Blogging suspended

Posted By mattantonino / July, 6, 2011 / 0 comments

I thought I should put up one post to let everyone know – I’m suspending blogging on StartingtoCook.

Simply put, I love blogging here but don’t have time to run all of my businesses, get myself moved to Australia, blog here as well as I’d like and the feedback, commenting and ad return so far don’t justify the time I’m putting into the work.  So I’m closing the blog for now.  I don’t know if or when it will return.  It’s been fun food blogging but I need to focus on food shooting and getting moved, visa approved, and my new wedding & portrait business started in Melbourne.

Thanks for reading!

 


Tilapia Parmesan

Posted By mattantonino / July, 3, 2011 / 1 comments

Two things typically eluded me before I starting learning to cook.  1) Quick, tasty meals that didn’t get microwaved or come in cardboard and 2) summer meals that didn’t feel heavy or meaty.  I like salads but I can only eat so many salads in one summer.

I don’t remember where I first saw a recipe for tilapia parmesan but at this point I’ve changed it a few times, made it probably 20 times in 15 different ways and have adjusted everything about it so … no link, just recipe and photos today.

Now, I’m all for fresh ingredients.  Get some fresh tilapia and do this.  However, I’m going to show you in photos a 15 minute meal that doesn’t have to be defrosted.  You can have this plate of food in 15 minutes or less. And on those hot summer nights, a light fish, quick rice and veggie can make the perfect meal.

Ingredients

  • Tilapia filets (fresh taste slightly better, frozen are more convenient .. both work)
  • 1 tbsp light mayonnaise per filet
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice per filet
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic or
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan per filet
  • couple dashes of pepper

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to broil.  Move the oven rack near the broiler.
  2. Lay a sheet of aluminum foil on a cookie tray.  Spread the tilapia filets on the foil with the “top” side up.
  3. Broil the filets for 3 minutes (fresh) or 5 minutes (frozen).
  4. While the filets broil, mix the mayonnaisse, lemon juice, garlic and pepper together in a small mixing bowl.
  5. Remove the cookie tray from the oven and carefully flip the filets.
  6. Broil another 4-6 minutes on the “bottom” side.  While they broil heat your vegetables and some 90 second Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice in the microwave.
  7. Remove the cookie tray from the oven and flip the filets again.  Broil until the fish is white and cooked.
  8. Cover each filet with some of the mayo mixture and top with parmesan.
  9. Broil until the parmesan is browned and melted.
  10. Devour.

frozen tilapia before parmesan

white tilapia before adding the mayo mix and parmesan

tilapia parmesan

plate of tilapia parmesan, garden rice and green beans

plate of tilapia parmesan, garden rice and green beans


9 Great Recipe Sites

Posted By mattantonino / June, 26, 2011 / 0 comments

Inspiration comes from many places for me.  As a new cook I tend to stick to the basics (ingredients, techniques, etc.) and learn as I go.

For recipe tracking I use LivingCookbook because it’s *perfection* in recipe form.  I have about 52,000 recipes in my LivingCookbook from all sorts of places.  You can import (and export) Mealmaster format, a LivingCookbook format, plaintext and more.  I use the RecipeFox plugin for Firefox to grab and save recipes off the major sites.  It comes with a list of 100s of recipe sites.  These are some of my favorites, many of which use RecipeFox.

Usual Suspects

1) Food Network

Great for finding recipes from your favorite FN stars (such as the ever-hot Giada).  A dedicated Healthy Eating section, full episodes of your favorite shows and recipes that easily export to MealMaster, LivingCookbook or plain text format.  A large database of great recipes makes this a no-brainer at #1.

2) AllRecipes

A HUGE database of fantastic recipes along with the best ingredient search tool makes this my go-to site.  Easily export any recipe to MealMaster, LivingCookbook or plain text with RecipeFox.

3) Saveur

A little higher-end fare (read: fancy) makes Saveur a keeper.  While not being as culinarily challenging as Epicurious, many of Saveur’s recipes are accessible, tasty and excellent.  RecipeFox integration makes this my 3rd favorite recipe site.  RecipeFox friendly.

4) Epicurious

You will be more likely to find a Roasted Vegetable and Prosciutto Lasagna with Alfredo Sauce than a traditional chicken alfredo but that’s why I love Epicurious.  This site is advanced and typically not what the home cook makes.  (The first recipe under Christmas is a Prosecco-Raspberry Gelee)  If you have orange-flower water and Prosecco in your pantry, this is the site for you.  (If you have no idea what those are, this site may be overwhelming at first.)  RecipeFox friendly as well.

Under the Radar

5) DrinksMixer

Quite possibly the only mixed drink site you need.  I have never really had much trouble finding anything on here. Recipes for everything from A Berry Breakfast Drink to the Zipper.  Search by ingredient, drink name, etc.  Terminology, a glossary and drinking games.  RecipeFox friendly!

6) VisualRecipes

Step-by-step photographic how-to of each recipe.  This site is a MUST for new cooks.

7) Cooking Light

This is my favorite healthy-only site. With a healthy cooking 101 section and my favorite – recipe makeovers, and one of my favorite magazines, this was a must-include on my favorite recipe sites.

Personal Faves

8) Recipe Goldmine

Another *huge* recipe site with all sorts of great and simple foods. This is my go-to site when I just need something I can make tonight.

9) Jamie Oliver’s site

I’ll admit it – I’m a sucker for Jamie’s cooking. I am the only American I know who watches Oliver’s Twist. I don’t understand his temps or half the ingredients he says until I see them.  I don’t care.  I would watch Jamie cook all day (and sometimes do!)  My mini shell pea pasta and smoky bacon sauce is a Jamie food.  They are homecooked goodness and rich, high quality skill.  Does he cook 89-star food?  Not usually.  Is he amazing in a kitchen?  Absolutely.

 

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/

Caramel apple streusel cake

Posted By mattantonino / June, 23, 2011 / 2 comments

I’d love to tell you that I made this Warm Caramel Apple Cake and shot that for today’s food.  That’s what I want to do.

It looks awesome.  I can imagine how it tastes and I want to try it.  I will, soon.  Then I’ll post that.  Today is one of those “eh, I’m a photographer, not a cook” days.

So I cheated.

I know … don’t look at me like that!  It doesn’t happen as often anymore!

Ultimately, I’m just a food photographer.  I need to shoot, even when I don’t want my hair all full of flour 3 hours before a meeting with a potential bride to shoot her wedding.  I still need to make, shoot and eat food.

Today’s excellent cheat is a straight-out-of-the-box Duncan Hines Apple Caramel Streusel. Follow instructions. Maybe cut up an apple into bite sized bits and add it.  This recipe is sweet, delicious and moist.  I actually *really* love it and will eat it again.

Yes, I know I used a pan that was too big. Guess I have to do it again.

Darn.

apple caramel cake

apple caramel cake texture

apple streusel

apple streusel

inside carmel apple streusel

Sunday I’ll be back with something special for the blog and Tuesday I’ll post up my famous tilapia parmesan.  Fish & cheese?  Seriously. Tuesday.

 


Gooey double chocolate chip cookies

Posted By mattantonino / June, 19, 2011 / 0 comments

Even though I once posted my soft gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe on StartingtoCook, I don’t often post cookies.  There is a reason for that.  My mom is a certified chocoholic.  She makes cookies.  Not good cookies, not great cookies. She makes fantastic cookies.  So if I want a cookie, I want her to make it. I don’t like to compete with fantastic since I’m a somewhat-new cook (but getting better!)

When I found this double chocolate chip cookie recipe, it seemed simple enough. Hoping and praying, I made it.

Yum.

Some cookies last in this house. Not long, mind you, but they last.  At least a moment.

Yum.

Not these.  *scarf*  Double chocolate chip cookies barely last long enough to type the words double chocolate chip cookies!

Yum.

Photos, recipe … you know how these food blog things go.

cookie batter

spoonful of cookie batter

cookie batter on tray

pile of chocolate chunk cookies on a plate over white

closeup chocolate chunk cookie

one plate of chocolate chunk cookies in a stack with traditional background

batch of double chocolate cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup cocoa (or slightly more)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used chocolate chunks)

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugars and vanilla.
  2. Beat in egg. Add cocoa and milk.
  3. Combine flour and baking powder; fold into creamed mixture with chocolate chips.
  4. Roll teaspoonfuls of dough into balls; place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.
  6. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool.

Yum.