“Deb Perelman is the no-nonsense girlfriend who tells you what’s what in the kitchen. The one who always knows exactly what you’re in the mood for, how to make the best version of it, and, most important, how to save you from screwing it up. . . . You’ll be smitten, indeed.” —Amanda Hesser, co-founder of Food52.com and author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook
The long-awaited cookbook by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen—home cook, photographer, and celebrated food blogger.
Deb Perelman loves to cook. She isn’t a chef or a restaurant owner—she’s never even waitressed. Cooking in her tiny Manhattan kitchen was, at least at first, for special occasions—and, too often, an unnecessarily daunting venture. Deb found herself overwhelmed by the number of recipes available to her. Have you ever searched for the perfect birthday cake on Google? You’ll get more than three million results. Where do you start? What if you pick a recipe that’s downright bad?
So Deb founded her award-winning blog, Smitten Kitchen, on the premise that cooking should be a pleasure, and that the results of your labor can—and should—be delicious . . . every time. Deb is a firm believer that there are no bad cooks, just bad recipes. She has dedicated herself to creating and finding the best of the best and adapting the recipes for the everyday cook.
And now, with the same warmth, candor, and can-do spirit her blog is known for, Deb presents her first cookbook: more than 100 recipes—almost entirely new, plus a few favorites from the site—all gorgeously illustrated with hundreds of her beautiful color photographs.
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is all about approachable, uncompromised home cooking. Here you’ll find better uses for your favorite vegetables: asparagus blanketing a pizza; ratatouille dressing up a sandwich; cauliflower masquerading as pesto. These are recipes you’ll bookmark and use so often they become your own, recipes you’ll slip to a friend who wants to impress her new in-laws, and recipes with simple ingredients that yield amazing results in a minimum amount of time. Deb tells you her favorite summer cocktail; how to lose your fear of cooking for a crowd; and the essential items you need for your own kitchen. From salads and slaws that make perfect side dishes (or a full meal) to savory tarts and galettes; from Mushroom Bourguignon to Chocolate Hazelnut Crepe Cake, Deb knows just the thing for a Tuesday night, or your most special occasion.
Deb Perelman is a self-taught home cook and photographer; and the creator of SmittenKitchen.com, an award-winning blog with a focus on stepped-up home cooking through unfussy ingredients. In previous iterations of her so-called career, she’s been a record store shift supervisor, a scrawler of “happy birthday” on bakery cakes, an art therapist, and a technology reporter. She likes her current gig—the one where she wakes up and cooks whatever she feels like that day—the best. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is her first book. Deb lives in New York City with her husband and delicious baby son.
From our Q&A with the author
Q: How did Smitten Kitchen come about?
A: I’ve always been a somewhat obsessive collector of what I considered perfect recipes, ones that exceeded expectations every time. I started the site as a place to share them, be it the ne plus ultra banana bread or yellow layer cake or best tomato sauce you could make from really average tomatoes. I expected the site to last six months; at the time, that seemed the half-life of most weblogs and I saw no reason that a food blog from a non-chef with no particularly clear cooking philosophy (eh, besides “okay sure why not I’ll make some pasta today”) would resonate with people. I was surprised, and remain surprised, that there are so many people out there that are looking for what I am—recipes that work using accessible, unfancy ingredients that quickly become your new favorite things to cook.
Q: Where did you learn how to cook and what is your background?
A: I’m not a trained chef; I’ve never been to cooking school. I’ve never even waited tables but that’s probably for the best because I’m a huge klutz and I bet diners don’t like that. It may not make for an exciting tell-all one day, but I just really like to cook and I’ve learned through trial and error, figuring out what I like and what was a total waste of my time. That said, I think I got my good attitude about cooking from my mom; my mother didn’t start cooking until she got married but she was fearless in the face of yeast breads, elaborate cakes, croissants and stocks. So, I never had any reason to believe you couldn’t pull them off at home.
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