March 17, 2013

Smitten for these recipes

If you haven't already figured it out for yourself, the Smitten Kitchen cookbook is really wonderful. Not only are the recipes delicious, but so are the stories, instructions and photos. I have several cookbooks, and I am always drawn to the ones that have a photo for every recipe.  Sadly, the photos in this post are all iphone photos because I am not a food blogger, and it does not occur to me to take good photos of food. But rest assured, the photos in the book are much, much better, and are right on par with the quality of the recipes.

Eggplant & 3-Cheese Calzone

In addition to the few recipes I tried out right after Christmas, I've tested 6 more in the last couple of months, and all of them were awesome.

• Cheddar Swirl Breakfast Buns
• Almond Date Breakfast Bars
• Eggplant and 3-Cheese Calzone
• Spaghetti Squash and Black Bean Tacos
• Sesame-spiced Turkey Meatballs
• Olive Oil Ricotta Cake with Lemon Glaze

The only one that I probably wouldn't make again was the Cheddar Swirl Breakfast Buns. While tasty (when isn't bread and melted cheese?), they were extremely time-consuming. Also, the last step was to coat the tops in melted butter and I just couldn't do it (I have an aversion to melted butter). Sadly, it's really necessary to making them look appetizing, so I was a little put off by their pasty appearance. In reality, I'd probably just make myself a grilled cheese sandwich next time.

The Eggplant and 3-Cheese Calzone was one of the best! Since I was sick the night we had this, Mike actually made it while I assisted (read the recipe and handed him the tools). It was really flavorful and tasty and not at all difficult (and was the first time I've ever made anything with eggplant). Since we were running late we ended up using store-bought pizza dough, which was the only down-side.
Unknown Orange Squash
We made the Spaghetti Squash and Black Bean Tacos in January at my dad's house because they don't eat a lot of meat. Another quick and easy dish. We didn't actually use spaghetti squash since we didn't have any, but I don't think it really matters (and to make it really simple - we just used canned black beans). We paired it with the Cabbage / Cucumber Slaw from the book, which I've now made 3-4 times.

Squash Tacos, with Feta, Avocado and the Cabbage/Cucumber Slaw

The Almond Date Breakfast Bars were delicious. My sister Sara made them first and gave me a good tip about buying the pre-diced date pieces. It saves a lot of work as cutting sticky dates is not fun. They have also been a great addition to the granola I make. I didn't have any almond butter on hand so I substituted peanut butter. The only thing I noticed is that they were a little crumbly. Next time I'll do the second "chilling" in the fridge that Deb recommends. I ended up throwing these in a cup with some plain yogurt and eating it at my desk for breakfast. It traveled well and paired perfectly with the yogurt.

The Sesame-spiced Turkey Meatballs are probably my favorite recipe in the book so far. At least, I've made them the most. They are so easy, and incredibly light and flavorful. We just pair them with hummus, pita, feta and chopped cucumber. Sara made them with the recommended Smashed Chickpea salad, which she said was delicious. Her only complaint on the salad was that the recipe didn't make enough, so her suggestion is to double it.

Lastly, the Olive Oil Ricotta cake... so lovely. It's a really simple cake, but as Deb says, it's really flexible. The recipe includes instructions for a Grape Coulis, but I don't tend to keep Concord Grapes on hand, so I went with her "cooking note" alternative: the lemon glaze.
This cake will be made again.

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