Gut Check sure likes to dine out -- lucky for us, it's in the job description -- but we love to reach into the kitchen drawer to try out a recipe or two, too. More often than not, our cursor clicks over to the Smitten Kitchen cooking and baking blog for some inspiring domestic advice spelled out in detailed steps, complete with charming anecdotes and almost unfair photographs demonstrating the process and illustrating the end goal. True, our food never looks quite as beautiful as Perelman's, but with her helpful instructions, it at least tastes great.
This past fall, author Perelman reached beyond the computer screen and planted her years of self-taught findings into physical print with The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. On Friday, March 1, she brings her book tour to Left Bank Books (321 North 10th Street; 314-436-3049). At 7 p.m., she'll discuss and sign copies of the cookbook, available for purchase at Left Bank Books. Read on for a short Q&A with Perelman. Click through to enter to win a copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook!
Update: Congrats to commenter kpbakery, who submitted the winning comment. We're pretty smitten with the idea of salted caramel tuxedo brownies, too.
Gut Check: How's the tour been going so far?
Deb Perelman: The whole thing has been totally mind blowing. I find it all to be so surreal. I've been doing my web site for six and a half or seven years and have just been on my side of the laptop, so it's been crazy to be out there and meet everyone.
How long did it take to develop the recipes for your book? Was it a lot of trial and error?
I started the proposal and planning of the recipes in the summer of 2009, and the book came out in fall of 2012, so really a few years. It was definitely a lot of trial and error. My nature is to work really slowly, and then I had a baby in the middle of it all. It's hilarious if you have a child because you can't really get anything else done in that first year. I'm not sorry that I took my time, resisting the idea that most books are finished in six to nine months. It's not in my nature at all to rush. My first priority has always been the site and keeping it updated.
I've read that the inspiration behind starting your blog was to have a set of perfect recipes to go to. How do you determine what's "perfect" in your eyes?
Usually, I start with something specific and try to get that to happen in the kitchen. Maybe I don't like meatloaf and try to find a way to make it that I'd enjoy, or I wonder if I could make a salsa that isn't aggressively sweet or try to make homemade caramel that doesn't get lost in the brownie. If it works, I'm happy with it. If it works and it's too difficult, I go back to the drawing board and it gets tabled for streamlining later on down the line. After doing research, I go into the kitchen, stick the the best theory on the fridge with a magnet and from there refine and tweak to get it right.
Any favorite recent food finds?
This week, I tried to make a french onion quiche. There's not a lot of produce in late winter so I began to play around with things I had on hand like onions, butter and cheese. In the book, there's a recipe for french onion toast that stretches into a meal, so it's a similar idea to that using caramelized onions with broiled cheese on top.
Click through to enter to win a copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook!
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