Cook the books Challenge: Smitten Kitchen

Rebecca decided to take on a Cook the Books challenge for 2013 and I'm joining in this month! This really is an awesome idea especially considering in the last week alone I bought three- yes three!!- cookbooks (Amazon Prime I love you). The three cookbooks? Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi (vegetarian), Canal House Cooks Every Day by Hamilton & Hirsheimer (seasonal cooking- its divided up by Month) and True Food by Andrew Weil MS (as the cover says 'seasonal, sustainable, simple, pure'). Cookbooks become addicting fast- the pictures just look so good! I've found that I really have to make an effort to crack them open and pick something rather than obsessively reading food blogs but once I do I'm usually happy with the result.

Rebecca decided to kick off her challenge by picking Smitten Kitchen's book (I took the cover off mine so it looks a little different) which is ah-mazing. Deb from Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite food bloggers and her cookbook does not disappoint. I've mentioned previously that I'm obsessed with her Raspberry Ricotta scones (mmm just typing that makes me want one) and you pretty much know that if Deb has made it then its going to be good. I picked her Honey and Harissa Farro Salad (pg 78 of the book or Serious Eats typed it up here) which is similar to her website's Carrot salad with harissa, feta and mint. I should say now that I made this a Honey Farro Salad since 1) I spent way too long in a hungry state prowling crowded Whole Foods aisles looking for harissa to no avail and 2) I googled that its spicy and I am not a fan of spicy so harissa was out before I even got started.

The recipe is pretty simple (love) and I started by roasting up the carrots (I only had baby carrots so they're mini) and parsnips with some salt and olive oil for about 30 mins.
Then I cooked the farro which took about 20 mins and then dumped that in a bowl with chopped mint and parsley. Mint in salad is one of my favorite things- it just makes everything taste so fresh! In went the feta and the dressing (I only put in half the recommended amount of olive oil and subbed water for the rest- I do this often in an effort to save calories for wine/chocolate but I still thought it tasted fantastic).
The portions are small (I was a little short on the carrots so mine are smaller than normal) but the farro makes it super filling. I would say that her estimate of 4-6 servings really leans more towards the low end at 4 but its a simple salad and you could easily bump it up with more veggies if you needed to. 
For bonus points, I also 'cooked' up True Food's Kale salad. Soooo simple: Dino kale, lemon, olive oil, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and parmesan (I skipped the bread crumbs because I planned on keeping this in the fridge and thought they might get a little nasty) - mix it all together (massage that kale!) and leave it to soak in for 30 mins. Mmmm mmm mmm I ate real good tonight. Looking forward to seeing what Rebecca cooks up!


  1. Yay! Glad you are joining in! I've been cooking but I need to get posting :)

  2. Just like "Julie & Julia" :) Sounds delicious and very healthy. I'm so impressed by your commitment to healthy eating.

  3. Replies
    1. Join on in! You cook and bake like a champ!

  4. I made this again tonight but since I was going off of memory when I shopped at the store I left out the parnips and mint- added in roasted butternut squash and beets. Finished it off with some walnuts for crunch- deeeeelish! This is my new favorite salad