smitten kitchen | 5 new articles

baked alaska + smitten kitchen turns 10!

baked alaska Over the summer, my husband and I took turns taking our son to out for dinner one a week night to give him a break from (I mean, not to point fingers or anything) the occasionally 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?" only the finest in homemade ice creama giant sundaemelted chocolate and butterone-bowl brownies "Well, son," I began because let's not even pretend I don't live for this kind of stuff, "It's a dessert in which ice cream is wrapped in cake and then covered in a marshmallow-y frosting that's toasted and then they light it on fire..." "CAN WE GET ONE OF THOSE?" Look, I don't know what stuff you're made of, but I consider telling a 6 year-old that ice cream wrapped in cake, frosting and fire exists but not for them is cruel and unusual punishment. And so we ordered it and I tried to warn him that they might not do the fire thing and maybe it won't be as cool as I made it sound and then this happened. <a href="Over the summer, my husband and I took turns taking our son to out for dinner one a week night to give him a break from (I mean, not to point fingers or anything) the occasionally 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?" only the finest in homemade ice creama giant sundaemelted chocolate and butterone-bowl brownies "Well, son," I began because let's not even pretend I don't live for this kind of stuff, "It's a dessert in which ice cream is wrapped in cake and then covered in a marshmallow-y frosting that's toasted and then they light it on fire..." "CAN WE GET ONE OF THOSE?" Look, I don't know what stuff you're made of, but I consider telling a 6 year-old that ice cream wrapped in cake, frosting and fire exists but not for them is cruel and unusual punishment. And so we ordered it and I tried to warn him that they might not do the fire thing and maybe it won't be as cool as I made it sound and then this happened. READ THE REST 
 
 

garlic wine and butter steamed clams

garlic wine and butter 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. what you'll need The dish, called Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato, is named after the 19th century Lisbon poet Bulhão Pato, who was known to be a gourmand. It's usually a first course. And, no, this isn't officially it -- unable to follow the simplest directions, I replaced the olive oil with butter, threw in some shallots, used parsley instead of cilantro because I killed my cilantro already and added red pepper flakes. But we did eat it with bread. And more of the wine (I mean, the bottle was now open so we were basically obligated) and intentionally or not, managed to unlock my new favorite date night dinner, even if you are sharing your table with little people disinterested in wine-steamed clams. READ THE REST 
 
 

magic apple plum cobbler

magic apple plum cobbler September is my favorite in food, weather and outlook. The number of days above 90 degrees finally peters off. I live for cardigan weather. I love that it goes in with a beach weekend and goes out with cinnamon sticks and warm cider. The markets are still teeming with peaches and plum, zucchini and eggplant, but you can also go apple picking and find some fancy new squash to cook. But my cooking always feels like it's on one team or another -- we're either making caprese or we're baking ziti, little for the in-between days. Where are the intersections of summer and winter squash? Where's the peach and grape pie? Let's fix this. what you'll need If you can read about something called a magic peach cobbler that you make more or less entirely in the pan you bake it and not have it in the oven, say, 15 minutes later, you are made of stronger stuff than me. It comes by way of the grandmother of Ian Knauer and if you go way back on this site, you'll find he's also the person behind those exquisite Brown Butter Brown Sugar Shorties, from his days at Gourmet, These days, he's got a place called The Farm Cooking School in Stockton, New Jersey and spoke recently about his grandmother who, with seven kids, had no time to fuss with anything but straightforward recipes like this. quick-whisked batter 
 
 

homemade merguez with herby yogurt

homemade merguez with herby yogurt I had lunch with Julia Turshen a couple months ago (mostly so I could fangirl out and try to sponge up some curl tips for my moppet) and one of my favorite things she told me was that when she moved from Brooklyn to upstate with her wife her cooking changed because all of a sudden she was doing it everyday. She felt she got better at cooking from her gut, throwing meals together with whatever they had -- it's simply not an option to eat out or order in every night the way she could before so not every meal could be a performance piece. Sometimes it's just chicken on the grill with a good sauce and salad on the side. what you'll need If you're anything like me -- but with a cleaner apartment, I bet -- you're thinking "wait, tell me about the sauce!" because odds are, like the avocado-cucumber salad I spied on the side of her plate a year ago and ran off to tell you about, it's something crazy simple that you didn't realize you knew how to make and now you're 300x more excited to grill chicken and make salad tonight. The good news for us is that Turshen, who previously only hid her cooking talent behind larger-than-life names like Mario Batali, Gwyneth Paltrow, Dana Cowin, Hot Bread Kitchen, Buvette, Fat Radish... seriously, I'm just getting started... finally penned her own book with all the great simple sauces and 400 other things I cannot wait to cook.
 
 

chocolate pavlova

chocolate pavlova with berries Look, no one is ever going to marry me for my pavlova. (I mean, talking about dodging a bullet...) This one was particularly underachieving. First, I thought I'd be clever and try to add the cocoa at the start, mixed with the sugar, so that it would mix the best. Nope! It never fully whipped. With this in the trash, I began my next one, breaking an egg yolk right into the white. I can usually get it all out (tip! use the empty shell as a scooper/skimmer) but not this time. I started a new bowl and, yup, did it again. Finally, with six uncompromised egg whites and cocoa stirred in only at the very end, ensuring a respectably thick, shiny plume of meringue, I began piling my chocolate plumes on a 9-inch round parchment circle, only to realize this wasn't very bright, as the meringue would spread. I cut a new, larger square of parchment and used the old one as a sling/tube-of-a-pastry bag to land the new one in a great, elegant swirl and then fell over laughing (and texting everyone I know with the picture because: all grownup here!) because it looked precisely like everyone's favorite emoji. Smoothed into more of a mound, I baked it at the wrong temperature and it got too crispy and riddled with cracks. Anyone left reading from New Zealand just is doing this right now. (Don't worry, I retested it -- woe is me -- to confirm that the correct temperature and times are indeed correct.) setting up But I have one thing going for us, and that's that this pavlova is the most chocolaty I've ever had. The apartment air was steeped with eau de brownies, the very best perfume. Even a day layer, this cake of a meringue decadent but not heavy, basically dessert magic. Do not be deceived, as I have been in the past, by the pale beige shade of the outer shell -- inside, it's like a truffle with the impact of and the texture of a pillow.
 
 

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