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:

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.



December 5, 2014

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

December 4, 2014

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

December 1, 2014

There are days when trolling the food blogosphere amounts to looking at the same darn things, cupcakes and tacos and casseroles, over and over. The day I first came across French Foodie Baby was not one of those days. Here at last was a food blog like no other. The titular baby turns out to be Pablo, who is in a sweet photo with mom Helene on the blog’s About page. Pablo now would be a little more than three and a half years of age, which you know because his baby menus at various monthly milestones were posted and dated in 2011 and 2012. He’s now rather more toddler than baby, but, either way, he’s the best-fed kid in the world of food blogs and quite possibly in the whole world.

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Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

November 25, 2014

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

November 21, 2014

Very few baking blogs are about bread. I am not sure why this is. I imagine one reason is that Americans aren’t baking bread very often, or, when they do, they have a couple of favorite warhorses and aren’t looking for more recipes. Another might be the anti-carb fervor of the early 2000s, which was followed by the no-gluten trend and, more recently, the inexplicable anti-grain fad. Thankfully, there are a few good bread-baking blogs, and Susan Tenney’s Wild Yeast is one of the very best. Among bakers, wild yeast refers to the yeast that is used to make sourdough; Susan says on her About page that she adopted the expression as the name for her blog because of that traditional usage and also because she finds all bread-baking “outrageous, amazing, magical.” This is a deeply intelligent blog that speaks warmly and clearly to the reader without descending into the quasi-scientific jargon that some dedicated bread-bakers prefer.

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What Would Cathy Eat?

November 19, 2014

A lot of people, including many who are a generation or two younger than baby boomers, need to eat a heart-healthy diet, yet few food blogs serve this large audience. Cathy Elton’s What Would Cathy Eat? is one of the better ones that does. As you would expect from someone who writes ad copy by day, the writing is punchy, funny, concise, and clear. The focus is on unprocessed foods low in saturated fats. As others before her have done, Cathy relies on the ample use of spices to replace some of the depth of flavor you would get from butter, cream, meat fats, and the like. The recipes are primarily vegan, and many are Cathy’s original and excellent ideas.

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The Crepes of Wrath

November 17, 2014

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

November 13, 2014

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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November 11, 2014

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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