Sunday, December 28, 2008

What 2008 Brought

Best Recipe of the Year - Caribbean Chicken. We make this a LOT - the flavor is incredible, and really - it's just a marinade and not some crazy technique that requires $150 in new equipment for one recipe. It doesn't even require exotic ingredients. We sometimes do the whole deboned chicken thing, but often enough we just marinate chicken breasts and thighs and call it a day.

Best Dessert Recipe of the Year - Pumpkin Cake. Insanely popular everywhere I take it. It also makes excellent cupcakes.

Most Surprising Cost Savings - the new fridge, which cut our power bill and our food bill. It was a steal itself - $275 used vs. $800 - $1000 new, and much more energy-efficient than our 18-year-old icebox. And now that leftovers aren't buried deep in the old narrow fridge, we are much, much better about using things up and not having awful little surprises when we go looking for the mustard.

A slight downer is that I feel pretty un-hip for being this excited about a kitchen appliance.

Worst Recipe of the Year - when you try a bunch of recipes you inevitably end up with some stinkers. And hands down, the worst of the worst was a miso-bean thread salad from Vegetarian Times. Instead of being a wonderful, flavorful cold Asian noodle salad, it was a weird, otherworldy kind of mousse salt lick with veins of noodles running through it. The hell??? Great for Halloween as a visual, but clearly a Gitmo device culinarily.

Best New Gadget - I can't believe this, but, um, I don't have one. Just to be sure, I went through my kitchen and opened all the drawers and cabinets and, yup, nothing new. Apparently this fiscal management/decluttering thing has taken hold more than I realized. I've bought good standard equipment through the years - insulated cookie sheets, a Microplane zester, digital thermometer, standing Kitchen Aid mixer, good wooden spoons (a cheap one broke on me), Calphalon grill pan, etc. - and everything is in working order. I really didn't see that coming.

Best New Resource - Youtube. That's how Sweetie learned to debone a whole chicken - the written instructions paled in comparison to watching a video of how it's done.

Best Old Resource - the library, with which I've reacquainted myself over the past few months. Realistically, I only ever make a handful of recipes out of any one cookbook. It just doesn't make sense to put the money and the shelf space into them anymore.

Favorite Food Sites - what, Nostinkycheese ain't enough?? I'm partial to:, - not a huge fan of their recipes, but it's a great nutrition resource

Wise Bread, a living-on-less website, has some terrific recipes and ideas in the food and drink section - is one of my very favorite, reliable sources for a laugh

Best Reason to Try New Vegetables - you might otherwise, inadvertently, name your child after one. Someone yelling "Kale! KALE!!" in the airport was not looking for a leafy green, but their kid. I hope to God they just didn't know... I mean, how low are your expectations for someone when you name them after a vegetable??? The worst part was that the parents clearly thought the other folks in the airport were smiling at how cute their son was - and he was indeed a cutie, but Jeebus, they named the kid "Kale." What else are a bunch of Southerners going to do but smile politely?

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