Dear discerning cooks,
Hi! Let’s talk about whose cookbooks or online recipes you are cooking from right now. Maybe you’re enamored with a new cookbook? Or you use your tried and true online printouts?
I don’t care which! But I do want to know what’s exciting you these days.
As for me, I’ve been on a low FODMap diet, with no wheat, yogurt, onions, garlic and small amounts of produce. It’s so not me. I’ve had to learn to eat without my usual poundage of fruits and vegetables. (For example, I can have 1.5 tablespoons of apple for a serving. For me, a serving is an apple. LOL). To my surprise, the recipes from FODMAP Everyday are flavorful and full of produce I love. I made this Carrot-Ginger Soup a few times and guests loved it.
Fill me in on who you think writes good recipes, wherever they are. If you can, explain what you like about them.
Quite a process. I'm afraid I am not as organized. I just looked up this app. I had no idea it existed but it definitely sounds worthwhile. https://www.paprikaapp.com/
I mostly start with ingredients. For example, I bought a lovely mozzarella ball from Don Froylan Creamery in Salem, OR, which lead to thinking about Caprese salad, which led to a Google search to confirm what ingredients are usually in Caprese salad, which led me back to the refrigerator where I found some kale and carrots (which I cut into ribbons) and cucumbers and a red onion, all of which became a tossed salad that started with the core ingredients of a Caprese salad: mozzarella, tomato, basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt.
The mozzarella ball unwinds into a ribbon of cheese. The teens had no problem polishing off the extra cheese.
Enjoy your blintzes! I have never tried making them. Making anything with chocolate makes the whole house smell good. And Yotam, I have 2 of his books and love his recipes.
I haven't gotten organized for this as I have some deadlines coming up this week that are keeping me from the kitchen, but I feel like I'm going to be hitting "The Woks of Life" cookbook pretty hard in the upcoming weeks. Mostly because I have collected a lot of Chinese pantry ingredients between H-Mart and the Mala Market that I've "forgotten" how to use and because Asian food is my love language. My husband loves restaurant-style Chinese and I miss the traditional food from my pre-pandemic business trips to Beijing. I feel like "The Woks of Life" straddles those two preferences really well. After that, it's putting-up season here in NC, so I'm hitting Caroline and Jason Roy's "Biscuit Head" and Christine Ferber's "Mes Confitures" pretty hard. Few small things are more joyful than cracking open a jar of homemade Strawberry-Anise jam. I follow David Leibovitz's blog because he's a joy to read but I can't bear to stare at another screen after work hours, so I pretty much only cook from cookbooks (thankfully, I know a good shop owner).
We make a lot of recipes from Cook's Country and America's Test Kitchen -- the recipes always turn out perfectly.
I've been on the Low FODMAP diet twice so I understand how you feel...limiting my produce was so difficult, and I hated cooking without onions and garlic. I limit my FODMAPs but otherwise eat and cook normally now. I just purchased the Monash low FODMAP cookbook and it's great!
I love reading food blogs (Serious Eats, Pick Up Limes, and David Lebovitz are my current go tos. Ruth Reichl will forever be my inspiration) but as a pastry cook, the last thing I feel like doing when I get home from a 10 hr day is be in the kitchen. My boyfriend is admittedly a terrible cook (he has other virtues!) so Beth over at Budget Bytes has saved us time, money, and frustration! Her work is approachable and informative. We've never had a recipe turn out bad. Some favorites:
Maple Dijon Chicken Thighs: https://www.budgetbytes.com/maple-dijon-chicken/
Chicken Stew: https://www.budgetbytes.com/chicken-stew/
Gochunang Tofu Soup: https://www.budgetbytes.com/gochujang-ramen-with-tofu/
What a great question! I subscribe to dozens of excellent food blogs but my very favorite is Nagi Maehashi's Recipe Tin Eats: https://www.recipetineats.com/. The enormous variety of well written and thoroughly tested recipes, accompanied by videos and gorgeous photography, run the gamut from old favorites to creative new offerings from around the globe. Australia's favorite food blogger, Nagi has millions of followers worldwide.
Nagi's first cookbook, Recipe Tin Eats Dinner, was released last year in Australia and this year in the U.S. It's the only cookbook I've purchased in the past ten years and it's absolutely wonderful.
Of course, I'd be remiss if I failed to note that Nagi's lovely personality shines through everything she does and like so many of her followers, I'm absolutely addicted to the antics of her fabulous dog Dozer.
Nagi donates a significant portion of her seven-figure income to Recipe Tin Meals which she established to address hunger and food insecurity in the Sydney, Australia area. She's greatly admired for her charitable activities which have undoubtedly helped to cement the loyalty of her fans. Many food bloggers earn a very enviable sum of money annually but sadly, I don't see any others giving so much back - especially U.S.-based food bloggers who so often flaunt expensive lifestyles that are likely out of reach for most of their followers.
I mostly print from online these days. My top 3 sources are NYT Cooking, Smitten Kitchen, and Just One Cookbook. I’ve found their recipes to be super reliable and they have what I want to cook.
My favorite all time cookbooks are:
Leslie Revsin's Great Fish, Quick, which I found second hand and buy copies for gifts when I do see it. I haven't made everything in this book but just about. Simple ingredients and techniques. -Well-written. Good ideas that can be used again and again.
Deborah Madison - Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Lots to inspire. Well-written.
Claudia Roden, Ottolenghl, Paula Wolfert, Naomi Duguid, Chris Schlesinger, and numerous other authors inform and inspire me.
On line, I like Serious Eats, Leity's Culinaria, NYT.
I like to travel and experience other cultures. The easiest way is through food. I look for simple recipes that do not require a lot of steps. I am not put off by long lists of herbs and spices. I keep about 20 different blends on hand to instantly take me to Ethiopia, Burma, Provence or India and many other places.
I follow smittenkitchen.com. Always fresh ideas - and yummy pics too!
I make a lot of recipes from Italian and Emilia-Romagna peasant tradition.
I can choose among many tastes and little but significant variations of flavor. Currently, I'm cooking and cooking saffron carrot soup (that is on my blog). Oh! I was forgetting to mention the Via Carota cookbook, where I look for in-season recipes, xo Monica ps: Thank you for your tip, I'm going to read Fodmap Everyday
I’ve been expanding my world with Vasudha Viswanath’s gorgeous Vegetarian Reset cookbook; scoring a few old recipes from a vintage recipe group on Reddit; swapping various recipes and ideas with my subscribers; learning to cooking more intuitively (without recipes) in a recent workshop; getting inspiration from other substack writer/cooks; and of course, tapping into 40 years worth of recipes from my mum’s foodletter archives!
On the cookbook front I'm really enjoying Sri Lankan cooking with the Hoppers Restaurant cookbook, and whilst I'm not specifically focusing on a blog at the moment to cook from if I need a recipe that works I always search Smitten Kitchen and Joy The Baker first!
Also from my side of the pond on FODMAPs have you come across She Can't Eat What? (https://shecanteatwhat.com/) - I have her book too (I and my immediate household can eat what we want but my extended family live up to the Eastern European Jewish weak digestion stereotype with a few FODMAP necessary diagnoses thrown in!) and there are some delicious recipes in there.
I'm enjoying Woks of Life, Smitten Kitchen, Budget Bytes and Recipe Tin, online. The recipes are simple, generally reliable, and use ingredients that I can find close to home. Some of the recipes are adaptable to use with the seniors' group with whom I volunteer lead an online cooking workshop.
Print books I'm using frequently are Vietnamese Food Any Day by Andrea Nyguen (refreshing, reliably successful, delicious) and Preserving by the Pint by Marisa McClellan. I love Marisa's recipes because they are easy to follow, and the yields are perfect for my small household.
I have sooo many recipe books and I love them, but the lure of the online search gets so strong.
I will always try to find a particular recipe in the Australian multicultural broadcaster SBS' food website first: https://www.sbs.com.au/food/. The recipes in there tend to truly reflect the different cultures from which they come, rather than being watered-down for a homogenous taste.
I am particularly invested in their growing collection of recipes using Australian native flavours, that being rather my own speciality.
Of the recipe creators in there, my current obsession is Adam Liaw. His recipes are reliable, tasty, and - for the most part - deliberately easy and everyday. I'm quietly collecting all HIS recipe books, too, cos librarians gonna library :), but I'll admit I'll tend to find them on the website first and then look it up in the relevant book for splattering soy sauce on. (What's a recipe book that hasn't collected some of what's being cooked, after all?).
Yotam, grandmother's Jewish Cookery (it's blintzes time), anything chocolate
I cook primarily plant-based meals. Deborah Madison is my all-time favorite recipe creator. She knows how to draw the maximum flavor from fresh vegetables and herbs. I have several of her cookbooks, but I primarily rely on The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
I’m enjoying Nagi and Recipe Tin Eats. I have the book and many, many printouts of her recipes. Her recipes are often long because she fully explains the process. After finding a blog devoted to favorite cookbooks, I’m spending more time than I should pulling books off the shelves and stacking them up to read. I have way too many cookbooks that I have purchased, glanced at and then put on the shelf. I’m enjoying finding “old friends” and making new discoveries.
I tested a lemony quinoa recipe for Leite's Culinaria that turned out to be from a newish ATK book about gut health. I make it probably twice a month if not more often; it's pretty perfect, if parsley and lemon zest are still in your diet, and with a no-onion homemade broth: https://leitesculinaria.com/354706/recipes-baked-quinoa-lemon-parsley.html. Obviously I love that website because only those recipes that are both written well (or re-written) and approved by the testers get posted, and also because Leite's headnotes are compelling. What am I making today? Daniela Galarza's Eat Voraciously column this morning has made me crave blue cheese, walnuts and arugula, largely due to her description of toasting the nuts in butter, so I'm thinking of salad for dinner, maybe with a sherry vinaigrette and some pickled red onion. She's usually great for inspiration and she writes so well, though last week's tinned fish columns... I'm re-examining favorites for low or no gluten foods because I'm hoping a low inflammation diet will give me the knees of a teenager. I am planning to check out Priya Krishna's Indian-ish again, and looking for an old pork larb recipe I remember loving mainly because something from an Emily Nunn column made me think of it, and it's really a salad, right? She's simply an excellent writer. And I just saw the tiniest part of a Vittles article by Ruby Tandoh and didn't realize how fun she is to read--so evocative even as she's hating on another food writer--so I'm off to find more, though I cannot speak for her recipes just yet. So it's the recipes, absolutely, but really the food writing that draws me in. And the smitten kitchen, as Gwynne notes below, for both--her recipes are so well tested that they're often flawless, and that's not a given for other sources, I've found. And when I really want a reliable recipe? Serious Eats, of course.