rum campari punch

If I were to sum up this year (which I won’t because I’m long-winded enough when describing a single day, it’s terrifying to consider what I could do with 365 of them), after I got past all of the good stuff — and really, it’s been a spectacular year, what with two book tours and several vacations and lots of awesome family time and dinner parties and and and… see, there I go! — I’d admit that at least from the vantage point of trying to relocate recipe ideas from my head to the kitchen to this computer and then onto yours, I’ve somewhat flopped and I have the photo IOUs to prove it. Would you like a tour?

blistered green beans

For example, I’ve been meaning to tell you about Blistered Green Beans ever since my cookbook went to print and I realized I’d completely forgot to include this as a recipe. It was meant to go as a quick-side to the flat roasted chicken. I’m sorry.

orange segments

I’ve tried more times that I’d like to admit to insert gorgeous orange segments into baked goods, only to repeatedly conclude that I just don’t like baked orange segments.

one of five egg sandwiches

I created five egg sandwich recipes for a magazine that never ran in 2012, and I’ve been meaning to tell you about them here instead. Uh, maybe in 2014?

more summer squash potato tortes

I’ve been meaning to update the Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte with fresh photos forever, because we make it all summer.

cherry chocolate chunk yogurt scones

I owe you some whole-wheat yogurt cherry and chocolate chunk (fine, I’ll say it: Cherry Garcia) scones.

pretzel-crusted, pickled-brined nuggets

It’s probably best that we never talked about that time I made pickle-brined and pretzel-crusted chicken tenders. (P.S. Not sorry.)

parsnip soup + brussels/apple/bacon hash

Had I not used the Grossest Store-bought Vegetable Stock Ever, that which imparts a orange hue to everything, we would have talked about this Parsnip Soup with a dreamy Brussels-Apple-Bacon Hash months ago. Now, sweet carroty baby food is all I can remember about it.

lazy meatballs

I’d wanted to tell you about my Lazy Meatballs, but I accidentally made them even lazier by forgetting the egg. I’m still on the fence as to whether this was a bad thing.

pear brown butter gf clafoutis

I tried and tried to make a Pear Brown Butter Gluten-Free Clafoutis, but never got it the way I wanted it.

big apple pancake

I’ve been trying to get the Big Apple Puffy Pancake the way I want it for several apple seasons now, but something is never quite right.

two perfect manhattans

I can’t believe we’ve never discussed my favorite fall-winter drink, The Perfect Manhattan.

kale pesto, butternut squash

I made a Butternut Squash and Kale Pesto Pizza. It was kinda weird.

frico potatoes, for the best

Have you ever had frico potatoes? Well, if you have, you’ll know that this photo — with the overhead light making a glistening horror of things — is a blessing in disguise, as it will keep people from knowing how dangerously delicious it is.

roasting vegetables, smitten kitchen-style

I’ve been meaning to do a separate post on my favorite vegetable roasting method.

that time i made strawberry jam

I still get sad when I remember the acres of perfect tiny strawberries my mother and I picked in June so I could make jam… that never set. (Though my “strawberries in syrup,” as we call it instead, is so dreamy on cheese blintzes, I’ve almost forgiven it.)

chocolate, peanut butter, few etceteras

You’re going to be mad when you find out I made this cake and kept it from you. I promise to make it right when we’re all back to eating sugar and carbs again in February, okay?

watermelon marble

I realized I’m the kind of mother who does things like this for lunch boxes. This probably only surprised me.

broccoli slaw

We still make and eat a lot of Broccoli Slaw.

wheels and broccoli and cheese

I created a quick stovetop pasta-cheese-and-vegetables for a magazine. Since I wasn’t enlisted to photograph it, I tested it with whatever I had around. Wheels and cheese may be where it’s at, people.

towering peach muffins, try again

I owe you some Towering Peach Muffins, but first I owe them to myself because in six tries this summer, I never got them right.

concord grape lemonade
whole wheat grissini

I owe you some Concord Grape Lemonade, Whole Wheat Grissini and Kale-Pecorino Popcorn from when it was our week to bring snacks to school.

eggplant parmesan tian

I owe you an Eggplant Parmesan Tian,

whole-grain parker house rolls

some multi-grain Parker House Rolls,

goat cheese souffle

a goat cheese souffle,

mediocre pecan-pumpkin rugelach

pecan-pumpkin rugelach,

an under-charred rhubarb meringue tart

and a recipe for that rhubarb-meringue tart that fell on the floor before we could eat it.

fiddling around

And since we are being honest, sometimes I thought about writing another cookbook, but then pretty much without fail, I came back to my senses.


what you'll need, more or less
"one sour"...

I was kind of bummed when I realized there were so many things we didn’t get to this year, and decided to make the last item on my December Wish List — a holiday rum punch — happen, no matter what. Trust me, this was no hardship to undertake.

simple syrup
plus some fizzy

Can we talk about rum punch for a minute? If you are like me, you probably just assumed that rum punch = fruit juice + rum. You may have not have known that Bajan (Barbadian) Rum Punch and Planter’s Punch, the two best-known rum punches, date back over a century, and even have their own rhyme [“One of Sour, Two of Sweet, Three of Strong, Four of Weak.”], I like to imagine so that no matter how many you’ve had, you won’t forget how to make more. However, how you define these elements needs only to be limited by your imagination. While the “sour” element is usually lime juice, it may also be lemon or another citrus juice, and I imagine that both pomegranate and cranberry juices would mix in well. The “sweet” part is usually simple syrup, a 1:1 mixture of sugar and water, heated until it dissolves and cooled. The strong should be good island rum, preferably dark, and the “weak” can be water or club soda, sometimes it’s ice and sometimes it’s more juice, like pineapple. (In my opinion, rum punch made with pineapple juice is always 200 percent better than those made without it.) Rum punch can either be mixed in a shaker with ice, a dash or two of Agnostura bitters and a pinch of nutmeg (though I’ve seen versions with everything from cayenne to grenadine and vermouth in them), or served in a big punch bowl, with a ladle.

you can make dramatic ice with anything
rum punch, with campari

While I was bent on coming up with my own spin on rum punch for you, Tasting Table rendered this completely unnecessary last week, sharing a recipe from Brad Farran, formerly of Brooklyn’s Clover Club and now head bartender at Garland in Raleigh, NC with the curious addition of the bitter, red and citrus-y aperatif known as Campari (the primary ingredient in Negronis) and we just had to make it. This is not your ordinary rum punch, the intensity of the Campari is surprising at first but quickly becomes the best part of it and I can’t think of a better excuse to bring down the vintage punch bowl down from the top shelf in your parent’s house (as I did last night, though sadly after I’d already taken these photos). I think punch is overdue for a comeback: it’s pretty, it doesn’t demand that every single ingredient is top shelf, it’s forgiving of any adjustments you need to make and it serves a crowd. And, if you want to get a head start and make it today, you’ll find that it gets (admirably) even mellower and more harmonious with age, even if you (understandably) do not intend to.

stashed away for the party

One year ago: Fromage Fort
Two years ago: Scallion Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze
Three years ago: Milk Punch
Four years ago: Creamed Mushrooms on Butter-Chive Toast, How to Host Brunch (And Still Sleep In!), Spinach and Cheese Strata (I’m making this on New Years Day again!), Parmesan Cream Crackers, Walnut Pesto and Spicy Caramel Popcorn
Five years ago: Sugar-and-Spice Candied Nuts
Six years ago: Caramel Cake
Seven years ago: Coq au Vin

Rum Campari Punch
Adapted from Brendan McHale, Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Don’t fret if you don’t have a punch bowl. Any big bowl + soup ladle + small cups will do. Icing down the punch bowl or chilling it before you use it will help keep the drinks cooler longer. You can make a dramatic ice boulder for the center by freezing a Tupperware-like container full of water the night before (ever the New Yorkers, we used a take-out container; Brad Farran of Garland in Raleigh, NC smartly noted to TT that the lid will keep you from spilling water as you move it into the freezer, I should have listened). Finally, one of the best things about punch is that it ages well; a day or two later, the flavors are more mellow and harmonious. We made this over the weekend (FOR PRACTICE, okay?) and can’t wait to bring it to the New Years party, you know, all two hours that we are there before going home to put this little dude to bed. Just put the fizzy stuff in when you’re ready to serve it so it doesn’t get flat.

The adjusted recipe below is a little sweeter than the original and uses slightly less rum, as 3 3/4 cups are called for but that would require that you had a full bottle plus 1/2 cup from another; it was plenty strong even with the missing rum. Cruzan Black Strap Rum was recommended, but we were unable to find it, a bummer as it is dark black in color and would have made this all the more stunning. [Updated to note: Based on some of your responses, Cruzan Black Strap Rum was not the dream many of us hoped it would be here — many found it to yield a dark/less pretty/murky color punch with a strong molasses flavor. So, if this sounds appealing, definitely seek out this rum; if not, just use a regular dark rum, as we did. Hope that helps.]

Yield: Just shy of 4 quarts; you can ladle 30 1/2-cup servings from it

1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups cold water
1 1/4 cups lime juice
3 3/4 cups pineapple juice
1 3/4 cups Campari (or less, to taste)
1 750 ml (about 3 1/4 cups) bottle dark rum
1 750 ml (about 3 1/4 cups) bottle sparkling wine

1 giant ice cube
1 orange, sliced thin
1 lime, sliced thin
or thick peels of zest from 1 lime and 1 orange

Heat the sugar with 1/4 cup cold water until it comes to a boil and sugar dissolves. Pour in remaining cold water; let cool before using. This is your simple syrup.

Mix cooled simple syrup with lime juice, pineapple juice, Campari and rum in a chilled bowl, or chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

To serve: Add sparkling wine, a large ice cube and citrus garnishes. Serve with a ladle into small cups.

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204 comments on rum campari punch

  1. Is it me, or can you not say “rum punch” without thinking of Mary Poppins taking her medicine? “Rum punch. Hiccup!” Looking forward to that egg sandwich. It looks like all sorts of delicious and Middle Easterny.

  2. Well, if these are the recipes that didn’t quite make it into 2013, I’m super excited to see what 2014 has in store for us here! Happy new year Deb, it was great to see you talk in London earlier this year. Thank you for all the deliciousness!

  3. Your blog and book enriched my kitchen and my family’s table in so many ways this past year. In fact, I just made the Robert Linxe truffle recipe last night! Can’t wait to see what you cook up in 2014.

  4. Wow, those are some gems! Love the Cherry Garcia scones and that cake! And Towering Peach Muffins sound just heavenly. P.S. I like your stovetop pasta photo better than the one in the magazine. Who can resist wheels + cheese? Happy New Year, Deb!

  5. Oh the broccoli slaw! I never get tired of it and it is a staple. I love to see all the beautiful things that you have made. My favorite this year has been the potato and broccoli fritata. I made it again last night. And all the fritter recipes. Please share the perfect Manhattan – it is a favorite in our house. Thank you for everything you do to make me look like a decent cook :) you are a highlight of the internet.

  6. Thanks for sharing your almost’s and maybe’s from 2013! I am always so impressed when I see a blogger take pics of, save said pics of, and then post the pics of recipes that didn’t quite make it. If something of mine doesn’t make it, I delete those images as fast as I can, as a way to destroy the evidence of all the sugar, butter, and time I just wasted :) I love that you save and share them. Makes me embrace my fails a little better :)

    And Campari. Me, poolside, Bellagio in Vegas, before I had my daughter, so much campari in a drink that looks like this. God it was so good :) Thanks for sharing!

  7. Wow, even your mistakes are impressive! I think I’m most sad about the Pear Brown Butter Gluten-Free Clafoutis (which looks amazing in the photo, anyway) but the Rum Campari Punch recipe kind of makes up for it!

  8. Erica

    Wow, you’re right, I DO feel bitter about the with-holding of that cheesecake, but that might be because your bourbon pumpkin cheesecake was such a hit at Thanksgiving that I have been craving both cheesecake and its making ever since.

    Furthermore, I’m fixing to make the roasted chicken from the cookbook for dinner this very day. Thanks for explaining about the beans, I did wonder for a moment while reading the recipe. I’m still not happy with how I do green beans, so that recipe will be most welcome when you post it.

    Thanks for all you do for us, Deb. you really help keep my menus fresh and my cooking moving forward.

  9. Wow, just wow. Thank you so much for all the recipes and photos and even for the things you didn’t share, like the… what is a watermelon marble exactly? :)
    I hope for exactly two words on this wonderful blog in 2014: applebutter cake.

  10. Grace

    My favorite ice mold for punch? My bundt cake pan. I’ll freeze one layer with some fruit, and once that’s set top it off. Looks ever so elegant in my punch bowl. And now I’m planning to fill the bowl up with this punch soon!

  11. Gale

    Is it terrible of me to admit that I breathed a small sigh of relief in reading about this year’s flops? While I love that all of your recipes are basically genius and fool-proof, I am glad to know that Midas you are not. Helps me to level with my own culinary shortcomings knowing that disaster strikes the Smitten Kitchen from time to time as well. Wishing you a very happy New Year!

  12. Jill W

    Planning to make your pan roasted chicken recipe tonight – it’s become our go-to roasted chicken dish – usually makes the rotation 2-3x/mo (thank you!). Would love to make those beans to go with it…too cruel that you didn’t include the recipe! (Beans are a few of the only veggies my 4yo twins will eat without a lot of begging and cajoling!) Happy New Year, Deb!

  13. Jillian L

    This is such a fun post! It’s great to see all the near-misses :) And looking forward to the recipes in 2014! I absolutely love campari, so I think this will be my new year’s punch (and I have a punch bowl lurking somewhere in my kitchen that I picked up from a second-hand store years ago). Cheers!

  14. I love your sense of humor – thanks for sharing even about the recipes that didn’t turn out so great. It’s a good reminder and reassurance that we all have our cooking and baking mishaps. And yes…I definitely want to know about that cake recipe (is it a cheesecake?)

  15. eclecticdeb

    Deb — you have inspired me to figure out how to capture, store, and document my cooking successes…AND failures. So often I make something that rocks, but have NO IDEA how to recreate. (Like the Seared Scallops over Wilted Kale with Mushrooms and Bacon; or the Crab Cakes made from leftover crab feed pickings, and put together with things found in the fridge). And then there are the dishes that are “good”, but just miss the mark — like a chicken “stew” of sorts, or the pasta dish with spinach and cream sauce. Thank you for a wonderful 2013 — looking forward to 2014!

  16. Reneé

    I’m with Grace in Comment 21 – Bundt makes so pretty of a citrus-filled ice ring! Also, just wanted to say happy new year, and THANK YOU for everything you do! I gifted your cookbook to my mom for Christmas, and she was so stoked (after basically reading my copy cover to cover when she visited)!

  17. Oh please share some of that delicious food from your kitchen!

    While some of them didn’t turn out quite right; I think 2014 is perfect time to work on them. You can never have too many kitchen experiments in my book especially if they involve cheese or sugar.

    THANK YOU! for not forgetting about us even with your book success. We still love your blog.

  18. LexiLopes

    Thank you for sharing these ‘outtakes’. I look forward to more great recipes and stories in 2014. Your cookbook is wonderful Deb – so great in fact that I gave three away as holiday presents this season. Wishing you all the best and continued success!

  19. Susan

    Happy New Year Deb and Family! I have to tell you I have made the Sugar and Spice Nuts every year since you posted it 5 years ago. They are a huge hit with my family and friends at work. The only change I make is to put in 1 tsp of cayenne pepper, we like them hot! You are awesome, thank you for a great year!

  20. Wendy

    Can’t wait to see the Cherry Garcia scone recipe, which looks perfect for Valentine’s Day, as well as your favorite way to roast veggies.

  21. Believe it or not, but I’ve also once had a meringued tart fall on the flour before we could eat it. It was three New Years’ Eves ago to be exact. As if I could EVER forget that moment. Can you believe I’m still dating the guy who kindly offered to carry the tart for me and and then let it slip? I sometimes can’t.

    And you absolutely should write another cookbook! Please, please do!

  22. Aleisa

    Yes, do tell us about the egg sandwiches! We’ve been cooking from your cookbook this year, and enjoying it very much. Happy new year!

  23. Kristen

    Strawberry jam never jells for me either. Which doesn’t stop me from making it every year, because soupy strawberry jam is still delicious. Plus, every other berry jam is a breeze. I can’t wait to see the recipes 2014 brings.

  24. Christa

    I can’t even tell you how much I love this post! Makes me feel better about all the stuff I mean to get to and don’t, or do and don’t do quite right. It’s so refreshing to see the human behind the blog. Happy New Year!

  25. KJ

    Sense? Forget about sense. Another cookbook would be great. I love your cookbook. Your blog is my favorite food blog.

    Have a joyful New Year Deb. I will be happy with whatever you publish wherever you publish it. Hopefully those egg sandwiches will be on the list before summer.

  26. Fe

    Move away from your senses and bring us a second Book! Cooking from your book and blog is always enjoyable, even when it goes wrong, which it rarely does.

  27. Jane

    Ah Deb, nice to know that things don’t always go to plan for you :) The missed recipes look amazing, please post asap! Happy New Year, thank you for making me a better cook. I’ve made pastry so much this year, all on your encouragement and it’s worked! Bonus!

  28. Andrea

    To Deb and all Perfect Manhattan lovers: Since Deb did not share her recipe for the aforementioned cocktail, please come to my house for a “compare and contrast” evening.
    To Deb, thank you for joining us in all our kitchens and Happy New Year!

  29. That egg strata has made an appearance at Christmas the last three years, this year as the main course. Thank you for such a reliable, flexible, and delicious recipe! Happy New Year!

  30. AKM

    Happy New Year, Deb! Lots to process in the list of items above, but right away I realized that I have to tell you of one solution to strawberry jam not setting that works for me. Now, while you can get them, freeze some cranberries. You know how well they set up when you make cranberry sauce? Use this to your advantage when you are making strawberry jam in June. I personally love it, and an added bonus is that it keeps the most beautiful read color. The taste is a wonderful blend–strawberry with just a hint of tartness. Yum!

    1. deb

      Thank you — I had expected some complaints about the length of this post, not universal niceness. I’m glad that I got to share these outtakes; I needed to “clear the queue” before the end of the year so we can move onto fresh new things in the fresh new year. [More on this next time.] I’ll get back to some of them in time, but I realize now that it’s not that I didn’t have enough “time” to get them right, I just didn’t feel strongly enough about them that when they came out underwhelming to me that I felt the need to fight to get them right. Maybe next year. :)

      AKM — Thanks, great tip. That very week, the NYTimes published a recipe from Cathy Barrow, I think, which suggested using a kiwi for added pectin (for the same reason). I’ve seen others which call for apple jelly as well, but cranberries would definitely keep the color the brightest. Nevertheless, I don’t know if I’ll be doing it again any time soon; it’s not like we live that close to fields or anything where we would naturally have too many. I don’t have patience for all that sterilizing and rim-wiping and other madness. Then again, what I really wanted out of it was a strawberry jam that tasted purely of plump strawberries (I kept most whole, only halved larger ones) and cane sugar and maybe a single lemon peel and nothing else, this was my dream of a strawberry jam, and it really did work in flavor so… okay, maybe one more time next year. Thanks again.

      Susan — Aw, thank you. And you sound exactly like the inside of my head. Honestly, the stressful part of writing the book was trying to divide my time between here and there, as both alone are full-time jobs (also: I had a newborn, DETAILS) and no matter how overjoyed I am with the success you have all made the book, I’m not interested in being so overcommitted again anytime soon.

      Andrea — Don’t tempt us!

  31. Susan

    Happy New Year, Deb. What a fun post; hearing about the outtakes. I knew you must have them with all the cooking you do. I’d say go ahead and write another cookbook, but that’d be like be abandoned in the kitchen with no food. I’d miss you on this site because of it and, well, I just couldn’t bear going through that again! Ehem, even for a book. Unless it pays well, then, okay, I’ll tough it out. Sheesh, learn to multitask better, wouldja? Kidding. I love you just the way you are!

  32. Frog lol

    I looooove Campari with a passion!! And made for Christmas a Campari/pomegranate juice mix with a bottle of prosecco: yummo and a half!

  33. em

    I LOVE this post. accomplishing everything is totally overrated compared to the honesty of almosts and could have beens. thank you, and here’s to a great 2014!

  34. Kimberly

    Please share your vegetable roasting technique! I would love to see how you get that nice bronzing on the cauliflower. In general, I appreciate the How To posts, I still reference your pizza, bread making, and layer cake posts. Thanks for all that you do!

  35. It’s so nice to get a peek into the experiments taking place in your kitchen and I certainly hope you’ll share some of those next year! Thank you for doing what you do so well and for being so generous in what you share with us. Lots of love and happiness to you and your family in the New Year!

  36. Gail

    Love this list of outtakes. Thanks for a great year of awesome recipes and writing. Here’s to a healthy, happy 2014 to you and your family.

  37. Loved this post! Very, very sorry about the rhubarb meringue that fell on the floor — have been there. I once dropped a plum tart on the stairs on the way out the door to a party. Excited for the coming year’s posts — especially the goat cheese souffle and the summer squash torte.

  38. Laura

    The cake! What is it? Looks amazing! I’m excited for the recipe and will patiently wait til February. Maybe perfect for Valentine’s Day?
    Anyway I came here tonight to look up your blondie recipe, which is dumb really because I’ve made it at least 20 times and have it memorized. I rarely comment here but while I’m at it can I tell you how much I love and trust your recipes? Every time I need a good recipe or idea I come here not afraid to try or test out something new because time and again it’s a keeper. You have good food tastes! In the past couple of weeks I made your boozy baked French toast for Christmas morning and your chocolate toffee cookies with my son for Santa. I made the pistachio petit-four cake for my daughter’s baptism. All were divine. I went to pastry school after college and I have notebooks and bookshelves full of good recipes, but the ones I find here on this site are my favorite because they always turn out good. So thank you for what you do!

  39. s

    egg sandwiches! do share– at least the five concepts, if not the full recipes and photos?? i always think an egg sandwich is the perfect lunch for one.

  40. Probably not recommended to do 30 servings when my plans for new years involve pajamas, blankets, tv, and bed by 12:15 :-) maybe I’ll play around with it and see if I can make a 3-serving version (though any suggestions on how to do that would be welcome).

    Also, on the un-set jam, one way I hear to get a better set is to use a small handful of green strawberries, they naturally have more pectin. Or call it deliberate, a soft-set “french-style” preserve (I’m too lazy to deal with pectin in any of my jam, so many of mine are like that). And just FYI, as long as you process the jam for 10+ minutes, you don’t have to pre-steralize anything, just warm the jars in the pot of water you’re heating up anyways. Sorry, that was probably more than you wanted to know, but I’ve gotten so into canning the past year, and can’t stop myself from sharing!

  41. Every single time I see a recipe calling for Campari, I read it as “Calamari” and think, “Wait, WHAT?” Every time.

    I know you said you expected people to be bothered by the length of this post, but I really liked it! It’s nice to see the behind-the-scenes stuff. I’m most looking forward to/hoping for the clafoutis and the vegetable-roasting method (and the grape lemonade, because that sounds awesome).

  42. Dee

    Boy I hope that cake shows up soon…is that some cream cheese in the filling? P.S.: Have you ever tried making strawberry freezer jam? It’s like summer in a jar. So many possibilities, and no processing ;)

  43. Thanks for your frank admission that your strawberry jam never sets – me neither! I think there should be a vote for the “most wanted” of things that didn’t make it from your brain into the blog last year. For me it’s the EGG SANDWICHES. Oh yes, yummy, yummy. Happy cooking in 2014 – I’m following you since I saw you here in London at Divertimenti and I love your blog.

  44. cath

    I am so in awe of how much you cook through the year. Before this post I thought we read the sum total of what you went through, now wow, to know there is so much behind the scenes that doesnt make the blog. Yet your failures are so much better looking then mine!! Thank you so much for taking the time to perfect your recipes. Every one is a joy to cook. My wish for you and your family this new year is that you can keep up the awesome. How you love your family, us-your readers, and your cooking too. That is what I love about smitten kitchen xx

  45. Faye

    Happy New Year to you and your family…staying in and cooking Maine lobster, I’m in Florida, it’s a real treat!! Quick question: I am looking for a 4 “lipped” ladle like the one I see in your 2nd to last photo…I have been looking for years! Where did you get it?? Cheers!

  46. Cas Workman

    Hi Deb,
    Just thought you should know that I gave your cookbook to my best friend as a Christmas present. I told her I loved the book almost as much as I loved her (which says a lot). Thanks for the beautiful photos and the great descriptions/explanations/stories.

  47. Susan

    I wish you would add how to properly clean cast iron skillets to that long list of things to blog in 2014. I know, super boring, but if you saw my skillets you would recant. Bon appetit in the New Year to you and yours!

  48. Arlene

    GREAT POST, Deb!!! Where did you pick those strawberries????? My husband is obsessed with wild strawberry jam. My mother brings him some every time she is overseas. Happy New Year! Looking forward to some of these recipes in ’14.

  49. The herbed summer squash and potato torte is perfection as is so don’t feel too bad that you didn’t update the pictures. It’s hands down my favorite thing to make in the summer.

  50. Kerri

    Hi Deb,
    I’ve been following you via blog & now book for a few years and I need to tell you how much I absolutely adore you! You are so charming, down-right hilarious at times and such a real, lovely woman.
    Happiest of New Years to you and yours.
    ps. your recipes are just as wonderful!!

  51. Mahtab

    Deb, can’t wait to try the punch! I love this list of all the stuff we have to look forward to in 2014. The goat cheese souffle looks delicious. And speaking of cookbooks, I ended up getting THREE copies of your book for my birthday! I think it’s safe to say you should definitely do another one :)

  52. sharilyn unthank

    Loved the looking forward to what might be, looking back at what didn’t work and I am definitely voting for the cherry garcia scones! Love reading your writing and will never tire of watching your baby grow up. Thanks for sharing with us all! Happy new year!!

  53. Wow I can’t decide which of those recipes I am most excited for!! Also, this punch sounds like a delicious solution to the sticky, messy “let everyone make their own drinks” problem whenever we have company. Love it!

  54. Shelly

    All look so delicious! Can I request a couple of roasted vege recipes please? Because the confusion of “do I roast veges on 350 or 420 is only surpassed by my ability to never remember what takes the longest, and what I should put in first? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Sheylly — I roast some at 375, others at 425 or 450. It depends. I find that orange vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes) tend to scorch faster so I tend to roast them lower.

      Andj — Actually, this was my biggest a-ha moment reading Susan Spungen’s new book of entertaining tips. I always put out a ton of bar stuff and let people fix things themselves, totally forgetting that I hate making my own cocktails at a party and would much rather someone do it for me. She says it’s easier to put out wine and a pitcher or punch bowl of one signature drink for the evening — definitely would contain the mess too. You can still have bourbon or tonic out for whomever wants it, but I suspect the punch bowl and wine will be drained first.

      Mahtab, Cas — Thank you!

      Juice jars — Are canning jars from Weck. I ordered them online a few years ago; they’ve proven excellent for homemade iced tea, lemonade, blood orange juice (for mimosas at tomorrow’s brunch), and batching out cocktails before parties (see above). We have pitchers, but they don’t have leak-proof lids! Here’s the link from Weck. Oh, I recommend buying their rubber caps as well, which I keep forgetting to.

      Ariane — I can’t remember exactly, but I think it might have been in … Central Jersey somewhere.

      Susan — It’s on my list!

      Faye — Hill is correct — I actually found it on Amazon a few years ago. It took forever to find one like it.

  55. Hillary B

    Made the punch last night so the flavors could meld together and will add the champagne (and maybe some club soda) tonight before serving. I have a REALLY GOOD FEELING about this punch (snuck a few sips before putting outside to chill overnight and today). Will report back after recovering from NYE! Thanks for the timely recipe.

  56. NicM

    How could you withhold that cake? Meanie! I will definitely be trying the punch out at our 4th of Juluau party. I made some last year but felt it was lacking in flavor.

  57. ryan

    Yes, let’s make all of those things! No pressure, though. I’m looking forward to the favorite vegetable roasting method, cheese vegetable pasta, and goat cheese souffle! : )

  58. Lila Dressler

    Hey Deb,

    I think everyone has said it all. You’re the best. The fact that you kept a lot of the Strawberries whole might have been the reason you Jam didn’t jell. There’s something to be said for crushing the berries to release the Pectin.

    A Second Cookbook…’ve already done the hard part with writing the first one. How hard could it be? Only kidding.

    Luv ya,

  59. Mary Moss

    Second time mentioning Tasting Table…. I checked it out. Thought it was one of those generic food/culture magazines that you find in small towns or cities. I just subscribed to it. Thanks for keeping me up to date, here in little ol’ Hillsborough, North Carolina.
    Loved the rich Florentines by the way, they came out perfect having read all the notes before trying them out. Refrigerating dough was excellent advice, as is frosting the cookies soon after cooling. Otherwise, the breaking commences.
    You done did it again, Ms. Deb….

  60. CL

    Happy New Year Deb! I couldn’t let 2013 end without saying thanks, thanks, and thanks again for all that you put into this blog. Your recipes are great–I’ve never had one fail me yet!–and the commentary that runs with them never fail to make me smile. Almost forgot to mention this–when I hear “rum punch” I can only think of Clarence in “It’s a Wonderful Life” talking about flaming rum punch! So here’s my year-end equation: SK + post on what didn’t happen + rum punch= attitude adjustment + inspiration + reminder to get more rum ‘coz the entire bottle went toward cakes for Christmas +resolve to get back in the kitchen since there’s so many recipes and so little time! May you and yours be blessed in the New Year. (And if you decided to on another book all your loyal followers like me could go back to the beginning of your blog and start over! :-) )

  61. East West Coast Girl

    I get it. Its not The Right Time to consider writing another cookbook but mine is dog-eared, finger print-y and possibly memorized.
    Occasionally we hire a chef whom I forced to buy your cookbook. Now he travels with it, Deb. Puts it in his suitcase with his chosen few items.
    Please please don’t deprive us of your breathtaking photos in a glossy book that we can prop up on our counter tops instead of keeping the screen alive by touching with sticky fingers.
    I know there’s never enough time but Strike while the iron is hot! Your second book will bring more mulah and more opportunity, which can lead to a bigger kitchen. And isn’t that what we all wish for?

  62. Anne Perlmutter

    Made your Mom’s Apple Cake for a dinner party last week; as it turned out, in a too-small bundt pan! Apple chunks toppling onto the oven floor, batter running down the sides of the pan, ooops… however, the cake was beyond delicious, and I’ll make it again, resized.
    Can’t wait to try that Goat-cheese Souffle!

  63. Lauren

    Would you do the rugelach recipe for us soon? Ple-e-e-ease? And the rhubarb pie that fell on the floor has had me waiting since you first mentioned it. Then the goat cheese souffle, and the eggy sandwiches, and the scones…Would love to be your neighbor- I’d be” borrowing a cup of sugar” all the time just to see what really is going on in your kitchen, and volunteering to take the “mistakes” away for “disposal”. Happy 2014- you have made many smiling ( and chubby) fans in 2013!

  64. Although this cocktail looks delicious, I definitely want that green beans recipe and that goat cheese souffle. In fact, I’ll just take the goat cheese recipe even. :)


  65. Jen R

    All of it looks wonderful! Quick question on the punch – did you use sweetened lime juice like Rose’s or unsweetened like Real Lime?

  66. Susan

    I’m glad I sound like the inside of your head. Now I know that you understand what I’m saying when I ramble on.

    …about that strawberry jam; why would you want it very congealed? My jams are just over the edge of being sauce and we prefer them that way because the fruit tastes more true to it’s natural flavor (and I like the way it oozes over my bread) I’ve found that when jams cook too long the sugar starts to overcook and starts the jam tasting bitter and the color gets muddy. I think your best bet would be to crush some berries to get the sauce part working then add your whole berries the last 5 minutes +/-.
    FWIW, I don’t bother with putting up jars of jam, I just make it with that last basket of fruit that didn’t get used before it goes bad. Makes only a jar (I use my working jar with the plastic lid) at a time which will last longer than a couple of weeks anyway, long enough for me to face that next basket of berries that are going south! I have a jar of strawberry jam that’s still good from last July! Must have used enough sugar to keep the mold at bay, I guess.

  67. Amy P

    Pretty sure that was the cruelest thing you could’ve done to me today. I’m particularly eager for the cherry & chocolate scones, the egg sandwiches and THAT CAKE. Just in case you were having a hard time deciding which order to post them in ;) Clearly I’m not planning kidding myself with any New Years resolutions this year…ha!

  68. Jones

    Strawberries in syrup! My parents made that by accident once and I’ve always wanted more of it. Is it just a matter of insufficient pectin? I’m pretty sure they’d weighed out the sugar correctly, so it probably wasn’t that. Either way, I’m going to try and make it on purpose this summer.

    Thank you for another year of recipes! Have an excellent New Years.

  69. When you have such pretty orange segments, can`t you just stick them in a drink of some kind? I mean, it looks like a sunset piled up so prettily in a glass. You need to work that into something magical. I`m not sure what, though. Maybe a sangria?

  70. Jenna

    This is a Strong punch! I just took a sip to see how it was and now I’m a little tipsey. But so delicious. I added almost the whole bottle of pineapple juice (a lot more than the 1 3/4 cups) since it seemed a little too strong for the crowd and thought it tasted better.

  71. Jen

    i made the rum punch last night and while i may attempt again -i’m gonna cut the campari down (i had already cut it to only a cup, will cut to maybe 1/2 a cup) – it was simply too strong for me – but then again i think i’m a “bitter taster” and thus more sensitive to bitter. I am excited for the rest of your list – keep those wonderful recipes coming!!

  72. I love this post! I love that you are human! I love that you have standards and only share with us things that you love. Having said that, I would have eaten any of the above items that didn’t make it onto the website ;) Happy New Year to you and your boys, I hope it’s another good one. Oh, and please come to London again, meeting you in real life was one of the highlights of my year. xoxo

  73. CamMcK

    Made this last night but with the Cruzan Black Strap rum. Since the rum is so dark, the punch turns a murky brownish color. Not pretty like these pictures, but that is expected. As far as taste, people were pretty divided. There wasn’t much of a middle ground and as expected from something called black strap, the ones who dislike molasses disliked it the most. If I make it again, I might use a lighter dark rum.

  74. Sean Gill

    I made this with the Cruzan Black Strap rum – it changes the color to an unappetizing, almost black color.

    Having never had Campari in conjunction with having never been steered wrong by SK, I made this for New Year’s. It wasn’t very popular with the guests because of the bitter Campari, so I’m going to try to make some adjustments to the leftovers today.

  75. Marie

    We made the rum punch last night – but scaled down for 2. Delicious but then again, I have a Negroni fetish and love Campari. Used a lighter rum because that’s all we had and it was very pretty as well.

    Happy New Year!

  76. Holy moly, this post was like fireworks! So many delicious treats, one after another — thank you! I will definitely be making this punch (after a week or two of cleaner eating & drinking than the past month has encouraged.) Happy new year to you, Deb!

  77. Adrienne

    Made the punch last night, it was Absolutely Amazing- this is a GREAT post! Cheers, Happy New Year, looking forward to spending it with you here!

  78. Jamie

    Okay, this punch is amazing! I made some for our New Year’s Eve party last night and it was a big hit. But it is so strong, it snuck up on everyone! So be warned!

  79. june2

    I always thought you include a muslin tea bag full of citrus seeds to add pectin. Squeeze a bunch of tangerine juice or oranges and you’re set. Or lemons really, as tangerines aren’t ripe at the same time as strawberries I guess. But wow, those tiny berries look fantastic. I like the cranberry idea too, will have to try it this summer. Happy New Year!

  80. I am using New Years as an opportunity to tell you how much I love your blog! You are my absolute favorite blogger, I always trust your recipes 100%, and I love your voice. Your photography is always stunning.
    Also, I need that cake in my life now, not February! We Minnesotans need a lot of comfort food to get us through the single digit temperatures in January. :)
    Happy New Year and thanks for blogging.

  81. Sara G

    I love your site Deb! Made your apple slab pie for Thanksgiving, it was fun to eat handheld pie. Just wanted to suggest that you may want to try freezer jam if you are looking for that fresh strawberry flavor. Since it isn’t cooked it tastes like you are eating fresh strawberries in sugar – yum! Mine doesn’t get thick like store-bought jam, but it is so delish that we put it on everything from biscuits to corn bread to ice cream. (It’s a lot easier to make too!!) Try it, I promise you won’t hate it. I would love to see that soup recipe with the hash – it looks great!

    1. deb

      Sara G — Thank you! I have been wanting to check out freezer jam. Can you do it with whole berries? Or just halved ones? I love getting a good bite of real, intact strawberry. (For this, I used Christine Ferber’s famous recipe, from her book, to the letter — all three days. The strawberries did indeed stay intact and gorgeous, but as I’ve learned since, they really need some additional pectin to set.)

  82. Stoich91

    Beautiful…romantic…HORRIFIC you kept this from us for SO LONG :D But a perfect way to start the new year – past isn’t perfect, but it’s worth learning from and, in your case, DROOLING OVER :D

  83. Mary

    Can you do a cookbook of the favorites from the blog??? Please? I’m constantly having to re key in my password on my iPhone in the middle of a recipe. I’m really suffering here, help me out!

  84. Elisabeth

    I really need to see those egg sandwiches. Also, I am so jealous that you get to bring homemade snacks to school! Our preschool will only let us bring store-bought foods unless you have a food handler’s permit.

  85. Dimitra

    I love your blog and your cookbook and yours is the only non-work-related site on my RSS feed – I hate to miss a post! Happy and creative 2014!

  86. Suzie

    We made the punch! In general, people enjoyed it & several thought it had grapefruit juice in it (???). I must saw that it is quite strong & not a drink for light weights!

  87. Marcie

    Hi Deb! For an apple pancake try the one from Cook’s Illustrated in the Best New Recipes cookbook – the German Apple Pancake. It is pretty tasty!

  88. Laura T.

    Love this post, Deb!

    Would the pancake that never turns out quite right be the Big Apple Pancake from Gourmet awhile back? If so, that’s the one I’ve finally settled on as our family staple – but mine only turns out looking like the pictures if I double (or more than double) the sauteed apples and then finish it under the broiler to get the peaks and edges to darken and crisp up a bit (otherwise it’s a pretty pale specimen). Since I started doing those things, it’s been gorgeous and delicious every time.

  89. I think this is one of my favorite posts! (and I have been following you almost form day 1)
    Especially the rhubarb-meringue tart one, I can almost hear the OH NOOOOOOO echoing through your smitten kitchen.

  90. Completely agree with Dania, this is one of my favorite posts too.

    I’ve recently found your blog and since then became a true fan of it. I like the design of your blog and of course the quality of recipes. It’s a pleasure to read.

    Thank you.

  91. Deb,

    I loved all the posts this year. They really inspired me to get in the kitchen and cook fun things instead of just cooking things to eat. I think my favorite thing you introduced me to in the past year was the frico. I frico everything now, if I can. It actually helped me create my favorite omelette recipe.

    I was also with my girlfriend browsing in Anthropologie a week ago and saw your cookbook, and I got a little excited!

    Thanks, Deb!

  92. Meg

    This was a New Year’s Eve hit! (caveat: served to mostly snobby drinkers who found the bitterness appealing, a few milder people stuck to champagne) Like others, I found that using the Black Strap rum made the punch substantially less pretty, but people commented that they liked the maple syrupy undertones, so I’m conflicted about what I’ll do next time. There will definitely be a next time though!

    1. deb

      Re, Cruzan Black Strap Rum — I’m sorry that many of you sought it out based on my/Tasting Table’s recommendation and didn’t care for it. I’ve updated the head notes with a warning that it may not be for everyone. The TT photo was so gorgeous with the article (I shamelessly went for a similar look here), I’d assumed it was due to the black strap rum. Boy oh boy I hope I don’t learn that the brand is a TT sponsor or such and that it was honestly just a matter of the recipe writer’s tastes versus our own.

      Laura — Funny, I’d started there! I’ve tried others. I’m never happy with them. I appreciate your tips and will try it again soon.

  93. Naomi

    I made your stovetop pasta-cheese-and-vegetables, using cauliflower instead of broccoli, and it was delicious!
    Also, I’m not sure what kind of apple puffy pancake you’ve been working on…I’m a big fan of this one, but I can’t wait to try it again after YOU’VE perfected it!

    Looking forward to another year of SK recipes!

  94. Throw some recipe appropriate garnishes into your takeout container full-o-water (lemon/lime wheels? berries?) before you freeze it (cover definitely recommended) and your punch will look even prettier, you will get delicious bits of berries in your glasses as the night progresses, and your friends will be impressed. (At least mine have the past two year I have done this on New Years but they may have rather low standards, haha). Anyway, I’ll have to add this one to the list. Happy New Year!

  95. Amie

    I love your blog btw! I love this post… how it has all these amazing photos! Such teasers to what could have been! But rather than asking that you still post these things that were missed, I found it more interesting to read that there were many failed attempts at trying to find the perfect recipe to share. Such hard work… but we all appreciate it :) Thanks!

  96. Oda

    I just wanted to put it out there that I would buy a cookbook that was just assembled blog posts with nothing new added. I have to be really in the spirit to cook something from your website but I’m using the cookbook weekly, it’s just something with the format I prefer. The most useful comments to each blog post could be added for a bonus :-)

  97. Angela

    Can we please get the scones before Valentine’s Day?!?! Can’t wait until I can drink again to try this punch. Happy New Year!!

    1. deb

      Anna — Luxardo cherries are insanely good and I’m super-irked that I’m out of them (what? It’s been a cold winter so far!) and haven’t found more in my neighborhood yet. By “Perfect” Manhattan, I mean one that is made with 1/2 sweet vermouth and 1/2 dry. It’s less sweet than typical and has a real depth of flavor.

      Re, the Cherry Garcia Scones — I’m so torn about these because I much prefer them with fresh cherries and it’s decidedly not cherry season. I’ll try them again with dried ones and if they’re good, I’ll post them sooner. Otherwise, I might have to wait until June.

  98. So much good food! Yumm! I just wanted to say I preordered your cookbook and have enjoyed flipping through the pages of gorgeously prepared foods. Just looking at the photos was enough to satisfy. Now that we are in the home we renovated last year your cookbook is finally being enjoyed the way it was intended; last night Harvest Roast Chicken and Deep Dish Apple Pie! Both delicious and my guests thought they were served a gourmet meal!! I have pork chops thawing in the fridge for later this week. Thanks for always inspiring.

  99. I shouldn’t complain with all of your good 2013 posts behind us but what a teaser of a post!

    If anyone is counting, I vote for the following posts a.s.a.p., although not necessarily in this order:
    Parsnip Soup
    Frico Potatoes
    Stovetop Wheels-Cheese-Vegetables
    Goat Cheese Soufflé
    Vegetable Roasting
    Broccoli Slaw

    Happy New Year!
    And thanks for sharing your recipes.

  100. bread and roses

    That looks amazing!

    I’m also still waiting on the amazing veggie broth recipe you promised when you posted the chicken broth :)

    By the way, I made the maple-butter cookies and they were a HUGE hit. Especially with me. I didn’t want to share.

  101. Rebeca

    I too didn’t want to list the things I wanted to see but….. l if we are on the topic of counting, I vote for the blistered string beans, parsnip soup, fave veggie roasting method, peach muffins, and multi-grain Parker house rolls (excuse me for drooling but the photo of those rolls! so fluffy, wow).

  102. Joseph

    Just another chiming in about the black strap rum. I too saw the TT article and was disappointed by the color. Definitely brown and murkey. Taste was pretty good though.

  103. janeannechovy

    I don’t care for parsnips, but I think that brussels/apple/bacon hash would be good on about anything, so I vote for that. Plus that insane-looking chocolate/pb/whatever cheesecake. Good lord.

    I live in Oregon and pick berries and make freezer jam every year. I’m a big fan of Mrs. Wages freezer-jam pectin (which uses only 1.5 C sugar for 4 C fruit–it really allows the fruit to shine!). I mash my berries because I like a more even layer of jam on my pb&j, but it might work to mash half and toss in half whole, especially if they’re small. I think that part of the reason your jam didn’t set could have been because you didn’t allow for the berries’ own pectin to come out to play.

    Also, NB (I should write my own blog post about making jam!): the first berries of the season are the highest in pectin and make the best jam. I don’t know how this would apply to ever-bearing strawberries, but for cane berries (raspberries etc.) that only have one crop per season, this is definitely true.

  104. Brad Farran

    Hi Deb,

    Thank you so much for the repost to the Tasting Table article about punch! I love punch; making it, and especially, enjoying it.

    However, I would like to point out that the recipe in the article is not one I created, but an adaptation of a classic tiki drink by Tasting Table chef, Brendan McHale. The punch is based off of a drink called, the Jungle Bird. The original recipe does not specifically call for Cruzan Black Strap, but it does make the drink substantially more interesting. If one wants to make a substitute, a full-bodied demerara rum, like El Dorado 15yr, is a suitable replacement.

    And kudos to pointing out the aging potential for punch! It does indeed improve with (some) age.

    1. deb

      Hi Brad — Oops, sorry that I missed that. I think I got the B’s jumbled (which is pretty lame). I’ll update the credits and add your rum suggestion.

  105. Hi Deb, Happy New Year.

    Please, please: Perfect Manhattan sooooon. Those glasses look super smart, too and I think I need to break some here now. Just to be prepared. N.

  106. Leigh

    I bought (love!) the book and make the flat chicken regularly — often with green beans of my own. Obviously, we’re both geniuses.

  107. SG

    Made this for a mardi gras party. It was very good and I’d definitely make it again. We cut the campari in half, thinking the crowd would appreciate a less bitter drink (and based on the other comments). It definitely wasn’t too bitter, though the pineapple was a bit strong as a result. We also used twice as much sparkling wine as recommended; most people preferred to dilute it a bit more than suggested.

  108. Can’t agree with you more, this is one of my favorite posts too.

    I’ve recently found your blog and since then became a true fan of it. I like the design of your blog and of course the quality of recipes. It’s a pleasure to read.

  109. Lizzie

    I have some kale and squash, and I was thinking of making a pizza with them tonight. Any reasons why yours was “weird” and any suggestions to potentially improve a kale/squash pizza?

  110. Bridget

    I made this last month for my bf’s birthday party. It was amazing. We used grapefruit instead of lime because we didn’t have a juicer for all those limes and our local brooklyn juice shop didn’t have any! They squeezed us fresh grapefruit instead. The punch simply did not last. It was great. Will make again!!

    1. deb

      We should, but even though it was delicious I could not muster the desire to make it again. I’m a terrible person! I made it as written from April Bloomfield’s first book. It has a lot of steps. I had wanted to streamline them a little but as I said, never got back to it. You won’t be unhappy with it as written, though.

  111. RZH

    Excellent punch! For the past three years this has been my Christmas party standard and I am always asked for the recipe. I have made it with dark rum (Myers) and medium rum (Appletons) and it is certainly prettier and more harmonious in flavor when made with medium rum. Thank you for the recipe!

  112. sallykeefe

    Delicious punch, thank you! We served it with petit fours to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Subbed lemon juice for lime juice since that’s what we had and it was tasty.

  113. Charlotte in Toronto

    I made this punch yesterday for New Years Eve and it was a great success. I adore the bitterness of Campari, and pineapple and fresh lime juice were perfect companions. I used white rum instead of dark because I wanted it to be pretty, and subbed in a bottle of Perrier for sparkling wine. Garnished with lime slices and frozen cranberries. So delicious. I’ll definitely make it again and again. Thank you so much. Best wishes for 2018 🥂❤

  114. Max

    Terrific. The Campari balances out the rum in a surprising way. Followed the directions exactly for Int’l Talk Like a Pirate Day and it was a hit. Thanks.

  115. Cindy

    My husband and I had a few people over for New Year’s Eve a few weeks ago. I made this punch and it was a huge hit. It is really good and even my husband, who rarely drinks, liked it a lot. I would totally make this again for the next time we either have people over will bring this to our next party. Thanks for another amazing recipe!

  116. reshmaadwar

    I love your site!! I love the fact that so many of your recipes are timeless. It’s 2019 and it makes me so happy that I can go back into your archives and find the perfect recipe for now! Case in point: I’m hosting a 1920’s theme holiday soiree and am making batch cocktails of classic 1920’s drinks (ready to move to Maplewood now?!? Coz you’d be invited!!). I made the Campari Rum Punch since it’s kind of a twist on the Mary Pickford. So yummy, especially with a good pinch of salt, and so perfect for this crowd! Thanks, Deb!

  117. Bentley

    Cut this down to 2 drinks and used grapefruit juice instead of pineapple juice since that’s what I had. This is perfectly balanced bitterness!

  118. M

    I made a 1/3 batch to have a pitcher to offer at a dinner party held during the world wide heatwave (measurements: .4cup sugar&water, .4cup lemon (no lime on hand), .6cup Campari, 1 cup rum, 1 1/4 cup pineapple, 1 cup Prosecco). It was quite strong! Added extra lemon to make it less sweet, and probably 1 1/2-2 cans soda water to cut it down. Used Mount Gay – had a tropical vibe. Would make it this way again, but might try less simple syrup and maybe 1/2 pineapple and pomegranate juices