There are so many web sites and resources I recommend that it's hard to narrow them down to a reasonable list. When I am getting ready to dive into a new project, I will reference many sources and see which recipe or idea best suits me. Sometimes, it will end up being a mash up of several recipes. Here are a few of my favourite books and places to source out ingredients.
Local Supplies and Specialties
The Passionate Cook's Essentials - Uxbridge, Ontario. Our local foodie shop is a gem of a place with the most outstanding cheeses imported from all over the world. Putting together a spectacular cheese board is a no brainer with their expert advice. Not only are they very knowledgable about their product, they give you a little printed out card with each cheese so you can display it on your board. They also sell sexy little hand made wooden cheese boards (so that's done) and local cured meats, olives and condiments. Charcuterie heaven.
Off The Hook Fish Market - Richmond Hill, Ontario. Oysters, scallops, muscles, lobster, caviar, fresh fish, AND excellent service. This place is a bit of a clip from me, about 30 minutes, but it's well worth it. Very knowledgable, friendly staff and fresh, delicious products.
These are a few of my favourite cookbooks. I sometimes use them for inspiration. I love browsing the glossy pages of major x rated food porn. Here are a few from my collection.
Sugar Rush - Johnny Iuzzini - I do not consider myself a baker but with the book, I sure do feel like one. It is like a pastry course all in one book with step by step photo instructions and gorgeous photos of how your masterpiece is supposed to look when you are done (fingers crossed!). I am currently using this book to practice the classics. Macarons, buttercream, meringue, creme anglais, lemon curd...it's crammed full of amazing recipes. I was lucky enough to get a signed copy (thanks Husband!) and I have to say, Johnny is an artist as well as a bad ass pastry chef. Check this out:
The Dumpling Sisters Cookbook - Over 100 Favourite Recipes from a Chinese Family Kitchen - These two sisters have an easy, fun style. Having not grown up around asian cooking, it can be intimidating. They explain techniques and provide recipes that any home cook can tackle. Authentic and delicious.