Books to Give and to Get
Five years since the release of the award-winning The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (Alfred A. Knopf, 2012), food blogger Deb Perelman of her ever-popular site Smitten Kitchen has published her much-anticipated second cookbook: Smitten Kitchen Every Day (Alfred A. Knopf, 2017). Perelman strives “against drudgery,” offering triumphant recipes that are not available elsewhere. Lighthearted recipe intros provide insight and welcome you right into Perelman’s home kitchen. Recipes are accompanied by her own mouthwatering food photography.
The book is formatted into eight main categories including breakfast, meat mains and sweets, with recipes such as Breakfast Potato Skins and Meatballs Marsala. Perelman knew to “go slab or go home” with her Pecan Slab Pie, baked to perfection with a pecan, rich chocolate and bourbon filling. She challenges culinary convention again with Meatballs Marsala, made with ground chicken and served with egg noodles and chives.
Though her cookbook is not a health-cautious manual, Perelman’s keeps dietary preferences and restrictions in mind by including a guide for special menus at the back of the book. Whether you are craving a savory breakfast, sweet dessert or warm winter soup, Smitten Kitchen Every Day may be the only book needed for the everyday cook.
A special kind of cookbook transports you into someone else’s life and kitchen—Annemarie Ahearn’s Full Moon Suppers at Salt Water Farm (Roost Books, 2017) does just that. Ahearn has anthologized her favorite recipes from more than 100 Full Moon Suppers hosted on her farm in Maine. She presents a seasonal menu for each month of the year, featuring a cocktail, amuse-bouche, appetizer, vegetable, protein (from land or sea) and dessert, along with useful advice for hosting dinner parties.
Enchanting photographs of each dish by Kristin Teig complement images of Salt Water Farm that bookend each menu. Though each Full Moon recipe collection might be an overwhelming undertaking for the everyday cook, individual courses easily stand alone as seasonal meals.
Not quite quick enough for a busy weekday, Chestnut Soup and Red Wine Braised Chicken are delightfully cozy weekend projects. Meanwhile, recipes like Chive Blossom Fritters and Scarlet Runner Beans with harissa and preserved lemon offer inspiration for how to use those novel ingredients from the farmers market. Ahearn’s dessert recipes are also reliable additions to the seasoned baker’s handbook, with ample room for improvisation with method and flavor (try a hint of cardamom and lemon zest in the Cornmeal Shortcakes next summer).