So here they are: My Top 10 Recipes of 2007, in no particular order, with notes about the highly subjective reasons I chose to include them.
1. Microwave Sabudana Khichdi
This is our breakfast when I am feeling indulgent. I left the old skool stove top method behind this year and switched to the microwave. As several comments on that post will tell you, it just works really well! I took the advice of some readers and started soaking the sabudana for only 15-20 minutes, then draining and laying it out for 1-2 hours. The resulting khichdi is simply perfect (which can be a miracle when it comes to sago khichdi). For being able to standardize and simplify a favorite dish, this post makes it to the list.
This is a great example of how a blog event will push me to try something that has been idling on the to-do list for a while. Madhuli's "Oats" theme got me to start making granola at home on a regular basis. Within a few months, I had abandoned the usual recipe and switched to a new favorite no-oil granola recipe. I now make it every couple of weeks with a different combination of nuts and sugars and dried fruits and store in the jar for the easiest breakfast ever. For saving me calories, time and $$, this post makes it to the list.
3. Summer Rolls
Lots of salad vegetables, herbs and grilled tofu all wrapped up in a neat bundle and dipped into a mouth-watering sauce. What else can I say? These summer rolls are bursting with health and are perfect for lunch-boxes, taking on trips and picnics, as crowd-pleasing appetizers. For being incredibly versatile, these rolls make it to the list.
4. Kati roll
My love for street food is no secret. I won't say that I buy/make paneer often, but when I do, this kati roll is what we crave. After some experimentation, I hit upon this recipe that hits the spot. For satisfying my street food cravings, this post makes it to the list.
My idea of the perfect Friday night, when we are quite tired from a hectic week and ready for the weekend: pizza and a glass of wine. Up until last December, we picked up the phone and ordered one from the neighborhood pizzeria in NYC. Something tells me that it is going to be difficult to find decent pizza in St. Louis. Now I make my own and feel a lot more empowered :D For reducing my NYC homesickness, home-made pizza makes it to the list.
To be fair, this is a combination of the two above foods: a street food and a NYC staple. This recipe for falafel is always a big hit whever I make it, and it led me to explore other delicious recipes based in Middle Eastern cuisine, such as lubia polo, hummus and kibbeh. For inspiring me to explore new cuisines, this post makes it to the list.
7. Mustard greens
This recipe, along with this one, was significant to me for one reason: it taught me that a few select flavorings are the best way to make the main ingredient shine. I think this is going to be my next endeavor to improve my cooking skills: to think carefully about the ingredients in a dish and ask if each one of them really has to be there. What does each ingredient contribute to the dish? For provoking me to think about the "less is more" principle of cooking, this recipe makes it to the list. And also because I have used it to make countless bowls of delicious greens to nourish us with.
8. Vegetable Biryani
This is just a standardized way of making vegetable biryani in a way that makes way more servings than I am normally accustomed to making. I grew up eating this biryani for Sunday lunch and it is just really special to me. For being a sure-fire way of feeding a crowd, this post makes it to the list.
9. Chocolate Cake
Three days after I made this cake, some of the trimmings (from making the layers) were still in my fridge. When friends stopped by with chocolate cupcakes from a trendy local bakery, V and I did a quick taste test- this stale cake versus the fresh cupcake. No contest; this cake was far tastier even when it was three days old. For giving me a classic reliable chocolate cake recipe, this post makes it to the top ten. I can't wait to use it to make a Black Forest Cake, with home-made cherry filling.
10. Buttercrunch Candy
This year gave me a bounty of gifts from the kitchens of family and friends- fruitcake and cookies (thanks, Madhu), biscotti (thanks, Rebecca), plum chutney (thanks, Mark), peach jam (thanks, Terry kaku)...to name a few. With this candy recipe, I now have a go-to recipe for making my own favorite treat to give as a gift. For being a wonderful gift from the kitchen, this post makes it to the list. And also because it was quite a big deal for me to get over some hesitation and learn to make candy at home.
Other highlights of this year for me were: the A to Z of Indian Vegetables series/event that just kept me on my toes for a few months. This year, I am going to go back and try cooking some of those delicious vegetable dishes that were sent in for that event. It was incredibly enjoyable writing those posts. I also thoroughly enjoyed hosting RCI: Maharashtra and writing that massive round-up. Hosting events, and participating in events remains one of my favorite blogging activities :D This year, I also started writing a monthly post for the Daily Tiffin (Thank you for the opportunity, Meeta). It has been fun to write about topics that are not as food-centric as the ones on this blog.
Every home cook has different aspirations- one might want to learn to make spectacular dishes for entertaining, and another might want to focus on lower-calorie cooking. I have realized this year that my goal is to put a tasty and nutritious dinner on the table day after day after day. To a large extent, I feel good about what I have managed to go this year: make vegetable-centric dinners, to rely on pantry staples, minimize waste and to keep a wide repertoire of simple, one-dish meal ideas on hand. Next year I want to do more of the same. I want to increase the presence of vegetables, beans and whole grains in our everyday meals, and still devote some time to making foods such as desserts and deep-fried foods that may not necessarily be the pinnacle of healthfulness but are meant to be enjoyed once in a while to mark special times. I enjoyed the pilot run of "project of the month" and the "flavor of the month" in December (hope you did too) and plan to continue those on a monthly basis.
I can't thank *you*- the readers of this blog- enough. Your feedback, and suggestions and encouraging comments, help me grow and strive to do better. If there is anything specific you would like to see on One Hot Stove, I am all ears. When someone leaves feedback about a recipe- whether it worked or not, what variations they tried- it helps everyone who wants to try that recipe in the future. To all those who take the time to share their thoughts, please know that you are appreciated.
Any food bloggers who would like to write their own Best of 2007 are invited to send me the permalink of their post by December 30th for inclusion in the round-up.
To all my dear fellow bloggers, readers, friends, family and well-wishers- I wish you every joy and success in the year 2008. And for all of us, I wish for a world that is peaceful and just, with nutritious food to fill every tummy.
Happy New Year!