Friday, September 30, 2011

Foodie Friday! #3: Favorites Feature!

How's that for alliteration, huh?

I was asked for examples of weekly menus, which inspired me to put together a list of my favorite food blogs and food sites, as well as a list of some of our favorite recipes.  Every once in a while I get really tired of putting together menu plans because I feel like I've been using the same recipes over and over again - there are only so many ways you can eat broccoli, you know?  I have some baking books, but most of our savory dishes are found online - there are so many food blogs!  Also, a lot of food bloggers are dedicated to practical, easy recipes (NOT necessarily à la Rachael Ray, who I can't stand - sorry to pepper my blog with my prejudices, haha) that can be completed in a reasonable amount of time, with a minimal number of ingredients.  These are perfect for weeknights, and well, any night, really.  Who wants to spend all of their time cooking?
These are broccolini crêpes!  They were delicious, but they require a lot of work (and basically making a soufflé), so I'm not sure we'll ever have this on the menu again.  Maybe some other sort of savory crêpe, though!
S. does the cooking, as you know, but I plan the menus and I also clean up the kitchen.  Thus, it's also in my best interest not to choose recipes that require 4353924239 pots and pans and dishes and utensils.  In general, I like recipes that are relatively simple, don't require all-day attention, are prepared mostly from scratch (canned/jarred pasta sauces and stocks are okay, as are canned beans or vegetables but I'm not a fan of soup mixes, or too many prepared foods.  Which isn't to say that those aren't options for those extremely pressed for time, but it's not on my list of criteria), and don't include page-long lists of ingredients.  I also avoid recipes that call for extremely expensive and unnecessary ingredients, or things that I know we'll never be able to find or use on a regular basis.

I look through food blogs on my reader or on foodgawker, and bookmark the recipes that I find in separate folders, appropriately labeled "soups and stews," "casseroles," "seafood," etc.  When it comes time to plan for the week, I just search through my bookmarks.  In some cases I don't have appropriate bookmarks, so then I google for new recipes at the time of planning.  This works fairly well.  I also eliminate bookmarks once I link them to our meal plan page, so as to keep the amount of bookmarks under control (I still have far too many, though!).  A lot of them come from the same place, so I thought I'd share those with you.  I find savory recipes are easier to approximate measurements for, but I will mention that most of these are American authors, who use conventional (and annoying - when will the US get with the metric system?) American measurements like cups and teaspoons and what not.

Here are a list of some of my favorite recipe sources, in no particular order:

  • Week of Menus - A lot of quick, weeknight dishes, mostly Asian cuisine (the blog author is Korean); she weaves in stories about her children, being a mom, and just life in general.  Her recipes are simple and easy to follow, without excessive photo documentation (that really bugs me, personally) and succinct directions.
  • Let's Dish - She has a wide variety of recipes - both savory and sweet - which are conveniently labeled and categorized at the top of the page, in case you're looking for something in particular.  Each post is organized in the same manner (I love consistency!) and she always shares the original recipe source, which is helpful if you want to give that a try, too.
  • Smitten Kitchen - Deb is fabulous.  There's also a great mix of sweet and savory in this kitchen; her photos are beautiful and she always gives helpful tips on what does and doesn't work.  She is great at adapting recipes and eliminating needless or silly steps, and I don't think I've ever been unhappy with one of her recipes.
  • First Look, Then Cook - a fellow Pacific Northwesterner, who showcases seasonal foods and simple, satisfying recipes.
  • Korean American Mommy - A lot of Asian inspired cuisine and fusion cooking, a lot of sweets, a lot of everything!  Simple, streamlined recipes - I find that bloggers who are also busy, busy parents are great at that :)
  • Framed Cooks - More traditional American food, but they are all easy, filling meals.  The author is hilarious, and has a Southern husband, so there is a lot of Southern influence on her food.
  • Closet Cooking - A Canadian who manages to whip up the most amazing dishes in an extremely "closet-sized" kitchen.  He covers food from all over the globe, and posts quite frequently, with all kinds of unique recipes, every time.  He also has a Facebook page and seems extremely responsive to people with questions, which is always nice to see.
Other resources:
  • Foodgawker - You gawk at the photos, and then click through to arrive at the blogs they originate from.  Most have recipes, but not all do.  It's a great way to find new recipes, and they also have a search feature.  Be warned - don't look when you're hungry!
  • Allrecipes - A database for user submitted recipes, with a rating system and a place for comments; people who try these recipes often leave helpful tips (along with a slew of unhelpful ones, so be advised).  I find a lot of great recipes here.
  • Tastespotting - Just like foodgawker.  A lot of bloggers submit the same photos to both, though, so I usually just go through foodgawker.
  • Food Network - Recipes from the celebrity chefs on Food Network.  I don't go here as often, because I don't find a lot of their recipes to be as accessible or practical or interesting to me, but there are a few chefs who usually have easy, foolproof recipes (Tyler Florence is one example).
Okay, that's already pretty lengthy - I'll have a list of our favorite/most used recipes up next time!  Hopefully you can find some of these useful, or at least find a couple of new favorite food blogs!  I'm always looking for new ones, too - any suggestions for food blogs that I should be reading?