Doing the Double

This weekend we managed to pull off not one but two dinner parties- Friday night and Sunday night.  I’m not going to lie, I was a little tired on Monday morning.  I couldn’t have done it without the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.  More specifically, I couldn’t have done it without the Kale salad and the Strawberry Cheesecake Fool from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook—because I served both dishes at both dinner parties.  They were both THAT good!

For those of you don’t know, Smitten Kitchen is a food blog and the food blog was so popular that she created a cookbook.  This is probably my secret wish for when I grow up- I would love to write a cookbook.  I’ve looked into it, and it’s not easy- lots of creativity, lots of recipe writing, lots of recipe testing, and lots of time.  It’s currently in the “one day” pile but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook available on

Smitten Kitchen has been around for over 9 years- I thought it would have been one of the oldest/first food blogs but according to Saveur it’s not even close.  They date the first food blogs as starting around 1999 when Blogger and WordPress first were made publicly available.  Anyway, I digress— the blog has been around for a while, definitely check it out if you haven’t read it because her recipes are fantastic!  So good, that I served two of them twice over the weekend.

I’ve only cooked one or two dishes out of the cookbook previously (the Buttered popcorn cookies are delish!) but it’s definitely a book that’s worth picking up.  The recipes are easy to follow and well written- and they have pictures!

The Kale Salad with cherries and pecans is super straight forward as you would expect a salad recipe to be- I mean really, most salads are pretty easy and this one is no exception.  I love kale.  Yes, I know that makes me whatever the 2010s version of a yuppie is- a DINK, hipster, buppie? Who knows, it doesn’t matter because kale is delicious.  I don’t wear Kale t-shirts or sweatshirts, but I’m a big fan.  And this salad really lets the kale shine.  It’s just kale, pecans, cherries, goat’s cheese, and radish with a honey mustard dressing.

All hail the Kale!
All hail the Kale!
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A berry nice dessert!


The Strawberry Cheesecake Fool is a more complicated proposition but it’s basically a deconstructed strawberry cheesecake served layered in a glass.  Think gooey strawberries, brown sugar cookie crumb layered together with a whipped cream/cream cheese creamy mixture.  There are quite a few steps involved and I did have to remove a refrigerator shelf in the process but it was well worth it.  P.S. I also made a Strawberry and Cointreau sorbet to have with it.  It was super easy- Strawberry, Strawberry liqueur, Cointreau, sugar, and ice into a blender and then into the freezer. It would have been better in an ice cream maker, but it was pretty good as it is!

September 2015 Iphone photos 146 September 2015 Iphone photos 147 September 2015 Iphone photos 148 September 2015 Iphone photos 149

September 2015 Iphone photos 155
Dukkah prawns with homemade wasabi mayo to start!

So, I have to say, two dinner parties in one weekend wasn’t the most relaxing way to spend a weekend, but it was great to entertain and hang out with friends and to share food and wine and time with them.  Serving two dishes (three if you count the sorbet) twice did make things a lot  easier—don’t be surprised if when you come over you wind up having one (or both) of the dishes—they are both so tasty and so easy- that they may become my new dinner party staples!

September 2015 Iphone photos 166
The Sunday night crew!
An inside joke from the Friday night girls!
An inside joke from the Friday night girls!

Of course, Smitten Kitchen doesn’t have the recipes on her website- she wants you to buy the book.   But A Life Well Lived has the recipe here for the Kale Salad and Chorizo and Thyme has the Strawberry Cheesecake Fool recipe here.


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