Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in Review -- With Lots of Recipes and No Angst

This round up is all about the flavor, honey. No explanations or analysis here. You want to read about Blog Appetit's growth and development? We've got that here. Scroll to the bottom to see my favorite of 2009.

These recipes are the ones that stand out in my mind and make my mouth water just thinking about them.

January: These Spanish Stuffed Peppers with Smoked Paprika Tomato Sauce were the first recipe I tweeted. I was all atwitter about the combination of tastes and textures. I couldn't wait to have the leftovers the next day for lunch. While this recipe was made with turkey, I also gave vegetarian options.

February: I love gremolata, that raw garlic, parsley and lemon zest topping traditional for osso bucco. Here I use it on top of an earthy root vegetable stew with gremolata. The meal stands out in my mind not just for its taste but because my husband and I shopped the farmer's market for its ingredients and it was our Valentine's Day dinner.

March: A new pot inspired a new soup: Sweet and Sour Onion Soup, which combined two of my favorite soup concepts into one. The story behind the pot and the soup began begins with my husband snagging a well-loved, used five-quart red enameled cast iron French (i.e. Dutch) oven at a local estate sale for just $18.

April: I wrote a lot about my trip to Buenos Aires. The submarino was a drink I had there. Unbelievably easy, unbelievably good. Take a glass of warm, frothy milk. Submerge a few ounces of good quality chocolate in it. Stir. Drink.

May: Thy of Wandering Spoon taught a class at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center in the famed Vietnamese sizzling crepes called Banh Xeo with loads of fresh seasonal greens and dipping sauce. The results were delicious. I post her recipe here. You can see a slide show of the class here.

June: I'm torn between the wonderful Not Your Grandmother's Beet Borscht and Gary's Granola, but I'm going with my husband's granola recipe, it is truly the best. His recipe is constantly evolving. Don't tell him, but I sometimes swipe a handful for a snack.

July: I began writing my Jewish food column and kicked it off with some recipes for Israeli-styled grilled food. While the chicken and lamb kabob recipes were great, it was the pomegranate molasses bbq sauce that made me, and several others, swoon. So easy, so delicious, so versatile.

August: August was a lazy month. I really didn't write a recipe for this but gave more of a how to, but BBQ Chicken Salad with BBQ vinaigrette was finger licking good, anyway. I also didn't take a photo. Bad Blog Appetit.

September: I probably got more positive feedback from my Cranberried Chicken recipe than any other I've written for the blog or for my Jewish cooking column. It's easy, tasty and very festive. Unfortunately, I don't have the recipe on my blog, you'll have to click the link to it's home on the j. Jewish newsweekly. Luckily, another recipe I wrote that month also pushes my flavor buttons. My Hunger Challenge Cassoulet (which costs about $1-$1.50 a serving) was part of my week's worth of menus for eating on $4 a day or less in support of San Francisco Food Bank's Hunger Challenge.

October: This pumpkin pie with dates in filo crust was all treat and no trick this Halloween.

November: The hands down favorite from this month is my Balkan-inspired Lemon and Egg Sauce Moussaka. The zing of the citrus, the richness of the lamb, the creaminess of the egg sauce and the earthiness of the eggplant combine to make an unforgettable dish.

December: No contest -- from the moment I thought of the concept of a Jewish-Mexican tamale all I wanted to eat was tzimmes tamales. And once you've tried them, I think you'll be similarly obsessed. It's a rich beef and dried fruit stew with a chipolte kick wrapped in a schmaltz (chicken-fat) -based tamale dough. Bring on Christmukkah.

My personal favorite best recipe for 2009, that's a tough one, since I only post recipes I really like. The finalists are the moussaka, the tamales and the pomegranate molasses bbq sauce. The bbq sauce also wins Miss Congeniality for its simplicity. If I had to pick I guess it would be the tamales, but I could change my mind, that moussaka was awfully good ...

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