I enjoy recommending recipes but for some reason, I found it difficult to compile this post of my favourite recipes from the last year. Then I received my first annual report about my blog, which was filled with fun facts: 188 new posts (565 posts overall), almost half a million page views with my busiest day earlier this month when I posted Red Lentil and Spinach Curry (Vegan Tikka Masala). My most popular posts are from the depths of my archives, though: Apple Strudel (my Oma would be proud), Mexican Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing, Raw Tacos, and Lemon Basil Almond Pesto. Only one post from 2012 was equally as popular (#1 below) and it wasn’t the one with the most comments (Carolina BBQ Jackfruit Pulled “Pork” Wraps with Pickled Red Onions gets that honour).
Which recipes were my favourites from 2012? Which recipes were our repeaters? Without further ado, and in no particular order:
It feels almost sacrilegious to post a dessert first, but it is one of my most repeated and requested recipes from the year. When I wanted my first dessert after my sweetener-free challenge, this is what I made. Decadent and rich, you would never know this was low in calories. Nor would you ever guess it was filled with tofu.
This is another one of my favourite recipes. A hearty red lentil and brown rice soup filled with warming spices like cinnamon, allspice and cumin topped with sweet caramelized onions. Spinach is stirred in for even more nutritional goodness. When I have people over, I do not hesitate to suggest making this soup together.
This revolutionized my lunches. Pre-packing salads into Mason jars made it easy to assemble salads to tote to work. Pick a dressing, add veggies to marinate, drop in your protein of choice, top with your leafy greens. Bonus for such a great lemon-ginger salad dressing as well.
One of my favourite summer salads was this pinto bean salad with fresh roasted corn, tomatoes and raw eggplant bacon with a smoky chili-lime dressing.
Dressings were a culinary discovery this year. A good dressing can take you make places and simplify your cooking tremendously. This was an unusually delicious Thai cilantro ginger sauce made with peanut butter, coconut milk, ginger, basil and cilantro that had me begging for more. Perfect as a dipping sauce for spring rolls but also in a stir fry with broccoli, carrots and kelp noodles.
Another one of my favourite dressings this year was a simple balsamic tahini dressing. Use it overtop grains, beans, veggies, you name it. Just don’t use dark soy sauce, because then it becomes an Asian sesame soy dressing and you lose the balsamic undertones!
I enjoy being inspired by restaurants and this is one dish that I recreated at home after being smitten by raw burritos at Belmonte Raw. I used a collard leaf to wrap up julienned jicama and sprouts and slathered it with a delicious nacho sauce made from cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, miso, smoked paprika and red pepper paste. Raw food has never tasted so good.
On the subject of tasty spreads, I fill find it hard to top my hazelnut-sage pesto. Spinach makes up the bulk for the greenery so it isn’t a pungent sage slap-in-the-face, but teamed with toasted hazelnuts and nutritional yeast, you get the familiarity you expect from pesto, too. Pairing it with roasted delicata squash complemented the natural sweetness of squash.
Every year, I continue to discover new favourite ingredients. Kabocha and delicata squash quickly became my go-to squashes since no peeling is required. Sometimes simplicity is as its finest with roasted vegetables and I loved hazelnut-roasted kabocha squash paired with avocado and cucumber in a green collard wrap. No dressing needed with the sweetness of the squash next to the creamy avocado. Just make sure you buy kabocha and not the buttercup imitator!
No stranger to Indian cooking, I cooked up a lot of dals this year. This one was repeated twice in the last two weeks alone. Broccoli makes a surprise appearance amongst a flavourful red lentil curry spiced with cumin, black mustard seeds, Aleppo chili flakes and garam masala. As I type that, it doesn’t sound too appealing to me either but I swear it is one of my favourite curries!
Indian cooking does not only subsist of bean-based curries, although that is my favourite part. I discovered a love for these lemon-cilantro cauliflower pakoras made with chickpea flour. My favourite part of this experience was a head-to-head comparison of batches that were fried in a skillet, in my aebleskiver pan and baked in the oven. The clear winner? Baked in the oven for simplicity, taste and texture! We all win with this healthier option.
I am a sucker for beans and enjoy finding recipes that will appeal to the masses. This Mediterranean lentil salad is simple to whip together and flavourful from the lemon juice, capers, olives, thyme and cherry tomatoes.
This has definitely been a tasty year. So many great dishes to pick from, these are ones that still make me salivate. Please let me know how you enjoy them. For my favourites from years yonder:
What were your favourite finds from the year?
You know I love creative, healthy breakfasts, so I am thrilled to be this month’s host of the Breakfast Club!
The theme this month will be WHOLE GRAINS.
It is important to incorporate whole grains into your diet, and there is no better place to start than bright and early in the day with your breakfast. Whole grains have higher nutritional value since the cereal germ, endosperm, and bran are still intact, which are removed when using refined flours. Eating whole grains has been linked to reduce diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, bowel health, colon cancer and obesity.
Whether you choose to use oats (instant, rolled or steel cut), quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat, rye, barley, brown rice, kamut, teff, or spelt, wheat (wheat berries/bulgur), the options are wide open for breakfast treats!
If you would like to join this culinary feast this month, make a blog post, linking both this post as well as Helen. Then please email me your name, name of dish, post url, location and photo to saveur11 AT yahoo DOT ca, by Sunday, March 27 at noon EST. Old recipes may be submitted, provided you republish your recipe with the extra information. Feel free to use the Breakfast Club logo and #breakfastclub if you are on twitter.
I look forward to seeing how whole grains will pop up in your breakfasts.
It is my pleasure to announce I am hosting Weekend Herb Blogging this week.
If you would like to join this culinary feast this week, please email me your name, name of dish, post url, location and photo at saveur11 AT yahoo DOT ca, by Sunday February 6 at 5pm EST.
I look forward to seeing what winter feasts we will enjoy this week.
It was my pleasure to host Magazine Mondays this week! Magazine Mondays is an informal blogging event to encourage you to tackle those recipes you have clipped from magazines – new and old. Unfortunately, I have been enthralled by some new cookbooks so I wasn’t able to participate myself this week. However, let’s look at what other people made:
If you’d like to participate another time, email Ivonne with the details about your post that includes a recipe from a magazine. It is as simple as that!
This week, Magazine Mondays is travelling to the Taste Space!
It is an informal weekly blogging event, which rounds-up recipes from magazines you have dusted off. Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice usually hosts it, but this week I am glad to help out. To participate, all you need to do is email me (saveur11 AT yahoo DOT ca) with the following information: your name, blog name and blog url, the url of the link to your Magazine Mondays post, the title of the recipe and the magazine the recipe is from. I’ll accept all emails until Sunday January 23.
I look forward to seeing which recipes have inspired you!
I thought it would be fun to share some of my most memorable dishes from the previous year. Primarily, I picked them based on taste, but ease of prep was also important. I love looking through the archives of food blogs, and this helps focus on recipes that get my two thumbs up. I had a hard time narrowing down the list to my top 10, so I included a few worthy runners-up. In no particular order, here are my picks. Here’s to a healthy and delicious 2011. Enjoy!
If you have been reading my blog since the summer, I know you have heard of this salad. I still call it “The Best Salad Ever’. Plump, creamy bulgur is the base of this meal-salad, that is stuffed with oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, chickpeas and pomegranate arils, seasoned with toasted almonds, mint and lemon.
So I hmm’ed and hawed about whether to do this. At first, it sounded like a way to bolster google ratings (not mine, obviously).
But in the end, I decided I shouldn’t deprive my loyal readers of winning a possible $65 to spend at CSNStores.com. Online, you can find anything you need for your kitchen, as well as other items like luggage sets as well. The prize doesn’t cover shipping costs, but you are free to spend it on any of their affiliated sites.
This prize is only open to people with shipping addresses in Canada and the US.
All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here, describing your favourite meal to make at home. Make sure you leave your email address so I have a way to contact you – it won’t be published. You have until Wednesday, December 22, 2010, at midnight to enter. After that, I will randomly select a lucky winner.
It is my pleasure to host Healing Foods this month. Siri started this event to highlight the health benefits from a variety of foods. There are so many healthy options when you eat vegetables, but I wanted to highlight one of my favourite winter vegetables: winter squash.
Whether your preferred squash is butternut, acorn, kabocha, pumpkin or spaghetti, winter squash is filled with vitamins (great sources of A, B and C) and fibre, while being low in calories. Most importantly, they all taste great.
Squash is versatile and can be used in soups, sides, main dishes and even desserts. It can be boiled, baked, or steamed. It can be sweet or savoury. And this is why it is so easy to fall for squash.
Join me this month by sharing your winter squash and pumpkin recipes.
To participate, please create and photograph a vegetarian dish with winter squash, linking to this announcement and Siri’s Healing Food event page by December 31, 2010. Email me at saveur11 AT yahoo DOT ca with your name, your entry’s name and url along with a photograph of your dish. The dishes must be new and posted between December 1 and 31. You may submit as many entries as you like.
I look forward to seeing everyone’s creative dishes.
I am so excited to share all these tasty Turkish treats that were submitted as part of AWED. Turkish cuisine is so varied, with everything from delicious appetizers, to flavourful main dishes and sweet desserts. Thanks again for collectively creating a fabulous collection of Turkish recipes. Enjoy the following menu:
If you would like to join this culinary feast this week, please email me your name, name of dish, post url, location and photo until Sunday at saveur11 AT yahoo DOT ca, by September 5 at 5pm EST.
I look forward to seeing what end of summer bounty we will be using this week.
It is my pleasure to host AWED this month, featuring the lovely Turkish cuisine. A Worldly Epicurean Delight (AWED) was created by DK at Chef in You to explore and delve into a different cuisine from around the world each month. This month I take us to Turkey.
I knew nothing of Turkish cuisine before I went to Turkey for a vacation earlier this year. I was mesmerized by the food – it was delicious. I have already recreated a few dishes since my return.
Turkey is unique as it spans two continents and variety is the main feature of Turkish cuisine. Like other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, mezes (or small appetizers) are common. Main meals commonly include ingredients like eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, okra, squash and cucumbers. Dried fruit like figs and apricots as well as nuts like hazelnuts and pistachios are common in main dishes as well as desserts. Yogurt is also very prominent in Turkish dishes.
Fresh produce is key to create such a vibrant cuisine and depending where you are in Turkey will have a different feel to its cuisine, whether it be from the spicy East or the fish from Northern Turkey or the sweet oranges from Fethiye in the South.
I encourage you to check out and be awed by the delightful Turkish cuisine.
To participate in AWED-Turkey, please create and photograph a vegetarian Turkish dish, linking this announcement and DK’s AWED page by August 31. Email me at saveur11 AT yahoo DOT ca with your name, your entry’s name and url along with a photograph of your dish. You may submit as many entries as you like.
Here are some Turkish cuisine resources to get you started:
More about Turkish cuisine:
Mainly Turkish food blogs: