March 22, 2013
What's for Dinner?
I find myself asking this question way too many times throughout the week. Sometimes, you just have no inspiration. Asking your significant other results in answers like “fish... or pork” (or is that just me??). So today I’m sharing some of my favorite ways to get inspired to cook dinner! Plus you get to feel good about yourself for not ordering that Chinese take-out or demolishing an entire bag of chips for dinner...
First one is easy... you’re reading one right now! Go on your favorite food blog and browse! Or, while reading your fave food blogs, write down recipes that you want to try in the future. Writing is your best friend when your brain just won’t retain things. Keep the list up somewhere for next time you need ideas. If you have kids, Food for my Family is an amazing resource. They have weekly recipes plans that use leftovers in multiple meals and provide do-ahead shortcuts so you save time and money! Family Style Food is always jaw-dropping – I love how Karen’s recipes always seem so simple yet so delicious... like this pasta! Joy the Baker is just super fun and her recipes have never failed me yet. And these are just a few folks! Inspiration heaven!
If you don’t usually read food blogs, just go on Tastespotting and look at all the pretty pictures. They link right to the food blogs/websites that the recipes are from. Easy peasy!
Next-up we have the less techie options. Pick up a food mag and browse through. One of my favorites is the LCBO Food and Drink mag. Bonus: it’s free! Last weekend I picked up a copy of the Delicious. It’s UK-based so unfortunately I can’t visit any of the places they recommend (yet), but the photography is astounding. And I am forever sad that it costs so much to get Sweet Paul delivered to Canada.
Not a magazine junkie? I’m sure you’ve got a cookbook or two floating around your place. Dust it off and have a look! The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz has been getting a lot of use here lately. Modernist Cuisine at Home is my aspiration, and Chocolate and Zucchini by the ever-talented Clotilde Dusoulier is a double whammy: cookbook and food blog!
Don’t have a computer? Living under a rock? Why not get nostalgic and make something that you always had at home when you were young? Things I will never forget: pickle soup (with little fried toast croutons), potato pancakes, and pork schnitzel with cucumber salad and potatoes.
Feeling like something fancy, but don’t want to spend the money on a dinner out? Look up a restaurant menu and make something you like the sound of. Most restaurants post their menus online now. The corn and ricotta ravioli from Splendido was dinner one day. The chicken and egg bowl from Momofuku Noodle Bar is on the list. This way, you can “go” to a restaurant that’s far away or even in another country. Plus, it’s gonna be way cheaper! Buy a bottle of wine and have a night out, in. You deserve it.
One of the best things you can do is pick a seasonal ingredient and build around it. It’s less expensive and likely local, so you stay greener too! If you live in a place like me, this is much harder in the winter... but spring is on the way! And that means delicate, fresh spring veggies on the horizon. Keep the faith. This chart of seasonal veg and fruit is way helpful for all you Ontarians. And a quick online search will find a similar one in your region. Print it off, stick it on the fridge! Visit farmer’s markets in the area. We try and hit up the St. Lawrence market whenever we can in the summer. Visit local farms that could have things like local honey, meat, eggs, not to mention the fruits and veg. Pick your own berries this summer, or go to an orchard and pick apples. Creating a meaningful relationship with your food (not weird) will help you feel excited about cooking it, I promise.
Colours can also be inspiring. Food comes in so many different shades. I went all green for St. Patty’s! Sweet Paul inspires with these spring salads in all the colours of the rainbow. Did I mention Sweet Paul was awesome??
Wow, I hope that gives you plenty of ideas so that next time you ask “What’s for dinner?”, you’ve got some ammunition.
P.S. the pics are just pretty things that I snapped with my phone. Xoxo