As promised, my top 10 list of favorite posts in 2010: some old favorite recipes, blogged about for the first time, some preserving experiments that came out just right, some geeky math and rule-breaking canning, and bacon, of course. I don’t care what they say – bacon will never die!
It seems fitting to kick off this year’s list with a Can Jam post: after all, it was the inaugural year of Tigress’ Can Jam (the first of many wonderful years we hope!) and there were literally hundreds of wonderful recipes from tons of talented bloggers that were inspired by the Jam. I love this marmalade for many reasons: I never would have added lavender to a jam unless stretching my limits with the Can Jam; the recipe was inspired by another Can Jammer, Gloria at the Laundry, and her lemon fig lavender marmalade, made for January’s Jam; the flavor profile is glorious, and while adding the lavender was a total experiment, I nailed it on the first try; readers actually made this recipe and then came back to tell me how it was, or to ask questions about the process (I love that!); and last, but hardly least, I included a jar of this marmalade in our Christmas gift to Tai’s grandmother and she told us that she ate the whole thing, in one sitting, out of the jar with a spoon! Delicious in every sense of the word.
Another favorite inspired by another blog challenge, this one the Dark Days Challenge, hosted by Laura at (not so) Urban Hennery, and now in its fourth year. I love this post because I had been meaning to try my hand at homemade pasta for ages and once I finally did (with a kick in the pants from an impending Dark Days deadline) I found it was easy, fun and delicious. The basic recipe has become a staple around here and I’ve experimented with various shapes (noodles, lasagne, orecchiette) but I think the original farfalle are my favorite.
Forsythia syrup makes the list for sheer wackiness and because I didn’t die. A win-win!
Fresh Favas with Bacon & Almonds
Because I made this in San Francisco, at my friend Christina’s house; because I got to cook with local olive oil, balsamic, lemons and almonds; because fresh favas are a treat I can never find here in New York; because they were fried in bacon fat and swooningly delicious; because the party that accompanied these beans was a blast, full of friends old & new, and the recipe makes me smile by reminding me of the party. Good food + good friends + good wine = good life. (And bacon doesn’t hurt!)
Pumpkin cascabel marmalade makes the list for sheer audacity (breaking the law! breaking the law!), for the all-out math & science geek fest, and for turning out to be a gorgeous marmalade and one that matured really nicely into a rich, pumpkiny preserve with just a hint of chile heat. Oh, and I didn’t die. Batting 1000 here, people.
Roasted Golden Plums with Honey & Sage
Another random invention, this simple but wonderful plum preserve literally came to me in a dream. Reason enough, you think, for making my personal top ten list o’ the year, but it also took rural western Massachusetts by storm and was ever-so-slightly associated with Nathan Fillion. Brilliant.
Because it was disgusting, but hilariously fun to write about; because I think we should celebrate our failures as much as our triumphs – trying, and failing, means we are living to our fullest; because I can’t resist one more opportunity to poke fun at Republicans.
This post brought back so many memories from my college days in Syracuse and apparently, touched a chord with many of you as well. It was so wonderful to read all of your comments and happy memories of central New York summers and the humble yet awesome salt potato. I love when I decide to post an old standy recipe and people get really excited about the idea. Now I’m longing for summer…
Peach Preserves with Forsythia & Chile
Hands down my favorite preserve of the year and also tops the list of Total Kaela Condiments: fruit, chile peppers, not too much sugar, and the afore-mentioned wacky forsythia syrup. I will be making this one every year for sure.
Because I make it every day, and have done for years, it hadn’t occurred to me to post my popcorn ‘recipe.’ But in one of those weird coincidences, in the course of a couple of weeks last winter, several people expressed astonishment that I made popcorn on the stove: as in “but how do you do that?” “You can cook popcorn? Like in a pan?” So, I posted my standard popcorn recipe, and lo and behold, the popcorn lovers (even the stale popcorn lovers!) came out of the virtual woodwork. So good old popcorn, my every day staple, tops this year’s list, for history and childhood memories, for a modern-day twist with Rancho Gordo heirloom crimson popcorn, and for the community of popcorn lovers it revealed. In a world of chemically, over-processed, over-packaged microwave popcorn, it’s nice to know we are not alone.
So that’s it – my 10 favorite posts of the year. How about you? Is there a post that made you laugh out loud? One that gave you an “ah-ha” moment, or helped you to correct a nagging recipe problem? One that you tweaked, and made your own, or has become a staple in your kitchen? If so, I’d love to hear about it. And many thanks to you, the Local Kitchen community; you’ll notice that most of my favorite posts are ones that stimulated a lot of conversation: you guys are the reason my virtual kitchen is such a fun place to be. So thanks for being a part of it all, and here’s to lots more cooking, community and conversation in 2011. Happy New Year!
Beautiful pics! Thanks for sharing the summary of the year.
Kaela, You’re the best! I love Tigress’s Can Jam and Dark Days and have learned a ton from generous people like you. Thanks for the recap. Karen from Prospect the Pantry (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Great list! Poke fun of republicans as often as possible! They are such an easy target!
Can’t wait to try the WW pasta! I got a new pasta maker for christmas so I’m ready to go!
Love your Blog, even if you like to poke fun at Republicans (yes I am one) lol
I made your Lemon Lavender Marmalade, which is really the recipe that sent me on this canning safari that I have so enjoyed.
I made Lemon Verbena Simple Syrup since our Forsythia was past blooming and it is something I will always want to keep on hand.
Your tutorial on labels took my jars from ok to totally fun.
Tai’s Grilled corn on the cob was to die for. (I have a bunch cut off the cob and frozen for winter soups)
Your Salsa Rojo, was a HUGE hit at our house. I loved using cherry tomatoes and not having to skin them.
Caramelized pear jam with Vanilla bean, what a FABULOUS almost mistake!
So while our political beliefs are not the same we do have common ground 🙂
Thank you for sharing your time and talent, I have learned so much from you and others in the can jam. I look forward to 2011 and what new adventures in canning await!
So glad you’ve enjoyed so many of the recipes! And Tai will be thrilled with the shout-out for his corn; he’s (justifiably) very proud of that recipe. Welcome to the rather large circle of my-friends-who-are-Republican – you’re in good company! It just goes to show you that good food can bring us all together. Happy New Year!
Great recap…the photos are wonderful and your preserves are inspirational. Thanks!