I guess I’ve always been a cook at heart, but I haven’t always been good. Back in high school, my idea of a good dinner was hamburger over noodles (ground beef mixed with cream of mushroom soup, over egg noodles). Sometimes I decided to go really crazy and make hamburger over rice.
Then, when I got married, I encountered the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. It changed my world. I started learning the strategies behind cooking (because they include notes about techniques). Most importantly, I began to feel the joy that comes from cooking good food and sharing it with the people you love.
I was thrilled when LDS Living decided to start a food blog, because I l-o-v-e LOVE food and cooking. To start out, here are my top recommendations of places to go for recipes. (Note: I’m not secretly employed by America’s Test Kitchen, but I do fervently support their books and magazines. I even have a fantasy where they come and ask me to be part of the Test Kitchen.)
* America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (I give it to every bride-to-be that I know, and everyone who has used it attests that it changed them from simply cooking and really appreciating food.)
* Cook’s Country
* Cook’s Illustrated
* Ward cookbooks (they really are useful)
* Gourmet archives (a moment of silence for the magazine’s demise)
* Mastering the Art of French Cooking (for really special occasions)
* Allrecipes.com (Look for recipes with a ton of reviews—never less than 150, I say)
* Ourbestbites.com (Note: I just finished a feature article for our March/April issue that’s all about the Best Bites girls, how lovely food is, and how it has a special power to bring people together. Stay tuned.)
Avoid, if you can, Martha Stewart recipes. I love Martha, and occasionally she strikes upon a good recipe (they’re usually more simple, like “Blackberry Crumbles” from April 2007, which works just as well with frozen blackberries and pecan Sandies). But in my experience, her recipes just aren’t that good. They’re tricky and complicated and, nine times out of 10, don’t give a great return on investment (both cost of food and time). Has anyone else had this experience?
In addition to these sources, my general cooking style involves big flavor: tomato, onion, and garlic are common ingredients in my cooking. So is cream—I tend toward richer, comfort-food dishes like soups, saucy pastas, and cheesy breads. Still, I love fresh, healthy tasting dishes, like tortilla soup loaded with peppers, corn, and, of course, tomatoes. Tomatoes in everything—that’s what I say.
So let’s keep getting to know each other. What’s your favorite recipe source and/or favorite ingredient?
Kate Ensign-Lewis is the Associate Editor at LDS Living. She loves cooking in her tiny kitchen, eating great new foods with her husband, and finding good entertainment and art. She likes (virgin) pina coladas, but does not like getting caught in the rain.