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For example, today I am planning to prepare a brunch "main dish" for as many as 24 people. It should be vegetarian but would include eggs, possibly potatoes, and perhaps some cheese. My usual approach is the internet for ideas that I then adapt, but I am wondering if those of you with vast cookbook collections use a different approach.
I still find the online search by ingredient better than looking in each cookbook for a specific ingredient (which sometimes I cave to do, but the results are not as bountiful).
Probably I'd be thinking about some kind of egg dish (omelet, scrambled, etc.) and a variation of home fried potatoes (hence the herb books, for inventive seasonings). If I find a recipe that fits the bill, I'll make that--although I am almost pathologically incapable of making any recipe (except cakes and breads) exactly as writ. Otherwise, after reading a few recipes, I'll start to formulate my own idea and make that. Lately I've taken to copying (with modifications) dishes I've eaten at restaurants, with fairly good success. So I might think about a brunch I enjoyed and base my cooking on that.
Sisaruus (5) wrote: "273 cookbooks and a complete 30 year collection of Bon Appetits and Gourmets and I use the internet when I need to find a recipe. Go figure."
Well, sure... How do you navigate your way through a collection like that? At the very least, you need a Google search to turn up a hint, like what issue of Bon Appetit you should be looking in.
All you need to do is type in ingredients you wish separated by comma and then search. It will find all the recipes containing ingredients selected.