The net is full of recipes. How can you tell the difference between some crazy person with a site vs. something tried and true for your Valentines meal? Easy, follow Gadgetell’s guide for cooking a sweet Valentine’s meal and be assured if it fails, it won’t be the recipes fault.
First, follow the pack.
How do you know any of these recipes are any good? Easy, user ratings. My favorite recipes site is easily allrecipes.com. There, user ratings guide my decisions plus have the added boost of some nifty changes they made to make it come out better. Based on a five star system, the site encourages responses and makes them easy to decipher: a simple mouse over opens the comment for quick decisions. The site is super easy to navigate and a high user rating usually means the eats are good. I just this site at least 3 times a week and haven’t gone wrong yet.
Second, Be inspired by Pros
Another site I love is cookstr. This site incorporates the best from professional chefs signature dishes. A little bit more of a gamble without user ratings, but the site is super clean and I’ve gleamed a few gems off them. Plus, I like the modern take on foods that are there, you can make some real high-class type foods without the years in culinary training.
Third, bring it with you.
I always have my iPod touch with me in the kitchen to read off directions/ingredients. Hugely helpful if I have to look up how to poach again or need conversions. I have not been too fond of the recipes applications found in Apple’s App Store for one reason, they tend to lack the breadth of info on the top two points. I like lots of choices and lots of feedback.
Lack a smartphone with a big screen? It is OK to print them out; most sites actually reformat the recipe to your paper size which is handy. Just save the recipes that work for use another time and watch the oil splatters.
Fourth, get a knife
Seriously, stop fooling around with the Ginsu or whatever knife Chef Tony is throwing around this week. Pony up for German steel as the difference will make you feel like you know what you are doing. A sharp knife will get you moving faster and make you feel more like a pro without Gordon Ramsey shouting profanities at you. There is nothing quite like the simple pleasure in dicing an onion with a sharp blade. At least one 8″ chef knife ought to be standard issue in any kitchen.
These are the tools of a great meal. The rest is up to you.