These days it seems like more and more recipes can be found online, and I certainly love surfing the net for meal planning ideas. In fact, $1.25 just bought me a new appendage, um, I mean iPad, and I’m loving it for recipe hunting. Internet searches are super convenient and usually you can rely on the comments to help you decide if what you’ve uncovered is worth the effort or not. And of course, with my new-found love of Pinterest, I’m finding whole new worlds of recipes to try out.
But, sometimes I just love to sit down with a good cookbook and physically turn the pages. My cookbook collection is pretty solid, with two Gourmet magazine cooking “bibles” and a slew of other options that are either cuisine-specific or targeted in some way. And then there are my very favorite cookbooks, that are already spotted, marked up, dog-eared, and loved.
Here’s a quick run-down of the cookbooks I turn to ALL the time for favorite recipes and new inspiration. In random order, the winners are…
Barefoot Contessa Family Style, by Ina Garten
Honestly, I love everything about this cookbook. The pictures are gorgeous, the recipes are simple but delicious, and Ina Garten’s laid-back personality shines in her writing and techniques. Some of my favorite dishes from this cookbook are the Parmesan Chicken, Tequila Lime Chicken, Linguine with Shrimp Scampi, and she has THE BEST recipe for Mac & Cheese. Some of the recipes seem so simple (like tomato & mozzarella salad), but there’s something to her emphasis on quality ingredients and helpful hints that really make the simplicity work.
Barefoot In Paris, by Ina Garten
My love for this cookbook is very similar to my love for Barefoot Contessa Family Style, except it is amplified by the fact that I ADORE Paris. Ina gives you a little glimpse into her life when she’s visiting Paris and I’m absolutely dying to try out some of her recommendations for French markets and cooking next time I get the chance (someday!). My absolute favorites here are the Profiteroles that my family insists on having every Christmas Eve, the Creme Brulee, Cheese Straws, and the Cauliflower Gratin. All of these recipes are awesome and I find myself making them over and over again with fantastic results.
Everyday Italian, by Giada De Laurentis
This cookbook is my absolute go-to for risotto. I also use it for ideas and inspiration for simple roasts and pasta dishes for an every night meal or for a special occasion. Remind me to tell you about how I exploded a blender one time when I was making the Roast Pork Loin with Fig Sauce. I swear, that kitchen would still have purple spots if I hadn’t replaced the cabinets along the way. But that’s not Giada’s fault and there are so many other great recipes that all use simple ingredients. $1.25 and I have a new soft spot for anything Italian, so this cookbook sees a lot of action these days.
Martha Stewart’s Dinner at Home
This cookbook has in interesting format, based on the premise of preparing 52 meals at home and the recipes are collected together into menus based on the season. Although this is a newer cookbook in our house, I LOVE the Steak with Chimichurri Sauce. Considering how many times we’ve relied on that recipe for ourselves and entertaining, I’d say the cookbook was worth the price just for that recipe alone.
So there you have it. When I’m looking for inspiration or planning a meal for company, you can bet that I’ve used at least one of those cookbooks in the process. Even with all the technology out there, I love to curl up with a good [cook]book every now and then.