The Haute Meal

by admin on October 30, 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: The Haute Meal

The URL:

Who Writes It: Stephanie Augustine, who lives in Chicago and writes about food and fashion.

Why I Like It: The Haute Meal is one of what strikes me as a surprisingly large number of blogs that combine posts about food with posts about fashion. To illustrate: Stephanie’s two most recent posts are “Creamy Chicken Fricassee with Pearl Onions and Mushrooms” and “Snakeskin Sweatshirt and Pleated Skirt.” (Speaking for myself, I found the former more engaging than the latter. It’s definitely more edible.) A bunch of other blogs combine food with home-decorating. As a general rule, blogs like these are stronger, often much stronger, on the non-food side than the food side. But I like the food on Stephanie’s blog quite a lot. As you might expect from a Chicagoan, the food here is protein-centric, with substantial meats and also a decent amount of cheese. Although few of us admit it any more, I think a lot of people still eat this way. I often do. What makes the blog nice is that the starches and veggies that surround the meats come in a nice variety, signaling with clarity that this is not 1950s-style meat-and-potato-ism. These are straightforward and appealing recipes for the daily whirl.

Three Recipes Worth Cooking:

Sausage and Feta Bucatini with Roasted Grape Relish: There are lots of sausages in Chicago cuisine. This is a beautifully simple preparation.

Nashville Hot Chicken: Sounds as if it should be the name of a dance, but it’s dinner—and, I am proud to say, this is the second time a Nashville hot chicken recipe has appeared in blogEATS. Uses lard, but not too much.

Pumpkin Nutella Sweet Rolls: For the season we currently are in. I like it that Stephanie has you making your own spice blend and doesn’t ask for a store-bought pumpkin-pie-spice mixture.


Kimchi Mom

October 28, 2014

Like the famous Saul Steinberg map of the U.S., which basically portrays the country as one part New York City and one part Everywhere Else, Korean food in the U.S. imagination seems to consist of one part Kimchi and one part All Else. I do not know how this happened, but I think it is unfortunate. I find kimchi interesting but other Korean food more intriguing. Amy Kim’s excellent blog Kimchi Mom, as the title hints, nods to the central role that kimchi undeniably plays (much like New York City in American society) in Korean cooking, with a selection of different spins on the fermented-vegetable dish and a bunch of very good how-to videos for making it.

Read the full article →

Raspberri Cupcakes

October 24, 2014

The one and only time I was in Australia I had the impression that I was in a place about one half American and one half British—a place with a brash, loud, and colorful overlay on prim and understated underpinnings. Something like that. I had the same feeling as I navigated around the recipe list on Steph Hooi’s excellent blog. Although I am sure that her Australian readers would say simply that her food is “Australian food,” it struck me as one part Commonwealth-inspired and one part U.S.-inspired. Steph’s blog is a well-populated and wide-ranging collection of recipes, each handsomely photographed, that ranges easily from casual to elegant, colorful to understated. A subset of the recipes include Malaysian elements, especially pandan leaves. Many of the baked things have whimsical designs, rather more in the grown-up-whimsical sense (which a handful of other food blogs feature, too) than in the kids’-birthday-party sense (which is a focus in dozens of other baking blogs). The y that became an i on the end of Raspberri in the title hints at the blog’s playful spirit.

Read the full article →

Naturally Ella

October 22, 2014

In a field of strong competitors among beautifully photographed vegetarian blogs, Naturally Ella is near the top in its visual appeal. Erin’s clear and inspiring photos offer up plenty of motivation to cook and eat her food. The style is a naturally lit, casual one that makes you think of backyard picnic tables at sunset or a breakfast nook at early dawn. (Happily, it’s not the uber-aggressive backwoods rough-hewn style you see in some food photography in the blogosphere these days, with assorted beetles, squirrels, tree fungi, and broken branches infringing on the table. Those photos mostly make you think you best eat the food fast, before a bear emerges from between the trees and eats it, or you.) Erin’s food ranges widely and is especially strong in its South Asian, Mediterranean, and Mexican recipes. Her book, however, provides a clue to what makes the blog unique: Erin is a master cook with a wide variety of grains, from millet and rye berries to buckwheat and quinoa.

Read the full article →

Christy Jordan’s Southern Plate

October 20, 2014

I like Southern Plate because it captures a down-home, diner-style comfort food that we all like, wherever we live. It’s a style that children often find appealing—simple cuts of meat, with gravies and sauces that tend to be one color and don’t appear to kids to be concealing something objectionable. Vegetables appear usually as sides and generally are not built into in the main course—again, just the way the short set prefers it. Christy serves up a tasty and wide-ranging menu of Southern-accented weekday dinners, reliably rendered as recipes and with clear and cheery photos throughout.

Read the full article →

Bottom of the Pot

October 16, 2014

We use the word accessible a lot in the cookbook trade. It means that the recipes in a book, or a proposal for a book, are not a chore for the non-professional home cook. Often it means specifically that you don’t need to find an ethnic market—which your town or part of town might not have—in order to buy obscure ingredients. As I poked around in Naz Deravian’s excellent blog it struck me how accessible Persian cooking ought to be for U.S. cooks. For most of the recipes, very slightly out of the ordinary spices like saffron and fenugreek are about as exotic as it gets. It’s also accessible in its techniques; as with Indian cooking, a lot is done in a stovetop sauté pan, skillet, or stockpot, with extended timings that don’t have to be measured precisely.

Read the full article →

My Kitchen in Spain

October 14, 2014

At conferences for food bloggers, of which one is held about every other week, there always is a workshop or two devoted to how bloggers can become cookbook authors. There’s never a session for how cookbook authors can become bloggers. Still, even in the absence of this kind of educational offering, a number of great writers from the dead-tree era have launched their own very fine blogs. Janet Mendel, who started the blog My Kitchen in Spain in 2009, is one of these writers.

Read the full article →

The Baking Bird

October 10, 2014

An odd locution you might hear in one of our acquisitions meetings at HCP, as we review a cookbook proposal, goes something like this: “This is one of those Seattle-Portland-Brooklyn-Austin books.” One of the serendipitous gifts we in the cookbook biz have received over the past decade or so is that the cool kids have decided it is, well, cool to cook and bake. The avant garde of cool kids who like to cook live in one of those four cities I just named and a disproportionate number of cookbooks written by 20- and 30-somethings come from those places. (San Francisco used to be the fifth town on the list, but everyone there now seems to be so consumed with prepping and scheduling their IPOs that there is no time left for kitchen and stove.) Perhaps not since the Moosewood era has what you cook, and what kinds of ingredients you use, been such an essential piece of generational self-expression. We like that. The S-P-B-A food culture is about natural, unprocessed ingredients; about shopping at farmers’ markets and otherwise buying from local producers, from picklers to craft brewers; about DIY things like canning and jam-making; and, perhaps above all, about baking—you need something to eat with all that great coffee. Kylie Antolini’s fine blog, from Portland, captures the S-P-B-A baking style in an accurate and appealing way.

Read the full article →

Autumn Makes and Does

October 8, 2014

Lately, during and after a trip to the grocery store, I always have a feeling that I have seen out of the corner of my eye many labels and stickers that say “Gluten-Free!” that are affixed to products no one ever thought contained gluten—like bottled water, frozen peas, or fresh oranges. The label makes a whole lot more sense on something, a loaf of bread, say, that typically has gluten. You want the label to have some news value. In gluten-free food blogs, too, you often find glutenless versions of things that never had gluten, but the better gluten-free blogs focus on recipes for which the absence of gluten is a pleasant piece of news. Autumn’s blog offers up plenty of these recipes, in breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, and more. Autumn also is interested in cocktails (there is some debate in the celiac community about whether some distilled spirits contain gluten), in canned and otherwise preserved foods, and in ice creams, curds, and custards.

Read the full article →

A Couple Cooks

October 6, 2014

After an hour or so of puzzling over whether the word Cooks in the blog’s title is meant to be a noun or a verb, at the end of which I reckoned it’s both, as in a pun, I took a close look at the food and decided I liked this blog quite a lot. This is the kind of food you choose when you want to eat healthier but do not want to follow any particular Diet with a capital D. Sonja and Alex cook with lots of beans, legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and with essentially no processed foods. The recipes are largely but not entirely vegetarian. Many are Mediterranean or Asian in origin or spirit. Others are Latin/Mexican or U.S regional. Sonja and Alex like to cook with eggs, which I think is great; outside of their appearance at the breakfast table and in baked goods, eggs are underused and underappreciated. The vegetarian food here is rich in protein without being drenched in melted cheese. A Couple Cooks reminds me of our Harvard Common Press author Michael Natkin’s pioneering vegetarian blog Herbivoracious. Michael’s recipes, however, lean a little more in the direction of ambitious weekend cooking, while Sonja and Alex’s food is more streamlined for the weekday grind.

Read the full article →