Hot sites for cool cuisine
Wheatfields dinner chef Lonnie Fisher and Global Cafe owner Kate Gonzalez both say the Food Network is one of their favorite sites for recipe-hunting. By just typing in an ingredient or two, they can pull from a few dozen quality recipes, rather than sifting through the hundreds that could pop up on a Google search.
Part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site, the Fruits and Veggies Matter More feature allows cooks to match their fruit and vegetable of choice with the kind of dish they want to make.
For the cooks who want to use what is already in their cupboards, this Web site focuses on canned goods. By listing a few ingredients, the site gives you a list of recipes and the nutritional values.
This Web site is for food lovers who have time to spare and an opened palate. Sponsored by Condé Nast, it includes recipes from the magazine archives of Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Parade, Self and House & Garden.
Gone are the days of flipping through your grandmother’s recipe box or the dogged-ear pages of your favorite cookbook to decide what’s for dinner. With the Internet all it takes is few clicks, a little typing and — tada! — you have hundreds of recipes from which to choose. Here’s some advice for how to find the sites that will fill your stomach, not turn it.
1. Narrow your options
We know, if you knew what you wanted to make for dinner, you wouldn’t be surfing the Web. But it does help to give your Web search a few more parameters than just the main ingredient. Mary Meck Higgins, associate professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, recommends adding into your search other characteristics such as preparation time, the health value or ratings by fellow cooks.
2. Hold on to your recipes
In the old days, folding a corner on a page or writing “good” next to the recipe was all you needed to keep track of a favorite dish. Online it can take as much time to find the recipe than it does to cook it. Once you’ve found something worthy of repeating, Higgins recommends copying and pasting the recipe from the Web site into a word processing document. At the very least, she suggests keeping track of the Web address or making use of the personalized recipe box that many cooking Web sites offer.
3. Track the nutritional value
It isn’t a good sign if a recipe doesn’t come with its own count of how much fat or fiber is in it, Higgins said. She would be wary of cooking a recipe without knowing the nutritional content first. Online, you can find several tools where you enter the recipe ingredients to calculate the nutritional information. One can be found at the SparkRecipes site (http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/ recipe-calculator.asp).
4. Keep the computer off the counter
For Higgins, it’s amazing how many times she has seen a computer sitting on the counter next to the mixing bowl. It’s a disaster in the making. Spilled tomato sauce on a keyboard is a much bigger mess than on a cookbook. If you must have the computer nearby, she recommends sticking it on top of the microwave or on a shelf.