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.
Spanish cuisine made a surprise splash in my kitchen this summer, and this was one of my favourite salads. Pan-roasting the chickpeas heightens their nuttiness in a creamy way, and it combined beautifully with roasted red peppers with a salty tang from capers and lemon juice.
I experimented a lot with tasty, healthy breakfasts this year. While I delved into different ways to make oatmeal, I also tried different egg dishes. This was one of my favourites, with a soft baked egg on top of a silky red pepper ragout.
While I am trying to lean more towards vegan cuisine, I know I couldn’t easily give up fish. This is one of those dishes. Baked salmon is topped with a tangy-tart dressing with pomegranate molasses and glazed with lemon juice just as it leaves the oven. Topped with basil, this combination works wonderfully.
Baked rhubarb may seem like an easy, standard dish in the spring, but I found the combination of Earl Grey tea, cardamom and orange worked ridiculously well with the tart rhubarb and apples. This will be my go-to dessert once rhubarb is back in season.
While I don’t make many recipes a second time, I definitely have an opinion on what other people should make. This is my dish that I recommend without hesitation. It is simple and fairly quick to put together to phenomenal results. The spaetzle is a bonus recipe, which is our not-so-secret family recipe.
I fell in love with chickpeas with this dish. This started my obsession with pan-roasted chickpeas and this dish works so well because it is made with pantry staples and quick to make. Here the chickpeas are combined with canned artichoke hearts, basil and thyme for a heavenly Italian-style treat.
You can’t go wrong with Alphonso mangoes. Heck, sometimes I wondered why bother messing with perfection? Well, when you combine mangoes with cardamom, pistachios and yogurt, it is sheer bliss. Gah.
I really enjoy the brightness that citrus brings to a salad, and this one does not disappoint. Plump wheat berries are coated in a lemon and orange vinaigrette, spruced with grated carrots, dried cranberries, toasted almonds and mixed with your favourite greens.
I experimented with savoury rhubarb dishes this summer, and this was the knock-out dish from the pack. A zesty sauce is both sweet and sour with rhubarb spiced from allspice, ginger, and chili flakes. The allspice-marinated tofu is pan-fried, and served with rice and wilted kale, this is a phenomenal meal.
I really liked this dish. It is ridiculously healthy and ridiculously easy to make (you just need 2 hours for the long braise). And you end up with perfect, melt-in-your-mouth cabbage. Molly Stevens named this the “World’s Best Braised Green Cabbage” and I agree. However, as a stand-alone dish, it can’t compete with the Top 10.
I am slowing inviting Indian cuisine into my kitchen, and this one entered stealthily. I thought I was making a soup, but it was too thick for a soup. Instead, it was a delicious butternut squash, sweet potato and kale curry with garam masala and vanilla. The coconut milk made a bit heavy but that added to its decadence.
This was an incredibly filling chickpea and rice dish. The sauce was a variation on the Spanish romesco, filled with roasted red peppers, tomato, almonds, red wine, thyme and rosemary. It was memorable to me, but not to all who ate it, so it didn’t make my Top 10.
This was a hearty winter stew, with sweet potatoes and kidney beans in a tomato sauce spiced with cinnamon, cumin, and ginger. A touch of peanut butter adds creaminess without an overwhelming peanut taste. I loved it, but not everyone was swooning, so it missed the Top 10.