My favorite thing to do on a quiet morning is to curl up in a big chair with my coffee and a pile of cookbooks and magazines pulled randomly from the shelves lining our living and dining room walls. I might have an ingredient or a particular preparation in mind, or I might just leaf through the pages and see where the cooking gods take me. Once I have a clear plan, I usually call for reinforcements - searching Epicurious or consulting one of my favorite food blogs.
This past weekend my path to culinary inspiration included a quick flip through the Foodie Blogroll. Impressed with the wealth of food bloggers out there (the Blogroll count had recently reached 3,000), I was presented with the daunting task of deciding which to read. Fortunately, the Blogroll offered me a "randomized" solution with their new Widget, which features the 5 most recent blogs that have been added to the roll, as well as 5 random blogs of the day. I opted to try my luck with a few of the random blogs, which felt oddly like pulling the lever on a slot machine. From there I browsed until I came across a post from a blogger who had recently dined at Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery Cafe at The Time Warner Center in NYC. His description of the chicken soup was exactly the inspiration I needed. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I had been planning to make a soup using the leftover chicken and jus from last night's Chicken in a Pot, but I was yearning for something more than just the average chick and veg sendup. So when the description of Keller's ultimate chicken soup included "ricotta dumplings" The clouds were lifted from my mind and my direction was made clear to me. End search for menu inspiration, begin search for the ultimate ricotta dumpling recipe.