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A Fangirl Cookbook Review

Smitten Kitchen Every Day

A number of years ago my mother-in-law took some classes at the Bonnie Stern cooking school.  She was a big fan and used to call Bonnie with questions as she worked through the recipes.  We used to joke about the restraining order that Bonnie would obtain if there was one more phone call.  Her food was really good though ….


I feel a twinge of recognition when I consider my relationship with Deb Perelman, or “Deb” as we refer to her around our house.  I follow Deb Perelman’s food blog Smitten Kitchen, I wrote about her last cookbook and was excited to try this new one.  All this despite the fact that I was crushed when I tagged her in an Instagram post and she didn’t “like” my picture.  I bounced back.


This cookbook was produced after Deb had baby #2.  Like many of us, the cold hard reality of producing regular meals for demanding hungry people made her rethink some of her go-to recipes.  As the title says, this book is full of unfussy new favourites.  Most of it is new, but some of the recipes can be found on her blog.


Since I was very busy, I delegated the task of trying out some of the recipes.  My most excellent husband is a most excellent cook, but he hates to follow recipes.  He did it for me (and you) this time.  Sizzling beef bulgogi tacos were quick and authentic-tasting Korean-inspired tacos made with ground beef instead of sliced.  We also really liked Jamie’s (Deb’s) Crispy tofu and broccoli with sesame-peanut pesto.  I would increase the amount of pesto next time though, and add some sweetener.  


There are lots of interesting recipes here, such as Romesco, chickpea and smashed egg bowl, Tomato and gigante bean bake / pizza beans, Crispy short rib carnitas with sunset slaw and Miso maple ribs with roasted scallions.  Yummy sweets too and I loved the Party cake builder with different shapes, sizes, flavours and fillings for different occasions and tastes.


As you know, I love breakfast and I did find time to try a couple of recipes.  Ricotta blini with honey, orange and sea salt were a cross between a pancake and a doughnut.  Easy and really good (although they made a lot of dishes).  Perfect blueberry muffins were a hit with those family members who object to my sneaking whole grains into everything.   Next to try are Sticky toffee waffles, once I convince myself that these are breakfast food.  Loaded breakfast potato skins look pretty good too.


So here we are - unrequited “like”.   I can live with it because I like her recipes and she’s an entertaining writer.  You should look at her blog, but the book is worth checking out too.  

Naomi Bussin is a lawyer, mother of three and accomplished cook. Food is her favourite subject and she reads cookbooks in her spare time.