2009 favorites

It’s always so hard to choose favorites. I feel bad for all the great stuff I left out. Then I second guess myself, then I tell myself to stick with my gut. In the end, just like last year, I settled on 9 favorites and 6 honorable mentions.

9 favorites:

Chopped salad – I know it’s just salad with a bunch of stuff in it. But it’s exactly the way I like salad – evenly sized ingredients with a high ratio of other stuff compared to the lettuce. Plus it has avocado in it, and that makes everything better.

Red velvet cake comparison – That was a whole lot of red velvet cake. It’s been about 11 months, and I think I’m just about ready to make red velvet cake again. Soon. And now I know exactly which recipe to use.

Pot roast – Pot roast sounds so unassuming, not at all like something that would stand out as a favorite, but the addition of a bit of red wine gives it a richer, more complex flavor than traditional pot roast.

Orange oatmeal currant cookies – One of the first recipes I made from Tartine’s cookbook, and it knocked my socks off. I love how it’s familiar – an oatmeal cookie with dried fruit – but the orange zest and currants provide a more interesting flavor.

Strawberries and cream pie – Um, cream cheese, sugar and heavy cream topped with fresh strawberries and drizzled with chocolate. Duh.

100% whole wheat bread – I haven’t made this exact recipe again, but I have adapted the technique to all sorts of other breads. Soaking whole grains before kneading them into other bread ingredients makes the final dough much easier to work with, and the baked bread is more tender and flavorful than it would be without the soak.

Pizza – Years of making pizza almost every Friday night has helped me refine my recipe until it’s exactly how I like it.

Bourbon pound cake – Pound cake has been my baking nemesis for years, but not anymore.

Brussels sprouts braised in cream – Okay, so not the healthiest way the eat vegetables, but certainly the tastiest.

6 honorable mentions:

Brioche plum tart – Part of one of my favorite days this year.
Farmer’s market salad with goat cheese
– lettuce, potatoes, goat cheese, yum!
Lemon meringue cake
– What a fun birthday cake this was.
Brown rice with black beans
– Finally, I figured out how to cook brown rice!
Slice and bake brown sugar cookies
– They’re sorta like chocolate chip cookies, but a lot prettier (and without chocolate).
Herbed lamb chops
– This amazing meal has started Dave on a big lamb kick.

Last year my goals were 1) more easy, healthy dinner recipes, which I probably didn’t do a great job with; 2) more effort into taking photos, and I’m satisfied with my progress there; and 3) getting up a Basics of Food Photography page, which I managed to do (although I’ve been working on an update to it).

My goals this year are to publish more blog entries – around 4 per week instead of 3 – and redesign my site, hopefully by learning enough about web design to do it myself.

Here’s to another great year! Happy New Year!


  1. They all look great…can’t wait to see what next year brings!

  2. Can I just say thanks for your wonderful blog. I have been cooking for 50 years, but I always learn from you. Love your ‘comparisons’ and photography help. Thanks again!

  3. I’ve been making the 100% whole wheat bread every week now for about 6 weeks and love it. The lemon meringue cake was also my birthday cake and my first baking project in my new kitchen, so thanks for the fantastic inspiration on that front!

    Here is looking forward to more delicious food in 2010!

  4. What a fantastic list, Bridget! Once again, thank you so much for even considering the red velvet recipe I use in your comparison. Your blog is so wonderful. I hope my lil’ blog can grow up to be just like yours one day! Here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2010!

  5. Happy New Year Bridget! Can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2010!

  6. I used your recipe for the cream-braised brussels sprouts – what a hit. I love brussels sprouts anyway, but this was decadent and smooth in a way I hadn’t seen with them. Nice!

    Happy new year!

  7. Bridget, I made those brussel sprouts for Christmas dinner and they were delicious!! Thanks, Happy New Year!

  8. great roundup! and happy new year! can’t wait to see what you cook up in 2010!

  9. Amanda says:

    You have such a great blog and I’m a huge fan–I check in everyday, and can’t wait to see what you’ll make in the new year! Thanks for telling us your favs too, there are a few I’d still like to give a try!

    p.s. Have you ever tried socca? it’s a chickpea flatbread popular in France that is phenomenal. It’s become one of my new obsessions, topped with red onion. And really healthy too! Might be something you’d like to try.