Top Five Favorite Food Blogs

Mise en place

You know how it’s simply impossible to work efficiently 100 percent of the time? Well, it seems blogs were created to give us that little break that we all require throughout the day. The question is, can you read blogs responsibly? Or do you get lost in hours of perusing and cross the line from healthy blog-related behavior to full on time-wasting addiction? Cut to the chase – we’ve narrowed our favorite food blogs down to the top five listed below (in no particular order). Like baked brie and almond croissants, these tasty tidbits are best enjoyed in moderation but offer a necessary breath of toasty, baked, sautéed and grilled fresh air.

 

1. 101 Cookbooks- Based on her desire to break out of the “tried and true” mold that we often find ourselves in (why try something new if I know this recipe is a home run?), Heidi Swanson opted to open up her cookbook collection and her curiosity to share with us her discoveries, which ultimately led to a cookbook of Swanson’s own. Think “hands on” and very creative when heading towards this site. Heidi knows her food and she breaks it down easily yet with flair. And the way she breaks down the recipes in several groups more than quenches my thirst for order. Before taking your culinary prowess to the woods this summer, you may want to check out her cooking and camping tips.

 

2. Simply Recipes- It’s tempting to simply suggest dashing to this site right now for the coconut cupcake recipe – then you’d understand (even though that one is by guest blogger Vanilla Garlic, also a goodie). But it’s worth mentioning too that reading this family-style blog is a little like going home, in the good way. Created by Elise Bauer, this is a home-grown collection of recipes from her parents, friends, family, books, magazines, or her own. If you can’t make it home for the holidays, hang out here – it’ll make you feel good.  The Plum Upside Down Cake is definitely a must for plum fans.

 

3. The Expatriate’s Kitchen- This (ex) expat is a great resource for all-around-food info. Recipes abound and are grouped by course if you need a quick suggestion, but there is also a healthy dose of nutrition info, including the childhood nutrition series. How many well-photoged and entertaining food blogs can say that? How many bloggers can put “part-time shark wrangler” on their resume? This activist mom is certainly one to watch.

 

4. Smitten Kitchen-  Deb (and hubby Alex) really pulled a great one when she concocted the Smitten Kitchen. The same way in which great food and friends go together, you’ll simply have a great time hanging out with the SK. She’s funny (a necessary component of any food blog), adventurous and has a strong and sincere interest in and curiosity of food, but she also allows the readers to play a co-starring role in her writing, along with the various incarnations of each dish. And the recipes? Some are downright mischievious (don’t miss those “is this a joke?” kind-of-delicious blueberry crumb bars.)

 

5. Orangette-  One of the reasons this one is so irresistible is that Molly, aka “Orangette” writes so honestly about her own life, which to a large degree revolves around food. For example, she chronicled the first communication she had with her current husband who initiated contact through and because of her blog. And the latest post talks about their 1 year anniversary, which also happens to fall on the anniversary of the creation of her blog. Pour yourself a cup of tea, curl up with your coziest throw and immerse yourself in their romance while peppering the love affair with her culinary adventures. Her self-effacing charm makes it a pleasure to read about anything from her trips to Paris (even for those who believe they’ve grown tired) to how she doesn’t really have time to write.

 

 

Lunch Hour Chef at CUESA

One of our Lunch Hour Chefs shows off some freshly grilled peaches.Friday, August 1st marked the first of a month-long series of Lunch Hour Chef, a partnership between CUESA (the Center for Urban Education and Sustainable Agriculture) and Parties That Cook. It’s like a quick mini-version of a cooking party while offering a nice respite from work in the middle of the day. You have to eat anyway – why not make it fun, healthy and homemade? This menu consisted of Grilled Chicken (or Grilled Vegetable for non-meat eaters) Sandwiches with Marinated Artichokes and Lemony Hummus and a Salad of Arugula with Grilled Peaches, Gorgonzola and Candied Walnuts. Not only do you get to make a yummy lunch, learn tips from super-Chef John Silva while making new friends. It’s the perfect antidote to those days when you’re nose is to the grindstone but you feel like you’re getting nowhere. This isn’t work; it’s instant, delicious, friendly, buttery, sweet, grilled gratification.

Parties That Cook and CUESA go together like wine and cheese, and the gathering began with a brief discussion by Christine Farren of CUESA. We got the lowdown on the farmer who grew the peaches we were grilling, as well as some of the perks of shopping at farmers markets (in short, supporting the farmer over supporting the corporation is the healthiest choice for the consumers, the growers and the earth). Then PTC Chef John helped everyone get into the groove by demonstrating tips for the menu, such as how to “show the peach who’s boss” and how to butterfly a chicken. Armed with the correct tools and tips, the guests broke up into two groups to begin lunch.

The grill was aflame, the oil was steeping and nearly everyone wielded a knife (when else can you play with knives during the workday?) as chickpeas were whirring for hummus and fragrant peaches were brushed with sugar and fruity olive oil while waiting to be roasted for the peppery and creamy Arugula and Point Reyes Blue Cheese Salad. You might even call the experience therapeutic as the bursting aromas, the sunny crisp background and the relaxed yet energetic company all offered a nice preview of what the weekend might hold while offering a break from that grindstone – at least enough so we could go back in and tackle it sated, educated and refreshed.

I think it’s safe to say that a tasty and fun time was had by all. For more information or to sign up for a class, go to http://www.partiesthatcook.com/cooking-classes-san-francisco-bay-area-chicago-los-angeles/.