If, like me, you’re at all in New Year’s Resolution limbo, it feels like the rest of your life is on hold until you can make up for the excesses of December. For myself, that means shedding weight, resuming an exercise regime, and being more moderate in the happy hour department.
Do I badly miss December and all of its treats?
I badly do.
However, I can say I feel better, and I now have more than one pair of pants that fit. My ancient bootcut-style yoga tights are relieved.
To what can I get the credit? Amazingly, food blogs have come to my rescue.
It started when I asked for help from the members of my online Facebook food group Le Bitchin’ Kitchin. For months, I’ve been disappointed with the direction my long-time favorite food app Epicurious has gone in (the recipes aren’t as easy to cruise), so asked Le Bitchin’ members if they had recommendations for food blogs/sites with which they’ve fallen in love. I asked them if they had any suggestions that were on par with smittenkitchen.com, as I think many of us agree it is the number one spot online to get reliably delicious ideas.
Happily, one woman in Edmonton immediately responded with Tieghan Gerard’s halfbakedharvest.com. I was met with gorgeous pics, good writing, but, most importantly, interesting recipes that fit the bill for January Healthy. I’ve already printed out one recipe — a 30-minute Thai Peanut chicken ramen — and added it to my Blue Binder of Beautiful Meals. For such a quick broth, this ramen became flavorful and round fast, and the ramen noodles tasted as good as they always do (you ditch the flavor packets, of course).
Also, if you’re into Instant Pot (I don’t have one) or Crockpot cooking, Gerard has a wealth of recipes and gives directions for how to cook using both contraptions.
Second, food52.com. I knew about this site and actually have a cookbook of theirs, but this January has prompted me to scour their stuff for low-fat but delicious options. You will find hundreds of recipes here that, like Epicurious, are assessed by cooks using ratings and reviews. Unlike Epicurious, though, it remains easy to scan without having to read a bunch of food articles, which I don’t particularly want when I’m meal planning for my week.
Last night, I made a sherry mushroom clafoutis recipe, which tasted like an extremely savory crêpe. Lest you are fearful it’s ridiculously healthy, it has cheese (a good amount of it), and it kept me full for a while, which is always a bonus. Anyway, it’s going in the binder, too, which says something since I only add about five recipes a year to it.
I’m still exploring seriouseats.com, but I can say that, so far, the recipes are science based and solid. It’s not a gorgeous site like Smitten Kitchen, but you can easily search recipes by ingredient, dish type, cuisine or even method, which is interesting. I made a pork chops and leeks recipe from this site a few weeks ago, and, had I kept better watch on my chops, I feel certain it would have been perfection. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Finally, if you’re in the mood to watch instead of read, I can’t recommend the Netflix show Salt Fat Acid Heat enough. It’s comprised of four hour-long episodes in which chef and author Samin Nostrat explores how each of these elements affects cooking and a culture’s cuisine.
It’s informative, it’s beautifully shot, and it will make you want to travel to Italy, then Japan, then Mexico, which is not a bad feeling to have in the middle of January.
I made her roasted chicken marinated in buttermilk Sunday and, oh my friends, it was terrific. As per her instruction, I also roasted the chicken with the legs toward the back of the oven (where it’s hottest) and the breasts toward the front, which is a terrific tip.
Anyway, I don’t think I’ve ever made such tender chicken and I can hardly wait to have (a respectable amount of — sigh) leftovers for lunch.
And so I’ll leave you for the week. I hope you find these sites helpful. Happy cooking!