As a kid, the year 2020 was always in our social studies books. I can remember being 8, 9, and 10 and learning all about what the year 2020 would have in store for us: high-tech computers, houses and appliances that talked to you, and maybe....flying cars! Not to mention, the movie Back To The Future was HUGE and it also featured 2020. It was going to be THE YEAR!
My point is, we kids really looked forward to it. 2020 carried A LOT of hype. At the time, 2020 seemed SO FAR away! But, like I said, it was going to be THE YEAR! Until it actually happened. 2020 was NOTHING like we thought it would be. It WAS NOT what we waited for all this time.
It was absolutely a mind-blowing year and one that we will NEVER forget! I mean, we have to hand it to 2020, it will definitely be a year that goes down in the history books.
I am not, however, going to start bashing 2020 and going on about how horrible it has been. It has definitely not been the best year, but I have to count my blessings. I am incredibly thankful for the health and safety of my family, friends, co-workers, and students. I am also beyond thankful for this blog and all of you, as well as the additional time I've had to indulge in my hobbies. I have read more books this year than I've ever read before and I have cooked some amazing food. I have played endless board games with the family and stayed in touch with family and friends more than I've ever been able to before. Since these are the things that matter most, I can honestly say that although 2020 was not what I expected, I truly had a great year.
As this year comes to a close, I am counting my blessings and hoping and praying that 2021 brings healing for all.
2020 was a delicious year! The ten recipes below are are my absolute favorites! They are in no particular order. As always, if you click on the recipe title you will be directed to the original post with the recipe.
Julia Child's Roast Chicken
Before making Julia's Roast Chicken I was a HUGE fan of Ina Garten's Engagement Roast Chicken (it is a fabulous recipe), but after making Julia's Roast Chicken there is absolutely NO GOING BACK! Julia's recipe is fussy. You have to baste and flip and baste and flip, but it is the juiciest and the most delicious chicken you will ever make. It is definitely THE ROAST CHICKEN recipe!
At the very beginning of the pandemic, I had way too much bread on hand and I needed a plan. Never one to waste, I took my croissants and made this extremely indulgent Caramel Croissant Pudding from the one and only Nigella Lawson. OH MY....this is heavenly! Sticky, crispy, flaky, buttery, and a little salty from the pinch of salt I added, it is one heavenly dessert. You should definitely make this if you have leftover croissants! You should even consider buying croissants and making this, it is incredibly good.
There are a couple of ingredients that I hoard. Pasta is one (I usually have at least 20 boxes). Granola and dried fruit is another. During the pandemic my habit worsened. I was not going to be found without granola, dried fruit and shelf stable coconut milk. Looking for a way to use some up, I stumbled across Bittman's Fruit and Cereal Bars and fell in love. They are SO GOOD and you can change them up according to what you have. I crave these and have made them several times since. I prefer them to ANY and EVERY fancy granola bar out there. Stop paying top dollar for fancy convenience bars and make these instead. They are far healthier and far more delicious!
My dad and I used to snack on green onions and radishes dipped in a little salt when I was a kid. Midway through the pandemic I was homesick for my Dad and I came across this dish. Ina's herby butter is a blend of dill, parsley, green onions, and a splash of lemon juice. When you pair the herby butter with the crusty bread, salt, and the radishes you have a sophisticated snack that anyone would love, me and Dad included! If you love radishes, do give this a try!
There is always at least one potato dish in my top ten favorites of the year and this year's amazing potato recipe belongs to the one and only Ottolenghi! Do you see those big chunks of shallow-fried garlic and potatoes? Holy cow. Do yourself a favor and make this one. Do yourself another favor and double the garlic. Wow, talk about a flavor bomb! Potatoes never had it so good!
We make a lot of chili and this recipe is my current favorite! If you're a chili lover then you definitely need to give this version a try. It is perfectly balanced, just the right mix of meat and veggies and beans (a very important requirement in chili) AND it is so flavorful. Plus, I love that she serves it over Quinoa and Pine Nut Pilaf. Easy, healthy, and delicious...do yourself a favor and try this recipe during chili season!
I love all the recipes in this roundup equally, but if I had to pick a number one favorite, this recipe for Kielbasa with Mustard Dip is the hands down winner. I have made this recipe at least 10 times since I originally shared it. I tell everyone about it and they love it as well. It is EASY and simple. You just saute some kielbasa and whip up a batch of the mustard dip. The mustard dip has the zestiness from the horseradish and it is a wonderful dipper to have on hand. I find myself spreading it on sandwiches and dunking my fries in it. I keep the dip on hand because I absolutely crave it! Definitely make this for any party, (sometime in the future when covid isn't a threat) or safely at home for your family, and watch it disappear!
Mark my words, "I have NEVER made a dessert that was better than this." I mean it. Never! Apples and raisins and bourbon are not my favorite things, but this cake is absolutely incredible. It tastes like something you'd find at the finest bakery or the winning dessert at a fine dining establishment. I was just so impressed with it. Everything about it is total perfection and the bourbon just takes it over the top!
Everyone has their favorite chicken sandwich. Mine is the Fried Chicken Sandwich from Shake Shack, and thankfully for me, it is Jeffrey's favorite (Ina Garten's husband). Ina Garten bought the Shake Shack cookbook and I'm sure she tweaked it to write this magnificent recipe for a Fried Chicken Sandwich with Buttermilk Herb Mayo. She goes over all the basics, right down to the construction of the sandwich and which rolls to buy. This is an insanely delicious sandwich and one that would please the kids, as well as anyone else.
Another good thing about 2020, I tried my hand at making Baked Alaska and it is definitely delicious! Ina's version is made by placing vanilla ice cream (only the good stuff, Haagen Dazs), and Raspberry Sorbet on top of store-bought pound cake and topping it with a meringue. I need to work on my peaks, but this is such a treat! We all loved it!
I'm very partial to sausage with peppers and onions and this recipe, roasting it all in the oven, is THE WAY to go! I highly recommend making this FLAVOR BOMB of a recipe and cooking the entire batch because this makes for a perfect family dinner and the leftovers are incredible.
I've made that caramel croissant pudding aand my goodness, it is amazing. Now I wnat to make that again. Love any roasted chicken recipe so I need to try Julia's recipe.ReplyDelete
Happy new year and let's hope 2021 brings us many blessings. I am thankful for mine right now in spite of last year.
I so love seeing everyone's favorites! Totally agree that while this year was INSANE, we ate a lot of good food. <3<3<3 Happy new year!!ReplyDelete
It's such a graceful approach to count our blessings and see the silver linings, even in the worst of times. Glad to hear you had a great and delicious year. Love your post! Funny enough, I just posted an Ina's recipe and referred back to the way Julia Child improves it. Master is always the master. I'm so glad we had the opportunity to cook through a bad year with fun and resilience. Happy 2021 and more deliciousness ahead.ReplyDelete