Recipes

apple dumplings

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, my first cookbook, turns 10 years old in a few weeks, and inside it is what I call one of the best summer desserts I’ve ever made, peach dumplings with bourbon hard sauce. These were a whim that occured to me one morning before dawn when my then-baby (and, as of 11 days ago, a Bar Mitzvah) woke up early and lacked interest in going back to sleep and my mind drifted, as it does, to things I’d like to cook.

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Recipes

turkey pesto meatballs and orecchiette

As long as we are a full six days before fall begins, I am allowed to sneak in one more zucchini recipe. It would be right there in my contract, had I one, above the expectation of ironed shoelaces and below that of a daily slice of chocolate biscuit cake. I’d actually intended this recipe for July (and the eggplant involtini for August). But July was so hot, and August wasn’t much better; I couldn’t bring myself to publish recipes that require oven time, so I waited for a better moment to arrive. Our patience has been rewarded; this brothy, late summer-y bowl of pasta and meatballs is absolutely perfect for right now, with the kind of sunny warm days that require a morning and evening cardigan — i.e. the very best weather on this earth, full stop.

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Recipes

eggplant involtini

It makes no sense at all, but for most of this past winter, I craved eggplant parmesan. I tried to tell myself that we were half a year to eggplant season and would I prefer some… cabbage or turnip parmesan instead? (I would not.) I made it a few times. I ordered it in a few others. I finally got it out of my system and then in the past month I’ve seen Reel after TikTok for eggplant involtini and the magical combination of silky eggplant, tomato sauce, and sharp, melty cheese’s hold over me has returned. At least this time my craving has seasonal compliance.

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Recipes

corn butter farro

A logical progression after making zucchini butter spaghetti a few times — provided you’re a person who likes zucchini, butter, and spaghetti, or what happens when the first two melt silkily against the third — is to ask yourself, what can I butter next? What vegetable wants to be cooked down until it’s tender, concentrated, and almost buttery and then fused with actual butter to make something better than both things? My friend Alissa and I debated this a couple months ago, cycling through carrots, peas, and tomatoes* before landing on corn. Except it was more like oh my god: CORN!

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Recipes

grilled nectarines with gorgonzola and hazelnuts

Listen, I don’t make the rules. These things aren’t rational. But at some point over our vacation in Scotland — a time when we mostly consumed fish and chips, more chips, steak pie, also with chips, a detail that I’m sure is unrelated — I began intensely craving the combination of peaches and blue cheese even though I can’t think of a time when they’ve crossed paths in my kitchen. Once we got home, I beelined for Salad Freak by Jess Damuck [Amazon, Bookshop, More Indies], a cookbook that came out this spring, because I had a hunch she’d put the idea in my head and sure enough, she had a combination of stone fruit and blue cheese waiting to fulfill my wayward vacation craving.

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Recipes

buttered noodles for frances

For the last four weeks my son, the child who actually likes and encourages my cooking, has been at sleepaway camp, leaving us home alone with the one I affectionately call Buttered Noodles for Frances. Have you read the book? [Amazon, Bookshop, more indies] In it, a very picky badger named Frances doesn’t want to eat any of the food her mother makes, she only wants bread and jam. Her parents decide to give her exactly what she wants while the rest of the family eats poached eggs, green beans, and breaded veal cutlets. It does the trick — she tires of it and begins to embrace what the rest of the family is eating. Well la-de-da, good for them. Our badger is cut from more stubborn cloth. After the first week of trying to serve regular meals — food with variety and interest, the kind of stuff you might find on any page of the site but this one — I gave up and made buttered noodles every night. I want you to know that on what might be the sixth or sixteenth day, I’ve stopped counting, she has yet to request anything else.
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Recipes

plum and cream scone cobbler

Were you new to cooking or eating and came to Smitten Kitchen for a reasonable understanding of what a cobbler is and is not, well, you would find neither reason nor understanding — about cobblers or, let’s be realistic, many other things. There were, before today, four cobbler recipes in the archives and all of them represent different interpretations of what Wikipedia calls “a dessert consisting of a fruit filling poured into a large baking dish and covered with a batter, biscuit, or dumpling before being baked.” Is this a good time to mention that Smitten Kitchen Keepers, which will be out in a mere but-who’s-counting 129 days, has two additional cobbler recipes in it, one I make for breakfast and a savory one for an incredible summer dinner?

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Recipes

roasted tomatoes with white beans

Is July the most lethargic cooking month? I don’t mean this in a bad way. I know in our productivity-fixated culture (“so busy, crazy busy”) we balk at praising apathy but what if we leaned into it instead? It’s hot. The days are long. If midsummer demands some laziness, some loosened grip on to-do lists, if de-participation beckons and we can pull it off, I’d like to try it. I could even schedule it one day next week if I move some things around.

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Recipes

summer ricotta with grilled vegetables

Letter of recommendation: Make ricotta this summer. I was originally going to write “Ditch the burrata and make some ricotta this summer,” but neither wish to besmirch burrata nor do I plan to go tomato season without it. Should a burrata tree (it grows on trees, or must based on the frequency in which it appears) spontaneously appear on my terrace, I will be the happiest and most popular girl in all of the Lower East Side this summer. But since like most of us, I’m still buying it at stores where it’s quite expensive, spoils quickly, and is only sometimes spectacular, I’m here to make the argument that homemade ricotta is not only rich, delicious, and a cinch to make, but that in almost all of the places we’re serving burrata, ricotta* would be deliciously welcome too.

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Recipes

strawberry brita cake

I first read about brita, pardon me, Brita-Kakku, cakes — described as a typical Finnish summer cake with a based of a butter cake with a meringue baked onto it, whipped cream, and fresh berries — a few years ago and was instantly mesmerized by not just by the delicious promise of these ingredients but because, forgive me, the mess of it. In image search after image search, I drooled over charmingly lopsided cakes with raw edges, whipped cream with no regard for boundaries, meringues that wobbled and crumbled as they pleased, berries tumbling free, and I wanted it. I realize that there are more practical ways to approach it, such as a single-layer cake, but I didn’t want practical, I wanted berry cake chaos.

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