January 2nd is my husband’s birthday and I hate to say it but I’m not on top of things this year. There is no cake at the ready, but that will come soon enough. He’s picked one out, I just need to bake it. But after the sweet-overload that was Christmas, it’s always so hard to think about baking up something so sweet. But I do it for love and truthfully, it’s been a while since I’ve eaten a good birthday cake. In the meantime, one of my favorite things to do to start the new year is to look back at all my recipe favorites from the past year. After my first go-around through my archives, I selected over 26 recipes from 2012 and I’ve narrowed them down to just 12 to keep things neat & tidy. I have to say it was a bit tough, especially deciding on what recipe would take the last spot, but maybe that’s because I’m pretty awful at making decisions.
If you’ve had your favorites from the past year, let me know in the comments…especially if I’ve missed one you’ve treasured. I love to know these things!
Glorious Bowl. This is what I should be eating right now. It’s the ideal way to make peace with the season by eating something fresh, colourful and good. Sub in any vegetable you have on hand – grate it, slice it, tear it up. Add a base of rice or grain. Roasted nuts are necessary. But it’s the dressing that makes this dish magic. Nutritional yeast flakes, soy, garlic, tahini, and apple cider vinegar blend to make a vinaigrette that is bold and totally crave-worthy. I’m making this now.
Late Summer Stewed Vegetables. This meal changed my mind on using up the vegetables that I thought I didn’t really like. Turns out that I don’t have to wince while eating zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes when they’re done right. And stewing these summer veg long and slow with just the right kiss of spice can make all the difference. I loved this and happily ate the leftovers. Serve alongside your favorite wine and a crusty loaf of bread and you’ve got the rustic kind of fare that magazines write about.
Ozark Pudding Cake. Here I go mentioning cake again. I urge each and everyone of you to go and make this cake. I loved it. My husband loved it. And my in-laws loved it. It’s not a traditional fluffy kind of cake. Instead it’s crammed with apples, nuts and dried cranberries and surrounded by a crusty, chewy batter. It sounds odd, but it’s absolutely delightful. Make sure to have some good vanilla ice cream handy too!
Sesame Dip of Goodness. Since I wrote about this dip back in February, it has found its way into my monthly recipe repertoire. When friends over for a games night or a dinner party, I make this dip. If I’m feeling snacky and want to gorge on carrots and celery (yes, this happens to me), I make this dip. Soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds and an equal mix of yogurt and mayo. That’s my recipe for success. I’ve used all mayo when I’m out of yogurt and used all yogurt when I’m out of mayo, but I think the blend of the 2 makes the ideal texture. I’m a super fan.
Super Tender Dry-Rubbed Ribs with a Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Sauce. Our first party in our new apartment called for a big ol’ cookout and going whole hog. I made ribs for the first time and it was a total success. I still have friends who talk about those ribs. I still talk about those ribs. And that super delicious barbecue sauce that hit all the right notes.
The Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies. Okay, I didn’t think I could get swayed by a chocolate chip cookie. I was wrong. This year, I made 2 fantastic chocolate cookies and this is one of them (the other one involved whole wheat flour and it was also revelatory). Chocolate chip cookie, I’m officially making my peace with you.
Southwest Potato Salad. Sweet, zingy, spicy, this yam and black bean salad should be made right now. It’s got flavours associated with summertime and bright happy colours to go along with it. Healthy and colourful, it’s an instant love affair. I’ve got black beans soaking on my counter and plan on making this soon. You should get on it too.
Rosemary Lemonade. I lived on this stuff during the summer. Refreshing, a little sour, and a nice hint of herbaceous rosemary to elevate this bevy to something real special. Bring on summer, I’m ready. Or, you know, I can wait another 6 months. Whatever.
Broccoli Spinach Soup. Don’t let this soup fool you into thinking you know what this soup is about, because I’ll bet you’re wrong. This ain’t that boring broccoli soup. Go on, just try it. I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll love this & make it a part of your cooking regimen. It’s light, it’s voluminous and it’s sensual. Well, as sensual as soup can be.
Fresh Apple Spice Cookies. Eating apples out of hand is great, but tossing some chopped apples into cookies? Brilliant. Especially when the cookie is also chock full of heady autumn spices. Cloves and cinnamon, I’m looking at you. And don’t forget the raisins and walnuts to make them even better. Oh, and they’re made with whole wheat flour which makes them equally good to snack on for breakfast.
Greek Lemon Chicken. I love how the simplest meals can be the best. This is one of those dinners. Chicken thighs, lemon juice, garlic and oregano combine to make an extremely flavourful meal that transports you to a Greek island sandy white beach. Or something. During the summer, we grilled this outside on the bbq and it was finger licking delicious.
Red Lentil Mexican Soup with Lime. Clearly I’m in love with Mexican flavours which is perhaps why I’m thinking of visiting Mexico City in the coming months. This soup is one of those clear out the pantry type meals that I rely on so much. It’s a big bowl of spicy comfort and everyone needs a little comfort come January.