Recent Blog Discoveries

October 6, 2010 § 1 Comment

You may have noticed by now that I am no stranger to narcissism, which is just as well, since it’s kind of the name of the game with this particular medium. However, I’d like to step out of it for a moment to share with you several wonderful blogs that I’ve discovered relatively recently. (Please see my blogroll for the complete list of cooking and eating people I love – and keep in mind that the list is by no means exhaustive).

Understand that these are no fleeting strangers in blogosphere, because, despite our short acquaintance, to me these here folks are a source of inspiration, salivation, exultation, admiration, motivation, and other good things, as I hope they will be to you.

First let’s talk about Elizabeth of the gorgeous Guilty Kitchen website. Now I relate to Elizabeth in many ways:

Elizabeth has cute little kids. I have cute little kids.

Elizabeth has chickens. I have chickens.

Elizabeth likes to fillet things. And I, well, I like that sort of thing too.

Elizabeth is also big on appreciating locally harvested foods, organic philosophy, and the power of do-it-yourself.

Oh, and she has a nice camera and lenses. Which is where we diverge. For now.

Which she uses to create things like this. See, she develops her own recipes – pretty complex recipes at that, which to me is always a special point of admiration.

And this is Elizabeth herself. She is beautiful – and so is everything on her site. This is why I wanted you guys to check it out – it’s full of breathtaking photography, mouthwatering recipes, and her life is just overall real fun to follow. That’s what I love about blogging. You can stalk people, and it’s OK.

And, by the way, a recipe of hers is featured in this book, just out.

Photos courtesy of Guilty Kitchen, used here with permission. Although I don’t think she realized how many pictures I was going to use. But look, it’s for a good cause, right?

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Next in line is Pamela with her hilariously-titled site My Man’s Belly. You see, Pamela believes that a way to a man’s heart is through the stomach, and this simple wisdom resonates with me on a very deep level.

This is Pamela with her man, by the way.

There are lots of things I appreciate about Pamela – she is direct, she too loves farmers’ markets and grows her own tomatoes, and her food is really interesting and original.

She makes cool things like this.

She deconstructs black forest cake… Don’t you think this is brilliant, by the way? I always look for ways to simplify (which is why I’m definitely adding this to my repertoire of easy desserts), not to mention the fact that the very mention of deconstructionism tickles this former English major pink.

But as if that wasn’t enough, she accompanies each recipe by some hilarious relationship advice/cultural commentary, which ranges from witty to downright hysterical. I absolutely love it, and I bet you will too. Check it out pronto.

Photos courtesy of My Man’s Belly.

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Next, I’d like to tell you about Georgia Pellegrini – a chef, writer, blogger, and something else… a female hunter!!!!!

See for yourselves:

Now Georgia is one special lady. Having once worked in a cubicle at Lehman Brothers, she decided to change her life’s course by enrolling into a culinary school and becoming a chef, and, later, a writer. I keep hearing wonderful things about her first book, Food Heroes, which celebrates people who celebrate food, but have not yet had the pleasure of reading it myself (although that’s definitely on my list).

Like with the folks above, Georgia is passionate about things harvested locally, which, in her case (as it is in mine), includes the harvest of meat. Consequently, her site abounds with helpful game-processing tips, which are extremely useful to me personally. All in all, her love of foraged foods is contagious.

And she is as thrilled about liver as I am, which is good because I always look for new ways to prepare it.

And she smokes trout, too.

And makes her own duck prosciutto. Which is really cool, because we are killing our ducks and geese on Friday. Yes, Georgia is definitely a girl after my own heart. I am so, so happy that she shares her hunting and culinary adventures online.

And, I almost forgot – she also writes a blog at ESPN: The Kitchen. In case you needed to know how to prepare dove with pears.

Photos courtesy of Georgia Pellegrini.

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Photo by Stacy Gorelik, courtesy of Sassy Radish.

And this is Olga. Like myself, Olga was born and spent her early years in the Soviet Union, so it’s no wonder that her blog, Sassy Radish (which sounds especially funny to a Russian speaker) resonates with me in a number of ways. For one, Olga is a New Yorker, which to me has always been a subject of fascination, since her particular trajectory from immigration to becoming an urban professional is my road not taken. To me, Olga is the other. And while a bulk of her food is very American, some of it draws from the traditions of Mother Russia.

For instance, she makes things like this eggplant caviar, the dish that we both grew up with. I think hers look exceptionally good.

But then she also makes wings, and not just sauce-out-of-the-bottle wings like I do.

And then she is making cupcakes for her friend’s wedding, which is the kind of thing that always impresses me, as I pulled off a stunt like this once myself.

Speaking of cupcakes. How’s that? Baileys? Whiskey? Guinness? We didn’t have those in the Old Country – here’s to the joys of capitalism.

I have a feeling that I should stop my picture-stealing at this, but do make sure to stop by Olga’s extensive Russian-American blog.

Photos courtesy of Sassy Radish.

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And here’s someone whose blog hit the spot in the most direct and tangible way – Sanam (isn’t it a beautiful name?) of My Persian Kitchen. A native of Iran, she was born across the border from me, and since Azeri and Persian foods are very closely related (even more so than Azeri and Turkish foods), this site evoked nostalgia like nothing else. If you at all like my Azerbaijani angle, by all means check it out.

In the short time that I’ve been a follower, I have effectively become obsessed with rose syrup, an ingredient in the above rose-syrup iced tea. Rose-favored sweets are among the most distinctive things about my home, and I am very thankful to Sanam for bringing that nearly-forgotten flavor back into my life. I am going to get me a bottle.

And oh my god, this! This just makes me want to cry – one of the most memorable treats of my youth, this flour and butter halvah is perfect to satisfy both my need for heartiness and my need for sweetness. You have no idea how hard I’ve tried to find an Americanized, English-language recipe for this particular dish. It found me instead.

And how about some freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice, a perennial treat my mom made for me back home? I can still see her putting pomegranate seeds into a small cheesecloth bag and squeezing them by hand into a glass. It was tart, fresh, slightly sweet, and I cannot think of a better way to experience the essence of pomegranate, my country’s national fruit.

Anyhow, discovering Sanam’s fabulous site My Persian Kitchen was one of the two most positive things brought into my life by the internet, along with my go-to culinary Bible The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

Photos courtesy of My Persian Kitchen. All photos used in this post are used with their owners’ express permission.

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