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/

Our veggie and herb garden

Posted By mattantonino / June, 13, 2011 / 0 comments

At my parents’ house in Maine we have four acres of land.  When I lived in Syracuse I mainly lived in apartments until the last few years.  I always longed for the countryside.  The acres of grass and openness called my name and always will.  When I moved home I saw an opportunity to be outdoors more and have definitely taken advantage.

Last year I moved back too late to do anything serious with food outdoors. This year?  I knew I had to plant a garden.  Mom and I laid out a plan for a raised bed vegetable garden and we went to work.  We built three 4×8′ boxes and filled them with veggies and herbs.  We planted spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, green beans, peas, zucchini, tomatoes, strawberries, garlic, thyme, oregano, basil, sage, rosemary … it makes me tired just thinking about it!

Over the last 17 years I’ve been out of the state for the entire time.  Growing up as the oldest of 5 I often helped mom around the house, cooked, cleaned and worked closely with her. Being home, I’m excited to share that sort of time with her again for as long as it lasts.

I took some early photos to show what we’re doing and will take more throughout the summer.  As a food photographer I thought it was only appropriate that I grow some of my own food. I cannot wait until some produce gets indoors to shoot.

raised garden beds beefsteak tomato plant in our raised bed raised bed garden closeup of rows green beans popping up in the garden new seedlings in our garden peas popping up in the garden open green beans seedling in our vegetable garden

I’m excited for our garden, our time together and all of the great food we’re going to get from this project.   Don’t forget to subscribe and follow the journey!

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

Scenes Next!

Posted By mattantonino / May, 27, 2010 / 5 comments

Somewhere along the line I picked up a habit, probably from acting juvenile, of saying “SCENES NEXT!” whenever a show would announce “Stay tuned for scenes from our next episode.”  I never lost the habit and even now when I’m watching Survivor or Top Chef I say it (more quietly now!).   So considering my fondness for previews I thought I’d give you a taste of what’s coming.  Here are scenes from our next few blog posts:

Beef stroganoff

 

Perfect Egg McMuffins

 

Raspberry Lemonade Jello Cubes

 

Mandarin Chicken Salad

 

That’s what I’ve shot already!  As you can tell I’m running a few blog posts behind (more on that sometime in the next month!)  This week’s shoot plan includes lots of seafood including shrimp, scallops AND tilapia and possibly a dessert (remake of our Boston Creme Pie perhaps!)

So stay tuned!