It is not a surprise that I love to both cook and bake. However, for a while I had been stuck in a rut and was consistently making the same series of recipes over and over again (so boring!). At the start of the summer I decided that I wanted to finally address this repeat cooking cycle issue and explore new culinary recipes, techniques and tools. Since then I have learned to make creme brûlée, ciabatta bread from scratch, create husband approved dishes that contained lentils and purchase new kitchen tools as an informed consumer. My culinary success over the summer can primarily be attributed to 3 resources: Cook's Illustrated, thekitchen.com and Sprouted Kitchen. Here is a little more detail on why I think these resources have been so inspirational and worthy of sharing with you all today.
Cook's Illustrated has been around for a while and is a staple resource for a lot of people. I have only recently come to the party and discovered the wonderful world of Cook's Illustrated. Better late than never! Cook's Illustrated can best be described as Myth Busters meets Consumer Reports meets The Joy of Cooking. This cookbook along with the monthly magazines are great resources for not only laying out the best way to, for example- butterfly a chicken or properly season hamburger meat, but Cook's also provides you with the reasoning/evidence for why a certain technique is preferred and the best cooking tools to use for specific tasks. The Cook's Illustrated cookbook contains a wealth of information for all of the most common recipes, so if you are looking for a resource that can help you to hone your culinary skills and provide you with a excellent knowledge base, I highly recommend checking out Cook's Illustrated Cookbook and Magazine Subscription.
The famed website Apartment Therapy, which features unique and well decorated spaces all over the country, has a culinary spinoff site called The Kitchn. The Kitchn is a fabulous website filled with great recipes and all sorts of culinary information extras. In addition to the extensive database of delicious recipes, what really sets this website apart is the way in which they present each recipe. Not only does the Kitchn provide you with a detailed list of all of the ingredients and equipment you will need to successfully execute a given recipe, but they also include a gallery of images detailing what every step of the recipe should look like. Love that! I cannot tell you how many times I have gone through an entire recipe step by step and ended up with result that looked nothing like the picture (so frustrating!). When I decided to try my hand at making my own ciabatta bread from scratch, it was beyond helpful to have images presented of what each step (for example- making the biga) should look like. The Kitchn provides very detailed recipes that have really helped me to perfect the art of say, making creme brûlée or baking homemade biscuits from scratch. All in all, this is another exceptional resource that I highly recommend checking out. *Note- the Kitchn also has a cookbook available for purchase (see here).
The Sprouted Kitchen and Bowl + Spoon
I first learned about Sara Forte from Ina Garten. I had attended one of Ina's book tour events in DC at the Sixth and I Synagogue (if you are a DC local, I highly recommend signing up for their newsletter- they host a variety of great events). During the Q&A portion of the event, one audience member asked Ina who her favorite chefs were at the moment. Ina rattled off a few favorites including Sara Forte. That evening after the event I went home and immediately googled Sara. Lo and behold, I discovered the Sprouted Kitchen! Sara's recipes are the very definition of whole foods cooking. She has created a series of recipes (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian), which her husband has beautifully captured in photographs, that are delicious and filled with healthy ingredients. Her most recent book, Bowl + Spoon, certainly does not disappoint! More beautiful photos, delicious recipes and everything served in a bowl (love that!). If you are looking for a new and healthy repertoire of recipes, I highly recommend checking out Sara's website and her two cookbooks (The Sprouted Kitchen and Bowl + Spoon).