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!

 

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.

Cinco de Mayo means… tortillas!

Posted By mattantonino / May, 6, 2011 / 5 comments

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

So a week ago I was contacted by TortillaLand with an offer to ship some tortilla to me if I’d make up some nice Cinco de holiday recipes and blog about the TortillaLand product.  That’s the disclosure part.  The rest of this entry is the “yum” part.

Let’s talk about the tortillas.  They are uncooked, fresh tortilla. I can’t imagine how they could be any softer or fresher. They arrived in a cooler and were still chilled when I opened the box. I unwrapped some and immediately wanted to try one. I quickly cooked one up, ate it with egg and it was delicious!  I started thinking about what I wanted to make for Cinco de Mayo.

I assumed (rightfully, it seems) that many people would make dinners, wraps, burritos, etc.  I knew that was out for me. I have wanted to do some homemade tortilla chips for quite awhile but hadn’t found the time (or motivation) so that was definitely on the list.  I did want to throw a bit of Mex spirit in so I knew I’d at least rock out a couple cheese quesadillas as well.

What I didn’t know even 3 days ago was that I would be blogging a *dessert* made with TortillaLand flour tortillas.  But yes, I did dessert.  Why?  Because it’s FREAKING DELICIOUS.  That’s why.

So here are the photos.  First few are just the tortilla cooking (and puffing.  They puffed GREAT!)  The next few are some fried bananas I quickly heated.  Assembly included adding some chocolate chips, warming in the microwave and rolling the finished product into a dessert wrap.  I’ve included a few quesadilla and homemade tortilla chip photos as well, just so you can see the variety of foods I’ve made with my tortillas.

I will accept any sponsor offers people want to send but I’ll always be honest about the product. In this case, that’s SUPER easy.  The TortillaLand tortillas were probably the best I’ve ever eaten (and my step-dad is Mexican so that’s a lot of eating.)  I actually wish I could make them like this. I’d have to own a farm to keep myself in stock on flour, though. They’re that good.  And yes, I’m having another egg wrap tortilla tomorrow for breakfast.

TortillaLand tortilla puffing in the frying pan

cooking a fresh tortilla

fried bananas sizzling in a pan

fried banana on a tortilla waiting for chocolate

TortillaLand fresh tortilla with fried banana and chocolate

fried banana chocolate wrap for Cinco de Mayo

cheese quesadillas for Cinco de Mayo using fresh TortillaLand tortillas

homemade tortilla chips

pile of fresh tortilla chips

A classic pumpkin pie

Posted By mattantonino / April, 17, 2011 / 2 comments

As I mentioned in my last post,  I have been on a pie kick.  Last time was cherry pie, this time it’s a traditional pumpkin pie.  Now, I know most everyone has a pumpkin pie recipe but I strongly recommend the ease of going with the traditional Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe.  Simple, straightforward, easy to make, and very tasty!

pumpkin pie

homemade pumpkin pie

piece of pumpkin pie

She’s my … cherry pie (recipe)!

Posted By mattantonino / April, 13, 2011 / 2 comments

I’m not a big pie eater but that won’t be clear for the next few weeks.  Awhile back I hit a pie kick.  Cherry pie, pumpkin pie, chicken pot pie… you name it, I was making it.  For today’s recipe I’m going to give you a link rather than rewrite it.  This is Beth Campbell’s Cherry Pie, which, according to her, was the 1999 American Pie Council’s National Pie Championship first place winner in the Fruit and Berry Category.  I know why!  This pie filling is amazing.  The crust is good but exactly what you’d expect.  If you have a fantastic crust recipe, use that and fill it with this.

(Yes, the crack on the closeup bothers me. I didn’t want to fix it so you could see what a flaky crust this was. I did fix it on the two wide angles.)

whole cherry pie

whole cherry pie

slice of cherry pie

pie crust

I hope you enjoyed some sweet cherry pie photos!

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Cherry-Pie-IV/Detail.aspx

Perfect gluten free chocolate chip cookies

Posted By mattantonino / January, 8, 2011 / 4 comments

One of my best friends found out he (may be) is gluten intolerant and had eaten boring, flavorless foods for a few months.  He mentioned “not having tasted anything good” in awhile so I went in search of the perfect gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe.

We made this recipe and the cookies were as moist as cookies get.  They stayed moist for days!  If you are in search of the perfect gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe, this may be it.  It’s definitely the most moist and tasty.

As always, recipe after the jump.

Continue reading…

Incredible Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake

Posted By mattantonino / December, 21, 2010 / 0 comments

Yes, I obviously love dessert. Fried banana torts, pies all the time, perfect gluten free chocolate chip cookies, and checkerboard cookies.  Yeah, just to name a few.  My favorite?  This…by FAR.

No words can do justice to the beauty, taste and incredibleness that is a Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake.  Everyone knows I’m still “starting to cook” so I clearly am not nearly this good.  But the recipe?  That is!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake on Erin’s Food Files

All I can tell you is to make this for your next party.  You.will.win.

red velvet cheesecake cake

red velvet cheesecake cake

red velvet cheesecake cake

red velvet cheesecake cake

red velvet cheesecake cake

Checkerboard cookies

Posted By mattantonino / December, 12, 2010 / 0 comments

When I saw these cookies on Elissa’s blog at 17 and Baking I knew I had to make them.  These are everything I look for in a recipe to shoot.  Interesting looking, easy arrangement, not going to wilt, wither or die on me if it takes an hour to shoot… it’s a perfect food to shoot!  I did have a bit of trouble with these the first time and Elissa was kind enough to give me a few tips.  Thanks!!

These are old fashioned cookies.  They aren’t super sugary or sweet but they have that great old world taste.  They look amazing and everyone wants to try them.

(Recipe after the jump!)

chocolate and vanilla checkerboard cookies

chocolate and vanilla checkerboard cookies closeup

rows of checkerboard cookies

isolated plate of checkerboard cookies

isolated plate of checkerboard cookies

Continue reading…

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