Minimal Kitchen: Cookbooks and Recipes

Chapter, Fashionably Light

Mar 31 2014

Gold Tape

Minimal Kitchen: Cookbooks and Recipes

Is it just me, or is the Cooking section at bookstores getting increasingly tempting?

The pictures are gorgeous, the concepts are quirky, and well, it all just looks so yummy.

To avoid getting sucked in, I decided to own just one cookbook.

It’s kind of a Julie and Julia thing. I want to work my way through the whole thing before getting a new one. I also like checking them off.

At first I chose to do this because I wanted to get as much out of one book as I could before moving on. Another plus is getting used to the format and style of the author. I now know what to expect: the way the steps are written, what kinds of ingredients are used, how the cooking time will compare with my oven. This is a brilliant advantage to the printed word verses the Google search [unless you’re always cooking from the same author, obvs].

Which Cookbook?

At university I used Vegetarian Nosh 4 Students. It was a good intro cookbook for a new vegetarian, and suited my student kitchen facilities [despite the author’s hip numerical replacement for a perfectly fine preposition].

I graduated to my current cookbook, Kris Carr‘s Crazy Sexy Kitchen, which features FAQs and articles about healthy eating. When I try a new recipe I read a new section from the beginning too.

I also just bought Angela Liddon‘s Oh She Glows cookbook, because I’ve been snagging recipes off her site for years and they are some of my faves. When I get through Crazy Sexy Kitchen I shall crack the spine.

My advice? Choose a versatile cookbook that will work for you, your diet, and your preferences. I bought books from bloggers I have long loved and continue to trust. Remember that you can check out cookbooks at the library to test out before buying.

Be wary of those beautiful baking books: are you really going to make a book’s worth of cake pops or macaroons? Hey, maybe you will. Setting a monthly “macaroon-making” date with a friend and working your way through the book could be really fun – but only if it’s actually going to happen. 

As for Online Recipes…

My favorite go-to sites are:

  •  The Stonesoup Blog: 5 ingredient recipes with easy alterations for different diets!
  • Feastie:  Search for recipes by ingredient. A great way to find creative ways to use up what’s in your fridge.
  • Oh She Glows: Just to reiterate. The best for vegan comfort food, including my favorite Vegan Mac and Cheese.

My Own Personal Menu [I’m pretty proud of this one].

I have a binder. It includes printouts of my favorite online recipes, but also “menus” for breakfast, main courses, and side dishes. Yup. I list out all the things I can make, and sometimes “order” what I’m going to cook next.

I find the decision process at a restaurant to be way simpler than it is in a kitchen. Surely this is silly. I can cook whatever I want, while I can order only what is on the menu. But a little limitation can be a very good thing.

My “menus” include everything I count as a meal, even “beans on toast”. It includes things I can make from memory (such as “beans on toast”) as well as recipes from the Crazy Sexy Kitchen cookbook, or from the printouts later in the binder. 

This method makes battling my own decision way easier, and is also a useful aid in finding overlap with my family, since we all have different preferences. 

Do you have any minimal cooking advice? What is your favorite source for recipes?

miss xandra bee

P.S. Tomorrow the price for Becoming My Own Heroine will be set. Please cast your final votes today; the price will be the average of all downloads.

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