Friday Favorites - Cooking Aids

Friday, August 16, 2013

My little sister is a new wife and loving her role. She's taken to domesticity life a four-year-old with a fudge-pop - dove right in, relishing every moment but still getting the hand of eating it perfectly. It's been so long since I was a new wife I've forgotten what those first few months were like. Getting to make house, figure out each others patterns and quirks, learning to cook...

Some of you might remember that I married the son of a professional chef. My new husband had a palate for good, quality food...but didn't like to cook himself. Being that the only two things I could make were salmon on a George Forman grill (remember those! Now I hear George Forman and I immediately think of that episode of The Office when Michael flays his foot.) and scrambled eggs with toast we were in for a problem. I kid you not - I didn't even know how to make pasta. I remember standing next to RJ by the stove about the make spaghetti and I had to ask him if I was supposed to bring the water to a boil first or just dump everything in the pot and then turn on the heat.

Lets just stay I've come a long, long way. This week I tackled two beautiful recipes from Food & Wine magazine, prepared spaghetti and meatballs from scratch, and baked my kids homemade muffins and browned-butter cookies. 

But my skills and love for cooking have come from practice. I've taught myself to cook well through trial and error.Between celebrity chefs, pinterest, amazing magazine, incredible food blogs, and a plethora of killer cookbooks there isn't a shortage of food inspiration. However, all these sources can be overwhelming. And with the abundance of sources available it's difficult to know what's a good source and what's not (and the last thing anyone wants to do is waste time - and ingredients - following a recipe that ends up not being all that great.)

With experience you can usually tell quality of a recipe by just glancing at it. But, until she's there I told my sister I would share some of my favorite sources with her (and you too!):

Food Blogs:
(They're free, updated regularly and often have great photos)

- Smitten Kitchen A bit fancier but always good

- Cooking Classy Great dessert recipes. The best buttercream frosting recipe around

- The Pioneer Woman Cooks Yummy, comfort food that's relatively simple

- Simply Recipes Great for classic dishes. I've never had a bad experience

- Sprouted Kitchen Health food at it's finest

- Dinner, A Love Story I've just started following this one but it seems great for quick family meals

(Relatively inexpensive, well tested recipes, it's fun to get mail)

Food Network Magazine - great photos, good food, nice mix of simple and more complex recipes

Rachael Ray Magazine - great for a home cook who wants to put a simple but tasty meal together

Food and Wine - more complex recipes but delicious! And fun for those who want to read about food as well as eat it

(You'll have them forever, you can write in them, great for going back to your favorites again and again, fun to read)

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbooks - Amazing dishes that are easy to follow. A great source for learning to cook. (Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust)

The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods and The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook - If you like their blogs then I would recommend investing in their cookbook.

Peace Meals - Delicious "fancy food" that's not too difficult to put together. (Written by the Junior League in Texas - how can you go wrong?!)

The New Best Recipe from Cooks Illustrated - This group of cooks sets out to find the best of the best : The best chocolate chip cook, best lamb chop, etc. It's not a very pretty cookbook but if you want to really learn how to do things (and have a collect of the best-of-the-best recipes) I recommend adding this one to your collection.

And I know there are so many more great blogs, mags and cookbooks out there. Please share your favorites in the comments section.
Happy Eating!!!


Anonymous said...

Thank you sister!! I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and dive in :) Nom Nom

Jessica G. said...

You made me laugh and took me back. I totally remember rocking the forman in college. I also remember buying those frozen stir fry packets, heating them in a wok and thinking it was cooking!

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