Thursday, March 28th, 2013 at 11:18 pm

The Cooking Chronicles: Back to Smitten Kitchen

After a few weeks away from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, I returned to it again for dinner inspiration. The recipes didn’t work as well as I’d have hoped, but they did get us out of our routine!

Tomato-Glazed Meatloaves

We loved Deb’s recipe for baked chicken meatballs (which we have made more than a few times), so this week, decided to try the tomato-glazed meatloaves in the book.

We were a bit surprised at how many pots and bowls this recipe required, given Deb’s proclamation on her blog of her aversion to unnecessary dishes. I didn’t think the food processor was necessary, as well as the extra step of cooking the vegetables. I also decided against the extra step of browning the butter and just made regular mashed potatoes.

Unfortunately, the Sunshine Organic beef was probably too lean for this recipe, given it didn’t call for the inclusion of ground pork, bacon, or anything with a bit of fat. As a result, the flavour was lacking in the meatballs themselves. The silver lining was the tomato glaze – I loved the sweetness, and in the future, I would likely double the amount of glaze.

Tomato-Glazed Meatloaves

Tomato-glazed meatloaves over mashed potatoes

Linguine with Cauliflower Pesto

Deb’s recipe for linguine with cauliflower pesto was intriguing. A “sauceless” pasta, it involved putting together a pesto made of raw cauliflower crumbs, garlic, red pepper flakes, almonds, Parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, olive oil and sherry vinegar.

I’ve never handled cauliflower in this way before – pulsing it in the food processor to create couscous-like crumbs. They were light and airy, as the recipe promised.

Linguine with Cauliflower Pesto

Cauliflower crumbs

The pesto wasn’t as cohesive as traditional pestos, though I’m sure I could have added more pasta water to encourage the sauce along. But I was hoping the cauliflower flavour would come through a bit more – it was overwhelmed by the ground almonds. It probably also could have used a bit more acid or a sprinkling of fresh herbs for some pop.

Linguine with Cauliflower Pesto

Linguine with cauliflower pesto

With some tweaking though, this recipe would make a great casual vegetarian entree.