On local blogs, there's plenty to take in
If you've been itching to learn how to make head cheese, beginning with a pig's head, or wondered how difficult it is to make croissants, you might want to look at the websites of local bloggers. They're writing about everything from what's for dinner to sources for grass-fed meat. Ultimately, like other blogs, food blogs are only as interesting, informative, sassy, or amusing as the personalities behind them.
Writing on Cuisine en Locale (www.cuisineenlocale.com), JJ Gonson introduces herself as a mom, personal chef, locavore, and teacher. She wants to help people eat "in a more healthy and educated way . . . without going crazy." Cuisine en Local isn't a particularly stylish blog; there are very few photos and no real design. Gonson links to other blogs to which she contributes and you can find announcements of her upcoming classes (if you can't plug your own events here, where can you?). The blog should be easier to navigate. To get many recipes, you have to go though the links. Some recipes assume a certain level of expertise, so are not spelled out clearly (see rotisserie duck, Jan. 3). Her focus on local sourcing is clearly heartfelt, and the tone is friendly.
Cave Cibum, we learn on www.cavecibum.blogspot.com, is Latin for "beware the food." Brookline-based blogger Pam Aghababian has no professional culinary credentials. She doesn't always tell us where her recipes come from. Like the beautiful croissants she posted on Jan. 21, or the mile-high, flaky buttermilk biscuits on Jan. 14. Are they her own?
The blog is set against a black background, with white type, which makes it dramatic. Items like quince jam and the biscuits, three on a red plate with what looks like apricot preserves, really pop. Interspersed between the recipes are Pam's "Cheap Eats" reviews (unrelated to the Globe column of the same name), originally posted on Bostonist (www.bostonist.com), with links.
Susie Anderson and Chelsee Adams are the two 20-something women behind We Are Not Martha (www.wearenotmartha.com). While they are inspired by Martha Stewart - a revolving photo montage shows her among other foodie luminaries under the heading "Our Inspiration" - the not-Martha blog isn't intimidating, but rather enthusiastic and disarming. These two are having a great time in the kitchen. Alas, photos of their cooking process are poorly lit. But they're all there, along with a running commentary of what the women have made, including a cinnamon oatmeal bread developed for a Quaker Oatmeal contest, and spinach and chicken calzone from the Mayo Clinic website (a little less appealing). They are definitely not Martha - and you may like them because of it.
Poor Girl Gourmet (www.poorgirlgourmet.blogspot.com) promises "low budget, high quality food," and for the most part it isn't disappointing. Amy McCoy writes, "Sharing good food and good wine is one of the greatest pleasures in life, and I don't think that a recession should keep us from doing so." In each post she offers a recipe, followed by "Dinner for Tonight," where she itemizes the cost of feeding two, usually her and her significant other. Recipes are long (too long) and she changes the font to italics for nightly dinners, which is hard to read. The recipe and evening meal are rarely, if ever, the same. For example, a Jan. 23 post offers wiener schnitzel; dinner that night is roasted chicken legs and olives with crispy kale and white beans. I wanted to know the cost of the wiener schnitzel, or perhaps how to make the chicken legs with kale and white beans.
Tammy Donroe writes Food on the Food (www.foodonthefood.com) with humor and a healthy dose of language that would never make it to the pages of a family newspaper. Posts are all over the place in terms of length and subject matter. One day we are privy to a discussion she has with her husband over whether or not he would bring some borscht to work for lunch in a Mason jar; on another we are treated to a story of making churros and hot chocolate on a snow day, complete with recipe and an appetizing photo. Donroe also blogs on BlogHer (www.blogher.com).
Two Globe contributors, J. Kenji Alt and Beatrice Peltre, blog regularly. Alt writes GoodEater (www.goodeater.org) with Joshua Levin, and Peltre writes La Tartine Gourmande (www.latartinegourmande.com). Alt, a former restaurant cook, is an associate editor at Cook's Illustrated. Levin is an MBA student at New York University who has worked in sustainable agriculture. GoodEater is thought-provoking with beautiful photos. It's not for the squeamish. Alt's head cheese entry shows a broken-down pig's head. His account of killing his first duck includes a photo of the bloody bird in his future in-laws' kitchen sink.
La Tartine Gourmande is most notable for charming stories and professional quality photographs (Peltre has won several national blog awards and has a lively comments section). Her recipes all look delicious - many confections are gluten-free - and are posted in English and French ("le coin francais"), the latter with metric measurements. The French-born Peltre is a brand new mom; new posts are focused on family too.
Good food blogs - and these are just a few of the local ones - are supposed to make you think about food, look at ingredients and implements differently, and get good ideas for the kitchen. But they can be addictive. If you're not careful, you may keep reading right through dinner.