January 31, 2013

Pin It Smitten Kitchen - Cook the Books Guest Posts

January, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, done! It was a great month of new recipes and culinary challenges. As promised, I'm going to share some of the recipes my friends and family tried during the month from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.
Kristen posted about her delicious Honey and Harissa Farro Salad on her blog. It looked simple, healthy and amazing. Good work Kristen!
Photo Courtesy of Kristen.
My sister Leah was my inspiration to make this recipe. She tried out Smitten Kitchen's Sesame-Spiced Turkey Meatballs and made her own version of  smashed chickpeas. Leah's notes are below:

I made Deb's Sesame-Spiced Turkey Meatballs from her book. 
I deviated a little from the recipe in that I used dried breadcrumbs instead of fresh ones (who does that to perfectly good bread? I guess if you have stale bread you could make your own).  I also didn't used Aleppo pepper because I don't know what it is. The first time I made this recipe, I toasted the sesame-seeds but I was too lazy this time to do that and it totally tasted the same. While browning the meatballs (before you put them in the oven to bake) it is hard not to add too much oil, you don't want to fry them, just to brown them.
It is also difficult to get their sides brown because they are pretty soft and tend to get a little square in the process of browning them. It was also kind of little stressful to make sure that the internal temperature is 165 degrees, I have a candy thermometer but I was paranoid about under cooking them.
Once I put the meatballs in the oven to bake I made my hybrid version of Deb's Smashed Chickpeas and a really yummy dish we had this summer at Pintox Bar in the amazing La Boqueria Market in Barcelona. In a small pot, I browned a clove of garlic with a little bit of nice olive oil.  I put two cans of rinsed chickpeas in the pot with a cup and a half of chicken stock, ground in some fresh black pepper (I love my pepper ball!) and a tiny bit of lemon juice (a teaspoon).  I let it simmer on medium-low for about twenty minutes, checking to see if the chicken stock had been absorbed. I took it off the heat and added a little more of the nice olive oil (half a tablespoon), sprinkled in some kosher salt and chopped fresh parsley. Then I got to smashing the chickpeas with a wooden spoon.

To assemble a healthy pita, I got some whole wheat pitas and yummy tzatziki-feta sauce at Trader Joe's. The only thing I would add in the future is some freshly chopped lettuce and a juicy slice of tomato. 
It was super good and we were even excited to have it as leftovers the next day!

My friend Bonnie also tried out some recipes from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook this month.  Here are her notes and photos on Deb's pizza dough:

I made Smitten Kitchen's Leisurely Pizza Dough. I've never tried to make pizza dough before because it's less than $2.00 at the store. But, I've been trying to make things with yeast lately, so I thought I'd give it a try. And I'm glad I did! While it does take a lot of down time to come together, the homemade dough is a lot softer and easier to manage that the store bought dough. I had a much easier time getting a super thin crust. The crust had a really good bread-y flavor and it cooked through much faster. I would definitely like to try making this dough again and doubling or tripling it to have a pizza dough handy in the freezer.
We topped our pizza with sauteed greens, mozzarella balls and prosciutto.

Thanks for sharing and for participating! Next up for February: Joy the Baker, 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes.
Another signed cookbook. We talked about how I made her salted caramel cheesecake for New Year's a few years ago, nbd. 
Tom's not the biggest sweet breakfast person but I'd be willing to bet that if I made these I wouldn't be eating the whole batch by myself.
Love me some homemade granola
Mmmm, may have to try my hand at bread pudding this month.
The cookbook for the following month hasn't been picked yet but I'm going to try out an new challenge for March, so expect it to be gluten-free! I figured it would be a good change after a baking-heavy month.  I imagine that it will be super tough (Tom loves burritos and pizzas and I love cookies) but I'm hoping for some great new recipes and a little test in food self-control. 

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