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Monday, June 1, 2020
 
Good morning!

Smitten Kitchen took a social media break this weekend -- given the devastating, enraging events of the last week, it was neither the time to talk about shortcakes nor were they near my thoughts. I almost never talk about “politics” on SK because I like cooking to be an escape and I've never had my mind changed about who I was going to vote for in the headnote of a sheet cake recipe. I also don't consider myself an authority figure, a teacher, a leader, on how other people should think -- nor do I wish to be. It would be a very uncomfortable position for me when I have so little figured out, and so much learning to do. I can only tell you what I usually do on Monday morning -- what life looks like from here. 

My street in NYC has many smashed storefronts and as we went by them on Sunday, I explained to my son (he's 10; we use simpler language with the 4yo) that it's essential we're not more concerned about property that can be repaired than human lives that cannot be. I told him that when systems break down -- and a system is broken when having black skin makes people the target of excessive police force, or is used to deny a presumption of guilt before innocence, as happened in the killing of George Floyd -- people will and should exercise their legal, protected right to protest, and while there will always be a tiny subset who use crowds as an excuse to be destructive (I saw it firsthand from my balcony the last two nights), we cannot let this distract us from the important message of the other 99%. And I told him about some of the causes we give to [like the ACLU and The Bail Project] because we consider these investments in a more just future, in the same way we hope talking to him about his place in, and responsibility to, the world around him will be something he takes with him.

And now I really want to cook again. We had a weekend of unmemorable takeout and it's left me famished for something real. Below, a few relatively quick, simple, early summer vegetarian favorites that I hope will restart us, plus two sweets we need right now, we just do.

Hope you're staying healthy and well-fed, 
Deb
 
 
FRESH AND NEW
 
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New: I found my platonic ideal of a summer bean salad --one that keeps well, getting better as it marinates, and travels fantastically to anyplace your socially distanced summer might let you safely escape to -- in a new Southern cookbook that celebrates the stories behind the recipes it shares.
 
 
SIMPLE SUMMER VEGETARIAN
 
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This in a foil packet on the grill + some hearty olive oil-brushed bread, grilled and rubbed with a clove of garlic + a glass of rosé with a couple ice cubes clinking around in it = how we're going to do a weeknight around here.
 
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Who likes dinners you can make in 15 minutes? Me me me! Classic eggs in purgatory with a sauce that's more puttanesca (spicy and bright) than the usual marinara. Make, eat, and keep the recipe in your back pocket for the next time you want a perfect quick-fix meal.
 
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My favorite way to eat burrata (butterflied!) and my new favorite thing to put on top of it, a mixture of grilled and fresh sugar snaps, finished with lemony crumbs, mint, and as much chile heat as your heart desires. 
 
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Quick Pasta and Chickpeas (Pasta e Ceci): A 20-minute, 5-ingredient (I bet all 5 are in your kitchen right now), abundantly flavorful dish that I cannot resist adding one slightly crispy and dramatically sizzling finish to. This wants to go directly into your weekly rotation.
 
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Broccoli rubble (crunchy bits quick-cooked with a sinus-clearing volume of garlic, pepper flakes, lemon zest, juice and pecorino) are draped with a slice of provolone and broiled until blistered and collapsed in the weeknight savior of an open-face sandwich we make as often as we can.
 
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A bodega-style egg-and-cheese sandwich I make at home that's dead simple and takes approximately 3 minutes to make, while promising that the cheese inside will always be melty and spectacular -- hooray.
 
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All the flavors of a great ratatouille in a gorgeous summer tart.
 
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Pan-crisped chickpeas on top of blistered lemony zucchini on top of a salty garlic yogurt sauce, finished with herbs and more lemon juice is one of my favorite things to make for lunch. It serves exactly one person. You're welcome.
 
low-fuss sweets
 
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In which I took a perfectly good apple betty and swapped in strawberries, dark brown sugar, browned butter, and made them individually sized. With Wonder Bread. I regret nothing.
 
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Did you know that deadly good butterscotch, butterscotch so transcendent it might bring tears to your eyes, is ridiculously easy to make? Five ingredients + five minutes on the stove = we just can’t. You're going to have to for us.
 
 
 
I think you'd love them both.
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