The Smitten Kitchen Cookbookby Deb Perelman
Winner of the IACP Julia Child First Book Award * Named one of Cooking Light magazine’s Top 100 Cookbooks of the Last 25 Years
The long-awaited cookbook by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen—home cook, photographer, and celebrated food blogger.
Deb Perelman loves to cook. She/b>
Winner of the IACP Julia Child First Book Award * Named one of Cooking Light magazine’s Top 100 Cookbooks of the Last 25 Years
The long-awaited cookbook by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen—home cook, photographer, and celebrated food blogger.
Deb Perelman loves to cook. She isn’t a chef or a restaurant owner—she’s never even waitressed. Cooking in her tiny Manhattan kitchen was, at least at first, for special occasions—and, too often, an unnecessarily daunting venture. Deb found herself overwhelmed by the number of recipes available to her. Have you ever searched for the perfect birthday cake on Google? You’ll get more than three million results. Where do you start? What if you pick a recipe that’s downright bad?
So Deb founded her award-winning blog, Smitten Kitchen, on the premise that cooking should be a pleasure, and that the results of your labor can—and should—be delicious . . . every time. Deb is a firm believer that there are no bad cooks, just bad recipes. She has dedicated herself to creating and finding the best of the best and adapting the recipes for the everyday cook.
And now, with the same warmth, candor, and can-do spirit her blog is known for, Deb presents her first cookbook: more than 100 recipes—almost entirely new, plus a few favorites from the site—all gorgeously illustrated with hundreds of her beautiful color photographs.
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is all about approachable, uncompromised home cooking. Here you’ll find better uses for your favorite vegetables: asparagus blanketing a pizza; ratatouille dressing up a sandwich; cauliflower masquerading as pesto. These are recipes you’ll bookmark and use so often they become your own, recipes you’ll slip to a friend who wants to impress her new in-laws, and recipes with simple ingredients that yield amazing results in a minimum amount of time. Deb tells you her favorite summer cocktail; how to lose your fear of cooking for a crowd; and the essential items you need for your own kitchen. From salads and slaws that make perfect side dishes (or a full meal) to savory tarts and galettes; from Mushroom Bourguignon to Chocolate Hazelnut Crepe Cake, Deb knows just the thing for a Tuesday night, or your most special occasion.
“[Deb’s recipes] deliver in a big showstopping way, which is why she’s my go-to for holiday entertaining.”
—Jenny Rosenstrach, author of Dinner: A Love Story
“The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is nothing short of stunning. Deb's photos are breathtaking, and her collection of recipes—a marvelous combination of familiar/reassuring and urban/daring—is just glorious. I had no idea how Deb could possibly outdo what she already does so beautifully on her website, but she has. The bar for cookbooks has officially been set.”
—Ree Drummond, author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks
“Deb Perelman is the no-nonsense girlfriend who tells you what's what in the kitchen. The one who always knows exactly what you're in the mood for, how to make the best version of it, and, most important, how to save you from screwing it up. Perelman is a little bossy, and a lot opinionated. But you adore her for it. She will do right by you when you need that potluck dish, that birthday cupcake. You'll soak up every word of her confident, amusing writing, you'll be beguiled by her gorgeous food photography—you'll be smitten, indeed.”
—Amanda Hesser, co-founder of Food52.com and author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook
“This is the book that every cook needs in their kitchen. Deb's obsession with getting it right, and her practical cooking tips garnered from cooking in a modest kitchen, ensure that anyone will have the same success that her millions of followers, including me, have come to expect. I want to cook each and every one of these recipes—right now!”
—David Lebovitz, author of The Sweet Life in Paris
“I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time. It is a 320-page gem of well-tested, beautifully photographed, wonderfully curated recipes. Part of the brilliance here is the range of inspiration—weeknight-friendly recipes, treats sure to win hearts and smiles, and plenty of family-style inspiration for potlucks and get-togethers.”
—Heidi Swanson, author of Super Natural Every Day (and 101cookbooks.com)
“Good news, everyone! The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook has arrived just in time. . . . Given how difficult it was to find a spare copy of the book, all of our mothers are about to be impressed.”
“As someone who spends way too much time online already, I’m delighted that Perelman has put her sumptuous recipes into a form that sits nicely on my kitchen counter. . . . A winner!”
—The Saturday Evening Post
“Perelman is the queen of food bloggers.”
“Deb Perelman's collection of recipes is mouth-watering. . . . [She] projects an inviting warmth and chattiness. She's funny . . . and self-deprecating enough to ease your culinary insecurities.”
—The Christian Science Monitor
“If you’re looking for some new spice in your diet or a quick, yet elegant dish to serve at a dinner party, try out The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. The results will be rewarding and impossible to resist.”
—Iowa State Daily
“Worth the wait.”
—The Boston Globe
“We've been admirers of Deb Perelman and her cooking blog Smitten Kitchen for years, and are stoked that her simple, elegant recipes and gorgeous photos have finally made their way into a cookbook. . . . With more than 300 photos taken by Perelman, chronicling everything from step-by-step how to's to beauty shots of the final dishes, the finished product looks as good as we're sure the recipes will taste.”
“It’s a lovely book to hold, to read—and to cook from.”
“[Deb] has the matter-of-factness of Mark Bittman, but the zing and eye for decadence of David Chang. Not to mention, the whole package looks as sumptuous as the dishes contained therein. . . . All the while, she writes like a good friend who just happens to be a whiz in the kitchen. Smitten is exactly what you’ll be by this book.”
One of “this fall’s best new cookbooks”
—The National Post
“A solid collection of interesting and useful recipes. . . . Includes lots of great general cooking knowledge that even veteran home cooks will appreciate.”
“This fearless home cook’s humorous anecdotes and delectable photos make for a food blog-gone-book that translates beautifully into any kitchen.’”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Two years ago I started reading (and devouring) the Smitten Kitchen blog. I have since made more than thirty of her recipes and have been waiting for her forthcoming first cookbook.”
—The Paris Review (blog)
“Perelman’s supremely helpful, visually stunning, wittily worded food blog really did deserve to be named one of 2011’s best blogs. . . . Perelman’s recipes are accessible but not Betty Crocker plain; this is fun, energized eating. Get it!”
“A blog with a wonderfully homey feel . . . [Perelman’s] creations are . . . mouthwatering.”
—Time, a Best Blog of 2011
“For four years, Deb Perelman has been blogging her cooking pursuits from her tiny New York City kitchen as a newlywed and then as a new mother. This is the result of hours spent perfecting her own recipes and interpreting those of the best food publications out there. Some of the recipes featured can be complicated, but you have Deb’s warm chatter, funny anecdotes, encyclopedic knowledge of food and cookbooks, cooking, and gorgeous photography getting you through it. She’s a farmers’ market shopper and hence her blog is completely seasonal, and archived that way as well. You'll see her tackle the impossible—a wedding cake—and the very simple, ‘How to Turn a Bucket of Cheap Tomatoes into a Perfect Pot of Sauce.’ Do we really have to wait until 2012 for the Smitten Kitchen cookbook?”
—Gwyneth Paltrow, on her blog GOOP
“Smitten Kitchen reads like a conversation with a witty friend who can recommend the perfect nosh for any occasion.”
—O, The Oprah Magazine
“Warm and encouraging, the photos are pure food porn, and the something-for-everyone recipes sound sublime.”
“Perelman’s thoughtful prose and sometimes humorous posts read like an e-mail from your best friend—only with better photos.”
—Better Homes and Gardens
“An enthusiastic kitchen amateur chronicles her adventures, offering a mix of easy recipes, smart and witty commentary, and beautiful photos.”
“One of our favorite cooking blogs . . . We are big fans of Deb Perelman—the founder, cook, writer, and photographer behind the whole operation—and her gorgeous food photos, simple recipes, and charming voice.”
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Read an Excerpt
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
By Deb Perelman
KnopfCopyright © 2012 Deb Perelman
All right reserved.
Tres Leches Rice Pudding
yield: serves 8
1 cup (180 grams) long-grain white rice
¾ teaspoon table salt
1 large egg
One 12-ounce can (1½ cups or 355 ml) evaporated milk
One 13.5-ounce can (17/8 cups or 415 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
One 14-ounce can (1¼ cups or 390 grams) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) heavy or whipping cream, chilled
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Ground cinnamon, to finish
My list of rice pudding loves is long. There’s the Danish risalamande, with chopped almonds, whipped cream, and a sour cherry sauce, usually served at Christmas with a prize inside—one that I never win, not that I’ve been trying for thirteen years at my best friend’s house or anything. There’s kheer, with cardamom, cashews or pistachios, and saffron. There’s rice pudding the way our grandmothers made it, baked for what feels like an eternity, with milk, eggs, and sugar. And there’s arroz con leche, which is kind of like your Kozy Shack went down to Costa Rica for a lazy weekend and came back enviously tan, sultry, and smelling of sandy shores. As you can tell, I really like arroz con leche.
But this—a riff on one of the best variants of arroz con leche I’ve made, which, in its original incarnation on my site, I adapted from Ingrid Hoffmann’s wonderful recipe—is my favorite, for two reasons: First, it knows me. (That’s the funny thing about the recipes I create!) It knows how preposterously bad I am at keeping stuff in stock in my kitchen, like milk, but that I seem always to have an unmoved collection of canned items and grains. Second, it’s so creamy that it’s like a pudding stirred into another pudding.
The rice is cooked first in water. I prefer to start my rice pudding recipes like this, because I’m convinced that cooking the rice first in milk takes twice as long and doesn’t get the pudding half as creamy. Also, it gives me a use for those cartons of white rice left over from the Chinese take- out I only occasionally (cough) succumb to. Then
you basically cook another pudding on top of it, with one egg and three milks—coconut, evaporated, and sweetened condensed—and the end result will be the richest and most luxurious rice pudding imaginable. But why stop there? For the times when the word “Enough!” has escaped your vocabulary, I recommend topping it with a dollop of cinnamon- dusted whipped cream, for the icing on the proverbial cake.
Pancetta, White Bean, and Swiss Chard Pot Pies
Over the years, we’ve had a lot of dinner parties. I’ve made mussels and fries and red pepper soup; I’ve made meatballs and spaghetti repeatedly; brisket and noodles were on repeat until I got the kinks ironed out of the recipe in this chapter, and there was this one time when I decided to make nothing but delicate flatbreads for dinner. It was a terrible idea. Don’t do this unless you want to spend three days making doughs and mincing vegetables, only to have everyone leave hungry.
I’m pretty sure if you asked my friends what the very best thing I’ve ever served them was, they’d still go on about chicken pot pies I made from an Ina Garten recipe all those years ago. People, it turns out, go berserk for comfort food—especially comfort food with a flaky pastry lid—doubly so on a rainy night. I liked them too, but the chicken— which often ends up getting cooked twice—has always been my least favorite part. What I do like is the buttery velouté that forms the sauce, and it was from there that I decided to make a pot pie I’d choose over chicken, peas, and carrots any night of the week.
You really have to try this for a dinner party, especially if your guests were expecting something fancy. The crust and stews can be made up to 24 hours in advance, and need only to be baked to come to the table; this means that you could spend that time getting cute, or at least making pudding for dessert. And if people are expecting the same old same old beneath the lid, this will be a good surprise—the lid is so flaky, it’s closer to a croissant than a pie crust, and the pancetta, beans, and greens make a perfect stew, one you’d enjoy even without a bronzed crust. But, you know, it helps.
yield: serves 4
2 cups (250 grams) all- purpose flour
½ teaspoon table salt
13 tablespoons (185 grams or 1 stick plus 5 tablespoons) unsalted butter
6 tablespoons (90 grams) sour cream or whole Greek yogurt (i.e., a strained yogurt)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) white wine vinegar
¼ cup (60 ml) ice water
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
4 ounces (115 grams or ¾ to 1 cup)
1 large or 2 small onions, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 large stalk celery, finely chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
Thinly sliced Swiss chard leaves from an 8-to-10-ounce ( 225-to-285-gram) bundle (4 cups); if leaves are very wide, you can halve them lengthwise
3½ tablespoons (50 grams) butter
3½ tablespoons (25 grams) all- purpose flour
3¼ cups (765 ml) sodium- free or low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups white beans, cooked and drained, or from one and a third 15.5-ounce (440-gram) cans
In a large, wide bowl (preferably one that you can get your hands into), combine the flour and salt. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender, cut them up and into the flour mixture until it resembles little pebbles. Keep breaking up the bits of butter until the texture is like uncooked couscous. In a small dish, whisk together the sour cream, vinegar, and water, and combine it with the butter-flour mixture. Using a flexible spatula, stir the wet and the dry together until a craggy dough forms. If needed, get your hands into the bowl to knead it a few times into one big ball. Pat it into a flattish ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it in the fridge for 1 hour or up to 2 days.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, wide saucepan, and then add the pancetta. Brown the pancetta, turning it frequently, so that it colors and crisps on all sides; this takes about 10 minutes. Remove it with a slotted spoon, and drain it on paper towels before transferring to a medium bowl. Leave the heat on and the renderings in the pan. Add an additional tablespoon of olive oil if needed and heat it until it is shimmering. Add onions, carrot, celery, red pepper flakes, and a few pinches of salt, and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are softened and begin to take on color, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute more. Add the greens and cook until wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with the additional salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Transfer all of the cooked vegetables to the bowl with the pancetta, and set aside.
Wipe out the large saucepan; don’t worry if any bits remain stuck to the bottom. Then melt the butter in the saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the fl our, and stir with a whisk until combined. Continue cooking for 2 minutes, stirring the whole time, until it begins to take on a little color. Whisk in the broth, one ladleful at a time, mixing completely between additions. Once you’ve added one-third of the broth, you can begin to add the rest more quickly, two to three ladlefuls at a time; at this point you can scrape up any bits that were stuck to the bottom—they’ll add great flavor.
Once all of the broth is added, stirring the whole time, bring the mixture to a boil and reduce it to a simmer. Cook the sauce until it is thickened and gravylike, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir the white beans and reserved vegetables into the sauce.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Assemble and Cook Pot Pies
Divide the filling between four ovenproof 2-cup bowls. (You’ll have about 1½ cups filling in each.) Set the bowls on a baking pan. Divide the dough into four pieces, and roll it out into rounds that will cover your bowls with an overhang, or about 1 inch wider in diameter than your bowls. Whisk the egg wash and brush it lightly around the top rim of your bowls (to keep the lid glued on; nobody likes losing their lid!) and drape the pastry over each, pressing gently to adhere it. Brush the lids with egg wash, then cut decorative vents in each to help steam escape. Bake until crust is lightly bronzed and filling is bubbling, about 30 to 35 minutes.
The dough, wrapped twice in plastic wrap and slipped into a freezer bag, will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge, and for a couple months in the freezer. The filling can be made up to a day in advance and stored in a covered container in the fridge.
For a vegetarian version, skip the pancetta and cook your vegetables in 2 tablespoons olive oil instead of 1.
Plum Poppy Seed Muffins
She hasn’t said so in so many words, but I have a hunch that my editor thinks I should explain why it took me no fewer than seven muffin recipes to stop fussing and find the perfect one to tell you about. Are muffin recipes that hard to come up with? No, not really. Do we perhaps just enjoy eating muffins so much that I looked for excuses to make more? Unfortunately, not that either. Am I really so terribly indecisive? Apparently, yes, but only in what I believed to be the quest for the greater muffin good. Okay, fine, and when I’m choosing earrings.
What finally led me here was, innocently enough, a basket of boring-looking lemon-poppy seed muffins at a bakery one morning;
they got me wondering when poppy seeds would come untethered from lemon’s grasp. Poppy seeds are delightful on their own— faintly nutty bordering on fruity—but they also play well with fruit that is richer in flavor and texture than lemon. Inspired, I went home and, a short while later, finally pulled a muffin out of the oven I’d change nothing about. Poppy seeds, plums, browned butter, brown sugar, and sour cream form a muffin that’s rich with flavor, dense with fruit, and yet restrained enough to still feel like breakfast food. Seven rounds and six months in, I bet somewhere my editor is breathing a sigh of relief.
yield: 12 standard muffins
6 tablespoons (3 ounces or 85 grams) unsalted butter, melted and browned and cooled, plus butter for muffin cups
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50 grams) packed dark or light brown sugar
¾ cup (180 grams) sour cream or a rich, full-fat plain yogurt
½ cup (60 grams) whole- wheat flour
1 cup (125 grams) all- purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon table salt
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons (20 grams) poppy seeds
2 cups pitted and diced plums, from about ¾ pound (340 grams) Italian prune plums (though any plum variety will do)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Butter twelve muffin cups.
Whisk the egg with both sugars in the bottom of a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter, then the sour cream. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and poppy seeds, and then stir them into the sour- cream mixture until it is just combined and still a bit lumpy. Fold in the plums.
Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Rest muffins in the pan on a cooling rack for 2 minutes, then remove them from the tin to cool them completely.
Generally, I think muffins are best on the first day, but these surprise me by being twice as moist, with even more developed flavors, on day two. They’re just a little less crisp on top after being in an airtight container overnight.
You don’t create seven muffin recipes in a year without learning a few things. I found that you could dial back the sugar in most recipes quite a bit and not miss much (though, if you find that you do, a dusting of powdered sugar or a powdered-sugar-lemon- juice glaze works well here); that a little whole-wheat flour went a long way to keep muffins squarely in the breakfast department; that you can almost always replace sour cream with buttermilk or yogurt, but I like sour cream best. Thick batters—batters almost like cookie dough—keep fruit from sinking, and the best muffins have more fruit inside than seems, well, seemly. And, finally, in almost any muffin recipe, olive oil can replace butter, but people like you more when you use butter— and if you brown that butter first, you might have trouble getting them to leave.
Excerpted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman Copyright © 2012 by Deb Perelman. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Deb Perelman is a self-taught home cook and photographer; and the creator of SmittenKitchen.com, an award-winning blog with a focus on stepped-up home cooking through unfussy ingredients. In previous iterations of her so-called career, she’s been a record store shift supervisor, a scrawler of “happy birthday” on bakery cakes, an art therapist, and a technology reporter. She likes her current gig—the one where she wakes up and cooks whatever she feels like that day—the best. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is her first book. Deb lives in New York City with her husband and delicious baby son.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Everything about this cookbook is right: The recipes are delicious and use accessible ingredients. The instructions are clear and precise without making you want to stick a fork in your eye. The variety is fresh and something you really want to eat. And the refined rustic photography is gorgeous. This book isn't about the fancy foodie bookdrops--it's about the ingredients. Sure to be a hit with cooks of all levels.
I've been reading Deb's blog for a long time now, and this book does not disappoint. Gorgeous photography as always, and witty stories to go with the (of course) delicious recipes. Love the variety, love the creativity, and of course I'm sure I'll love how everything tastes once I start cooking : ) Really wonderful book.
This book is fun! Great variety of recipes but all very accessible to the average at home cook. She has tried and tested until she found what worked perfectly and now we can all benefit from it. Thank you Deb!
Recently downsized from a 3BR ranch to a tiny apartment. The kitchen is certainly smitten! Brings me back to college days. This book is for you if you are in my boat. From the gourmet, double-oven fully stocked kitchen of yore, this book has taught me not only how to minimalize equipment, but how to maximize taste! It will certainly keep you organized. Great job, Deb! Thank you.
I am an avid cookbook collector and cook/baker. This is a fabulous book. Deb Perelman was born to tell stories and cook! I find the book easy to follow and haven't been disappointed in a recipe yet. Wonderful, just like her blog.
I love Deb's blog and her recipes and had high hopes for the cookbook. She does not disappoint. The cookbook is filled with tempting recipes, good instructions and tips. Her fun style comes through, and her photographs make your mouth water. I'm glad to have bought the book.
The author is so wonderful and creative! Her connection with each recipe makes me want to make and the pictures are beautiful! Everything is so delicious!
Last week, I found a copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman and I promptly purchased it. It's a gorgeous cookbook, written by a popular blogger who cooks in her tiny New York City apartment kitchen, which is no bigger than mine. (So there goes my excuse that the reason I can't cook anything in my kitchen because it's too small.) I love that for each recipe Perelman gives the reader a little story about how she came up with the recipe. The ingredients are listed to the side, along with directions, and sometimes a 'cooking note' or 'do ahead' suggestion. The photos in the book are simply stunning. I drooled just looking at them (the potato frittata with feta and scallions, butternut squash and caramelized onion galette, and peach dumplings with bourbon hard sauce in particular caught my eye), and there are 452 full color illustrations in the book for those of you who like your cookbooks with photos. (Which I do) The book is divided into the typical sections- Breakfast, Salad, Main Dishes- and close to one-third of the book is devoted to Sweets. At the end, she has a chapter, How To Throw a Dinner Party, that gives you a entire party's worth of appetizers and a few drink recipes that you could follow in its entirety to host a smashing get-together that will impress your friends. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is not for beginning cooks. I'd put this in the category for fans of Martha Stewart or maybe The Barefoot Contessa (if you know what grissini and gougeres are, this book is for you). It is a gorgeous book, and would make a lovely gift for someone you know who is an accomplished and enthusiastic cook.
This book makes you rethink what you can do in your kitchen. The recipes are interesting whether or not you ever use them. Check this out.
This is a fabulous cookbook. I could hardly wait to try the recipes. They are easy to do, have simple ingredients, and are very tasty. The pictures are beautiful and show how to mix ingredients. I have given more of these books than any other cookbook. I have found more recipes in this book that I like than any other cookbook that I have. And I have a lot. Thank you, Deb. BookloverHV
Great recipes with enough detail and didn't see any that were too difficult, but then I do like a challenge. Have made several things and my co-workers liked. Fun reading the intros to each recipe.
This cookbook is an absolute treat! I am not a regular reader of her blog, but thought the cookbook looked beautiful and the recipes were unique. I have not been disappointed. I have made several of the recipes and they were absolutely delicious. They were a little bit involved, but with excellent instructions and photos. The results were definitely worth it!!
I am a cookbook collector and thought this would be a nice addition. However, I found few recipes in the book I would actually make.
Delicious recipes and delightful commentary!! Strongly recommend this cookbook!
I read her blog constantly, so when I first heard she was coming out with a cookbook I was so excited. The cookbook is beautiful, and the recipes are eclectic. Can't wait for volume 2!
I've enjoyed the Smitten Kitchen website for over a year and thought I wouldn't need an old fashioned cookbook, but I found Deb's book at the library and must have it and will buy three more as Christmas gifts! I've never perused a cookbook and found myself wanting to prepare 99% of the recipes. In addition, Deb's wonderful commentaries never disappoint !