Recipes at Sound Food

Refresh your recipe repertoire

If your winter cooking rotation is stuck in a rut, it's time to dig yourself out by finding a few new recipes.

The other night I was looking at a huge butternut squash left over from the last Farmers' Market, and thinking it would be a good partner for the farro in my pantry. So I typed "farro butternut" into Google and at the top of the list appeared "Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash" from Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks blog. She added thyme, walnuts and goat cheese to the squash and grain. The result was a tasty, toothsome dish that was good hot or at room temperature. It's a great new addition to my winter recipe rotation.

Here are a few tips for a successful recipe hunt:

Stick to the recipe the first time
First, and this may seem obvious, make sure you choose recipes that have ingredients you like and that are easily obtainable. Not to say that you can't substitute, but if you start swapping out every other ingredient because you don't like it or can't find it you'll usually end up unhappy. I cringe when I read comments that begin "I really didn't like this recipe, even though I swapped out ingredient X because I really hate that, and I left out Ingredient Y because I couldn't get it." Um, if you didn't follow the recipe please don't comment, and don't complain.

Be particular about your sources
Always consider the source. Reputable sites test their recipes. Epicurious, Cookstr, Food Network, Simply Recipes and Star Chefs are a few examples of sites that can be counted on to measure the ingredients right and clearly outline the steps. Many of the foodie blogs are good sources as well. But I usually shy away from sites that feature recipes sent by whoever wants to post a recipe. There are some really bad recipes lurking around out there on the internet. Last night I saw a recipe that called for 2 TABLESPOONS of salt in a regular 1 cup batch of polenta.

Start with Google and Bing
Now it’s time to start searching. I usually start by searching by ingredients. Rather than checking out individual recipe sites first, I begin with Google or Bing. Just enter the ingredient or combination of ingredients first, and scroll through the results looking for recipes from sites you know and trust. One trick I use to get higher quality recipes is to add the word “chef” to the mix, as in “salmon leeks chef,” which will pull up chefs’ recipes for salmon and leeks.

Bing has a nifty new trick; if you enter any ingredient(s) followed by the word “recipes” it will go out to several recipe sites and compile a list with rankings.

Individual site searches
If I’m still stumped, I head for specific sites that offer good search tools and a wide selection of recipes. The best of these is Epicurious.com, which has a search utility that allows you to search by ingredient, plus the time of year or holiday, which course, method (i.e. roast or grill), etc. Their advanced search tool is located here.

Another great new source for interesting recipes is the “Food Blog Search.” This will run your search through more than 3,000 food blogs to find a match. And if you’re looking for recipes from the Puget Sound area, check out the list of local links on the Sound Food homepage.

Happy searching!



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