Happy New Year! It seems fitting that this post is a few days late, since I always felt like I was running behind schedule this year. There were times in 2011 where I had an entire day to ponder recipe ideas, gather ingredients, prepare a meal, and enjoy it leisurely. And then there were times I had about 15 minutes to scour my cupboards and make something for dinner with enough leftover to throw into a container for lunch the next day. So when I sat down to try to make a list of the best recipes of 2011, it just wasn’t a fair comparison. Instead, I offer a set of scenarios I encountered in the past year, and the recipe which fit best.
Best Big Pot of Soup for a Chilly Day – Chard and White Bean Stew
You’ll love this soup when you make it, and you’ll be ecstatic later when you find a container in your freezer.
Best Ethnic Cooking Experiment for a Group – Vegetarian Pad Thai
You don’t need to go out to have good Thai food, and this was a fun group project.
Best Breakfast on the Go – Waffles
To be fair, my mom actually kept my freezer stocked with these waffles. Sometimes I got to enjoy them at home with sliced bananas. But on rushed mornings, they were in my hands as I ran out the door.
Best Grilled Meal for a Crowd – Mediterranean Chopped Salad
Not your traditional BBQ fare, but a delicious way to enjoy grilled vegetables in season.
Best Meal when you’re craving something spicy – Ethiopian Chickpea Stew
You can make this as spicy as you like, but you’ll still want to keep eating it.
Best Replication of a Restaurant Dish – Chicken Taquitos
These taste almost as good as the taquitos served at SolToro at the Mohegan Sun.
Best Crockpot Meal – Stuffed Mushrooms
I made a lot of crockpot meals this year, and it was hard to pick just one. These are not fancy cocktail party mushrooms, but a rich and flavorful dish of mushrooms and tomatoes.
Best ‘Lunches for the Week’ – Zucchini Black Bean Enchiladas
You’ll actually still be excited by Friday to have these for lunch. This not only includes the recipe for enchiladas, but also a fantastic homemade enchilada sauce.
Best Opportunity to use Local Food – Rhubarb Muffins
My Mom and I set out for a walk on the beach and ended up harvesting rhubarb from the yard of a generous neighbor. Then we came back and made these muffins. It doesn’t get more local than that, and the muffins were delicious.
Best way to satisfy a chocolate craving – Red Wine Chocolate Cake
This cake was a hit with everyone who made it. And don’t forget to be generous with the mascarpone garnish.
Thanks for reading, today and throughout the year! I look forward to cooking more new recipes in 2012. Cheers!