apple-strudel-apfelstrudelRecipes

apple strudel

Because I don’t say it often enough, do know that one of my favorite things about this site is the way your presence, whether active or lurking, quietly provides the encouragement I need every time I want to tackle a dish or recipe that daunts me. Like bagels. Or Lasagna Bolognese. Or Baked Alaska. Or Russian Honey Cake. But I’m not sure that any of these dishes have struck terror in my heart — laced with impending doom over inevitable failure — over a dish as much as this.

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broken-pasta-with-pork-raguRecipes

broken pasta with pork ragu

At the end of July, a generally broiling, sticky month in New York City best experienced somewhere far enough away to catch a breeze not recently emitted from subway grates, I spied a recipe for a pork shoulder braised in chicken stock, aromatics, celery and thyme then torn into bite-sized shreds and tossed with broken-up pieces of lasagna noodles and finished with butter, lemon juice, parmesan and arugula that sounded so good, I had to make it the very next night for dinner. Even though it was 82 degrees out. Even though we’d been to the beach that weekend. I regretted nothing.

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winter-squash-pancakes-with-crispy-sage-and-brown-butterRecipes

winter squash pancakes with crispy sage and brown butter

There comes times in every cookbook author’s life that they have a very specific kind of gift to bestow on unsuspecting others — tasty, deeply loved dishes that were dismissed/ejected/left homeless in the editorial process because they didn’t make the cut. The reasons may be myriad; the ingredient, format or flavor felt redundant with another dish or, as happened here, something else about it gnawed at me until I decided it was best to move on without it.

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pumpkin-breadRecipes

pumpkin bread

One of the terrible things that well-intentioned food people do all of the time is get bored with things that everyone loves. Because there’s a there’s a near-constant stream of food media coming in, with time the “hot takes” on apple pie begin to feel monotonous, the “cool new thing to do with sweet potatoes” can cause inward groans and pumpkin/pumpkin-spiced things? I’ll let them tell you: “Pumpkin spice has ruined pumpkins,” says Alton Brown. “America has gone entirely too far in its pumpkin spice devotion,” says Eater, with a fair amount of evidence backing it up. The Washington Post likened pumpkin spice lattes to “liquefied fall-scented potpourri.”

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russian-honey-cakeRecipes

russian honey cake

From time to time when someone learns that I’m married to a Russian, they’ll ask me if I can come up with a recipe for a Russian dish they’ve had, which is hilarious because I have never been to Russia, have probably only picked up 20 words (by generous estimation) in the 13 years we’ve been together and of the maybe five Russian dishes I’ve made, I’ve simply done them my mother in-law’s way. It’s almost like people might know that I have a tendency to get really obsessive when I decide I want to crack the code of a recipe and they’re hoping I’ll apply it to a long-lost loved dish they want to make a regular part of their lives again? Nah, that would be ridiculous.

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skillet-baked-pasta-with-five-cheesesRecipes

skillet-baked pasta with five cheeses

September is like gateway or fake fall, appropriate considering that the season exists officially for only one-third of it. But October — and especially so this year, ushered in with a week of gray rainy (which I just typed as grainy, also somehow fitting) weather — almost without fail sets off the following things in the following order:

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baked-alaskaAnnouncements, Recipes

baked alaska + smitten kitchen turns 10!

Over the summer, my husband and I took turns taking our son out for dinner one a week night to give him a break from (I mean, not to point fingers or anything) the occasional yelling/food-flinging dinnertime antics of The Interloper, a.k.a. his younger sister. On one of my evenings, he pointed to the top of one of the many mirror-covered walls at the restaurant with the menu scrawled over it and said “What’s a Baked Alaska?”

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garlic-wine-and-butter-steamed-clamsRecipes

garlic wine and butter steamed clams

One of my favorite things — although, honestly, it’s not easy to choose — we ate in Portugal was small clams cooked in a garlic wine sauce, usually with cilantro and always only eaten with bread, which I learned when we went to one of those* restaurants on the beach one night where you pick your dinner from what’s been caught that day and everyone is a little vague about preparations because they assume you already know. “How are the clams prepared?” “What do you mean? Steamed!” “And they’re served with…?” “Well, in Portugal, we eat clams with bread, only bread. Would you like something else?” And so it was.

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