These days, Eater editors are eating out less and less, due to widespread restrictions on dining in and mandates nationwide to stay at home. That means we’re cooking a whole lot more, in addition to ordering delivery and takeout from places we love — and we’re also talking about cooking more than ever before. Sure, we can recognize quarantine queen Alison Roman’s shallot or cauliflower pastas, shiny blue Great Jones sheet pans, and a few specific brands of restaurant-level ceramics, even in a 10-second Instagram story — without tags. And sure, more and more of us fall prey to the siren call of sourdough starters every single day.
But one of the things we realized quickly is that almost everyone at Eater has a favorite Smitten Kitchen recipe, one created by OG recipe blogger Deb Perelman for her website and cookbooks under the same name. She’s widely renowned as one of the best in her field, with over a decade’s worth of “comfort food stepped up a bit” recipes, which have garnered her over 31,000 Twitter followers and over a million on Instagram — and just last week she announced a brand new cookbook in the works for Knopf. Here, now, some of Eater staffers’ most-cooked Smitten Kitchen recipes.
Roasted yams and chickpeas with yogurt: I make this easy-ass yam recipe once a week for lunch. It’s quick and simple, yes, but also packs in spice, sweetness, some crunch, creaminess, and char if you do a little broiling (which you should). It’s also largely made up of pantry staples. — Patty Diez, project manager
Charred cauliflower quesadillas: This is probably one of my go-to recipes when I can’t possibly think of what to cook or am feeling too lazy to make anything else. All of the basic ingredients — cheddar cheese, tortillas, and cauliflower — can be found in your corner store, and it works just as well if you sub it with a different veggie. The key here is the combination of textures: gooey, salty cheese, charred veggies, and a crisp tortilla — how could you possibly go wrong with that combination? — Tanay Warerkar, Eater NY reporter
Ratatouille’s ratatouille: This cartoon-inspired ratatouille has become my go-to showcase for summer vegetables. I’m not a very confident (or consistent) cook, but it’s incredibly easy to make for how impressive it looks, and at this point, it’s possibly the only recipe I’ve completely memorized. — Monica Burton, eater.com editor
Marbled banana bread: This banana bread is decadent and perfect. You’ll never look back. — Madeleine Davies, eater.com daily editor
Quick, essential stovetop mac and cheese: I heard about this recipe through Marian Bull’s Twitter and have been making it at least a couple times a month since. I started always keeping pecorino in my fridge — highly recommend — and had a period where I desperately wanted to eat cacio e pepe but couldn’t make it appropriately at home. This easy stovetop mac and cheese, when made with pecorino, and extra fresh black pepper, is a much easier facsimile. And truly is so fast and easy. Enjoy with a glass of wine to feel fancy. — Serena Dai, Eater NY editor
Pizza beans / tomato and gigante bean bake: The headnote to this recipe calls it baked ziti where the ziti is replaced by giant beans. What could be more perfect? I first heard about the pizza beans when reporting on bean obsession, and now that I’ve made them I completely understand why the bean obsessives were, um, obsessed. Cook up the beans Saturday, bake them up Sunday, and feast for the entire week on creamy, absurdly large beans covered in tomato and cheese. — Meghan McCarron, special correspondent
Everyday meatballs: I’m pretty obsessed with meatballs (one year I made 53 different recipes for them as a cooking challenge), and I walked away from that experience thinking that this was the best classic meatball recipe I made. I love how cheesy and satisfying these are, and you don’t even need to make pasta alongside it for it to work as a meal (but I fully endorse Deb’s tip to serve it with garlic bread for extra decadence). — Missy Frederick, cities director
Black pepper tofu and eggplant: I first made this when I found myself in possession of an eggplant from a produce box and wasn’t sure what to do with it. It’s now one of my favorite weeknight recipes. I think it finally solved the problem of roasted tofu for me — it’s crispy every time, and so delicious drenched in buttery soy sauce. Serve with chile oil. — Emma Alpern, senior copy editor
Chicken, leek, and rice soup: My first coronavirus cooking recipe was chicken, leeks, and rice soup. Now I regret not buying more chicken thighs so I could have this on hand for a quick meal. I will double the recipe next time. As a side note, a friend gave me her dad’s five-gallon stock pot after he passed away in January, and she was so happy that I broke it in with this soup. — Susan Stapleton, Eater Vegas editor
Easiest fridge dill pickles: I love making a jar of these. — Adam Moussa, senior social media manager
Blueberry yogurt multigrain pancakes: You may think you don’t need another pancake recipe. YOU ARE WRONG. — Lesley Suter, travel editor
Chocolate olive oil cake: Don’t have eggs? Don’t have butter? Can’t leave your house? This is the perfect pantry cake. Most of the ingredients you probably have lying around, plus it’s delicious and lasts for days. — Jill Dehnert, general manager
Strawberry summer cake: I don’t consume much dairy, so I never kept milk at home — until last summer when this strawberry cake came into my life and I started making it for every possible occasion. It’s excellent with any sort of strawberries but truly perfect at peak season, with the little smushy berries that smell incredible and stain whatever you put them in. I bake it in a 9x9 square. — Sonia Chopra