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4.8 out of 5 stars
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
I've been on a bit of a recipe book kick recently, so I was curious to read what the fuss was over the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. It's based on the author's blog. While many of the specific recipes in here aren't online, you can often find similar ones online. So why buy this book? Well, it has a few things going for it.

First, the recipes are interesting and well executed. Each comes with its own back story (often involving her mother) and each generally comes with multiple pictures depicting the recipe at different stages. That's a great idea that I wish more books did. Yes, it's important to know what the final product should look like, but it's also helpful to know what it should look like halfway through the recipe. It's true that many of these intermediate pictures are on the smaller side, but something is better than nothing. The recipes themselves are generally intermediate in difficulty and don't use too many exotic ingredients, so they should be accessible to most home cooks.

There are a lot of breakfast recipes (17), a lot of lunch recipes (24), a reasonable number of main dishes (25, half of which are vegetarian), and a LOT of dessert recipes (40 cake, cookie, pie, snacks, and drink recipes). Perelman's northern European Jewish heritage shines through in many classic traditional Jewish recipes such as challah bread or potato latkes (one of my favorite recipes in the book). She adds a dash of international flavors, heavy on the Mediterranean ones, to round out her recipes. So it's a good mix of comfort foods and more modern cuisine. She rounds out the book with some basic tips that are generally quite helpful (measuring, equipping your kitchen, and common names or substitutions for some ingredients).

For me, the only negatives are that I don't need so many vegetarian recipes (although many can be adapted as side dishes) and I always like having nutritional values with recipes. The maple bacon biscuits or the runny-egg topped latkes are both really appealing, but I'm betting neither sets a new health standard for breakfasts. Still, common sense can give you an idea of which recipes are healthier (usually the Mediterranean-inspired ones), so it's not enough to keep me from giving this book 5-stars. More than just a collection of recipes, you get a lot of stories and some very valuable cooking tips along the way.

If you're not sure about her style of cooking you could always try out some of the free recipes on her blog and then get the book if you like what you taste. Personally, I do like her style of cooking and I'm quite pleased at reading yet another great recipe book this fall. More and more, with books like this one (as well as some others I've recently enjoyed), it's becoming easier and more fun to be a competent home cook! Which is a great thing if you love to cook good food, and an even better thing if you like to eat it!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2012
As an avid follower of the Smitten Kitchen Blog, I've been looking forward to this cookbook for awhile. The minute I got it, I read it, and I've never read a cookbook before. The is an excellent balance of recipes in this book, especially for someone with a vegetarian husband. Usually when I buy a cookbook, the majority of it I cannot use because they are all meat dishes. But this book actually has balance and provides actual vegetarian MEALS, not just side dishes.

There is also a good balance of complexity - with everything from easy slow cooker meals (Black Bean Ragout, YUM) and quick weekday sandwiches to complicated desserts. So far, everything I've tried has turned out the way it is supposed to which is something I've always loved about her blog. I hate to put a whole bunch of time and ingredients into something only to have it turn out badly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2013
I borrow many cookbooks from the library, but I wanted to buy The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. It has so many good new recipes, but several old standbys as well.
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on April 1, 2013
I've never read the Smitten Kitchen blog. I had heard about it, but I already follow too many blogs, I didn't think I could add another one to my way-to-long list! BUT I had heard about the SK cookbook and decided to check it out. It is a stunning cookbook with very creative, wholesome, containing regular ingredients, recipes. Raspberries and ricotta in a scone?! Genius!

Recipes that I've fallen in love with so far: The Whole Wheat Raspberry and Ricotta Scone, the Miso Asian Slaw Salad (forget the actual name of this recipe), and the Cheese Puffs that are made with a pipping bag (clearly I also forget this recipe's name).

Overall, a great cookbook. So great, that it's inspired me to start following the SK blog too!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2012
I had pre-ordered this book as soon as it was available and it came a little while ago. Had a chance to make a couple of the recipes and I love Deb's warm and chatty writing style. Great pictures, great recipes. One of my favorite bloggers of all time
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2014
Food porn at its best. Interesting, lively writing combined with good food. I have taste- tested several recipes (the grilled cheese with sweet and sour onion is delicious) and look forward to working my way through the rest.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2012
This book feels like Deb poured her soul into it. Amazing and heartfelt like her blog. Great instructions and helpful tips. Beautiful photos. A must-buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2013
I love the her blog and the book is a continuation of great recipes. Nice pictures and good easy to follow descriptions make this book one I will use time and again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2013
Recettes avec des mesures et des indications claires et précises qui permettent de réussir à tout coup les fabuleuses recettes proposées.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2013
Just a great book... easy to read, easy to follow instructions, and great recipes that mirror the author's web site.
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