Friday, March 8, 2013

So. Much. Food.

With the March Madness cooking spree I'm on, I'd like to extend an invitation to anyone in need (or want) of a home-cooked meal. Come over. Please. Help us eat all the food I've been cooking. I've already played delivery-lady and handed out food to all my neighbors (because it's totally normal to bring cheddar cheese rolls to someone's house as an unsolicited gift). And yet, our fridge is still full. Thankfully, it has (mostly) been extremely yummy.

So far, The Smitten Kitchen cookbook is a complete winner. We tried seven different recipes this week and only one of them was something I wouldn't make again. First week highlights include homemade gnocchi (way easier than I thought it would be) and something I never thought I'd follow a recipe for: mashed potatoes. My husband is a true connoisseur of mashed potatoes, and I came downstairs to find him alternating between stirring the pot of nearly finished potatoes and licking the spoon. He responded to my "are-you-serious?" look by simply asking, "Can we please eat? These are amazing." The recipe was for browned-butter mashed potatoes and tomato glazed meatloaves. I've never used browned butter before and was a bit worried that all I was really doing was burning it, but the delicious mound of potatoes said otherwise. If mashed potatoes can taste way better than, well, mashed potatoes, these did.

The only true lowlight so far has been a pasta dish (which sure looked tasty before we dove in). The recipe was for cauliflower pesto linguine, and even though there seemed like there should have been a lot of great flavor in it (roasted almonds, Romano cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley), it was as bland as can be. I normally wouldn't even have tried something calling for cauliflower pesto (I prefer to eat my cauliflower as, well, cauliflower), but on this cooking venture, I've decided to branch out and choose recipes I normally wouldn't have gravitated towards. It's worked out in our favor so far - with the exception of the weird, flavorless pasta, of course.

I'm holding off on a full critique of the cookbook until the end of my cooking escapade. But for now, I can say I'm really impressed. The recipes we've tried have been truly terrific.

1. Mustard Milanese with arugula fennel salad: A bit too much mustard for someone who's not a huge fan, but the mustard-loving hubby really enjoyed it
2. Cheddar swirl breakfast buns: Delicious. Since Lauren has a weird "no melted cheese for breakfast" thing, these will be more like dinner rolls for us in the future. And yes, I actually took half the batch to a neighbors house.
3. Gnocchi in tomato broth: Excellent. Easier than expected and no strange materials were needed (the recipe avoided a food mill/ricer by using a box grater).
4. Tomato glazed meatloaves with brown butter mashed potatoes: Amazing. The mashed potatoes were stupidly good.
5. Emmentealer on rye with sweet and sour red onions: Soooo good... even the "I don't really like grilled cheese" man in the house loved it.
6. Linguine with cauliflower pesto: The only miss so far. I think the cauliflower really muted the other flavors in this dish and it came out as a boring, flavorless pile of noodles.
7. Gooey cinnamon squares: These are really good. It is a very unique dessert that's not quite cake (too gooey), not brownie (it's not chocolate) but some delicious place in between. The non-chocolate brownie, perhaps.


  1. I love brown butter so much. I made a butternut squash macaroni and cheese with brown butter and it was bomb.