Sunday, December 30, 2012

Best of 2012 In the Kitchen

I stole the idea for this post from Beth F, the creator and host of the popular Weekend Cooking feature that can be found every Saturday morning on her blog Beth Fish Reads. Yesterday, Beth F posted a wonderful recap of her year in Weekend Cooking posts with a Best of 2012 Cookbooks, Drinks and Favorite Posts list. Check out her post and links to other Weekend Cooking posts HERE. I'm doing something similar here tonight.

Unfortunately, I didn't keep a detailed journal of my new cooking and dining experiences in 2012, so I'm working this list from memory and my blog posts, the former of which isn't 100% reliable, I'm afraid. At least I have a new journal idea for 2013 now.. ;) Here's a list of the foods I made for the first time this year:

Lime curd 
Lime Curd {from homegrown limes!}, June 2. 2012
I made homemade lime curd using tiny limes that my husband brought home from his uncle's backyard in Texas while visiting there in April. It was really pretty easy to make and so delicious--refreshing with a sweet tart zing! I'll definitely make lemon, lime or other citrus curd in the future.

Chocolate-Peanut Meringues from Everyday Food Magazine, April 1. 2012
I made meringues from a recipe in a cooking magazine. They came out great. Again, so easy to make at home, even if the shape wasn't as nice as store bought meringues.

Home Canning Tomatoes, August 28. 2012
I got invited to partake in a day of canning vats of fresh tomatoes one day last August. What a neat experience! I came home with 2 1/2 cases of tomatoes in quart jars. I am down to one case already, which means I'm going to definitely run out before the winter is over. Lesson learned.. I need about 5 cases of tomatoes to last my family a whole year.

Pear butter 
Homemade Pear Butter The Lazy Girl's Way, October 28. 2012
I found an easy and delicious way to use up a plethora of over ripe pears, thanks to a recipe for making homemade pear butter in the oven from Farmgirl Fare blog.

German Cookery by Elizabeth Schuler [Cookbook], December 1, 2012
I made homemade spätzle for the first time--it was fun and everyone liked it. I might make it again sometime, but it won't take a spot on my regular menu, though. I thought the spätzle needed a lot of butter to give it a good flavor and that's just not how we eat on a regular basis.

Green Juicing! 
Drink Your Greens, March 17, 2012
Woot woot! Good Excellent health in a glass. I started green juicing in 2012 thanks to the Whole Living Action Plan in which I participated back in January. It's basically a food based detox to jump start your body back to a healthy digestive state. Anyway, green juicing is one of the habits that I took away from the cleanse and continued to do all year long. I'm officially hooked. The other awesome thing I took away from that cleanse was to break my addiction to caffeine. Very liberating and I don't get nearly as many migraines as I used to. I think I might have had 2-3 migraines all year whereas I used to have that many in one month. If you suffer migraines, you may want to consider giving up caffeine, too, to see if it helps you.

Best Homemade Pizza Dough, March 3, 2012 gets tons of hits. Over 1500 so far--which is a lot for my little ol' blog. I hope that means people are making my recipe. I just made it the other night!

My recipes for Vegan Basil Pesto, Vegan Arugula-Garlic Scape Pesto and Vegan Potato Leek Soup also get a lot of hits. I'd say there's a niche for vegan recipes out there.

2012 Cookbooks.

Did you vote in the 2012 Readers Choice Awards on Goodreads this year? Most of the readers of my blog are fellow book bloggers, so chances are you did. Did you read a lot of the books from the fiction categories? I read a few and was otherwise familiar with many of the others across many genres. Surprisingly, it was the cookbook genre that I was most familiar with, having read SIX of the nominees, including the winning book, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier by Ree Drummond. It was not my favorite book of those that I read. The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond) is a wonderful, fun, down to earth voice in home cooking and her cookbook is nice, but not nearly as original or inspiring as the cookbooks below which I've also read this year. Three 2012 cookbooks that I read and adored this year are:

Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan (My vote in the readers choice awards)
The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila 
Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach

I highly recommend all three of these lovely, original and inspiring cookbooks. I hope you check them out. I'm still on the waiting list for The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman, also published in 2012. Any day now...

The Results of the 2012 Readers Choice Awards on Goodreads for Cookbooks

I must mention the following three 2011 publications that caught my attention in 2012, all of which I highly recommend.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer 
I LOVE ice cream in a scary big way and was intrigued by all the positive buzz this cookbook was getting, so I bought Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook earlier this year. I finally got around to making Roasted Pistachio Ice Cream in September and the results were amazing! Wow.. just wow. If you have an ice cream maker, you should really get this book.

The Newlywed Cookbook by Sarah Copeland
Gorgeous presentation, fantastic recipes--some classics, some twists on old favorites and many original creations that hopefully inspire couples to cook together. The narration is charming in a cozy sweet blissful newlywed way, although at times a little too sugar coated for me. Still.. I read every page and wanted to devour every recipe. Highly recommended.

Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr 
Although not really a cookbook, Crazy Sexy Diet does have recipes in it and it is all about healthy living and eating to be your healthiest and happiest, so I'm mentioning it in this post anyway. Kris Carr is SO positive and inspiring!

Everyday Food Magazine will no longer in publication after the December 2012 issue. I've been subscribing to this magazine since June 2005 and still have every issue. I've loved it over the years and will miss it greatly. :(

Do you have anything on your Best of 2012 List from your kitchen? 

Did you try any new-to-you foods in 2012? 

A new favorite restaurant or cookbook?


  1. I love Homemade Pantry too. So many people have that on their best-of list, I'm sorry I didn't add it. Food in Jars is on my list to get from the library.

    I love your recap of your kitchen adventures. I used to keep a kitchen journal, I may just start that up again in 2013.

  2. Great post, Christine! And lime curd - mmmmm - I love lemon curd, so I must try lime curd :)

    Like Beth, I used to keep a kitchen journal, but it morphed into a 'Company for Dinner' journal where I write down who came for dinner and what I prepared for them. I think I may have to section of a bit and go back to doing a kitchen journal again.

    Best of 2012 (and on my blog, which is why I remember it) was the Milky Way Tart by Bon Apetit - OMG!!! And I've since used the mousse recipe over and over again - serviced in a simple dish with a dollop of carmel sauce on the bottom and a dusting of shaved chocolate on the top (I'm not a very good pastry person, so this eliminates that step - and it's so easy). AND Peanut Salad Dressing/Pasta Sauce (again, recipe on the blog) which is to die for :)

    Don't think I tried anything new this year, nor can I contribute to the new favorite restaurant/cookbook discussion - but I am looking forward to getting my hands on The Smitten Kitchen cookbook!

    Happy New Year, Christine!

  3. What a great cooking year!

    Me? I taught myself (mostly :) to make risotto. Not sure if it's quite right, but...I like it. I just need to make a bit less now and branch out with different flavours :)

  4. I love your posts about food! They always make me hungry and make me want to try new recipes.

    I'm not that big of a cook though I can cook most of the basic stuff, and have even a few 'signature' recipes, but I do love to bake and that's where I'm more adventurous, though my family still keeps asking for vanilla cupcakes from me and only that, ^sigh*

    anyway! thanks for sharing all your food posts :) they were lovely.

    And happy new year.

  5. I haven't been very adventurous in the kitchen this year. We need to work on that. Though I did finally make a pound cake and created my own recipe for one. Now you have me wondering what it would taste like with lime curd..... I'm betting YUM! I know you didn't really like it, but as for cookbooks- the newest Ree Drummond cookbook suited us nicely and I am still eager to try the chicken tortilla soup recipe from it.

    Wishing you a New Year filled with yummy treats, new kitchen adventures and Blessings for you and your family!

  6. This hasn't been a particularly exciting cooking year for me, although I've found a few new favorite recipes. I received a Jamie Oliver cookbook (30-minute meals)for Christmas, though, so I'm hoping to be inspired by it!

    Hope your 2013 is full of delicious things to eat, and I look forward to seeing you around Weekend Cooking! :)

  7. Beth F... Homemade Pantry is a fantastic book. I adored it even though I already make many of the foods in the cookbook from scratch. For someone who is just starting out on the "homemade" kick, this book is PERFECT!

    I really love Food in Jars. Very down to earth, easy instructions, delicious recipes--classics and unique flavors, and not just jams! Lots of fun foods. Oh and small batches. Really nice--you can jar some stuff up in just an hour or two. Did I sell you?

    Janet ...Thank you! I LOVE lemon curd, too. So yummy. I'm definitely doing some kind of food & drink journal this year to document all that stuff. I want to keep track of new foods and also learn what kind of wines I like--the type of grapes and growing regions I prefer, etc. That Milky Way dessert sounds AMAZING! I literally JUST got the call from the library that the Smitten Kitchen was returned and now it's my turn! Yay! Going out to get it this afternoon. I'm excited!

    orannia .. Making risotto is a great skill. It's so delicious. I like that it's both a comfort food and a food that impresses company. Plus you can mix it up with so many different flavors. Very versatile.

    Alex.. Aw, I'm so glad you enjoy my food posts. They're the posts that tend get the most traffic on my blog. Then again, I don't post a ton of book reviews anymore. Probably not even 20 in a year! Ack! We gotta shake up your family and get them to want something other than your vanilla cupcakes! ;)

    Brandy .. I would love to try your pound cake recipe! Yum. We love desserts in my house. I'm kind of a dichotomy of super healthy eating and decadent desserts. LOL Oh well.

    Too Fond... Finding new favorite recipes is ALWAYS awesome. I probably did, too, but I can't think of them.. which is why I plan to keep a kitchen journal this year. I'm so excited to see what 2013 brings to my table. Hope you find some stellar recipes in the Jamie Oliver cookbook you got and that you share the hits on weekend cooking! :)

    Happy New Year, everyone! xo :)


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