Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Recipe Keeping

Many of my favorite recipes are from older cookbooks that I go back to time after time. But there have been some new ones lately that I particularly love.

Ina’s is my latest

Actually, “Santa” was supposed to bring it to me, but changed his mind when he was THIRTY FOUR CENTS shy of FREE SHIPPING!!! Yeesh!

Anyway, it’s a beautiful book with lots of great recipes. They ARE easy, but that doesn’t make them any less delicious. I just made the Lemon Chicken Breasts.


Ina calls for boneless chicken breasts with the skin. I used chicken breasts with the skin AND bone. Plus she says to use 3 tablespoons or 9 cloves of garlic. 9 seemed like overkill for 4 pieces of chicken, so I used 5. Actually, 9 might have been fine, since I ALWAYS remove the center green (or white) stalk of the garlic clove.

By the way, THIS is how I play with the garlic cloves - you can see it pretty clearly with these big cloves.

I cut them in half lengthwise, and cut out the stem with all of its papery membrane and then press the cloves. Why do I do this? Because I imagine that I’m getting rid of all the hard-to-digest part of the garlic. It seems to work for me.

Cookbooks ARE great, but I also have a lot of recipes from websites, blogs and other people. I was visiting my sister-in-law, L, a while ago and I had given her a couple of recipes – one was on a recipe card and another was on a regular sheet of paper. She took out this cute notebook that had plastic pages with different kinds of sleeves that could hold any size recipe and she filed mine away.

That gave me a great idea. I have far too many recipes to confine to a single notebook, but I liked the plastic sleeve idea, so THIS is what I did.


I printed out the names of different categories – fish, chicken etc. in BIG, BOLD letters and then I just taped the labels to the inside of plastic sleeves. Now, I just have to pull out one folder, depending on what I’m looking for.


Oh wait, I forgot one – the Breakfast folder. It was hiding. Here we go…


It looks like all of these recipe folders would take up a lot of room, but really they don't. See?

I used to put all my recipes in a HUGE black binder. Honestly, it was at least 8 inches thick, but the rings were so thick, they kept ripping the holes in the paper. The funny thing is, as big as that binder was, I have no idea where it is. It’s hiding somewhere laughing at me because I can’t find it.

Where and how do you file recipes? I remember my lovely reader Deb made a wonderful book of her mother’s recipes for the family. I love that idea.

Another thing I do with my recipes, whether they're from a cookbook or on a piece of paper, is to make notes on them.  

That’s particularly helpful if you’re baking and you want to jot down how many little loaf pans or cupcakes, or whatever, you get from doubling or tripling the recipe. Also how long something takes to bake in YOUR oven is always an important thing to know. 

Have fun with your recipes, wherever they come from and however you organize them (or don't). 


Lys said...

I used to keep my recipes that I would try in binders but that just got a bit hard to manage. Now, if I have to print out a recipe from a site, etc., they are loose and in stack and I really haven't figured out how to tame the paper monster. I love your idea of organizing them that way. I often print PDFS of files if I can and keep those electronic recipes in one file on my computer that I can access with just a flick of the mouse.

Currently, I'm working on developing my own recipes and hand writing them in one notebook - a bit old school but works for me - whenever I really get going on assembling a Cooking In Stilettos cookbook.

Sorry for the rambling. :)

Tracy said...

I love the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks but don't have the newest one. I'm terrible about organizing recipes -- that looks like a great idea!

Sue said...

Hi Lys,
I used to have to look through EVERY single recipe when I was looking for just one. It was such a pain. Plus I had them all over the place. THIS is so much easier, although I do actually have some recipes in other places. Those are my constantly used, most favorite of all-time recipes.

I think you'll like the new one.

My RECIPES are now pretty well-organized, but my spices, my canned stuff...in fact, my entire pantry? THAT'S another story.

Jenn @leftoverqueen said...

Great post Sue! I have a few of those binders laying around and a big pile of papers! I need to get into organizing them soon! LOL

Anonymous said...

I have a big accordion file with my loose recipes in it, arranged by category and alphabetically. My husband the librarian also signed me up for an online cookbook registry (and then painstakingly entered all the ISBN numbers of my collection up until then) so I can keep track of them.

I haven't bought Ina's newest cookbook; I looked through it carefully at a store one afternoon and am kind of disappointed in it. The shows with the recipes from the book haven't been too impressive either. And on principle, I won't buy anything of Ina's until she or her staff respond to my request to reprint one of her recipes!

surendra said...

very Wonderful your recipe and very beautiful your post. nice information for food and i like your blog . i loved for special recipe. good idea and amazing your blog .thanks

Romantic Dinner

Emily said...

You're very organized - I love this idea. I don't have any kind of system at all. I have a stack of food magazines that keeps growing and growing. How long do you usually hang on to your food magazines?

I'd like to go through your breakfast folder. :) Have you ever made a German pancake before? I think they look cool.

Sue said...

Hey Jenn,
There was something about my huge black binder that made me reluctant to ever open it...maybe because it weighed 10 pounds! I like my smaller file system by food course. It's easier on my triceps.

That is so funny about your cookbooks. Is that the same thing as the Dewey Decimal System or is that from the stone ages?

I'm so shocked that Ina (or more likely Ina's people) refuse to answer your request to reprint one of her recipes. And you're in such a tiny minority that you would even ask!!!

About Ina's new book, actually I think many of the recipes are online, because they're part of her latest shows, but I was surprised by just how usable it is.

Thanks, Surendra.