Happy New Year to All of You!! We just got home last night from all of our holiday traveling. It sure is nice to be home again, recover from the holidays, and get everything back to normal. Due to the travel and lack of time in the kitchen, I have decided to post some of the worst and some of the best recipes from 2009. Posting the worst recipes was easy, but posting the best is very hard.
I decided to pick the top ten favorites based on which recipes were repeated over and over in my kitchen. I figured that if I liked them well enough to make them several times then they MUST BE my favorite?? Therefore, any recipe you see below was probably repeated at least four times in my kitchen this year, if not more. The older I get, the more trouble I have making decisions such as these, so they are in no particular order. (Click on purple links for any of the original posts and the recipes)
TOP TEN FAVORITES IN 2009:
I think my favorite cookbook of the year was my Carmine's Family-Style Cookbook. I wanted to buy it for months and months based on it's great reviews and it was totally worth it. I only wished I had bought it sooner. This may sound funny, but their recipe for garlic butter is awesome. Sure, you can whip up any old garlic bread, but this garlic butter is intense. It's something to whip up and store in your refrigerator. You will find yourself making excuses to have garlic bread with everything! The garlic butter is a mixture of 1 cup butter at room temperature, 12 fresh oregano leaves, 2 tablespoons of garlic, 2 tablespoons of Romano cheese, 2 tablespoons of garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of flat-leaf parsley, and 1 teaspoon of onion powder.
Another recipe that sounds funny in the top ten is Paula Deen's squash casserole. I chose this recipe based on the abundance of squash at the farmer's markets towards the end of the summer. I cooked and baked a long with the My Girl Paula girls for about 13 weeks and this was by far my favorite Paula Deen recipe. I loved this recipe so much that I added it to our Thanksgiving menu. It is a mixture of mashed yellow squash, onion, cheese, egg, and Ritz crackers. Definitely one to try if you can find great yellow summer squash.Tyler didn't fare too well in my worst of 2009 post, but he was able to redeem himself for the best of 2009. In all fairness to Tyler, I did try over 69 of his recipes in 2009. Therefore, it makes sense that a lot of his recipes would find their way into both the worst and best categories. In fact, it's actually pretty great that out of 69 recipes, only 3 were bad. And, to be honest, out of the 3 that were bad, two of them were my fault. That's pretty good news for Tyler! One of our favorite Tyler recipes for the year was his recipe for The Ultimate Lasagna Bolognese from his Dinner At My Place cookbook. The picture totally stinks, but I have made this lasagna about 7 times since the end of June! It begins with a a rich, meaty bolognese sauce that is paired with a garlicky bechamel, layered with lasagna noodles. The fact that it takes at least four hours to make does not deter me at all. I took this dish to my Dad's house for Christmas and it was a hit. Don't let the awful picture keep you from trying it.
My husband and I used to love going to Damon's for baby back ribs. Unfortunately, Damon's closed down. While searching Recipezaar this summer, I found this recipe for The Best Baby Back Ribs in Town. This is the first time I have successfully cooked ribs of any kind and loved them. The hickory flavored sauce was delicious and the ribs were fall apart tender. We really enjoyed them on Memorial Day and I have been making them ever since. (Especially if baby backs are on sale). Great for picnics and great for serving to crowds!!
One of my greatest achievements this year has been in bread making. Prior to this year I was very unsuccessful in my bread making endeavors. Several attempts at bread making had discouraged me from trying again. However, I had to take on the bread challenge again when I declared I would cook my way through Stirring the Pot. A HUGE thank you to Tyler for his Parker House Rolls. This was such an easy recipe that worked! Everyone loved Tyler's parker house rolls and I bet I have made them ten times this year.
In an effort to explore more of Tyler's yeast breads, I tried his Wonderful White Bread. It turns out perfectly every time. It is my go to recipe for homemade bread. I have made this recipe with several variations and we love it each and every time. A great way to send sandwiches with my husband and daughter.
There could never (NEVER) be a top ten without a pasta dish! My favorite Nigella recipe is by far her Sesame Peanut Noodles. The combination of flavors and textures is one of my favorites. A quick and easy go to recipe that lends itself well to leftovers. A real favorite of mine that I will make solely for myself to eat during the week.
As far as complete entrees go, this one is the hands down winner! If I was going to pick a favorite meal, complete with protein, starch and vegetable then this Chicken Alla Romana from my Carmine's cookbook would be the one! It also takes a super long time to make, but it is oh so worth it! Potatoes are roasted with onions, cheese, melted butter, rosemary, oregano, and parsley. Breadcrumbs are made from scratch and the chicken is pounded thin and tossed in the flavored breadcrumbs, then sauteed on the stovetop. A sauce is made from white wine (I use marsala), chicken stock, capers, butter, roasted red peppers, and lemon juice which is poured over a crispy chicken breast with melted mozzarella cheese. It is delicious with Spinach in garlic and oil. One of my favorite meals, ever! I will be posting the recipe later today or tomorrow!!
It might be an understatement to say that I LOVE Tyler Florence's recipe for Big Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies! Dare I say that I never really cared for chocolate chip cookies until I came across this recipe. This recipe has been repeated more than any other recipe in my kitchen this year. The whole family loves it. Tyler's cookies are huge, chewy and chocolaty. The recipe calls for you to measure out a 1/4 cup ball of dough and bake it. Trust me when I tell you to make these cookies big! I sub out the dark chocolate with semisweet and it is the perfect chocolate chip recipe for me and my family! It yields a perfectly chewy cookie with a slightly crispy edge. Apologies to my followers who have heard me talk about this cookie all year. I know I have mentioned it more than I should have, but it is so worth it!
Last but not least, is this recipe for Mexican Rice. This is a terrific recipe if you love Mexican Rice. It is even better leftover the next day as the flavors develop. This recipe was a major discovery for me this year. The recipe calls for you to rinse 2 cups of long grain rice under water for 2 full minutes to remove the starch. This "rinsing the rice" method ensures that your rice is fluffy and not "gloppy and wet". The rice is then sauteed in an oven-safe pan until translucent and then brought to a boil with chicken broth, onions, jalapenos, garlic, tomatoes, and tomato paste. It is baked in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350F. I've made this rice at least ten times and it is always a hit. I even served it at a dinner party alongside enchiladas and fried corn! Everyone raves about it. To save time I use a jar of salsa to replace the tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, and tomato and just add garlic and chicken broth. A quick, tasty and impressive side dish!
FOUR HONORABLE MENTIONS IN 2009:
Pastel Vasco with Blackberry Compote and Poured Cream from Sunday Suppers at Lucques - a Spanish pound cake with a blackberry swirl inside, served with homemade blackberry compote and poured cream. I think I ate the whole loaf myself!
Tyler's Frisee with Pears, Goat Cheese and Salted Pecans Salad from Stirring the Pot. A salty, sweet, savory, crunchy, and creamy salad that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Peanut butter lover that I am, I cannot leave out Paula Deen's Peanut Butter Pie, which I made at naptime because my son is allergic to peanuts. I can't even tell you what I would do for a slice of this right now ;D
A recipe that caught my attention for it's strange mix of ingredients was Tyler's Grilled Flat Bread with Caramelized Onions, Gorgonzola, Mascarpone, and Crunchy Red Grapes. I was a little skeptical at first, but it was love at first bite! A great combination that I would've never otherwise paired together!Can you believe that it is going to be 2010? Wow! A whole new year, and decade for that matter! In the next year, I plan on trying to eat healthier. I also plan improving my photography skills, furthering my bread baking skills, finishing my endeavor to cook through Stirring the Pot, and making cheese at home.
A huge thank you to everyone who has followed me in the kitchen this year! It has been a great year of delicious recipes and great friends. I have really enjoyed meeting everyone and reading all your recipes throughout the year. I am looking forward to another delicious year!!