I received a reviewer copy of Deb Perelman’s The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook right after Hurricane Sandy. Needless to say, it's taken me a few weeks to get to it. First know this, Deb is not an allergen-free baker nor recipe creator. She is a fellow blogger who has been writing and cooking out of her small NYC kitchen for several years now, turning out gorgeous pictures and gorgeous food, with humor and seemingly without effort. Her new tome (The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook), has the same tone as her blog: a If I Can Do This And I’m An Un-trained Cook, So Can You. It has great pictures and step by steps, some lovely ideas, some new takes on old favorites and some naturally allergen-friendly finds. It also is a mix of a few recipes from her blog and mostly news ones created just for the book. From her website (with the recipe I’m dying to try ):
“The book has 105-plus recipes, with chapters devoted to Breakfasts, Salads, Sandwiches, Tarts and Pizzas, Meatless Main Courses, Main Courses with Meat or Fish, and oh yes, a whole lot of Sweets, from Cookies to Pies to Tarts to Cakes and Candies and Puddings…The recipes are overwhelmingly completely and totally new — I was a little obsessed with making sure this book had value to everyone, even if you’ve never missed a site update, so only about 15 favorites were plucked from this url, essentially things that no book bearing the name The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook would be complete without. There are a ton of photos (at least one for each recipe), stories, and every single recipe includes ingredients in both cups-and-spoons and metric weights. When you open the book on your kitchen counter, it should stay open (it’s called lay-flat binding, and I specifically requested, nay, begged for it). And I really hope you love it."
To give the book a test drive, I made Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats. I’m a sucker for the regular old Krispie Treats from the box recipe. Since becoming wheat intolerant seven years ago, I’ve made that classic recipe a few times with a few different safe GF brands: Enjoy Life has a cereal now discontinued, Kellogg’s came out with their GF rice krispies (which I reacted to and they discontinued) but Erewhon has an organic GF brown rice cereal that I've used consistently and with excellent results.
Doubling and browning the butter is one new twist to this trusted classic. It deepened and darkened the overall tone said my regular-diet recipe taster. But we both felt it was the addition of salt (I used Celtic sea salt) that pushed this recipe into "Huh"-land, as in, "Huh, that’s interesting. Can I have some more?" Salt added to sweetness makes it a more tempered, slightly dressier affair; what is usually sickly sweet, in the best most delicious sense, for an adult palate, becomes richer and ready to sit at the adult table with salt.
Great job, Deb! Looking forward to diving into The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook further.