Currently living in California, Jersey girl and online cook Dani Spies is recollecting her childhood from the Garden State, one dish at a time. The site bills itself as a database for “Quick, Simple, Delicious” recipes, pairing written instructions and ingredient lists with helpful video how-tos for the culinary challenged. Chef Spies herself uses the term “Quickbites” to describe her food – the philosophy being the shorter her videos, the better. Since its inception in May of 2006, the site has updated every few days with a new recipe and an accompanying video aid.
Spies tackles Appetizers, Desserts and Snacks as well as a host entrées, but speed is the name of the game here, and none of her tutorials are longer than five minutes. No time is wasted showing us the process of chopping up garlic or leeks for her Penne with Salmon and Greens, as Spies assumes her viewers are at least familiar with a knife and cutting board. The production value is also much higher than most Internet cooking shows – we’re talking soft lighting, mood music, a variety of camera angles and professional editing that combine to create a experience not unlike what one would find in Everyday Italian. And Spies makes quite an endearing host, with a bubbly personality similar to Food Network star Rachel Ray, minus the annoying factor. The site has your basic blog setup, with recipes being organized by month as well as type, and each one prefaced by a cute little back-story. It’s obvious that Spies loves to cook by the way she’s personalized her site. She talks about the zillion different versions of Irish Soda Bread she was exposed to while growing up in New Jersey, and though I’ve never even heardof Irish Soda Bread (and I’m as Irish as they come), it sounds so delicious I am almost jealous of Spies’ Jersey upbringing. Almost.
I love dessert. At any time of the day. I tested out the recipe for Maple Bananas with Ice Cream at 10am on a Friday and you know what? Quick, simple, and amazing. Just what one needs to start any day off right.