Monday, April 11, 2005

Where I get my recipes

I should actually say this is where where I get my inspiration for cooking because I invariably change recipes around. Case in point. This weekend I made the Nigella Aromatic Lamb Shank recipe. It called for ground ginger, cinnamon, tumeric, honey, and red pepper flakes with the shanks being served whole with couscous and lentils. I substituted fresh lemongrass for the ginger, garam masala for the tumeric, maple syrup for honey and Thai chili sauce for the red pepper flakes. I then substituted the lentils with yellow split peas and the couscous with brown rice. I also shredded the meat of the shanks instead of leaving them whole. So when I am looking for a recipe, it's always a starting off point for my own machinations. But I do look for recipes that have a degree of reliability to them. That the techniques make sense to me and I understand the outcomes. So where am I getting my recipes? Here's the list:

1. Nigella Lawson - in all forms. She is truly my role model in all ways. I love the way she writes, speaks and cooks. And while not all of her recipes work for me (don't make her pigs in blankets), when they hit the mark, it becomes of of my signature dishes. I take recipes from her tv shows, How to Eat, Nigella Bites, and Feasts cookbooks.

Recipes in my repetoire - Roast chicken, chicken stock, chocolate cake (ROCKIN!!!), Union Square roast nuts, Vietnamese chicken salad.

2. Bon Appetit and Epicurious - For the most part I love Bon Appetit. I regularly tear recipes out of that that magazine. However, it's usch a trendy magazine when it comes to food. It's all truffle oil, balsalmic vinegar blah de blah. Only a small number that make it into my regular repetoire. It's primarily occasion cooking. But it's such food porn.

Recipe in my repetoire - Pie crust, blueberry pie, molten chocolate cake

3. Paula Deen - Because she started off as a home cook and she so Southern, her recipes are amazingly accessible. I have yet to make something of hers that didn't rock. The one caveat is that you can't make it too often or you will die of a heart attack in three seconds.

Recipes in my repetoire - shrimp croquettes, homemade non-ice-cream-machine ice cream, spaghetti pie, vegetable pancakes, fried chicken

4. Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa - Another queen of the food porn. I want her house, kitchen and garden. Her recipes are very straightfoward but she does rely on the standing mixer a lot of if you don't have one in your kitchen, it makes it hard to do many recipes. The other challenging thing is that she often relies on expensive food for her recipes.

Recipes in my repetoire - Tequila lime chicken, chocolate white chocolate chunk cookies, pan fried onion dip, roasted vegetable dip

5. Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook - There is nothing like this. It has to be the spiral bound copy with the gingham cover. It has to have thos tabs for breas, soups etc. Ignore the desserts and candy section as well as the seafood section (because everything in that section is like tuna salad or trout almondine). But the cookies, bread and pie sections rock. This is THE cookbook for basics.

Recipes in my repetoire - cookies of all kind, pancakes, muffins, beer-cheese bread, chicken and dumplings.

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