Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Recipe Inspirations: Sites to Cook From

A few very kind readers (readers? really? I have those!?) -- Christina, Nicole, and Sugarpond (the woman behind the delicious food blog, Five Spice Duck) -- have asked me recently about my favorite sources for recipes.  (Actually, Sugarpond asked about my ridiculously large cookbook collection, which I'll post about shortly.)

Even though I own way too many cookbooks, my go-to source for recipes is nonetheless the internet.  Because the only thing I enjoy more than eating is research.  And I am nothing if not relentless and intrepid in my search for awesome recipes.

Look at the intensity in my five-year-old eyes.
This girl doesn't just eat, she eats with purpose and seriousness.

I thought I'd put together a list of my favorite food-related web resources, and then invite you to do the same, either in the comments or in your blog.

Are you up for a round of share the food love?  Say yes!

Same day, still eating with purpose and seriousness.

My web resources break down into two categories: (1) sites I go to when I have a particular ingredient or dish in mind and (2) sites I go to for inspiration.  I'll deal with the first category in this post and the second category in my next one.

I'll look at the camera for the picture, but I'm not going to stop eating.
Because eating requires concentration, damn it!

I pretty much always start with Epicurious, with a second stop at the Foodnetwork*.  What I like about both of these sites is that they allow you to search by ingredient, meal, mode of preparation, etc.  Sometimes when it's cold, and all you have in the house is a package of chicken thighs, you want to be able to find efficiently a chicken dish you can make in the oven.  (Yes, I turn on the oven for warmth. Don't worry, mom, we're not that poor . . . yet.  But I'm a big believer in multi-tasking.)

* On the Foodnetwork website, though, I admit I'm a total snob when it comes to the recipes: Barefoot Contessa, yes; Rachel "Everything is Undiscerningly Yummo" Ray, no. Mario Batali, yes; Sandra "Drunken Tablescape Lady" Lee, hell no.  Alton, always; Giada, sometimes.  

Rodin had "The Thinker." My mom had "The Eater." Both equally contemplative.
Yes, this is still a photo from the same day, and I am still eating.

Beyond these two databases, here are my other favorite sites for "holy crap, I have an hour to get food on the table" type of recipes:
  • Amateur Gourmet (Adam not only has a great palate, but an eye for finding the best version of any given dish.  I found many of my chicken recipes here.)
  • The Kitchn (This Apartment Therapy site often has great tutorials alongside a diverse array of accessible recipes.)
  • The NY Times Dining & Wine Section (Mark Bittman is the love.)
  • Simply Recipes (Elise's recipes are fun, accessible, and sorted by ingredient and meal-type.)
  • Smitten Kitchen (Lots of gorgeous photos, and recipes that are easy, comforting, and non-fussy. Recipes are delivered in a narrative style and can thus sometimes be hard to cook from.  But you can usually break the narratives down into discrete steps or find the original of the recipe elsewhere.)
  • Steamy Kitchen (The motto of "global flavors . . . fast, fresh, simple" says it all. Particularly good for Asian recipes.)
  • Viet World Kitchen (Andrea is the queen of accessible recipes for Vietnamese and Asian foods. She's doing a Peking Duck series now that is very instructive.)
  • 101 Cookbooks (A great resource for vegetarian recipes.)
Those are some of my favorite go-to sources for accessible recipes.  Are your favorites on my list?  Which delicious sites am I missing out on?   


Woman with a Whisk March 3, 2010 at 10:42 AM  

Have you hacked into my Google Reader?! =) In addition to the ones you mentioned, I really like David Lebovitz's blog, Use Real Butter, Tartelette, and Chocolate and Zucchini. Food Network Humor is always great for a laugh, too!

Sugar March 3, 2010 at 12:57 PM  

Thanks for sharing- I adore all those pics of you. You missed my favorite- America's Test Kitchen. My mom has a subscription and it's totally worth it. All my best stuff (aka the three things I know how to make) come from this site.

Mrs. Hot Cocoa March 3, 2010 at 1:51 PM  

@ Woman with a Whisk: Ooh . . . I don't know about Real Butter or Food Network Humor. I'm off to check them out now.

@ Sugar: I registered temporarily for a free account when I tried the ATK chicken recipe, but I was too cheap to shell out for the full subscription. Hmm . . . should I???

charms March 3, 2010 at 2:11 PM  

ooh i love these - thanks for the links :)

I also occasionally use pioneerwoman and mattbites (

The Bride Concierge March 3, 2010 at 2:11 PM  

Oh, I absolutely love love love Smitten Kitchen! I also like to gawk at the A&M blog

Thanks for the tip on the vegetarian recipes @ 101 Cookbooks!

Sugarpond March 3, 2010 at 9:53 PM  

Thanks, I'm also in love your blog, especially the recipes you feature. Your cooking always turns out so good, I'm really impressed.

I'm a big fan of 101 cookbooks and Kitchn, , White on Rice Couple, David Lebovitz,
and La Tartine Gourmande.

Mrs. Hot Cocoa March 3, 2010 at 10:11 PM  

@ Charms: I love looking at Pioneer Woman (one of my favorite blogs to check out in my reader), but have never cooked from it. I'm definitely going to check out Matt Bites.

@ The Bride Concierge: Ooh, never heard of A&M til now. But I think it's going to be added to my favorites.

@ Sugarpond: All of those are in my reader, except I can't wait to check it out!

Patrick and Katrina Foster March 4, 2010 at 9:42 AM  

Thanks so much--this list is great! Now that I've been married for 7 months, I am slowly replacing my wedding blog obsession with recipe blogs! This is very helpful :)

Christina March 4, 2010 at 11:46 AM  

omg LOVE your pics! SO CUTE!

Thank you for the food blog suggestions!

I totally agree with you about the Food Network recipies... love Alton and Ina. Sometimes Tyler Florence as well.

Here's one of the food blogs I've stumbled across recently and taken to checking frequently:

Nicole Peterson March 4, 2010 at 5:17 PM  

Thanks for doing this post -this was awesome, it really helps me in finding some new recipe sources. You can only keep going back to the same well so many times.

And you were too cute as a little girl. I completely relate to your younger self because I am no nonsense about my food too.

Creature Gorgeous March 4, 2010 at 8:30 PM  

Oh those pictures are PRECIOUSSSSSS! Thanks for the list. I'll have to check out that Viet kitchen. I rarely, very rarely, make Asian/Vietnamese food. And it's not hard. I need inspiration.

Mrs. Hot Cocoa March 6, 2010 at 1:23 AM  

@ Patrick and Katrina Foster: LOL - that's exactly what I did! Unsubscribing from all the wedding blogs just left me more room for food and decor ones. ;-) Have you come across any you love?

@ Christina: I have kissmyspatula on my reader too!

@ Nicole Peterson: I don't know what well you draw from, but that southern praline cake you made this week looked damn good. I'd like to go to that well! LOL.

@ Creature Gorgeous: You don't need Viet World Kitchen; you've got your mom! From what I can tell reading your blog, she's a fabulous Vietnamese cook. Alas, my mom only picked up eating skills from her time in Saigon. ;-)

Woman with a Whisk March 9, 2010 at 4:47 PM  

Found another one you might like:

Beautiful photos and interesting recipes!

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