Discover more from the smitten kitchen digest
a summer curtain call
plus: two new recipe videos
Monday, September 18, 2023
How Did Vanilla Become a Byword for Blandness? [NYT, unlocked]
Have nuts gone nuts? [Taste]
As a devout follower in the it’s-not-fall-until-it’s-fall doctrine, I don’t believe in rushing into pumpkin spice, apple pie, or winter squash when it’s still summer, when the windows are open, and we still eat outside. And yes, even my most stubborn adherence to my seasonal rules is being tested today — a cooler, rainy day. But, we must remain strong. At the farmers markets, the stands remain heaped with tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant and I feel an almost excessive responsibility to work these into as many dishes as possible before they’re gone, or at least as a mandatory balance to spending most winter months pining for a good tomato. Below, a few cozy ways to preserve the last of summer produce in meals that don’t rush us out of summer until we’re ready. I mean, that’s what next week is for.
The Smitten Kitchen Classroom Wishlist Project 2023 continues! In the US, a tremendous number of teachers don’t get the funding they need to set their classrooms up for success. Most will end up paying out of their own pockets to buy educational materials, which is all wrong. I’ve asked teachers to send me their wishlists in hopes that we can help clear as many as possible. Help out if you feel you’re able — you will unquestionably make a teacher’s (and their students) day! [Project information. Direct link to spreadsheet.]
I’ve written three cookbooks and I’m a tiny bit biased, but I think you’d love them all. I’m thrilled that this warmer weather means you might be able to cook some of my late-summer favorites from my most recent cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Keepers, such as: zucchini cornbread and tomato butter, clam chowder with bacon croutons, zucchini and pesto lasagna, and raspberry crostata. Were you looking for a list of all the recipes in each of my cookbooks? I’ve added these in a separate page and hope it makes it easier for you to find everything you want to cook.
New: Really simple, weeknight-friendly, breading-and-frying-free eggplant parmesan that's baked until blistered, cozy, and absolutely spoonable, with stretches of cheese trying to drag each spoonful back to the pan. Spoiler: It will fail; you will win.
Classic panzanella salad is just dressed tomatoes and stale bread but as we inch towards fall, I prefer this busier version with other chunky vegetables and heartier croutons. I always wonder why we don't eat it for dinner more often.
A corn coconut soup from Top Chef winner Melissa King was a late summer hit -- it has a cozy, mellow (and vegan) base that we garnished with chile oil, crispy and pickled shallots, lime, and even more ideas in the recipe. I can't wait to see what you do with it.
An Ottolenghi take on baked pasta with tomatoes, parmesan and enough mozzarella that it stretches from each forkful, but there are also pillows of eggplant and other vegetables, so it doesn't feel over the top. The leftovers, should any survive, are luxurious.
Working from home today? I have just the project for us because there is no higher tomato calling than slow-roasting, which basically turns them into tangy tomato candy. They're dreamy with pasta, in omelettes, salads, and on sandwiches, or you can just eat them straight. Because: candy.
A summery fried rice with zucchini, tomatoes, parmesan and a crispy fried egg, all made in one frying pan, this is what warm warm weather, garden-driven comfort food looks like to me.
Trying to bring the basil back in before it goes kaput? It’s pesto time. This is my go-to recipe, one that's got all of the things I always wish others did (weights, warnings, and lots of tips).
This marriage of American-style tomato soup and French-style onion soup -- that's basically an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich on top -- has something for everyone, no matter what season we're planted in.
For a rainy day that's been kind enough to overlap with pepper season, a perfect bowl of soup from way back in the SK archives. I'm deeply attached to this recipe because it was a dinner party menu staple for many years -- it's simple, cozy, and looks really cute in small cups with a swirl of cream.
Inspired by the chicken we had in Portugal years ago, you can make this recipe with any level of heat, a whole chicken or just parts, on a grill or roasted. It's so streamlined and simple, you can make it for dinner tonight and it always comes out this good.
Marian Burros's 1983 plum torte is an 8-ingredient, 4-step cult classic in which a mass of plums are coated with cinnamon sugar and baked into a pancake-like batter, where they melt into pie-like pockets and you definitely don't want to miss it. We make it every summer, usually twice.
Ever wonder where I get my cutting boards, paring knives, offset spatulas and more than you see when I cook? I've created a page on Smitten Kitchen with links to some of my favorite kitchen items, the ones I'm asked about the most. I recently added several new favorites I’ve bought in the last year. For each item, I've attempted to provide a range of shopping links so we're not just focusing on one giant retailer.
See you next week!