bowl

Here are the things I jotted down on my cooking wish-list whilst (!) I was in the UK: baked cauliflower cheese, a “proper” English Sunday roast (with mash fried potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, creamy horseradish sauce), the “full English” breakfast (authentic = every item must be fried, apparently!), cider vinegar + Maldon sea salt crisps with champagne, please, chunky olive oil and mushroom risotto, clotted cream and marmalade scones, Welsh cakes, chocolate-dipped digestives and fall apple-plum crisps thickly drizzled with fresh cream.

blurry, but you have to see this sweet potato monstrosity
so much broccoli, ready to roast

And then I came home and made this instead. I am sure you understand. Before one swan dives into a vat of thick cream and baked cheddar and passes out on a Yorkshire pudding pillow only to revive oneself with a deep inhale of horseradish-triple cream sauce, one must reset their system, so to speak. One must prepare. At the very least, one must dust off their gym ID. And so I put all of those notes in the “dead of winter, need comfort” files and returned to the land of fall, where the leaves are beginning to turn, fragrant unblemished apples hang from acres of trees, and Gwyneth Paltrow gently suggests that if you coat the sweet potatoes and broccoli that are on every market stand with a heavenly miso dressing, you will find some gorgeous dinnertime nirvana in a bowl.

sweet potatoes, ready to roast

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

baked pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage

baked bechamel pasta with broccoli rabe

Guys, I am in the weeds this month. After a summer of lazy, a summer of two vacations and a husband (eh, unpaid assistant) always around, making life fun and easy, a mess of busy (new job, work travel for him, book touring for me, a spate of solo parenting of each of us, new preschool, new babysitter, and very important birthday party allatonce) has descended on our recently idyllic lifestyle and, no, I am not handling it with the effortless grace you’ve come to expect from me. Quit laughing. Stop it. I could be effortless or graceful! I mean, there was that one time… Okay, fine. I’m handling it as predicted: with equal measures of bourbon and complaining on the internet. I never claimed to be a model human.

pasta + parmesan + sausage + garlic + rabe
still obsessed with this pasta shape

Once in a while, though, once in a sweet savior of a blue moon, I plan ahead and this time, it’s saving this page from flatlining, at least until I get my head back in the game. This dish is, in fact, one of my favorite new dinner recipes this year; we loved it so much that I found it agonizing to wait so long to tell you about it. But it didn’t feel like the right season to post it when I made it (late this past spring). I wanted to save it for what I considered a more chaotic and comfort-demanding time of year, like September (even if the 92 degree weather today mocks my best laid plans).

broccoli rabe

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

apple cider caramels + the book is here!

apple cider caramels

So, friends. Yesterday was the day, the day that that the 336-page, 2.8-pound bundle of joy that I began working on over three years ago tip-toed cautiously out of my tiny kitchen in hopes that you’ll make a home for it in yours.

You know, so, no big deal at all.

the smitten kitchen cookbook

What’s in the book? Seeing as I already showed you the cover, I thought I’d show you what the book looked like naked. (Gasp!) You see, I was pushing for a jacketless cover (those paper flaps, they irk me) and we compromised by having a different cover inside that would be a treat for people who get excited about things like that. Between the covers, there are 105 recipes (85 percent that have never been seen on this site), about two-thirds of them are savory (including a beloved recipe for featherlight Gnocchi in Tomato Broth, a Flat Roasted Chicken with Tiny Potatoes inspired by something we bought on a Paris street, and an absolutely hideous but boundlessly delicious Wild Rice Gratin with Kale and Caramelized Onions) and the rest are for sweets things (such as my son’s towering second birthday S’More Cake, and what I consider two of the ultimate Thanksgiving desserts, a Cheesecake-Marbled Pumpkin Gingersnap Tart and the Deepest Dish Apple Pie you’ve ever seen). There are over 300 photos in the book, lots of stories and also this one little other thing that I pressed for, a cookbook that stays open on your kitchen counter when you want it to. My goodness, this makes me happy, as happy as I hope those Artichoke Heart-Stuffed Shells will make you.

more from TSKC

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Friday, October 26, 2012

roasted pear and chocolate chunk scones

roasted pear and chocolate chunk scones

One of the saddest things you should probably know about me is that I’m a terrible host. I don’t mean to be; in my head, I’m the kind of person who would find out you were coming over, quickly gather some wildflowers from the side of the road, put them in an old Mason jar, pour-over some coffee from a local roaster, steam cream from an upstate dairy in a spouted glass and pull out something warm and enticing from the oven right as you arrived. In my head, I understand that none of these things are terribly difficult to pull off. In reality, were you to come over right now, you’d find a plate of pears (one with a toddler mouth-sized bite removed) and mostly-empty jar of something delicious, but alas, too delicious to have lasted until you arrived, on the table, a colossal explosion of wooden train tracks and fire station parts all over the carpet and a fireman in a time out (“What did he do?” I asked. “He did NOTHING!” I was informed. Well, then…). Also notable is the absent aroma of freshly-brewed coffee. Upon closer inspection, you might see that I don’t actually own any coffee-making apparatus. And not a single warm thing has left the oven this morning; we had stove-top oatmeal for breakfast again.

tippy pears
peeling the pears

Seriously, you’d revoke my book contact if you saw this place. I might have kept this to myself forever, but I have been found out. I have been found out because in the last month, more strangers have entered my apartment than have in the three-plus years we’ve lived here. They come under the auspices of writing articles about tiny kitchens or wanting to watch me make a recipe from the cookbook, but I know the truth: they want to see how we really live and when they find out, well, I hope they are relieved because are all of the fruits in your bowl intact? Are no firemen in unjust time outs? Good, you’re a step ahead.

pretty pears get a longer photo shoot

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