Amy in the Kitchen

by admin on December 11, 2014 · 0 comments

in blogEATS

Notable New Blogs
Food blogs that have been running roughly a year or less
and that deserve a wide readership.
Every other Thursday.

The Blog: Amy in the Kitchen

The URL: amyinthekitchen.com

Who Writes It: Amy Duska, a food writer and photographer who was raised in Louisiana and now lives in Georgia.

Why I Like It: Some food blogs speak in the Voice of the Expert. Others speak in the Voice of a Friend. Many of the best blogs fall in the former category, mainly because, well, the authors are expert cooks. Many of the worst blogs come from the latter category, because, well, sometimes one’s friends don’t know how to cook. Amy Duska’s Amy in the Kitchen is a Voice of a Friend blog that’s very good. The blog, which is less than a year old, has none of the self-importance and self-promotion that often infect the blogosphere. Amy comes across as unpretentious and generous. Yet, unlike other blogs and bloggers that might fit that description, there is a good deal of care devoted here to serving up new recipe ideas and to perfecting and updating well-known recipes in thoughtful ways. In short, it’s not the most ambitious blog around, but it doesn’t settle for mediocrity. About half of the recipes are sweets and desserts. About half are Southern in origin, some but not all with roots in Louisiana, where Amy was raised; many of these Southern favorites come in less fatty and sugary versions than their traditional renderings.

Three Recipes Worth Cooking:

Cajun Shrimp Chowder: The large whole shrimp rest atop the thick soup.

Savory Roasted Sweet Potato Casserole: A little bit sweet, but less so than the standard versions.

Bananas Foster Mini Pies: The recipe comes with nice step-by-step photos for making and shaping the crusts.

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Flourish

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Blogging is a grassroots and democratic form of public expression, like yesteryear’s soapbox but now with an unlimited reach. The barriers to entry are few. It’s a great medium for people without a lot of capital, or the backing of a publishing or other media company, to reach a lot of readers. For that reason I think twice about including here a blog that was created not by an individual writer but by a company, and a fairly big company at that. There are many food blogs that fit the latter description; most are aggressively promotional, utterly predictable, drily impersonal, and bland. Flourish, from King Arthur Flour, is none of those things, and it is one of the best baking blogs around.

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Vegan Richa

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Over the last couple of years Richa Hingle has been posting more frequently on her very fine blog, largely because she is at last getting over the worst complications, some involving her vision, that followed the removal of a brain tumor eight years ago. This great news about Richa benefits us, her readers, for she is a terrific recipe developer and cook. This is vegan food that is easy on the eyes and exciting on the palate. (Some pre-2010 posts on the blog include non-vegan ingredients; that was the year she became entirely vegan.) As many other vegan cooks and bloggers do, Richa has a global palate. The blog is strong in Asian cuisines, and there are nice ideas with roots in Middle Eastern and European cooking, too, among others. Richa also has developed an expertise in bread-baking and there are lots of good vegan breads, from breakfast-and-brunch quick breads to artisan and sandwich-style yeast breads, here; many but not all of the breads are gluten-free.

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French Foodie Baby

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Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

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If your Italian is rusty, aglio means garlic, olio means oil, and peperoncino means, well, peperoncino—or what we sometimes call an Italian hot green pepper. Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is one of the most frequently published Italian recipes in the Anglophone world, although my impression is that it isn’t one of the most frequently cooked ones. Sure enough, there is a recipe for Spaghetti, Aglio, e Peperoncino on Eleonora’s blog, but the blog is admirable for the many less predictable choices that are there.

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Wild Yeast

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What Would Cathy Eat?

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The Crepes of Wrath

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In her writing in the Crepes of Wrath, Sydney Kramer is neither too modest nor too boastful. She says on her About page simply that she is working hard at learning how to cook well. She has been writing The Crepes of Wrath since 2008, and, because she posts regularly, the collection of recipes now is quite large, with plenty of nice ideas for everyday dinners and for more-ambitious weekend efforts. She moved with her husband from Arizona to New York a couple of years ago, and so the recipes reflect a mix of substantial middle-American foods and hip (but not precious) Brooklyn-style fare, with Sydney’s original spins throughout.

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The Skinny Pot

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About once a year we get a nice proposal in the office for a Filipino cookbook. The books are a tough sell historically, and so far we have always had to say no. A chief reason they are hard to sell is that people like to try, at home, cuisines they have enjoyed in restaurants—and there are very few outstanding Filipino restaurants in the U.S. Another reason is that the Philippines is a widely spread out island nation and, on closer examination, it turns out that there are a number of different Filipino cuisines. Filipino-Americans who pick up a Filipino cookbook might not recognize the food as what is cooked on their native or ancestral island. Shobee Dayrit’s The Skinny Pot is a newish blog that is by no means focused on Filipino cuisine. Its focus is on healthy food that doesn’t break the bank. The recipes deliver well on that promise, but the blog stands out from a number of other blogs that define themselves in that manner by its collection of Filipino recipes, along with dishes from other Southeast Asian cuisines and some Chinese and pan-Asian foods. If you like light and budget-friendly foods with an Asian focus, Shobee’s blog is a nice place to visit.

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I have a confession: I think the most interesting food on television is what you see on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” on the Food Network. If my fellow food professionals, who seem to delight in picking on the poor guy, or Guy, hear this, they will revoke whatever license I have to call myself one of them. That’s OK. Isn’t food supposed to be a matter of taste? If I have one complaint about Fieri’s show, it is that it should have a line in the closing credits saying that it was made possible, or some such, by the pioneering work of Jane and Michael Stern. The very idea that regional American food traditions are interesting owes much to the Sterns’ labors and writings. But we are especially indebted to them for the research they have done that proves, despite the aggressive homogenization all around us, that hundreds and perhaps thousands of family restaurants really do still keep those traditions alive.

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