Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Larry and I love to cook. (We also love to eat.) Our interest in cooking began probably a year or so after we started dating because we got sick of eating out all the time (or eating in and eating crap).
We dubbed the first meals we made "Mom Meals" - they usually consisted of a chicken breast, some frozen vegetables, and egg noodles. And at the time they were SO satisfying. I had survived my early twenties on a diet of beer and bar food and plain pasta. Larry often ate a bag of microwave popcorn for dinner, or if he really got creative - a chicken patty topped with cheese sandwiched between two frozen blueberry waffles. (His masterpiece.) Stereotypical bachelor food. So to cook and eat a meal together that consisted of several different food groups was luxury.
We quickly tired of the Mom Meals and started scouring the internet for more interesting recipes. We discovered websites such as Epicurious. We started watching Food Network. We got more and more adventurous and more confident with our cooking skills. We enjoyed trying new recipes, cooking together, and challenging ourselves. I started photographing what we made, exchanging recipes with friends and even ended up starting a cooking blog with friends. And the best part - Larry and I were eating really well (proof: our expanding waistlines). We started by trying 3 new recipes a month. These days we make over 100 new recipes per year.
I started amassing a huge collection of recipes. I kept them in plastic sleeves stored in two office binders for years (one for savory recipes and one for desserts). When the binders filled up, the overflow recipes ended up stacked in piles all over the house. I could never find what I was looking for. I searched online for some sort of recipe organization system - but it seems everything having to do with recipes is cutesy or country and not at all me. I wanted something simple and modern - but more attractive than a binder from Staples.
About a year and a half ago, I decided to create my own recipe organization system. I designed a series of binders and had them custom printed at Avery. There are eight binders in shades of orange to match my orange kitchen. They're actually not stored in the kitchen though - they ended up on a shelf in the library.
You'll notice I have two volumes for desserts...
It worked out beautifully and is like having my own custom cookbooks. Of course, I am constantly collecting new recipes which often end up in a pile like this before they make it into the binders:
Here's what's inside. Lots of recipes we've tried...even more waiting to be tried...
Ahhh, pavlova - I really wanted to make this, but I'm gun shy after Sara's pavlova experiment/disaster.
Remember the Oreo Truffles that were all the rage a few years ago? Love those things. Confession: I've even made them with Nutter Butters. Awesome.
I make notes on all the recipes we try, too.
Some of the recipes are clipped from newspapers or magazines (we subscribe to Food & Wine and I occasionally pick up a copy of Bon Appetit), but most come from the internet- currently, my favorite food blogs are Smitten Kitchen and Orangette. I also like 101 Cookbooks, Simply Recipes, and Homesick Texan. I used to be addicted to reading The Kitchn. We still love Epicurious and gravitate towards Bobby Flay recipes on Food Network (though I'm recently loving Ina Garten, too). And some of my favorite recipes have actually come from AllRecipes.
Anyone else have any favorite cooking websites I should be reading?