As 2006 draws closer to a close, I find myself reviewing the many dishes that have emerged from my kitchen (only a fraction of which I've succeeded in capturing in these pages). In "Tastes, Part II" I reflect on some of the recipes I've tried -- and the inspiration behind them.
Some people believe cooking for one or two people is more effort than it's worth. I'm glad I at least occasionally made the effort:
- In February I rediscoveed how delightful it can be to spend a day or two in the kitchen with someone you love.
- Sometims a little self-indulgence when you're sick is the best medicine of all.
- In an attempt to recreate a Kentucky Fried favorite, we tried out this recipe. Interesting, but not what we were looking for. Back to the drawing board.
- Who needs takeout? Proving that food elitists we are NOT, nachos and beer are the perfect accompaniament to a Friday night at home with the remote control.
- After a month of out-of-town eating in March, I was eager to play a little Whole Foods roulette -- and quite pleased with the results.
- And I'm proud of this springtime solution for using up leftovers.
- Last spring I committed to a month of "eating locally" from ingredients sourced within a 150 mile radius of home. In the process I learned a lot, and discovered some sensational recipes I know will be "repeaters" in my kitchen. Halibut Olympia was just one of many new favorites.
- I reminded myself that just because a recipe doesn't turn out pretty doesn't mean it doesn't TASTE great when I made a Ginger Scented Pear Cake I found during a web search for pear recipes.
- Emeril may be an annoying furry little troll, but his recipes have never failed me. July's Black Cod with Basil Cream Sauce was simple and satisfying.
- Black Cod was a recurring theme on my menus this year. My favorite sprintime preparation was Sablefish with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce. Simple, satisfying, sexy AND scrumptious.
- While I don't have recipes to share, helping the Nibblers team to feed Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless was an experience I'll never forget.
- For April's supper club dinner we contributed a sensational salad to the Italian feast.
- November 18, 2006 was our 6th annual open house -- a chance to visit with friends before the hectic holiday season gets underway. We cook for days in preparation - two of many superstar recipes on this year's menu are Dom's Mom's Meatballs and Peabody's amazing Pumpkin Cheesecake.
- It's probably the Iron Chef fan in me. I love the challenge of working with a set of prescribed ingredients to come up with a recipe. I did it twice this year. The Monthly Mingle challenge for October was to create a recipe using zucchini and sage. Taking inspiration from another blogger, I made a Roasted Zucchini Soup with Fried Sage that turned out to be one of my favorite recipes of the year. In July I took a couple ears of corn, a handful of pinenuts, a tablespoon or two of coriander and with a little internet reserach, created Coriander-Scented Coconut Creamed Corn. Say THAT five times fast!
- A call for autumn inspired salads prompted me to pull out an old favorite: my 1000 Calorie Salad. A fair amount of effort, but worth it.
- Surely you've heard of Sugar High Friday? Jennifer the Domestic Goddess created this tribute to sucrose and her sisters -- a monthly opportunity to indulge in the sweeter side of the kitchen. Indulge I certainly did. For July's international ice cream social, I pulled out the ice cream attachment to my trusty kitchen aid and made Meyer Lemon Gelato. Sans-oven, my surprise for September was that Sugar High Friday became Sugar High Monday -- but my Ginger Spice Cakes with Pumpkin Pastry Cream were a hit at the office. And decided that truffle-making really belongs in the hands of professionals.
- October 16, 2006 was World Bread Day, and the food blogging world celebrated with a momentus bread bake-off coordinated by a blogger in Germany. My contribution: focaccia.
- Over the course of the year, my food blogging friends in Australia introduced me to one of my newest inspirations: Donna Hay. I eagerly jumped on the bandwagon and "Hay, Hay, it's Donna Day" became one of my favorite monthly events. I braved bruchetta. Spawned some Sassy Savory Tartlettes.
- The holiday season brought a Festive Food Fair, for which I dusted off my dad's recipe for Persimmon Fruit Cake.
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