As food writers, our family, friends and life experiences play a huge part in what we cook and write about. And so it was for blogger and Relish contributor, Jennifer Perillo, who was living a full and busy life as a wife, mother and professional cook in Brooklyn, NY. Husband Mikey, made regular appearances on her popular blog In Jennie’s Kitchen. But in August 2011, Jennie’s life (and that of her 2 girls) was irretrievably rocked when Mikey died suddenly of an undiagnosed autoimmune disease. After the shock, Jennie found that “the thread that helped her keep it all together” was cooking. For the next year, Jennie grieved publicly through her blog, sharing her tears, fears and feelings through pictures, words and recipes, and being propelled and comforted by words from her readers.
The result of that journey through the kitchen is her new book, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie’s Kitchen. As are the recipes in her blog, the recipes in the book are irresistible. They’re homemade without being fussy, new, yet old, and always written from the heart. She has a knack for integrating new flavors into classic comforting dishes in the just the right way. She flavors a creamy tres leches cake with chocolate (genius), caramelizes onions with molasses, mashes turnips with olive oil and feta cheese and roasts carrots with fresh ginger and lime. Her Vanilla Birthday cake with only eight ingredients (excluding the frosting) will have anyone baking a cake…from scratch. Homemade with Love is a delicious heartfelt (and sometimes heart breaking) journey that will not be traveling far from my kitchen.
—Jill Melton, Relish Editor
Here are some of our favorite Relish stories by Jennie followed by four fantastic recipes from Homemade with Love: