Mikaela’s Reads

Sarah ShiffmanPearl and Pine

Do you ever read something and feel you’ve been hugged? That’s how I feel when I’ve finished one of Sarah’s posts. She draws you into her life with small sentiments like this:

The leaves are starting to change color there. Just a little, but its happening. I rolled the windows down, threw on a sweater and my favorite Van Morrison mix, and said goodbye to summer.

Her recipes are inspiring and the pictures of her food look quite tasty, but it’s her pictures of life that steal the show. Many blogs show food and how it was made. Sarah captures why it was made.

Ashley RodriguezNot Without Salt

Through a transparent look at her own life, Ashley shares her struggles, triumphs, and joys. She shows us a world where the kitchen is liberty and food is its reward. Her recipes tend toward dessert, but who doesn’t love something sweet? You’ll also find a mix of recipes like making your own sea salt and creative use for leftovers.

Hannah CordesBlue Kale Road

If you’re looking for seasonally appropriate, full flavor dishes, I’d definitely recommend Hannah’s blog, Blue Kale Road. I first met Hannah in person. Crazy right? Who does that in the blog world? But it was at a blogging happy hour hosted by the lovely Keren Brown, so that explains a lot. Blue Kale Road is just like Hannah – unassumingly kind, well put together, and thoughtful. Many of her recipes are Kosher friendly. After all, she is a professional Kosher chef at the University of Washington.

Namiko “Nami” ChenJust One Cookbook

Nami’s blog, Just One Cookbook, makes Japanese cuisine accessible to the home cook. Appetizers, like her Chawanmushi (Savory Steamed Egg Custard), make fantastic first bites – not to mention this one is budget friendly. Her more substantial dishes pack huge flavor punches, using a variety of spices and ingredients. And, if you think Nami forgot about dessert, think again. Her Green Tea Ice Cream screams to be eaten on a hot day and her Purin (Crème Caramel) will leave you licking your plate. A quick word of warning: Nami frequently uses hard to find and expensive imported items. If you’re looking for them in the Bay Area, she has a fantastic list of shops on her Pantry page. For Seattleites, I recommend Uwajimaya.

AlexYums and Loves

Alex, blogger of Yums and Loves, explores restaurants and markets. At home she prepares tasty treats. Though some of her recipes are savory, they tend toward the sweeter side, just like Alex. I am particularly fond of her different cookie recipes.

Cheryl and AdamPicture Perfect Meals

What do you get when you combine an expert photographer and an amazing recipe developer? Picture Perfect Meals! Cheryl and Adam are a husband wife duo dishing up treats for the eyes and plate. While Cheryl regales us with stories and tastes of their life, Adam captures it on film. Their posts are fun and informative, with a helpful food photography hint from Adam at the end.

Skye PriceAllergic To Everything Almost

When I tell people about Skye, they always ask, “What does she eat?” It’s a valid question. Skye is allergic to meat, seafood, gluten, and corn. As you will see from her blog, her allergies don’t keep her from eating. Skye’s blog, Allergic to Everything Almost, explores her adventures in the kitchen and daring escapades to restaurants, which might or might not respect her allergies. Though Skye eats many of her veggie, nut, and cheese creations as main dishes, I tend to serve them as sides. They are great ways to mix up the food pyramid. Just check it out.

KristenFrugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker

I use Kristen’s blog, Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, as a resource for my own budget friendly recipes. Her great shopping tips and inventive recipes help me stretch every penny, not to mention the fact they’re fantastic. Making more out of less is a talent cultivated over time and Kristen has it!

ErinDinners, Dishes, and Desserts

Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts is a little about life and a lot about food. Co-Star in this fantastic escapade of tasty treats is Erin’s 6-year-old son, who often inspires and enjoys her food. As a stay at home mom, she is incredibly creative. Erin turns parmesan sticks into Bloody Bones, throws virtual showers, and makes a Bacon Cheddar Ale Dip that screams for a party!

MichelleBrown Eyed Baker

Though Michelle makes some things not straight from the oven, the majority of her recipes tend toward the yeast and flour variety. You might feel sinful after running to the kitchen and whipping up a batch of her Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes or Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake. Looking for a kid friendly dish? Check out her No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies.

AnneFrom My Sweet Heart 

When you’re ready for the sweet side of life, who better to help you out than a dessert addict? Anne’s blog, From My Sweet Heart, is all about sweet things. If you aren’t prepared to want sugar immediately, I’d skip this read. It’s pretty tasty!

HeidiHeidi’s Copper Kettle

Heidi’s Copper Kettle is a refreshing reminder that food doesn’t have to be fancy. It just needs be taste good and be made with love. Join this working mother of two for homemade ice cream, slow cooker creations like pork tacos, or a simple roasted veggie salad. 

Molly Wizenberg - Orangette

The first time I read Molly’s writing was not on her blog.  It was her collection of non-fiction vignettes: A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table.  Each vignette is accompanied by a recipe.  She serves us a life of laughter, love, and the pain that comes with her father’s cancer and eventual death.  Molly’s voice is strong, filled with wit and unusual insights.  Her attention to detail is a masterful use of language.   Just check out her description of Brandon’s proposal:

When Brandon walked me across the Brooklyn Bridge that afternoon in March, almost a year after we met, and steered me up the hill to Brooklyn Heights, to a bench on the promenade, I had no idea.  When he knelt in front of me and put his head in my lap, I had not the foggiest.  I was thoroughly absorbed in fact, in staring at a fleck of dandruff tangled in one of his curls (244).

Though recently she has paid less attention to her blog, Orangette, it is definitely one to add to your RSS feed.

Jessica – The Literary Foodie

Jessica is a woman after my own heart. She loves food and books, particularly good books about food. Good combination right? Sometimes I read The Literary Foodie because I need a good book recommendation. Normally, I read it because it makes me feel like I am sitting with a beer talking to my grad school friends. I miss those days of random conversation when topics bounced between life and the literary world. This is a great quick fix.

Devra Gartenstein – Quirky Gourmet

Devra Gartenstein’s blog, Quirky Gourmet, lives up to its title. Her writing is a unique mix of history, sustainable food, the occasional recipe, and a rare opportunity to see behind the scenes at the Farmers’ Market. There is a realistic honesty to her writing, one which recognizes the everyday man’s attempt to eat well. She writes of the items found in the conventional grocery store:

It saddens me that (beans, grains, vegetables, and the better meat and dairy products) are so often overlooked in discussions of good food, healthy eating and food justice. You don’t have to use premium ingredients in order to cook from scratch and make meals that are better for you in every way than fast food and frozen dinners. So much of the media attention is taken up profiling folks who make extreme gestures like trying to eat only local foods or not entering a grocery store for a year.

Pair this practical outlook on life with her wit and you have a woman who loves the word rutabaga.  One who loves it so much she sometimes cooks them, “Just so (she) can say it over and over when people ask what’s in the veggie mix.”

Joy Zhang – Joylicious

I discovered Joy’s blog, Joylicious, through Twitter. Thank goodness for tweeters. Who knows when I would have found it? Arriving at Joy’s blog, I was first struck by the photography. I wanted to pluck the strawberries from her Strawberry Lassi post. With each post I read, it took me a moment to concentrate on the words. I was captivated by the images. But, taking the time to read her posts is well worth it. How else would you learn she will, “Try to find dessert recipes that won’t give you a third ass?And where would you discover her wontons are like, “Getting a big warm hug?” Looking and reading both have their place on Joy’s blog. For me, I look and then read.

Ruth Reichl – Ruth’s Words

I first discovered Ruth while sitting on the cold floor of Half Price Books.  Her memoir, Tender at the Bone, was in the cooking section.  I wasn’t knocked out about the cover, but I bought a copy after a lot of debate.  In hindsight, I should have bought it right before a vacation because I was completely useless for a day and half while I gobbled up the book.  Her descriptions of eating evoke the taste of food.  Multiple times I found myself practically salivating onto the pages:

With the first sip I knew that I had never really eaten before.  The initial taste was pure carrot, followed by cream, butter, a bit of nutmeg.  Then I swallowed and my whole mouth and throat filled with the echo of a rich chicken stock.  I took another bite and it began all over again.  I ate as if in a dream (65).

Seeking out more of Ruth’s work, I found her blog: Ruth’s Words.  It’s an informal journal of what she’s eating and reading, written with the same vibrant passion for life.

Theresa – Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine

Theresa’s blog, Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine, is packed with personality. Her posts are thoughtful insights on food and restaurants. Though her recipes may not always be the most heart healthy, they are full of flavor. And, Theresa will tell you, “Everything in moderation.”

Lillian – Sweets by Sillianah

If you are looking for good dessert ideas, Lillian’s blog is fabulous.  Her food photography is mouthwateringly inviting.  More importantly, the recipes are delicious.  Though clearly an expert baker, she doesn’t hesitate to draw from the experience and wisdom of others.  She features her adaptations of recipes, as well as those pulled directly from cookbooks and other sources.

Also of note is one of my favorite new additions to her blog.  Her Fun Photo Friday posts feature what she calls her, “Not-so-stellar photos.”  I find them a great 10-15 second drop by of food fun.

Michael Natkin – Herbivoracious

Michael’s blog is a recent discovery and I absolutely love it.  His recipes are great, but his descriptions are what initially drew me in.  (I am a sucker for good prose.)  I didn’t even know what Buttermilk Spoonbread was, but then I read this, “If a French souffle moved to Georgia and married a pan of cornbread, their offspring would be this classic Southern spoonbread.” This is a fabulous place to find a new side dish or a good vegetarian option for your meatless friends.

Naomi Bishop - GastroGnome

Naomi Bishop is all over the place in the food world. Her blog, GasterGnome, follows her scattered and daring movements. She shares her impressions of eating out, fearless experiences with untraditional foods, and at home attempts to re-create her favorite dishes. At the GasterGnome, you’ll find honest reviews of Seattle restaurants and Naomi’s passion for saving cheese made by small farms. This is not the simple picture equals recipe, foodie crazed blog. Naomi is the GasterGnome. She explores culinary creations, then blogs about success and flops.

Pam - For the Love of Cooking

Pam’s blog is full of great recipes she makes for her family.  Her writing is reader friendly and her photography provides visual steps to her recipes.

Gaby Dalkin – What’s Gaby Cooking

Gaby and I lived in the same dorm freshman year at St. Mary’s College of California.  After graduation, she moved to LA and ended up going to culinary school.  Now she is a professional blogger, food photographer, and personal chef.  Her recipes are lovely.  If you’re in need of extra visual help, her video collection is a fun and short way to see how to put everything together.

Angela Hirst – The Good Soup

Initially I thought Angela’s blog was a little strange.  The background can be distracting, but I quickly discovered she has spot on recipes and a great voice.  Her photography is beautiful.  Beginning chefs should check out her basic skills section.  It’s a wonderful reference.

Stephanie Hua – Lick My Spoon

I first came across Lick My Spoon in a random Google search.  The title is as catchy as Stephanie’s recipes.  I may not be a huge banana eater, but her Banana Cream Pie with Chocolate Ganache & Salted Caramel Sauce might just change that.  Be sure to pay attention to her food excursions into different restaurants and butcher shops throughout the Bay Area and New York.  They make me envious and provide a great inspiration to travel.

Sonja Groset – Cooking the Books on Voracious

Cooking the Books is a weekly cookbook review by Sonja Groset.  She examines work from authors, chefs, mixologists, and food producers.  Cravers of fluff reviews beware.  Sonja’s posts are honest and frank.  If the recipes aren’t thinning, she’ll point it outWhen she likes an author’s hands on approach to baking, she’ll let you know. What was her favorite recipe from the book?  She’ll share it with you.  If you’re planning to expand your cookbook library, Sonja’s advice will serve you well.

Greg Atkinson - West Coast Cook

Greg has worked in kitchens throughout the globe. He writes about food with the confidence of a seasoned chef. His blog, West Coast Cook, makes you feel he is sitting across the table from you, casually sharing his recipes. This is not a man who clutches secrets. He is generous with his expertise and acutely aware of the home cook. His recipes allow you to cook like a restaurant chef. This isn’t a blog for commenting. There is no RSS feed to subscribe to. This is a place you come to read, absorb, and discover. Even if you weren’t hungry when you arrived, you will be when you leave.

Manju - ThreeTastes; Tao in the Kitchen

I don’t remember how I found Manju’s blog, ThreeTastes; Tao in the Kitchen. I do know each time I read it I feel like when I’m sitting with a friend sharing a simple meal. She writes about her food with a practical voice. There’s no pomp and circumstance. It’s just good hearty food, delivered with a slice of life. I like to think this is because she is a Reiki practitioner. It’s a form of non-touch energy healing developed by a Japanese monk. Perhaps it’s this connection with energy which gives her writing a very calm voice.

Jeannette Walls – The Glass Castle

Jeannette’s memoir, The Glass Castle, is not formally about food.  However, food almost becomes a character.  From digging through dumpsters to eating butter mixed with sugar, Jeannette poignantly depicts her struggle to survive in rural poverty.

Erica Bauermeister – The School of Essential Ingredients

Erica’s The School of Essential Ingredients is a short, easy read.  The small cooking class grows together.  Their experience captures foods power to form relationships.  Though the novel switches viewpoints, its primary narrator is Lillian, the teacher.  There are no recipes in this book, but the step-by-step instructions as the class moves through their lessons are a great recipe inspiration.  I learned helpful hints such as adding milk to my meat sauce before the wine to make sure the meat doesn’t become acidic.

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8 Responses to Mikaela’s Reads

  1. Thanks so much, Mikaela! I’m honored to be in such good company here :)

  2. mikaela, i’m so touched and honored to be included in this list – thank you for your generous review…it truly made my day! =)

  3. btw, i just started following Gaby recently on twitter and have browsed thru some of her amazing posts..what a small world that you used to dorm with her!

  4. Mikaela, thank you so much for including my blog in this amazing list! I’m very honored. When you are back in Bay Area, I owe you a Japanese lunch/dinner! Hehee. ;-) But seriously, thanks again!

  5. I’m delighted to be included on your list, Mikaela! Thank you for your kind words. I look forward to checking out the other blogs you have listed here. :)

  6. Mikaela, we’re truly honored and privileged to be mentioned in company with such great blogs. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  7. Lovely lovely list! And I’m honored to be on it- your description of my blog just about made me cry… I’m so glad I’ve discovered your blog and look forward to all of your wonderful posts.

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