Saturday, February 6, 2010

Food - Advanced Tactics

Even though I cook mostly for weekends, I don't like being too repetitious in the kitchen. Apart from my traditional Hungarian/Transylvanian cooking with some appreciated staples, I like trying out new dishes. With time, my family moved from the frustrating 'have-we-tried-this-already?' to the more encouraging 'wow-this-looks-really-good' attitude. They can't tell me what they'd like, they expect me to come up with the ideas and the precise shopping list.

In a previous blogpost, I described some basic meal planning techniques (searching for recipes on the net and watching the food channel). Still, this entailed deciding what I want or getting an idea from somewhere and then looking it up. Takes too much energy. Lately I've improved my tactic and here I am ready to share my winning formula so far, hoping it helps some fellow meal-planning challenged who like to try new dishes (did you taste spaghetti in beet and poppy seed sauce?).

I start by looking at the recipe columns in the Friday papers. If I find something I'd like to try, a save the paper till I cook the meal, then throw it out. I know it's not clever (Dan is still reminding me of some kind of roast beef  with cherries I prepared for a Passover dinner years ago), but I prefer not saving recipes as this would require  digitizing, storing, indexing, retrieving ... too much energy. I prefer recipes coming to me rather than me haunting for them.

This brings me to tactic number two: following professional food blogs. I know there are many out there, so just pick some you really like. I incidentally ran across (Hebrew) in an acquaintance's Facebook status and liked it immediately. They have really good weekly recipes. Here's an English one too: (less professional than the previous one, sent by a friend of mine mostly for the site's aesthetic look).

The last tactic requires a little more investment: bookmarking really good food sites (like - also Hebrew). The recipes come from many different chefs (yeah, some are too fancy) and they have professionally taken videos as well. The good thing (apart from the videos) on this site is the clickable categories. These allow you to find a soup/salad/side dish/whatever is still missing from the plan. They don't have an RSS feed, you need to register instead - yet another username-password pair I won't remember - so I just check back from time to time. They also have a non-recipe blog I don't have patience for. Just give me the recipes, no literature please.

And finally, here is a little bonus for my Hebrew-speaking readers looking for Hungarian recipes. This page will also take you to Ofer Vardi's site and book. Personally, I never used this blog since I can search in Hungarian, but I saw many positive feedbacks, so I decided sharing the info with you.

And a plea: if you eat something at my table and like it, come and have it again, just please don't ask me how I made it. For some mysterious reason, I prefer keeping it for myself.

1 comment:

danyashaily said...

Hi Erika-

Thanks for the mention of Matkonation. Just to let you know- we now have an English version. You can find it at