We made a LOT of things in our various kitchens this year, but at home and away. There were almost too many to list, but in the end, we narrowed it down to our absolute favourites. Reasoning, and links, below.
- Warm Potato Salad
This was one of our top stars this summer, scored from a Food & Wine magazine feature on 'new' chefs. Created by Paul Virant (of Vie fame), this tasty summer treat (and winter treat, too!) combines wee little potatoes and grainy dijon mustard with a hefty dose of arugula and apple cider vinegar. YUM. I think there were weeks that went by where we ate only this.
- Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Swiped form Smitten Kitchen, this recipe has gotten me through many a tough day, and helped to break in my new kitchenaid mixer. Nothing says new mixer success like chewy melt-in-your-mouth cookies full of delicious dark chocolate chunks.
- Rigatoni w. Eggplant Puree
Another Smitten Kitchen find (what can I say - she *does* work kitchen miracles) this was a perfect recipe for fall, and a great "I want something healthy and relatively quick, but I don't want it to be boring" recipe. Sadly, the results are never all that photo-worthy (perhaps this is also because we can hardly restrain ourselves by the time it's ready), but believe me, this recipe is worth it. And don't forget the mint!
- Zucchini and Basil Lasagne
This has got to be my favourite lasagna recipe of all time. Tasty enough that we eat the leftovers cold (a very important thing to note, in our house). If the over doesn't come on to reheat the leftovers, the recipe is a clear winner (and yes, we do not have a microwave).
- Caramelized Broccoli
One of my favourite "have to use it, it's in the fridge" recipes, coming from this year's Food & Wine Best New Chef's magazine. Easy as pie to do - dice some shallots, cut up broccoli, put face down in hot pan, and cook til brown. ANYONE can do it. I also substitute brussel sprouts in this recipe sometimes and then top them with good grated parmesan cheese. Because I love the little cabbages. And you should too!
- Scotch Dinner
There's no recipe for this family pass-down meal. My grandmother made it, my dad makes it, and now I make it too. Elbow pasta, ground beef, onions and potatoes. Stew. Top with ketchup. Sounds gruesome to some, but we all have our little comforts, don't we?
- Creamy Garlic Salad Dressing
This recipe is my own, and becomes a defacto dressing for salads for at least a few weeks a year. Take one clove garlic. Slice paper thin. Add two tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon grainy dijon, juice of half a lime, and a dollop of olive oil. Shake shake shake, drizzle over salad greens. Yum.
- Pan Friend Potato Gnocchi
Frozen potato gnocchi. Pats of butter. Chopped up herbs. Melt butter, fry gnocchi in frying pan until golden brown (stirring constantly - they burn quickly!). Top with a little grated parmesan, or a sprinkling of pesto, and you've got a super quick meal.
- Alice Waters' Apple Tart
Yum, yum, and more yum. This super light, hardly-any-sugar simple apple tart is easy to make, and finished (and baked!) in under two hours. You can't go wrong with this recipe. Don't want apples? Use pears! Looking for something colourful? Add a pint of wild blueberries, or a pint of blackberries for colour. Make sure you get good crisp apples - braeburns, not macintosh - to make sure it's nice and firm, not all 'gooey used-to-be-apples' textured.
- Layered Peppermint Bark
I use fancy cocoa camino white-with-nibs chocolate for extra crunch, and organic brown-rice-syrup candy canes to make myself feel not SO bad about this recipe, but the fact is, it's chocolate. With a capital C. I have been bashing my candycanes by hand (what therapy!) but you can also whir them in your food processor to get nice and tiny bits. Enjoy!