Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 at 11:16 pm

The Cooking Chronicles: Smitten Kitchen

Usually for Christmas I am gifted a cookbook or two, and this year was no different. Mack bought me The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, the latest blog-to-page sensation. Although I had heard the name before, I hadn’t really actively explored her blog before. But after flipping through the book and browsing her extensive collection of online recipes, I can see why Deb Perelman has the extensive following that she does – I’m hooked, too!

It’s been just a few weeks since my quick introduction to Smitten Kitchen, but in that time, I’ve already made a few of her recipes, both from her book and her blog. And given the results, it won’t be long before more of her dishes make their way to our kitchen table.

Seared Cod and Gazpacho Salsa with Tomato Vinaigrette

As you’ve probably noticed, our favourite type of dishes are one-pot meals, both because of their simplicity and association with comfort. But Deb’s dish for seared halibut (we used cod), served with a simple salad and drizzled with a light vinaigrette proved we shouldn’t so easily overlook recipes that feature multiple components.

That said, the different components were quick and easy to pull together. To make the salsa, we combined chopped Doef’s tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers with some quick pickled Kuhlmann’s onions (only pickled because I didn’t have any sweet or red onions in the pantry) and parsley. To make the sauce, we blended a tomato with red wine vinegar, olive oil and seasoning. The Ocean Odyssey fish was simply seasoned, then seared.

Seared Cod

Seared cod and gazpacho salsa with tomato vinaigrette

The salsa was light and fresh, and surprisingly tasty even without any salt or pepper. But what really made the dish was the tomato vinaigrette. Sweet and tangy, it would be great on chicken too, though next time I would consider heating it just a bit, to bring it up to temperature with the fish.

Baked Chicken Meatballs

I clicked “Surprise Me!” on the side of Smitten Kitchen, and it led me to Deb’s recipe for baked chicken meatballs. I’d never used ground chicken for anything before, but as we found out, this is a good reason as any to do so!

As she suggested, we made entree-sized meatballs, and enjoyed them alongside a salad. What made them stand out was the sweet tomato paste glaze, and how moist they were (the panade really helped).

Chicken Meatballs

Baked chicken meatballs

For lunch a few days later, I used the leftovers to make us meatballs subs. Topping the subs with a homemade marinara sauce and shredded gouda, I did my best to toast the overflowing sandwiches with limited success.

Chicken Meatballs

Chicken meatball subs

The meatballs held up well, and Mack gave the sub a thumbs up. No doubt, this recipe will be bookmarked for future reference!