Resources for the New Chef in All of Us

With the sheer number of food blogs, cookbooks and Instagram accounts available, sitting down on a Sunday to meal plan for the week can sometimes be overwhelming.

I’ve been there. Well, I’m still there every week.

What I’ve found helpful, though, is focusing in on a few cuisines – for me, that’s Mediterranean and Asian. There’s so much to explore within those two really broad categories, but I find that I always have the kitchen spices and sauces I need for these recipes. That being said, you should still have a diversity of resources, and continue to try something new. That’s the beauty of cooking – the absolutely limitless exploring. Try a week where you use only one cookbook, or focus all your recipes that week to incorporate one ingredient – I did that with soy, which will be my next blog post.

Whether you want dumplings, soup, fried chicken or something in between, below are some of my go-to recipe resources.

Cookbooks, Apps and Instagram Accounts:

  • NYT Cooking app
    • While this requires an extra subscription from the normal NYT subscription, it is so worth it. You can save your favorite recipes, and I really love the ‘suggested for you’ content on my home page based off of what I’ve been looking at recently.
  • Bon Appetit
    • The one magazine subscription you must have. They have super easy recipes, but also a diversity of cuisines. Sometimes they’ll focus in on one ingredient, or give you 15 recipes for quick and easy lunches. Lately, they have also been focusing a lot more on representation in food, highlighting Black, Thai, Nigerian and other diverse chefs.
  • Omnivore’s Cookbook (Instagram: omnivorescookbook)
    • I’ve been focusing a lot on Chinese, Korean and Japanese cooking, so this account is one of my go-tos. She highlights beautiful Chinese dishes – from char siu pork to xiaolongbao to wonton soup. She also has helpful tips from time-to-time such as how to pick a good soy sauce.
  • Half Baked Harvest (instagram: halfbakedharvest)
    • A very popular blog with seasonal and whole food meals, desserts and cocktails. I’ll go here if I’m looking for something quick and home-y.
  • Nothing Fancy: Unfussy food for having people over by Alison Roman
    • While Alison Roman was in some controversy lately, I really like this cookbook. It’s the quintessential cookbook for dinner parties – with recipes that won’t leave you with five different pans to clean before your friends arrive.
  • Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African-American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin
    • This is a stunning book that forces you to rethink where some dishes originated. Alongside the recipes, Toni shows what the old, original recipes looked like in Black cookbooks from the past two centuries. Some of my favorites recipes here are sweet potato biscuits, maque choux and caribbean roast pork, which is caramelized on top with rum, brown sugar and lime juice.
  • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the elements of good cooking by Samin Nosrat
    • One of the quintessential resources for understanding how to cook and why you really can’t leave out that one ingredient in a recipe. Of course, watch the Netflix version, as well.
  • Cook Like a Local: Flavors that can change how you cook and see the world by Chris Shepherd
    • Upon reading this book, you’ll understand how Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the nation. In it, Chris Shepherd explores dozens of cuisines, all through six essential ingredients or flavors: fish sauce, chiles, soy, rice, spices and corn. It’s really that simple.
  • Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen by Adeena Sussman
    • I can’t wait for it to be summer again so that I can pull out more of these recipes. It’s a book with so many of my go-to recipes, from my daily tahini smoothie, to roasted tomato and labaneh pappardelle pasta, to caramelized pineapple with sumac over labaneh. My favorite hummus recipe is also in here – try the lachmajun spiced beef hummus with tamarind paste.

Have a favorite cookbook or blog I’ve left out? Let me know!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Geri Lawhon says:

    Thank you for the great info.


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