25 best recipe blogs of 2012
It can be a challenge to sift through the saturated world of food blogs and find the consistently unique and delicious recipe websites among the white noise. Google no more. Grab some tissues to wipe the inevitable drool off your face and make room on your Bookmarks toolbar, because you’re going to want to visit these sites (listed in no particular order) on a routine basis.
Operated by recipe developer Gina Homolka, Skinnytaste features delicious, healthy, low-fat, family-friendly recipes several times per week. Some of the things we love about this site: Homolka’s recipes are realistic — they’re affordable, the ingredients are easily attainable and Homolka seems to keep in mind that a 20-ingredient recipe is problematic for many with small households because not everyone can consume the leftover ingredients before they spoil. She’s not below using a bag of frozen vegetables instead of a plethora of fresh ones that we’ll never finish throughout the week. We’re looking forward to Homolka’s first cookbook, to be released in fall 2014.
2. Smitten Kitchen
The unpretentious foodie’s dream blog, Smitten Kitchen shares a variety of recipes, including unique twists on comfort foods and everything from how to poach an egg to how to make tart dough that doesn’t shrink up on you, as well as side dishes that take less than five minutes to make. The beauty of this blog: It doesn’t try to impress you with pricey, hard-to-find ingredients — Deb, the blog creator and recipe inventor, always uses accessible foods — and the gorgeous photographs are worth looking at even if you don’t make the dishes.
3. Closet Cooking
One of the few recipe blogs on this list created and operated by a man, Closet Cooking is the brainchild of Kevin — from Ontario, Canada — who spends his “free time searching for and trying tasty new recipes in [his] closet-sized kitchen.”
We’re going to warn you right now: This site is dangerous. The man is an evil genius when it comes to cheese — and his sandwiches are toasted, gooey messes of deliciousness you’ve only seen in your wildest sandwich dreams. (Wait, we’re not the only ones who have sandwich dreams, right?) Please look — but don’t touch, unless you’ve thoroughly prepared yourself for the orgasmic consequences of true sandwich perfection — at the bacon guacamole grilled cheese and the mushroom melt, and tell us you don’t want a bite of that right this second.
4. The Pioneer Woman
The “Pioneer Woman” behind this website is Ree Drummond, who updates the site daily about her transition from “spoiled city girl to domestic country wife.” We have to admit we’re not too familiar with the other sections of the site, but the Cooking section contains some wonderful recipes — Drummond doesn’t hesitate to use butter or heavy cream, and her recipes consistently stick to fresh ingredients.
5. Food Republic
We’re still unsure of why Food Republic’s mission statement says it’s “the site for men who want to eat and drink well, and to live smart” — everything on the site is just as helpful and entertaining for women — but we love everything from its fun blog posts like “2012 in review: 15 best quotes from musicians talking about food” to its recipes, like lamb and ricotta crespelle with tomato and pecorino, and caramelized onion and prosciutto macaroni and cheese.
6. The Diva Dish
The Diva Dish caught our eye this year with its drool-worthy recipe for lemon quinoa cilantro chickpea salad. We’ve been hooked on the site’s healthy, wholesome and natural recipes ever since. Ari, the blog’s creator, started the site two years ago with this philosophy that adequately sums up the kinds of dishes you’ll find there: “My focus is to raise my family with the attitude that our bodies are temples and we need to respect and take care of them. That doesn’t mean that we need to be skinny or fit into a size 2. That means that we need to give our bodies the food it needs to thrive, grow, and become strong to live healthy and happy lives.”
7. Alexandra’s Kitchen
Who would have ever thought lemon slices on pizza would be good? Alexandra, the mind behind Alexandra’s Kitchen, did. She uses fresh, moderately healthy, local ingredients to make such creations as the pizza with lemon, smoked mozzarella and basil; baked eggs; and green olive, walnut and pomegranate salad. One of the really unique and insightful aspects of this website: The Essentials section, which shows you how to make everything from chicken stock and tomato sauce to ricotta cheese, pesto and even vanilla extract from scratch.
8. Edible Perspective
Created only three years ago, this recipe and photography blog has rapidly evolved, being named best photography blog by Foodbuzz in 2011 and being featured in O Magazine in 2012. The food philosophy: clean, simple and healthy. Many — but not all — of the recipes are gluten-free and vegan, but don’t dismiss the site if that’s not your dietary preference. Three words for you: cinnamon roll pancakes.
9. Mother Thyme
The Mother Thyme blog is chockfull of wholesome recipes that fit four of our favorite criteria: simple, delicious and affordable, with a realistic focus on fresh ingredients. The avocado deviled eggs initially sparked our interest, but also try the Nutella banana smoothie or one of the site’s many sweet treats, including the cake batter Rice Krispie treats and the cream cheese coffee cake.
10. Tokyo Terrace
First of all: The photos! Oh, the photos. We can’t decide if Rachael, the genius behind Tokyo Terrace, is a better photographer or recipe creator. Take some time to appreciate the art on the site, which Rachael uses as a portal to provide us with the recipes shaped by her three years of living in Japan.
11. Cheeky Kitchen
Cheeky Kitchen offers delicious vegetarian recipes, such as the truffled olive tapenade and the ginger (vegetarian) chick’n noodle soup. Brooke McLay, the blog’s creator, aims for realistic ingredients — while she notes in the “About” section that she supports the local and sustainable food movement, she’s too budget-conscious to exclusively shop that way, which means these recipes are for those seeking realistic meals with whole foods.
12. Eats Well With Others
Let us walk you through a day in your hypothetical life as an obsessive fan of Eats Well With Others: For breakfast as you hurry out the door to work, you enjoy a cheddar scallion scone; for lunch, an apple, leek and gruyere grilled cheese, served with a little carrot and tahini soup; for dinner, sweet potato spinach pesto lasagna rolls; and for dessert (because this blog never forgets dessert), chocolate cupcakes with basil buttercream frosting, an odd yet surprisingly complementary combination of flavors. Sold yet?
Beautiful photographs and phenomenal food have driven this blog into the spotlight in the past couple of years. Vancouver-based Foodess creator Jennifer is not only an ingenious recipe creator, skilled photographer and obsessive food fanatic, but also a nutrition consultant, which has led to nutritious recipes that don’t shy away from comfort food (e.g., crisp yam fries with chipotle aioli) and sweets (e.g., pumpkin crème brulee). Her current obsessions, according to the About page: “cozy soups, crusty artisanal bread, peppermint-chocolate anything, hearty bean dishes and slow-roasted meat on the bone.”
14. Soup Addict
Soup Addict’s recipes can range from super nutritious, low-calorie dishes like shrimp and vegetable sauté over spaghetti squash, to more indulgent foods like fried deviled eggs (!!!) and chocolate chocolate-chip cake with Kahlua icing. But calorie and fat content aside, the site sticks to whole foods and seasonal ingredients, with some vegan and gluten-free recipes and some recipes offering vegetarian alterations.
15. David Lebovitz
David Lebovitz’s blog provides an array of food porn — both cooking and baking. Accompanied by elegant photographs, the recipes use “basic, honest ingredients,” according to the site. Lebovitz worked for most of his life as a professional cook and baker before transitioning to writing, and while he was trained as a pastry chef, his blog features savory dishes as well. Recipes range from artichoke tapenade and spinach cake to pineapple-ginger sparkling wine cocktails and chocolate pecan pie.
16. Eat Good 4 Life
One of our favorite up-and-coming food blogs, Eat Good 4 Life is run by a registered dietitian who loves creating healthy, all-natural, fresh and tasty food. Whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer savory dishes, there’s something for everyone among the various cooking and baking recipes. Some of our favorites: skinny fettuccine alfredo and crockpot honey sesame chicken. One of the great things about the site: Each recipe comes with a nifty Nutrition Facts label.
17. Love & Olive Oil
Bourbon cream root beer floats, homemade gravlax (i.e., a Nordic dish consisting of thinly sliced raw salmon cured in salt, sugar and dill, on bread) and arugula pistachio pesto. These are some of the reasons we’ve fallen in love with Love & Olive Oil and guarantee you will do. Though not particularly health-oriented, the recipes tend to be quick and affordable — two qualities we thoroughly appreciate.
18. Healthy. Delicious.
“If it’s not delicious, it isn’t worth eating.” That’s the “Healthy. Delicious.” motto, and its recipes stay true to the philosophy. The site focuses on fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables and whole grains, while limiting — not eliminating — processed food and refined carbs. Here’s the best part: Most recipes take less than 40 minutes to make. We recommend the baked risotto with sausage and kale, and the shaved Brussels sprout salad with maple vinaigrette.
19. A Cozy Kitchen
Easily sliding into our top 25 list is A Cozy Kitchen, an unbelievably awesome blog dedicated to both cooking and baking and offering a surprising amount of breakfast recipes — blog creator Adrianna says it’s her favorite meal of the day. Some of our favorite recipes include fried lemon ricotta squash blossoms, avocado pesto pasta and prosciutto-wrapped pears. Keep a lookout for Adrianna’s first cookbook, to be published this spring.
20. Joy the Baker
We dare you to find more satisfying comfort food than that featured on Joy the Baker’s website. No, the blog isn’t exactly new — it seems to be enjoying well-deserved success and recognition— but we’re still hooked, thanks to recipes like the French onion soup sandwich (seriously, who wouldn’t want that??); peach, tomato and mozzarella crostinis; and fried guacamole. If you like what you see on the site, pick up a copy of “Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 simple and comforting recipes” at your local bookstore; it was released just last year.
21. Gimme Some Oven
We don’t even know where to start with Gimme Some Oven — we could start by mentioning the Reuben breakfast sandwich on pumpernickel English muffins, but it just wouldn’t be fair to the Reese’s peanut butter chocolate mini cheesecakes. Or we could begin by telling you all about the yummy pesto pasta with chicken sausage and roasted Brussels sprouts, but we equally love the cranberry pistachio energy bites and the hummus-crusted chicken. Oh well. You get the idea: awesomely good food.
22. Veggie Num Num
Veggie Num Num defies the common misconception that vegetarian food is bland and boring. While the site is dedicated to vegetarianism and vegetarian food and recipes, it’s really a fantastic recipe site for anyone, with instructions for simple and healthy foods like curried chickpea burgers, red onion and garlic focaccia, and oat nut bars with sweet lemon coconut icing.
23. Feed Me Phoebe
Phoebe Lapine — food writer, private chef and culinary instructor — has found the perfect middle ground between health food and comforting food in her blog Feed Me Phoebe. Her semi-healthy recipes are often inspired by her travels in France, Italy, Spain, Thailand, Morocco and Argentina — you’ll notice this in recipes like her African peanut stew with shrimp and butternut squash and her slow-cooker chicken cassoulet. Other recipes to bookmark: the deviled egg sandwich and the gazpacho sauce. Sidenote: We love that she also has a Meatless Monday and gluten-free section of recipes.
24. Table For Two
With its beautiful photos (all shot in natural light) and easy, relatable recipes, it’s no wonder we first discovered Table For Two through Pinterest. Try simple “take out, fake out” recipes like the honey sesame chicken and the chicken tikka masala — both made in a Crock-pot! Or try some of the nutritious dishes, like the zucchini boats or the basil lemon pesto pasta with zucchini. Or skip straight to … wait for it … breakfast pizza!
25. Cookie + Kate
Yet another vegetarian recipe blog made our top 25 list of 2012. Cookie + Kate — so named for blogger Kate and her “chief crumb catcher,” a gray-and-black speckled mutt named Cookie — churns out consistently yummy, fresh, vegetarian recipes, such as “black-eyed peas for 2013” and butternut squash chipotle chili with avocado.