I've been battling insomnia lately (and losing.) As a result, I've been feeling too tired to cook much. But I would hate to leave you in the culinary lurch so I thought I'd share some of the food blogs, sites, and cookbooks that I find most inspiring in the hopes that some of them will inspire you, too. Please share any books, blogs and sites you recommend via comments as I'd love to expand my stable of go-to sources.
The internet has definitely changed the way I approach finding recipes and vastly expanded the possibilities. At this point, I'd say most of what I cook is inspired by something I saw online. Here are some of the places I check regularly.
- 101 Cookbooks - a great option for super healthy, tasty, creative vegetarian recipes written by Heidi up in beautiful Marin County. She's also got a great aesthetic so the pictures are tasty, too.
- Simply Recipes - a nice, solid source for good recipes - lots of variety, always tasty written by Elise. I like the focus on family recipes.
- Food Blogga - good source for a wide variety of recipes (meat and vegetarian). Susan posts frequently so there's always something tasty-looking to check out.
- Recipes for Health - this is a selection of recipes with a focus on healthy, tasty, vegetable-focused dishes that is written for the NYTimes.com by Martha Rose Shulman. (I have to admit that I sometimes make these recipes less healthy by adding more cheese than they call for, etc.)
- Smitten Kitchen - I only discovered this blog a few months ago and have already cooked a number of things from it. Writen by Deb in NYC. How she manages to post so often with an infant is a mystery but I'm glad she does!
- Bitten -- Mark Bittman's food blog on the NYTimes.com. There are often interesting, new things posted here as well as old standards. Lately, he seems to have a lot of guest bloggers posting but I like his posts best.
- La Tartine Gourmand - this is hands-down the most beautiful food blog I read. Written by Bea, a french ex-pat who lives in MA with her husband and adorable little girl, it is truly an aesthetic pleasure. I have to admit that I have not yet cooked or baked anything from it yet but it is definitely a feast for the eyes.
- Epicurious - this is a great resource -- it's made up of recipes from Bon Appetit, Gourmet and a few other sources. I usually turn to this when I have some ingredient I need to use or if I have a vague idea of a recipe and want concrete examples.
- Food Blog Search - Although I sometimes resort to Google, I like this search option better because it allows me to search only food blogs, returning more specific and higher-quality search results.
But there is also something to be said for the printed word! For one thing, it's incredibly helpful to have the actual recipe in front of you on the counter while you're cooking instead of having to run back to the computer (for those of us who are too lazy to hook up the printer...) These are some of my very favorite cookbooks.
- Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone - this is like the bible of vegetarian cookbooks - very thorough, easy to read and delicious. Written by Deborah Madison, formerly of the Greens restaurant in San Francisco. One of my favorite things about it is that it's written for people who eat meat, as well as those who don't (it does make a difference!)
- The Joy of Cooking - conventional as it may seem, this is my go-to resource for questions, basic recipes, etc. I have the updated version which is WAY better than the old one and includes lots of tasty ethnic foods in addition to the everything else under the sun that is included in the original version
- From The Cook's Garden - this cookbook is one of my favorites - I want to cook every single recipe in it. It's written by Ellen Ogden who used to run a seed company in Vermont (since sold) and her love and knowledge of vegetables shows through on every page.
- Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet - this book is delicious on several levels - the photos, the recipes and the writing are all incredible. It's sort of half travelogue, half cookbook with the most amazing photos you've ever seen. I've been in love with South East Asia ever since I first visited in college and am grateful for the wonderful recipes in this book that take me back there without having to spend 18 hours on a plane... Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford, the author and photographer, have published a number of other scrumptious books like this including one on flatbreads of the world and one about China that look equally delicious and intriguing.
- The Williams Sonoma Collection - I have three of the cookbooks in this collection (soups, breakfast, and cookies) and love them all, despite their slightly corporate-y nature. I like them because they are accessible yet delicious, short (longer cookbooks have the downside of being overwhelming...), filled with good recipes (there is not a one that does not look good to me), and I love the layout - great photos and easy to read.
- The Silver Palate and The New Basics cookbooks - these are good, solid cookbooks that offer tasty meat and vegetarian options and a lot of very tempting desserts.
- Beard on Bread - almost every (successful) loaf of bread I've baked has come from this wonderful little cookbook. James Beard's writing makes the daunting process of baking yeasted bread seem not only manageable but also enjoyable. His simple yet thorough instructions got me through my first ever loaf (his basic homestyle bread) and I always come back for more good recipes.
- Beard on Pasta - my mom gave me her copy of this along with his bread book years ago and it's served me well the few times I've made pasta from scratch. Not surprisingly, I like it for exactly the same reasons I like the bread book.
- Sunset - this magazine is right up my alley. In addition to food, it covers gardening, home projects and travel (all focused on the southwest with a big emphasis on California.) They've also gotten more and more focused on sustainability and local ingredients of late. I have found a number of excellent recipes in this magazine. Although I subscribe to the magazine, I also search the recipes on their site at times, too.
- Eatwell Farm CSA's Newsletter - since we've been doing our year of local cooking, the recipes that are included in the newsletter that comes with each produce box from our CSA has been very handy.
- Friends and Family - the other obvious place I find inspiration is from the foods my friends and family cook. There's nothing like eating something delicious to make you want to try it out on your own.