Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Favorite recipe blogs

Most of my culinary life can best be described as a vicious war between me and food. Not until recently have food and I called a truce. In fact, not only are we no longer fighting, we're buddies (not that we don't have our tifs now and then)! I love browsing all the goodies at the farmers market; I love baking goodies for loved ones; I even loved peeling all those peaches for my peach jam. My culinary life is good. 

This week, anticipating a friend's visit, I whipped up some Chocolate Nut Bread. It's a recipe I had tucked away for a rainy day (I can actually say this literally because we finally got some rain the last 2 days - yeah!). I picked the recipe not only because I hoped that in feeding our visitor, he might come over more often (hint hint) but because the recipe made two loaves - I could share one loaf with our guest and save the other to give as a gift for the hosts of this weekend's canning party.

As I was whipping up these sugar-infused, chocolate loaves of deliciousness, it occurred to me that it might be useful to share some of the recipe blogs I read. I've found some amazing recipes from these sources - not a dud in the batch. 
Baker's Banter - For those of you who like to bake, especially bread, this is an AWESOME resource! This is where I found that last bagel recipe I used. They also just recently posted about a chocolate and vanilla striped cake (I'm still having sultry dreams about that one - talk about food porn!)

Baking Bites - Lots of recipes, baking tips, reviews on cooking/baking books and products, or if you just want to know, "What is that fondant stuff, anyway?" be sure to check them out.

Just Baking - beautiful dessert recipes (the photos are amazing - be prepared to drool), baking tips, product reviews, and much more!

Simply Recipes - Baking, cooking, cool summer drinks, barbeque, a little bit of everything! They even have recipes listed for certain diets like low-carb, vegetarian, and wheat-free.
So there they are - my top favorite recipe blogs. I suppose I should actually note here that I'm not very good at following most of the recipes. I consider them more like suggestions (lots of substitutions in cooking, less so in baking). Oh, and I can't neglect to mention that I keep an eye out for anything from Alton Brown on Food Network. He has great ideas and some of his episodes can be found on YouTube (like his jam episode for those of you who need some help before taking that plunge - part 1 and part 2). 

Now. Time to share the love. What are your favorite recipe resources?


Burbanmom said...

I usually go to, just because the recipes are rated by users (with comments!) so you can kind of get a real idea of the dish before you go and make it.

Also, it's very easy to search.

ib mommy said...

I do that, too! Allrecipes and Food Network because I figure if it gets a good review at least 2 out of 3 kids will eat it. When everyone kind of shovels their food around on the plate I'm like "but it got 5 stars!!". I tried Giada's polenta and they all kept poking it and making trampoline jokes.

I do like to read Pioneer Woman Cooks - she just makes me laugh. I did try her favorite salad ever ever, ever! adapted from Jamie Oliver.

Having picky kids makes it hard to please everyone. I am always jealous when I read your blog and you eat whatever YOU want!

Anonymous said...

I like - great pics and lots of good background information which is useful if I'm trying a new recipe.

J said...

Your chocolate nut bread looks amazing, I wish I could have a warm slice right now. Or better yet, that I was your guest and would get to take a loaf home.

My favorite recipes sites are, well, I don't know, I'm a huge fan of making up my own recipes to be honest with you, but I love, and food blogs. I like to veg*nize recipes that are laden with meat and cheese too. I like a good challenge in the kitchen!

hmd said...

Burbanmom - Ooh! That's a good one. I think that's where I got my pumpkin pie bread recipe. Mmmm.

IB Mommy - It must be really hard to please everyone with just one meal. Dave and I eat totally different stuff so we kinda each do our own thing most of the time. If we had kids there's no way I could get away with toast every night for dinner :) BTW. I just checked out Pioneer Woman Cooks (at your suggestion) and it looks like a really cool site. Thanks!

Anonymous - Thanks for the tip. I think I've visited that site before (it looks familiar). I'll definitely spend more time there!

Jennifer - That's awesome that you do your own thing. I don't have a problem making things up as I go along when I'm cooking, but I'm a little less confident when I'm baking. I follow the recipe much closer when baking. How long have you been interested in cooking?

A few other sites I should mention are:

I've found quite a few recipes from these sites as well. Can you tell I like making sweets?

If you're interested in the Chocolate Nut Bread recipe, here's the link...

J said...

Heather - Thank you, I just find that I am much more satisfied if I make things "my way", call it my inner rebel if you will. :-) However, with baking, I will roughly stick to the recipe, don't want to get the ratios of things off.

I have been cooking for about 4-4 1/2 years now.

Nothing wrong with having a thing for sweets, I have an obsession with salsa, I think we all have our "things".

Thanks for that recipe, I'll have to show it to Brett (my partner), he's a chocolate fanatic!

EcoBurban said...

YES! I love Alton too. Did you watch his motorcycle series last year, I loved it too? I will certainly check out the jam eps, I bought canning jars today. GULP. And pectin. And peaches. I am SO nervous that I won't do it right!

Oh, and that bread? That would be gone in two seconds in my house. Chocolate bread?? My kids would be in heaven!

Michele said...

That bread looks amazing, I'm sitting at my desk drooling!

ib mommy said...

eco 'burban mom-- if you're not concerned about sugar content in the jam here is a fool proof recipe that requires no pectin-- it doesn't have that weird fakey gooey texture-- i did try one batch with a cup less sugar and it turned out fine as well

4-6 cups berries, 4 cups sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice, heat until it reaches 220 degrees and put in jars

i don't know if it will work for peaches but it worked for every berry i could get my hand on this year-- blue, black, straw and boysen-- i'd never jammed before either!

also, if it doesn't set, it is marvelous as a syrup on pancakes:)

hmd said...

Jennifer - my hubby is a chocoholic too :)

Eco Burban Mom - I saw the first season of Alton on the motorcycle (there were two, I think?). I really enjoyed it! No stress about the jam. Do you know anyone who can do it with you the first time until you feel a little more comfortable?

Rapunzel - tastes pretty good too. It was an easy quick bread. You should try it!

IB Mommy - thanks for the tip on the jam making with less sugar. Another alternative is something I just picked up at our local natural food store. It's called Pomona's Universal Pectin. It uses a different reaction to make the jam jel without so much sugar. I haven't tried it yet as I just bought a box of it last weekend, but if you can find it, it would be worth trying.

EcoBurban said...

No, I seriously don't have a single friend that cans. Most of them barely recycle! If I start telling people I can, I'm gonna get those "old lady in a shoe" looks. Sigh. The suburbs stress me out! I will try ibmommy's recipe, but do you have a resource for canning recipes?

hmd said...

Eco 'burban mom - The pectin packets you buy from the store have inserts with recipes and those are the only jam recipes I've used. The tomato sauce I just kind of made up, but you might check out the Pick your own site:

That's where I always go to find out info on how to can, freeze, preserve, etc. They have directions on just about anything. That's where I found out how long I needed to boil my pasta sauce jars as well as the tip to put some lemon juice in there (only if you are not using a pressure canner). It's an awesome site!

Green Bean said...

I'm like Burbs. I tend to go with All Recipes. I also tend to bake too much because then I eat it all dammit! Speaking of which, send some of that chocolate chip loaf this way, will ya?

hmd said...

Green Bean - I probably bake too much too, but all those recipes just look so good... My problem is that when I'm craving something, all I usually want is a piece, but of course if I make it, we're stuck with the whole thing. In fact, I'm taking some of that bread to work today to share the love.... Too bad we don't live closer. I'd be happy to share!

Green Resolutions said...

Mmm, other than the cinnamon friendship bread, I haven't had homemade bread in years. I've got a sudden desire to track down my babysitter from 20 years ago to get her recipe!

I'm actually looking for vegetarian recipes, too. I'm trying to do a meat-less meal at least once a week. We're a rather picky bunch of eaters and I'm not a great cook. (read: simple instructions & fewer ingredients means I have a better chance of success!) Can you suggest a web site or recipe?! Thanks!

hmd said...

Green Resolutions - it depends on what you like. I don't do anything complicated, but when I cook, I rarely use recipes. I might see something that inspires, me, but then I try my own thing.

Soup is super easy. Use whatever ingredients sound good. Saute any onions, potatoes, or peppers first in some olive oil, then add the rest of your veggies, liquid (either water or leftover runoff from steaming or cooking other veggies), and some salt and pepper to taste. If you have some, use fresh herbs too. Let it simmer on the stove for an hour or two so all the flavors blend. WAY better than ANYTHING you can buy in a can.

Stir fry is easy too. Just throw a little olive oil in a frying pan and toss in some veggies (cut in fairly large pieces) - anything you like, potatoes and onions, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini and squash... just whatever you have in the fridge. I like to sprinkle freshly grated gouda on mine. Then serve it over hot rice or even noodles if you'd rather.

Then there's pasta sauce. I like mine chunky - it's also easier that way. Tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, lots of basil, olive oil and salt. Let it simmer on the stove for an hour or so. Thicken it with a little flour if it's too runny for you. Great over pasta or use it on a homemade pizza!

Sandwiches (or sammies in my house) are my favorite. I used to have one of those George Forman grills and I'd make mozzarella paninis all the time (mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes on a fresh baguette toasted on the GF grill. Mmmm. Earlier this summer, I made lots of roasted veggie sammies (slice eggplant, zucchini, and squash the long way, toss them in a bowl with some olive oil and salt to coat, then lay them on a cookie sheet and bake them for maybe 1/2 hour, turning them over half way. Then serve the slices on fresh buns with warm toasted cheese. These sammies were awesome!

Other simple meals? Have breakfast for dinner - eggs and toast, pancakes, french toast, omlets, etc. Make one night per week breakfast night.

Hope that helps!