Since I'm not actually making or eating anything special this Thanksgiving (deadlines, what can I say?) I'm going to continue with the tradition of last Thanksgiving and post instead about some of the foodblogs for which I am thankful. My reading patterns have changed a lot in the past year - I've gone from painstakingly clicking every link in a del.icio.us category every few weeks to having a Google Reader that I can easily trawl through every day - and so have the blogs I read. Though I still read almost all of the blogs I featured last year (and you should go to that post to see the praises previously sung), my priorities have changed a bit and there are some new favourites to introduce. These are the blogs that I "can't put down," so to speak, the ones that I find myself constantly coming back to. Not necessarily my blogging friends - I find you guys here, and you know I love you! - but blogs that are just objectively right for my purposes. These days, I look for great photos, pleasant narrative, and recipes that I, well, like. I also tend to be a fan of recipes that I can copy into YummySoup, so sometimes a blog that I would otherwise be a big fan of isn't a favourite just because it's so time-consuming to use any of the recipes. That's not to say they aren't great blogs, but for a person who moves as quickly as I am, I admittedly have limited time to sit with a leisurely cup of tea and read all the content and comment. Hopefully this time next year, I will be a much more conscientious reader. As it stands, I still enjoy blogs that are less recipe focused like C&Z or Cooking with Amy, but just never get around to reading them as frequently as I would like. Anyway, without further ado, on to the blogs...
Almost Turkish Recipes
Though I still love Cafe Fernando, I must say this is the Turkish blog that's been getting most of my attention lately. It's very sort of no-muss, no-fuss, with lots of authentic Turkish recipes and many of them vegetarian. I'm hoping to try ispanaklı tepsi böreği soon, as you really can't go wrong with the combination of spinach and phyllo dough.
Baking & Books
I've been reading Ariella's blog for a while, but only recently really started to appreciate it. Granted, the monthly book giveaways did get my attention, but more generally I love all the book recommendations because I'm a big reader as well as a big eater. I like the layout, and the balance between narrative, discussing the food, and instructions. The very most recent post is actually the one I most want to share with you, because I'm a huge fan of spices with chocolate - chocolate chipotle brownies.
The Boastful Baker
Melissa's posts are short and to the point, and her photos are gorgeous. It's not all baking, but a lot of it is, and I'm not complaining. Recipes aren't always posted, but are frequently linked, and this is a blog where the focus is on the food and the beautiful photography. I'm intrigued by the sweet & spicy walnuts; they look a lot like something you could buy for quite a lot of money at home.
Chez Loulou is a favourite blog of mine in large part for nostalgic reasons, and hopeful ones as well. See, Loulou lives in my absolute favourite part of France, where I lived briefly myself, and I really want to live there myself one day. She emigrated, so it gives me hope, and I also love looking at her many photos of the region and its fabulous cheeses. I really want to jump through the screen and taste this cabretou, par exemple.
Chocolat et Caetera
This is another fantastic French dessert blog. I found it through a trail of bloggers that had made the cream cheese swirl brownies I tried once last year, and now I'm completely hooked. Almost all chocolate, all the time, and I can't resist. The dessert ideas are creative and tempting, and often the instructions are fairly simple. For example, take a look at this bittersweet chocolate and fig tart.
Coconut & Lime
This quick and to the point recipe blog features 100% original recipes, and I can't figure out how Rachel keeps coming up with these things time and time again. I appreciate the recipe-centric focus, though I also have a personal point of connection as Rachel lives in Baltimore, where I went to school and may shortly return. There are a lot of meat dishes, but also vegetarian plates and plenty of desserts. One very interesting idea is this ginger lime spiked cranberry sauce, just in time for Thanksgiving.
Cook (Almost) Anything Once
I like this blog for two reasons. One, the photos are beautiful, and two, the recipes are very easy. It's not uncommon to find a recipe with two or three ingredients. The downside is that Haalo tends to come across a lot of interesting, hard to find ingredients and so these recipes aren't always possible to replicate, but they're fun to read about in the way that people who don't cook read Gourmet. I liked the super-simple recipe for gözemle that went up recently. I've been trying to do more Turkish food, and though I don't eat meat, I could definitely go for spinach, cheese, and onion.
Fanny is fun and bubbling and her recipes are to die for. She's currently doing an apprenticeship with Pâtisserie Lac, which is pretty amazing, and she's been sharing her experience with us. She mostly (only?) does desserts, and her blog is in English, though Fanny is French. I love her go at Nigella's famous chocolate loaf; it looks amazingly moist and delicious.
Joy the Baker
Joy is lovely and delightful, and her entries are full of life. This is a blog with a personality, and it's good enough that I can forgive the lack of recipes from time to time. I recently used her sit and stay a while apple crisp as inspiration for a sage-apple crisp with an eggnog "creme anglaise" (coming soon). It was very tasty and just as comforting as the blog.
Whether by coincidence or just the gender ratio in the blogging world, Pete is one of the few male foodbloggers I like to read (along with David Lebowitz and Cenk of Cafe Fernando). I stumbled upon his blog very recently, and I can't get enough. Superb photos, but most importantly he's got the same talent that Deb of Smitten Kitchen does when it comes to being a real instructor on his blog. For example, see this recent post about baking stones. Pete knows his stuff, and I'm thrilled he's chosen to share it with us.
At the moment, this is my number one favourite blog. Why? Well you have the beautiful photos, the fantastically helpful tutorials, the easy-to-prepare and well annotated recipes, the convergence of tastes between Deb and myself... but really I think it comes down to the blogger. Deb is someone with whom I know I'd love to be friends. Me and three thousand other people, I know, which is why food blogs are great - you have an opportunity to peek into someone's house, listen to them talk, and feel like you're just another gal in the room, even with the most popular kid in the class. It's easy to see from Deb's posts that she's very genuine, and she wants people to succeed. Most of her recipes aren't original, but she really provides the extra help the cookbook authors don't by tweaking recipes, pointing out problems her readers have had, and responding in the comments when readers have trouble. I recently went through all her archives and copied a bunch of recipes - two hours well spent! Also a sort of personal plus for me is the abundance of Jewish recipes. At passover, you have to start thanking the lord when someone compiles 17 passover safe desserts for your baking pleasure! As for recent posts, I strongly recommend her updated pie crust tutorial if you've ever had trouble with dough.
Spicy Ice Cream
Posts here are often simple and brief, the photos are beautiful, and the recipes are lovely and do-able. I drooled a little over this blueberry and vanilla frangipane tart, but I'm a huge sucker for frangipane. Lisa hails from Australia, and she does a lot of desserts but also sometimes posts about eating out or trips with a photo montage.
Stephanie's kitchen is another great place to get simple food, with a bit of commentary but focusing on the recipes. She does a lot of desserts, and lately a lot of fruits, but some savory dishes as well. The very most recent post, chocolate lava cookies, makes me wish I could have one right now. She also posts a lot of original recipes.
Use Real Butter
Jen is an amazing photographer, and along with her food she shows us pictures of her amazing natural habitat. As a skiier, I admit to being very jealous of her circumstances - living in Colorado is pretty much ski paradise - but at the same time I don't envy having to always adapt recipes for high altitudes. Jen posts a lot of meat dishes, but she also does her share of desserts and veg-friendly items, always with plenty of "process" photos. I'd love to try these simple and comforting potatoes au gratin.
Returning from Last Year:
Beau à la Louche
Okay, so I might still have a teeny tiny crush on Loukoum, but who could blame me? Her blog is fantastic, her desserts are always something I want to munch right off the screen, and her commentary never fails to brighten my day (in French, I'm afraid). She has a thing for cheesecake, and who on earth could blame her? One dessert that nearly made my mouth drop open recently was a chocolate, cassis, and balsamic vinegar dessert. Luscious, creamy, and starring some of my favourite flavours, what's not to like?
Though her layout isn't quite as fancy as La Tartine Gourmande or Tartelette, I put Nicisme of Cherrapeno in a similar category. She makes a wide variety of reliably tasty recipes, and is also one of the few bloggers on this list who also comment here (thanks, Nic!) I'm all about the chocolate & pistachio wedges - the dessert recipes featured on this blog look tasty and fulfilling, but rarely the kind of thing you're going to have to scratch your head and gather tremendous courage to prepare.
Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
This blog, and Peabody's other amazingly tempting one, Northwest Noshings, are a standby great choice for desserts, comfort food, and the like. I enjoy reading Peabody's commentary, but this one is also all about the food. She often features things that look like I could make them, which is a plus, and the ingredients tend to be more or less seasonal. Also as a Pacific Northwest resident-wannabe, the second blog makes me want to move, pronto. Take a look at these butterscotch tarts the next time your sweet tooth is. They're nearing the top of my list.
What dessert lover can get enough of this blog? I sure can't. Granted, these are the kind of recipes you really have to steal yourself to prepare, but they look so gorgeous and are perfect for a special occasion. One recipe that intrigued me recently, partly because it only has six ingredients but also because they look so light and delicious, is raspberry parfait lollipops. Helen's desserts are often "cute," and these are no exception, but I think we all need some cute in our lives from time to time.
La Tartine Gourmande
Bilingual, gorgeous photography, and plenty of charm. Bea is a gorgeous mother to be with a penchant for both cooking and taking professional photos, and her recounting of franglais conversations always makes me smile and occasionally miss France. Most of the time it's a light and sometimes humorous blog, and the recipes focus heavily on dessert, though there are plenty of vegetarian savory dishes as well. The most appealing recipe of late for me was leek, tomato, and blue cheese quiches - some of my favourite flavours! Bea's blog was one that was a bit harder to navigate before RSS, but now it's a breeze.
So thank you to these bloggers, but also to all the hundreds of foodbloggers I read, and especially to those of you who read this blog and comment time and time again, even when I'm being scattered and frazzled and infrequently posting and infrequently replying to your comments. I read each and every one of them, and I greatly appreciate the time you take to hang out in my kitchen. Happy Thanksgiving, if you're celebrating, and if not, a very happy Thursday to you.