As we cook and test recipes, we add to our stockpot of helpful resources — food-related information that we find especially useful, plus products we like and cookbooks worth owning. Please send us your favorite resources so we can share with others!
Food & Equipment Reviews
Our colleagues at the Good Housekeeping Institute have done reliable product testing for years. And you don’t need a subscription to access the reviews! While you’re on the site, check Cooking Tools as well. http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-products/
A terrific independent resource for ingredient and food product nutrient data, fast foods included. Also has a free downloadable recipe analyzer http://nutritiondata.self.com/
The USDA website is easy to navigate and has lots of useful, reliable information http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=food-nutrition
The website includes:
– Nutrient data for gazillions of foods, and free downloadable software for searching ingredients. If you want to know protein, calories, fat, vitamin content of a food, this makes it easy.
– The most current product labeling information and Dietary Guidelines http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DietaryGuidelines
– Choose My Plate (replaced the food pyramid) includes Super Tracker to help track your food and exercise choices www.choosemyplate.gov
Information on food shelf life from several sources, USDA included, all compiled in one place. http://www.stilltasty.com/
More on food safety including emergency preparedness from the USDA /Food Safety and Inspection Service http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets
Tips & Techniques
Good information on converting ingredients from measurements to ounces – especially flour. http://alicemedrich.com/2015/11/08/how-to-convert-recipes-from-cups-to-weights/
Lots of straight-forward baking information (butter, cakes, cookies et al); substitutions for over 90 common ingredients. http://www.landolakes.com/TestKitchen/TipsAndTechniques.aspx
How to measure pan sizes, volume etc. http://www.joyofbaking.com/PanSizes.html
From your Get Cooking Simply pros:
Pantry Essentials – a terrific one-page list – Click here to open document
Equipment Essentials – another useful one-page list- Click here to open document
Kitchen Basics – simple guidelines for food prep and cooking – Click here to open document
Cooking techniques and videos (ingredient taste-test comparisons too):
Cooking Light magazine. Subscription not required http://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/techniques/
Videos from Saveur magazine. Subscription not required http://www.saveur.com/videos/video-channel
Videos+ from Fine Cooking magazine. Subscription not required http://www.finecooking.com/how-to/
Really good, short how-to videos for lots of cooking techniques. You have to subscribe to the magazine (might be worth doing!). http://www.cuisineathome.com/main/oe-videos.php
Cookbooks & References – a few of our favorites
Food Lover’s Companion by Sharon Tyler Herbst. A comprehensive, concise, accurate food dictionary. We use it regularly. Or we did before we started spending too much time online searching for “accurate” info!
The New Basics by Julie Rosso and Shiela Lukins. A modern-day Joy of Cooking of sorts. New twists on lots of favorites. Yes, it’s been around awhile (as have others cited here), but New Basics’ slant on recipes is refreshing.
How to Cook Everything –The Basics All You Need to Make Great Food by Mark Bittman. An excellent resource with lots of how-to photos; would make a great wedding gift for newbies. Bittman has several other practical cookbooks, one is just vegetarian.
Almost from Scratch, by Andrew Schloss. Andrew is right on! We’re trained consumer foods specialists and can’t believe he beat us to the punch with his collection of smart, real-life cookbooks. Another is Cooking with Three Ingredients.
The Best Freezer Cookbook – Freezer Friendly Recipes, Tips and Techniques by Jan Main and other contributors. For most of us, freezers have taken the place of the canning our mothers used to do, but not just for garden fruits and vegetables. Now we can make ahead and freeze savory sauces and even dinner entrees.
– Check out Rita’s way to freeze chopped garlic and ginger http://getcookingsimply.com/in-your-freezer-and-ready-to-go/
There’s a Chef in Your Freezer by Richard Azzolini. Mediterranean-inspired recipes that you cook ahead and freeze. Some are rather labor-intensive. The point of the book is to cook when you have the time, and/or when things are seasonally available, so that you have “many delicious edible building blocks at your fingertips that you can quickly assemble into a superb meal”. Eg: peeled tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, soft leeks and onions, roasted garlic, pureed squash, herb purees etc. Ultimately, these are ingredients that will elevate a meal but do not take a lot of time when you have none to spare.