Smitten Kitchen

Thank goodness for leap year 2016!  It means one more day of February and one more day to add another recipe from Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen cookbook.  I knew I wanted to make one more dish but I was going to be gone all weekend.  As luck would have it I came home a little early and in time to cook again with Deb.

While I was out of town I visited my fave Vietnamese grocery and found a huge, HUGE, bag of fresh oyster mushrooms.  I always love browsing in  Vinh Phat Market.  So many wonderful flavors and spices and noodles and other foods that I cannot find in Podunk, USA.

While I had planned to make the eggplant and three cheese calzone these ‘shrooms swayed me toward the tart instead.


For the crust:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 large egg
For the filling:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced {I used 1/4 of a medium yellow onion.}
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound assorted wild mushrooms (such as shiitake or oyster), torn into small pieces*
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup freshly grated Provolone cheese  {Gruyere would be good here, too.}
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Crust:  Put  the flour, cornmeal and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Add in the butter. Pulse until the butter is the size of tiny peas. Add the egg and process until the dough starts to clump together (it will look like wet sand). Dump the dough onto a floured surface and use your hands to bring it together. Roll out the dough to a 12-inch circle Transfer the dough to a 9-inch tart pan and press the dough against the bottom and sides. Remove the excess dough from the top. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and put in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.  By doing this you don’t need to prebake and the crust will not be soggy.

Filling:  set a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter. When the butter is melted, add the shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 to 3 minutes, until soft. Add in the garlic and thyme and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Increase the heat to medium high and add in the mushrooms (if the mushrooms won’t all fit in your skillet, add as many as you can and as they cook down you’ll be able to add more to the pan). Cook for about 9 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and the liquid has evaporated. Stir in ½ teaspoon salt and pepper (to taste). Transfer to a plate to cool.

In a medium bowl, add the mascarpone. Slowly pour in the milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the eggs. Add in the Provolone and Parmesan and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Add in the cooled mushrooms and mix to combine.

Carefully pour the mixture into the tart shell. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until slightly puffed and lightly golden brown on the top (if you insert the tip of a small knife into the center, it should not release any wet custard). Let the tart cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan to serve. Serve warm or at room temperature.  (Better at room temp rather than just out of the oven.)

I made two changes.  After coming home from the store I realized I had forgotten the Mascarpone.  I didn’t really want to drive to the store again so I found a substitute recipe for it (especially since I only needed 1/4 cup).  It worked surprisingly well. I also couldn’t find grated Provolone so I simply lined the tart crust with slices of Provolone.  Still lots of flavor in each bite. And there was melted cheese on the bottom.

This was SOOO good.  Lots of flavor in the filling.  I think when I make it again I will add some Parmesan to the crust as well.  Or maybe some Asiago.  Or some Romano.  The crust was kind of bland.  But I liked the extra texture the cornmeal added.  I think adding some cheese would simply enhance the flavor of the overall tart.  If you love ‘shrooms you really need to make this!

I made the whole amount of the recipe and had enough for the rectangular tart and a 4″ mini.


Thanks to Cook Book Countdown I have made 4 more of Deb’s recipes.  Now, about the other 15….

The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen by deb Perelman  (page 95).  I also found the recipe on line at cook nourish bliss.

I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2) Foray.



Have you ever read through a cookbook and a recipe title just reached out and grabbed you? You KNOW you have to make it immediately? Yeah?  Me, too!

And this one – buttered popcorn cookies – from the Smitten Kitchen cook book was haunting me.  Calling out to me from the book sitting on the kitchen counter. Entering my dreams!!

All the ingredients were sitting in the pantry.  It seemed a shame not to make them after all their effort to get my attention.  So I did!


Sorta like eating caramel corn.  Sorta.  They were crispy and sweet with just a tad of salty from the popcorn.  They were good.

I made a couple of changes.  Subbed in some WW flour for the AP.  Used Splenda for the granulated sugar.  Used microwave popcorn (cause that’s all I had and didn’t want to go the store yet again).

If you are using bagged popcorn: place 2 Tbl veggie oil and 1/4 cup popcorn kernels in a saucepan over medium-high heat and pot until all the kernels have become popcorn. (about 6 – 8 minutes depending on your stove).  Toss with salt and 1 Tbl melted butter. You will need 4 – 4 1/2 cups total.

If you use microwave popcorn: use the buttered and use 4 – 4/12 cups of what you pop.

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup Splenda (instead of granulated)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup AP flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour  (Deb called for 1 1/4 cup AP flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Pop the popcorn and let cool.

Cream the butter, brown sugar, Splenda, egg and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth.

Sift together the flours and baking soda then add to the sugar/butter mix.

Mix in the popcorn.  Deb said fold it in but it worked better to work it in gently with my hands because the butter/sugar batter is rather stiff.  Some of the popcorn will break up but that’s okay.

Place heaping Tbl of the batter on parchment lined cookie sheets about 2″ apart and bake for 10 – 12 minutes (mine took 13) at 350 degrees.  Let them sit on the sheet for a few minutes so they firm up before placing them on racks to cool.

I ended up with 40 cookies.

The recipe is on page 195 of Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen. I am using this cookbook in the month of February for Cook Book Countdown.

“I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2) Foray.

For some reason The Man has been requesting biscuits with dinner – a lot.  We seldom ate biscuits with our meals.  Just not something we did.  We do now!  I usually make just a basic biscuit but I decided to try out something new.  I ended up with Deb’s maple bacon biscuits from her book Smitten Kitchen. {the book I am cooking from for February’s Cookbook Countdown.


What we have here is a biscuit filled with maple syrup and bacon pieces.  Are you drooling yet?  I have to admit The Man wasn’t sure about these when I described them but he didn’t complain when I served them.

The only change I made – I used 1/2 whole wheat flour in the mix instead of all AP flour.  It made for a little more chewyness.

I won’t put the recipe – you really need to get Deb’s book – but it is a basic  buttermilk biscuit recipe with 3 slices of crispy bacon and 1/4 cup maple sugar mixed in. Good Stuff!!!

“I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2) Foray.

I have roasted chickens.  Not often.  Not well.  But I have done it.  They take for ever.  I start them too late, have to cook them longer and we eat later.  NOT a good plan.  But now I have a better way to roast a chicken.  Spatchcock it!  And with Deb’s help from Smitten Kitchen this roasted chicken came out just fine.  Perfect in fact.


What is spatchcock you say? According to Wikipedia:

The spatchcock, also known as “spattlecock”,[1] is poultry or game that has been prepared for roasting or grilling by removing the backbone, and sometimes the sternum of the bird and flattening it out before cooking

And that is why it cooks so much quicker than a regular roasted chicken – the backbone is gone and the chicken is flat so there is more surface area.  And that means more crispy skin and more flavor as well.

I’ve seen several ‘recipes’ for spatchcocking but this is the first time I have tried it.  Won’t be the last.

First you remove the backbone from about a 3 lb chicken.  Not hard. Really.  Then you generously season with salt and pepper ‘inside’ and out.  Then lay it breast up in a large skillet or pan.  Spread some chopped red potatoes and peeled sweet potatoes {Deb said small yellow potatoes but I couldn’t find any and I like roasted sweet taters, too.}

Then you simply roast the chicken (450 degrees) until the temp reaches 30 – 45 minutes until it’s 165 degrees.  It took a little longer for mine but I had a 4 lb chicken.  So good.

Thanks Deb.  Her flat roasted chicken is on  page 171 of the smitten kitchen cookbook

“I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2) Foray.


Admit it.  You have more cookbooks than you actually use.  You read them.  You mark recipes.  You intend to go back and make. each. one.  But you don’t.  At least not all of them.  And don’t you just hate that.  Well here is the solution!

Joyce of Kitchen Flavors and Emily of Emily’s Cooking {Makan2} Foray have started Cookbook Countdown to solve that problem.  They started in January but I didn’t find it until late that month so decided to start in February.  And here we are, the first week of February and I am actually following through with my resolve to join and cook from a single underused cookbook each month – which is what Cookbook Countdown is all about.

For February I am using Deb Perelman’s the smitten kitchen cookbook.  You may know of Deb already from her website – Smitten Kitchen.  I have book marked so many of her recipes and not gone back to many.  Having the cookbook in front of me is old school.  And that’s me – Old School!!

To start the month I made her WHOLE LEMON BARS.


I don’t know about you but most of the lemon desserts I make just don’t have enough lemon flavor in them.  This one, however, blew me away with the deep and tart/sweet lemon flavor.  The reason for that?  Instead of just juice and zest Deb includes THE WHOLE LEMON!! Yes, the whole thing!!!

And it works.  Beautifully!  Tartly! Tastefully!

The lemons are sliced.  Extra pith is cut out and the rest of the lemon, sans seeds, is then processed into a puree with the sugar and the rest of the filling ingredients. What a great idea. Why didn’t I think of that when I was dissatisfied with wimpy lemon flavors??  Because I am not as creative as Deb. Which is why I love her cookbook.  So many flavors.  So many ‘out of the box’ {at least to me} flavor/ingredient combos.

Thanks Joyce and Emily for this easy solution to underused cookbooks.

The recipe is on page 217 of the smitten kitchen cookbook.  I also found it ONLINE.

“I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2) Foray.



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