I've been cooking since I was 3. But, when it comes to food, I don't think I've learned more, pushed myself more, or have known more joy... as I have this last year.
From trying new cuisines, and new ingredients... to learning more about photography. This job/hobby/passion is tough. Now, I'm not complaining, but I've grown to respect my fellow bloggers even more, now that I know what's truly involved.
From the recipe creations. To the photography... then editing... then arranging on the blog. And finally writing about it all. And don't forget the part about putting yourself out there. Yes, really out there... because if you don't- well, what's the point then?
So, along the way, I've met a ton of great new friends, have done a ton of dishes, and done my darndest to steer clear of the "food blogger 15" (thank goodness for yoga!)
And despite the hard work, it's all been worth it. A dream come true, even... yes, even those nights I was up at 3am trying to work through writer's block for a deadline. And even through a few foodie fails.
Just like in life, the journey is where all the magic happens. And this year, there was a lot of magic in my kitchen.
As you can see on my right sidebar, there is a list of the top 10 reader favorites, but I thought I'd also share my top 10 favorites. Creations, that often in theory, seemed to have no rhyme or reason, but in the end tasted absolutely delicious...
These single serving bowls of goodness are so fun, so flavorful, and SO much better then their retro inspiration.
A delightful salad, perfect on a bed of spinach or in a croissant. Rich, creamy, crunchy and don't forget the fresh dill- yum!
3. Georgia Byrd's Chicken Tchoupitoulas Pasta
Back in Santa Barbara I often ordered Chicken Tchoupitoulas at one of the best restaurants in town. And it was so fun to create my own version using my favorite, calamarata pasta. With just enough kick, this dish will wow you. I meant it when I said... best. past. ever.
4. Tarte Flambee (French Pizza)
A French Pizza? Oh oui. This is the kind of pizza I can't stop dreaming of. So delicious with the mix of creamy, salty, crispy, and... that balsamic! I'm so glad I tried this unusual combination. You will be too.
5. Roasted Golden Beet, Zucchini Noodle and Chevre Spinach Salad with an Orange Cilantro Hot Bacon Dressing
One of my most unusual, yet delicious creations yet. With all my favorite ingredients, the textures are out of this world. And even if you think you don't like beets, this mix will change your mind. The coolness of the salad with the hot bacon cilantro dressing make you want to lick your plate. Seriously.... you NEED to try this.
6. Jambalaya with a California Twist
Leave it to a California girl to mess with Jambalaya! But, by far, this is one of the most tasty recipes of the year... plus it's a quick fix, one-pot meal. Oh man, oh, man... I'm in love.
7. Swedish Blonde Burger
I've been playing around with this burger concept for years, and finally got the nerve to give it a try. Not only does it have a fun name, but the complex blending of ingredients will get you smiling from ear to ear. A complete win... läcker!
8. Crispy Avocado Tonkatsu Club with a Daikon and Pea Shoot Salad
Any time I see Chicken Katsu on a menu, it's my first pick. So, I was excited to create this version with pork. This sandwich reminds me of the freshness of Summer with the Pea Shoot Salad, and the creamy avocado goes perfectly with the daikon crunch. One of the prettiest dishes, I've made, for sure.
9. Twice Baked Pot Roast Potatoes
There's not much better than a pot roast, except for using the leftovers in these twice baked potatoes. I added all my favorite ingredients (please don't leave out the peas!) and they are perfect for when you want a cozy, homey meal. Filling and fabulous.
10. Moistest Ever White Chocolate Pound Cake with Fresh Orange Glaze
And last, but not least, is this delicious beauty. Inspired by my Father's favorite dessert, this cake is perfect for any occasion... or a snack... or breakfast!