Tips for making your recipe binder work for you

Yes, it sounds a little like something a kitchen overachiever would have; a vast collection of numbered, color coded, perfectly filed recipe binders filled with insightful, witty, precise notes on successfully executed dinner parties, wildly popular family supper ideas, and go-to instructions on everything from how to properly remove the flesh of an avocado to which method for peeling an entire head of garlic is the fastest.

A very durable leather recipe binder.

Let’s leave that image behind for a moment and discuss reality. In a real, working kitchen, you write stuff down. Whether you cover your refrigerator with sticky notes or fold down the edges of your favorite cookbooks is entirely up to you. If you’ve entertained the idea of making your culinary discoveries a bit easier to access and share, a recipe binder is probably in your future.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make your recipe binder a part of your cooking life.

  • Use tabs. You know, the kind that stick out on the side of the pages. There may not be much to it at first but before long, you’ll be wishing you could hire a professional indexer to handle your out of control binder. Label now, cry less later.
  • Perfectionism will hold you back. Your binder works for you. You do not work for it. Misspellings, inexact measurements, and little notes in the margins about which kid likes which dish best aren’t all necessary to the function of your binder, but they give it character, which is priceless.
  • Go for durability. This binder is going to get dropped. You will probably spill something on it at some point. Make sure it can stand the test of time.

For more information on how to create a recipe binder that will stand the test of time and serve you well in the kitchen, please contact us.

Check for Fresh Eggs

How to Check for Fresh Eggs

#1. This is just what my Mum once told me. If you do this test and get sick and die, well, please don’t sue the Cookbook People. We sell delightful recipe binders and recipe boxes and write cookbook software. We aren’t organic biologists.

#2. That said, if you use this test, cook the good eggs immediately. Bacteria can get in through the water through the shell once you submerge them.

#3. Fresh eggs are harder to peel after boiling than older eggs.

#4. Always spin your eggs a little in the grocery store. If one sticks to the carton, you’ve got a bad egg. Nobody likes a bad egg.

#5. Please buy Free Range Eggs. They taste better, they only cost a little more, and the lovely birds shouldn’t spend their whole lives in little boxes. #6. Place this useful tidbit inside your recipe binder! 🙂

Preserve Herbs for the Winter

Another handy tip to save for your recipe box:

Freezing herbs in water causes them to crystalize, damaging flavor. Olive oil will not have this effect, but will preserve herbs by preventing contact with air. Frozen olive oil has the consistency of butter. Olive Oil easily reconstitutes when melted without loss of flavor. Simply add the cube directly to your favorite sauce!

5 Simple Steps to a Meaningful Wedding Cookbook (and the most memorable wedding favors ever!)

Wedding Recipe Binder gift

1. Include a single recipe card with each of your invitations, and a note asking that they include a favorite recipe on it with their RSVP.

2. Enter all the recipes you receive into Matilda’s Cookbook Software.

3. Print the cookbooks at Staples for around $2-$4 each, one for each guest.

4. Make one cookbook for the bride and groom that’s bound into a beautiful recipe binder.

5. Let each guest leave the wedding with a unique gift they helped create. Let the bride and groom leave with a foundation of recipes that joins two families and numerous loved ones.

Easy way to make a naked potato

potatoe peeled

Peeling a potato without a knife

This also works for tomatoes. I made a marinara sauce the other day and needed to quickly peel fourteen romas. I boiled seven at a time, never boiled for more than two minutes, then about two minutes in the ice water. I cored them first (just cut the little stem at the top out) and cut an X in the bottom so the skins would slip off easier.

This one is not quite done:

Bottle Bag Closer

This is a very clever (and green!) way to save open bags of goodies. (However, in my household it rarely happens that chocolate chips go stale.)

Be on the lookout for an updated free recipe binder printable with this in it!

Great Healthy Eating Diagram to Add to Your Recipe Binder

healthy eating plate diagram

This healthy eating diagram published by Harvard is such a major improvement over the USDA’s version, mostly because the USDA has the conflicting jobs of promoting health while also promoting the American refined grain and corn syrup industries.

I plan on including this in an upcoming free recipe binder printable (click that link to see others already available). I love a nice cherry pie, but I think when cooking you also need to keep nutrition at the forefront!

Cherry Pie Idea

A friend sent me this pic when I told her the rascals devoured my cherries before I got around to picking them to make a pie. New idea: Next May I’m setting out several pounds of sunflower seeds. Either they’ll be too preoccupied, or they’ll be too fat to climb the tree.

Meanwhile, my cherry pie recipe card goes unused for the year. I refuse to give in and go and buy them.

If you’re a cherry pie fan, you might check out this nice cherry recipe card design:

Wedding Custom Recipe Binder Gift

Wedding Recipe Binder gift

First off, yes, that is my own wedding photo. 🙂 Happy, happy day.
Now then, if you’re reading this, you like recipes and you like to organize them. And maybe, just maybe, you are lucky enough to be attending a June wedding this year. Why not give the gift of a nice customizable recipe binder or personalized recipe box that lets the happy couple add a photo to the front? The merging of two families represented by the joyous co-mingling of two recipe collections! Glorious! (The groom’s collection may only consist of  Del Monte Sloppy Joe mix and the phone number to Domino’s, but never mind. I’m trying to be romantic here!)

*Bonus* Well, nobody asked for it, but here’s my wedding party. I love this photo.

Octodog: A simple, yet questionable, addition to your recipe box

I’ve lived in America for many years, I’m a US citizen now with American children, and I’ve sold many recipe binders and recipe boxes with my little company to many lovely fellow Americans. But sometimes there’s this little doubt that creeps into my British mind that perhaps some things I’ll just never understand about this country.
This…is one of those times.

The 7 Commandments for Avoiding Muffin Armageddon: Recipe Box Tip

1. Thou shalt not filleth muffin cups more than 3/4 full. Beyond that gets you the dreaded flat frisbee top.
2. Preserveth thy pan. Put 3 tablespoons or so of water in any unused muffin cup. This keeps the pan from warping.
3. Round mound must abound. To get a rounded top on your muffin, only grease the bottom of the cup and halfway up the sides. It’s the bottom that always sticks anyway, and that upper grease-free part gives the ingredients something to “climb” on.
4. Feareth not the sticky muffin. If your muffins stick to the pan, put the hot pan on a wet towl for two minutes or so.
5. Cast false geological artifacts aside from your muffins. Your muffins have tunnels or peaks? Probably either too much mixing or liquid.
6. Go not into the muffin genesis without donning protection. Paper liner in cups make it much easier to clean up.
7. Seek ye the perfect muffin. The ideal American muffin has a rounded top, a thin brown crust with a slight cruch (add a little sugar glaze for this effect) and a nicely moist center.

Cold soup for you!

The New York Times has a fantastic collection of cold soup recipes on their site. The secret to cold soup is that it has to be ICE COLD, not luke warm. Not even kind of cold. It must rattle your teeth with its icy goodness!

I took the above screenshot of the page because I just loved the layout. Follow the link to learn all the recipes, but here’s my favorite:

Vichyssoise
Ingredients

Butter

Potatoes

Leeks

Stock

Cream

Chives

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot. Add 3 peeled and cubed potatoes and 3 trimmed and chopped leeks. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring, until softened. Add 4 cups stock. Boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Purée, then let cool. Stir in 1/2 cup or more cream before serving. Garnish: Chopped chives.

(And yes, the title of this post is a slight allusion to one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes.)