December 30, 2010

Best of 2010

2010 was a busy and stressful year for me. I got married in the spring & adopted a beagle puppy, dealt with too much drama from friends & family this summer, and spend a lot of time focusing on work this fall (though, it was the best semester I've had at school). I also taught many cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory.

Cooking remains our favorite thing to do together...when we have time to do so, that is. Jerad started a new job at the beginning of the summer and another new one in the fall. We each have two jobs, so we don't see each other very much. It's created a rocky start to our marriage, but we've manage to prevail. Hopefully, 2011 will be a little easier--and happier--for us.

In terms of blogging, I posted less than in the past few years. In fact, this is only my 45th post this year. For the most part, though, I still tried at least one new recipe a week. It seemed like when I did cook something new, I didn't really want to take pictures (I'm just not very good at it) and I certainly didn't have time to devote to blogging like I wanted to. Nevertheless, we enjoyed many delicious meals at home & tried several new dishes...including roasted rabbit, salt-baked snapper, & grilled beef heart.

Here are some of my favorite recipes from the past year 
(in no particular order):

Homemade Biscuits - I finally made biscuits that weren't flat & crunchy!

Tomato Tarte Tatin - This was a staple of our summer diet, especially since we'd planted tomatoes in the backyard this year.

Porchetta di Testa - The infamous pig face! I still can't believe we pulled this off successfully.

French Onion Dip - Revolutionized my chip & dip fetish.

Berry Popsicles - To satisfy another fetish...

Pig Roast Wedding Reception - It was the year of the pig for us.

Peanut Butter & Bacon Truffles - Wedding cake be damned! This was our most popular reception dessert.

Braised Lamb - We started buying more meat from locals at the farmers markets.

Paella - I have so much fun cooking with my friend Steph! We also made soft pretzels.

Wild Duck Ragu - The best duck recipe I've tried yet. Unfortunately, it was bad hunting this fall, so I didn't get to make this again.

Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Pretzel Crust - Chocolate & pretzels, what's not to like?

Tacos & More Tacos - Tacos!

Venison Burgers & Wellington - The perks of marrying a food!

Pho - I ate my first pho, then I made my first pho. I'm now addicted.

Pork Rillettes - The best camping food ever!

Pressed Cuban Burgers - Inspired by the awesome lunch we had at Mesa Grill in Vegas.

What were the best dishes you made in 2010?

December 27, 2010

Homemade Biscuits

I first attempted homemade biscuits in junior high school.  We must have been given an assignment to make biscuits at home, because I remember pulling the hard, dense discs from the oven & my dad teasing me about how horrible they were.

That episode was so scarring that I didn't try to make biscuits again until last January. While those biscuits were crispy & buttery, they were still pretty dense. I wanted something flakier and fluffier.

Last week, I decided to finally try homemade biscuits again. I figured that since I've mastered pie crust and am more confident with doughs in general, biscuits would be no big deal. I was wrong. I rolled out the dough too thin (though, the recipe I was following said to roll it out to 1/4 inch thick), and the biscuits didn't really rise. They were flat and crispy, like biscuit cookies.

December 18, 2010

Lemon Ginger Drops & Other Christmas Cookies

This week was holiday spirit week at school. I got called a scrooge twice in the past week couple of weeks...despite my having worn reindeer antlers all day on Wednesday. 

So, in an effort to reduce my apparent grinchiness, I actually bought an ugly Christmas sweater to wear to school yesterday. I hit the jackpot of tacky Xmas attire at Macy's...70% off! But, I couldn't decide which hideousness to buy...the black cardigan with a beaded tree & Santa, the black tee with sequined snowflakes & fuzzy reindeer, or the red shirt with a black & gold ornament pattern and black beading? I decided to go with the cardigan, as it was the best bargain...normally $56, on sale for $13. Who in their RIGHT MIND is paying $56 for this thing? 

Instead of recognizing the gaudiness of my outfit, which was a far cry from my usual black or tan pants and various neutral-colored turtlenecks, some students actually complimented me on my new sweater. No one seemed to realize the irony of my bedazzledom. They must have seriously thought that I was finally in the Christmas spirit. Not likely, kids.