Happy New Year 2013

January 1, 2013

I am hoping for a great 2013! 2012 was a challenging and transitional year, both at work and home. My busy kitchen continues to be the major bright spot in my daily life, having become my greatest source of relaxation over the past few years. Unfortunately, I missed my blogging goal of making every recipe published by Cook’s Illustrated in 2012. Until August I had missed only one recipe (Chilled Tomato Soup). But life’s changes and the beginning of the school year wrought havoc on my ability to blog, reducing my free-time to allow me to only post an average of one recipe per week. Since September, I have missed more recipes than I have made. However, I am beginning the New Year full of hope that the turbulence of 2012 is now behind me and that 2013 will be the great year.

Welcoming in the New Year at midnight

Welcoming in the New Year at midnight

Here are my top 5 recipes from 2012.

  1. Spanish-Style Toasted Pasta with Shrimp. When I made this paella in June, I already knew that this would top this year’s list of best recipe. It was that spectacular.
  2. Coq au Vin. For 20 years this dish has been my nemesis. The promise of its rich, luxurious sauce has never been able to overcome the inherent limitations of bland, supermarket chicken. While not perfect, this Coq au Vin is my best attempt yet.
  3. Jamaican Jerk Chicken. I’ve tried a few different recipe for Jerk Chicken, but Chris Kimball has a few secrets to make this the best Jerk Chicken outside of Boston Bay, Jamaica.
  4. Pulled Pork Sandwiches. The best pulled pork sandwiches I’ve made. This recipe was from 1997, but was better than his more recent recipes.
  5. End-of-School-Year Party Pretzels. Adjusted the recipe so that these 3-hour pretzels would be ready by 7am.

Honorable mention, and why they didn’t make the grade:

  1. Carrot Layer Cake. The cake’s picture-perfect appearance made this cake a contender, but the inherent fact that it’s just a carrot cake kept it out of the top five.
  2. Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Dried Cherries and Rosemary Port Pan Sauce. This recipe was a surprisingly easy week-night meal, but the not-quite-perfected sauce kept it out of the top 5.
  3. Broiled Steaks. Based upon taste alone, this was absolutely my third best dinner in 2012. Of course, the technique was solid and allowed the meal to shine. But the dinner was spectacular based upon the beautifully marbled steaks; lesser steaks would have not made this a memorable meal.

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