So here you are, looking at recipes online. Everyone looks at online recipes. Type in a dish, ingredients, method, or technique and instantly hundred of recipes appear. The question is, how do you trust an internet recipe. How do you know which one is best? Do you choose the recipes with the flashiest pictures? How about the star rating. 3 stars? Not good enough for me. Maybe it’s the author. Paula Dean wrote this recipe, it must have southern charm. Bobby Flay wrote the next one, it must be full of southwest flavors. Emeril? Tyler Florence? Big name chefs, big time recipes? Maybe, maybe not.
The number one problem with internet recipes is credibility. Anyone can post anything, and how do you know what’s been testing and measured to perfection? Food network recipes have, but that doesn’t necessarily make them good.
My entire blog is based on internet recipes. What makes my recipes good? Because I say so? I started this blog in August 2012 and to date have had just under 20,000 views spread over 13 countries. How many of my readers have actually tried my food?
If you want to find an internet recipe that works, shop around a little. Look at 5 recipes for the same dish and look for consistencies. If 4 out of 5 call for garlic, the dish probably needs garlic. If 1 out of 5 call for cumin, the dish probably doesn’t require cumin. Look for patterns and similarities. Look for credibility. It’s like learning how to cook: recipes are technique driven. Techniques are patterns. Mince, sautee, simmer… These techniques are not unique to any recipe. Recognize patterns and you will find your way.
People have said to me many times, ‘I want to learn how to cook, but don’t know where to start’. To answer seriously, I recommend picking your favorite 3 dishes and start producing them. Make mistakes. But learn. Maybe your onion needs to be cut thinner, maybe your sauce is too thin. Maybe you overcooked your rice. Maybe next time you need more salt. The next time you make the dishes you will improve. Now your onions are thinner and your sauce a little tighter. Each time you cook the dish, you improve. After some time you realize that you’re really improving on technique, not just the recipe. Consistency.
Also, if you’ve never made the recipe, and you’re shaky on your basic techniques, go simple! It’s more impressive to make something simple but half way good, than to make a complicated disaster.
Please don’t forget, my recipes are mine. I have made everything listed on this blog, and most of them are restaurant or professionally oriented. They are not meant to be easy or user friendly, though many of them are. Some are meant to simply entertain. Really, who’s going to make sweet bread stuffed rabbit leg provencal at home? But it’s fun to know how.
If you love to cook, you’ll find your way. Look for patters, look for consistencies, and more importantly, look for things that don’t belong. It’s a smart way to cruise for new recipes without getting into trouble. Remember, a lot of internet recipes are posted by people who are genuinely proud of their food. You can feel their passion. And experience their mistakes…
Ginger Lemon Honey Tea
Prep time: 3 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 large cup of tea
1 tbsp wild flower honey
1 medium knob fresh ginger, peeled
juice of 1/2 lemon, fresh squeezed
Slice the ginger into into 1/4 slices lengthwise and smash with the flat side of a knife. Place all ingredients in a large mug. Pour almost boiling water into the mug and stir to incorporate and dissolve the honey. Let steep 3 minutes.