Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Favorites, Part III

Favorite Cooking Shows:

Technique: Barefoot Contessa- Ina Garten is an entertaining goddess. I think that everyone who watches her show at least subconsciously wishes they were distantly related to Ina or one of her posh friends. She makes fairly simple but elegant and always delicious recipes. Her tzatziki, granola, and sticky buns have never steered me wrong.

Kelsey’s Essentials- Kelsey is so personable and has a sunny disposition. Her recipes are fairly basic and I like how she breaks down all the ingredients and equipment necessary. You can learn both technique and about her life from the show.

Competition: Chopped- 1 mystery basket, 4 ingredients, 4 chefs that all want to win $10,000, and a short time period to make an appetizer, entrée, or dessert. What could be more gripping? The addition of the witty host Ted Allen and knowledgeable but sometimes harsh judges, check.

Iron Chef- The host, the Chairman is always a delight to watch. And, the secret ingredient which all of the dishes have to highlight is always interesting. My favorite chef to cheer for is Michael Symon, although all of the Iron Chefs are very talented.

Top Chef- There is more reality show drama in this competition but the mini-showdowns and competitions are very entertaining. I also really like Padma and Gail, host and judge of the show.

Favorite Cookbook: Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads is without a doubt my favorite cookbook. I have made it a personal goal of mine to bake my way through the book, trying everything from bagels (success) to breads with foreign names that I have never heard of.

Ingredients I Swear By: Local Eggs (preferably straight from someone’s backyard), Ghirardelli Baking Chips 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate (there is nothing wrong with eating them straight out of the bag), King Arthur flour (unbleached all-purpose, whole wheat, or white whole wheat), and most items from the farmer’s market

My Favorite Kitchen Tool: My KitchenAid Mixer


Isn’t she (the mixer) beautiful in that stunning cornflower blue?

Runner-Ups: Cuisinart Food Processor, Garlic Press

That officially wraps up the series of  my favorite food-related things. I promise I will start including more pictures and recipes in posts. I am ashamed that I have hardly taken any pictures since Costa Rica, but I am working on curing my picture burn-out.

Monday, July 1, 2013

RIP Google Reader (aka My Favorite Food Websites)

My name is Sarah and I am addicted to reading food blogs.

There, I admitted my addiction. Those of you that know me best know the sadness and betrayal I felt when I heard that Google Reader was shutting down (How can you do this to me, Google?). I am still trying to find the best alternative to replace my beloved Google Reader but honestly a little break from reading food blogs might not be so bad and might even build some character (don’t all things that you really don’t want to do but know you should?). Nonetheless, I will get to the actual blogs that provide me such enjoyment.

My Favorite Blogs:

Peanut Butter Runner- yoga, fitness, and a mixture of healthy and decadent recipes makes this one of my favorite food blogs. Also, Jen is from Charlotte so I know many of the restaurants she talks about.

How Sweet It Is- over the top recipes are matched by an over the top personality in this blog. But, I can totally relate to Jessica’s obsession with Boy Meets World and not feeling like a grown up. Read this one to have fun.

Joy the Baker- beautiful pictures and well-crafted stories compliment the wonderful recipes that Joy crafts. I have probably tried the most recipes from this blog of all the blogs I read and I have never been disappointed.

Girl versus Dough- at first this blog was all about a girl exploring the mysteries and delights of yeast. Now, the blog has a broader scope but still is very interesting to read and to my delight yeast resurfaces occasionally.

A Pastry Affair- a blog with an artsy feel and a thoughtful quote to go with each recipe posted. The perspective of a young woman who has actually worked at a bakery is unique and she also hits on deep, very real emotions connected with the food she has made.

Willow Bird Baking- a fellow Davidson student is the author behind this blog. She does a wonderful job of telling a story and tying it back to a decadent dessert. I also just love her personality and the kindness that comes through in person as well as on her blog.

The Amateur Gourmet- read this blog for comic effect or for good how-tos. He freely admits to being amateur and writes simple-to-follow recipes, both of which are good for the rest of us amateurs out here.

Chocolate Covered Katie- this healthy, vegan dessert blog will surpass your expectations created by  that crazy combination of words (healthy + vegan + dessert). I have made several recipes from this blog before and successfully sampled them on unknowing friends (mug cakes and black bean brownies- both amazing!).

Other Fun Food Websites:

Serious Eats (especially the Sweets section): I love this website! It has sections for different cities, and food topics (i.e. pizza, sweets, burgers). The writing and photography are also top-notch with significant humor; I also feel like I really know the main contributors from their personal style reflected in posts/articles.

Healthy Aperture- my favorite “food porn” website. I think I could stay on this site for hours. New pictures with linked recipes are posted daily. Everything is somewhat healthy but also beautiful and, from my experience, tasty.

The Kitchn- an all around amazing food website plus so much more. The recipes are wonderful but the how-tos, recommended products, and food news pieces are just as good. Bonus: its sister site, Apartment Therapy, is all about the home, including decorating, DIY, and interesting products.

Food Network- Ina’s recipes are on there, enough said. But, for those of us who watch lots of Food Network, it is a great repository of all those recipes that we see chefs cook on TV and then want to try to replicate.

My next post will be my last and will include everything else I can think for which I can give my meaningless stamp of approval, including television shows and some food.

As a final note, I just made these whole wheat buttermilk biscuits. They were my first totally successful batch of biscuits; now I am a true Southern lady (we’ll just overlook the omission of lard/Crisco and white flour for the time being)!