Discover more from the smitten kitchen digest
plus: easy strawberry lemonade
Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Food Grammar: The Unspoken Rules of Every Cuisine [Atlas Obscura]
The Real Reason Your Groceries Are Getting So Expensive [NYT Op-Ed, unlocked]
Welcome to picnic season, aka sandwich season, the time of year when we spend as much time as possible outside at parks, beaches, lakes, on day trips, and at games — and the single greatest thing on earth we can do for ourselves (or so it feels when I’m about to have a hangry tantrum because I don’t want a soggy hotdog and that’s the only thing that turns out to be available where I’ve ended up) is pack something wonderful from home. The first time I brought the beach bean salad to, yes, a beach, I almost wept with gratitude to my earlier self because it so perfectly hit the spot. If you made me a vegetable-full sandwich on homemade focaccia and brought us a mason jar of strawberry lemonade, I’d think you should be president. Do I get a little dramatic when I’m hungry? Why, yes; was it obvious? But I hope a list like this comes in handy for you this summer this summer as you plot some delicious escapes.
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 summery favorites from my most recent cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Keepers, such as: zucchini cornbread and tomato butter, snow peas with pecorino and walnuts, cucumber salad with garlicky dill yogurt, clam chowder with bacon croutons, zucchini and pesto lasagna, and crispy chili garlic butter shrimp, raspberry crostata, strawberry summer stack cake (my birthday cake next month), and the blondie chipwiches (on deck this week, and every week of the summer).
New: An easy, lazy strawberry lemonade that is the most vivid and delicious I've ever made. It tastes the way cotton candy smells at a carnival, and that's about the highest praise I can give anything.
A ridiculously easy no-knead, no-fuss, quick-rise focaccia you can use to make sheet pans of sandwiches (I have lots of suggestions, including directions for the two vegan ones shown) to take to the beach/park/pool/airport/wherever your summer weekend takes you.
A hearty, well-seasoned and picnic basket-/beach cooler-ready sandwich for wherever you go this weekend. Inspired by the pan bagnat, which is the sandwich version of a salade niçoise, I swap the tuna here with a smashed chickpea salad, add layers of crunch, richness, and seasoning and might never look back
Caramelized onions, peppery arugula, and a creamy-sharp dressing make this steak sandwich our favorite, and such low-key luxury for a summer weekend.
Is making your own pretzel-ed sandwich rolls a tad ambitious? Yes. Will it make your kitchen smell amazing and your sandwiches so good, it’s almost unfair to the now-overshadowed fillings? Yes. I trust you can take it from here.
A quite simple but very kicky (garlic! lemon! pepper flakes! pecorino!) approach to a farro salad that's as good cold (potlucks, picnics, and weekday lunches) as it is warm (with an egg on top, crispy crumbs, or even burrata).
Letter of recommendation: Some pickles for your sandwiches. As simple or colorful as you want it to be, this is an easy fridge pickle that improves everything you pile it on, from barbecue to anything you can throw on a grill.
This is my platonic ideal of a summer bean salad -- one that keeps well, getting better as it marinates, and travels fantastically to anyplace a sunny afternoon takes you.
Tray-baked, soft-centered, crunchy-edged, caramel-perfumed bars made only with oats, golden syrup, brown sugar, and butter but tasting like so much more than these parts. There will be no leftovers.
Everyone knows that pink lemonade > regular lemonade. But as for what makes it pink, it's better not to ask. Here we use raspberries and the result is a buttery, berried lemon bar that's as pretty as a summer carnival.
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!