1. The summer of 2010 had me moving into a new kitchen and sharing a few pics of my new playground. Two new appliances found their way into my kitchen- an ice cream maker which kept us happy all summer (and my peeps decided that the peanut butter chocolate was their favorite flavor of all the ones I tried), and a rice cooker that I use on a daily basis, making me wonder why I lived without it for so long.
2. I discovered two brownie recipes that I absolutely love, fudgy cocoa brownies and cheesecake brownies, and I hereby declare that my brownie needs have been met (each of these recipes has been made multiple times this year) and I won't be chasing after new brownie recipes in 2011. Maybe.
3. In keeping with my goal of making basic staples at home whenever possible, I continued to make yogurt at home this year and got much better with practice. And I haven't posted it on the blog, but this year I started making ghee at home, inspired by the Back to Basics event. Taking a cue from PJ, I have been adding a curry leaf to my home-made ghee and the resulting ghee is the most wonderful thing.
4. We enjoyed local food tremendously this year, buying produce from local farmers through Summer and Fall and enjoying them in dishes such as this roasted tomato chutney with dosa.
5. I am thrilled that I finally started composting my kitchen scraps on a regular basis. I also resolved to minimize food waste, and I hope to further streamline my cooking life in 2011.
6. I had been missing the Monthly Blog Patrol event and so launched a similar event, Blog Bites in February- it has been fun (the next round will be in February- I'm taking Jan off from the event to spend some time updating the recipe index and other blog housekeeping). My favorite was this round where we used up items lurking in the pantry and fridge.
7. Thanks to the Of Chalks and Chopsticks event, I wrote two stories and have a new-found respect for fiction writers! It is fun to try something new even if you do risk making a fool of yourself in quite a public way.
8. On a whim, I live-blogged a few hours of my Thanksgiving cooking marathon and enjoyed the experience of a cozy day cooking at home while the first snow of the season silently cloaked the world outside.
9. I've said it before and I'll say it again- my favorite recipes come from other food bloggers, not from cookbooks or TV shows or any other sites. Here are just three of the recipes that I discovered this year that are part of my life now: Kanchan's soy kheema, Richa's Punjabi dal and Arundati's tomato saalan. I love you, all the wonderful bloggers out there, thank you for sharing and being my teachers.
10. Finally, I practiced the art of making pie crust at home and made this chocolate pecan pie twice this holiday season. It was probably our favorite dessert in a year of many great desserts.
Pie crust (although that time it was a store bought one) was the basis for our favorite appetizer of the year, samosa crostata, which took the familiar flavors of samosa and converted it into an easy no-fry crowd-pleaser of a recipe.
With my new-found confidence in pie crust, I made mini quiches for a lunch potluck with my knitting group last weekend. I often make crust-less quiches, but on this occasion, I wanted the works- the flaky buttery crust and the delicate savory filling.
We love caramelized onions in my home, and the recipe that inspired these quiches is here. This appetizer certainly is time-intensive and a labor of love, but the taste is terrific- the mini quiches disappeared in no time.
Caramelized Onion Mini Quiches
Step 1. I started by making the full recipe of pie crust (but only ended up using 3/4 of it, so cutting down on the amount of pie crust would be OK).
Step 2. While the pie crust was chilling in the fridge, I caramelized onions. Thinly slice 3 large red onions and saute them in 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil with a sprinkling of salt. Caramelize 30-40 minutes on medium-low heat. In the last minute of cooking, add 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar.
Step 3. Pre-bake the crusts. You need muffin pans for this recipe- I used 18 muffin cups in all (one large 12 cup pan and one 6-cup pan). Heat the oven to 350 F. Roll out pie crust, then use a cookie cutter (or a katori with an edge like I did) to cut out rounds. I then rolled each round some more into a thinner circle and eased each circle into a muffin cup. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and bake for 15-20 minutes until very slightly brown.
Step 4. While the crusts are baking, finish making the filling. Stir the following into the caramelized onions and mix well:
- 1/2 cup light cream/ heavy cream/ half and half
- 3 eggs (I used 2 egg whites and 1 whole egg)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar (or other hard cheese)
- 1 tsp. paprika
- Large handful minced cilantro/ parsley/ chives
- Salt and pepper to taste
Happy New Year- 2011, here we come!
I hope 2011 brings each of you a bustling kitchen filled with the aromas of home cooking, the comfort that only a warm and full stomach can bring and friends and family who share the joy of good food.
What was your favorite food moment of 2010? Do share- I'd love to know.