It feels a little pretentious to be doing a “best of” post, seeing as how I’ve had this blog for just under a year…and there was a pretty big gap in the middle there with zero cooking/blogging. Also, who the hell do I think I am? A famous food blogger? As if, right? Still, everyone seems to be doing it, and I’m nothing if not a lemming. Plus, I’m the only one at work right now, and I really feel like it’s time to “take a break” from what has obviously been a super productive day.
So here goes! A collection of what I think have been my most successful and delicious creations in the kitchen, and things that will continue to have a presence in my eating life:
Monkey Bread (Feb 2010)
Maybe I’m a little biased about this one, since it was my first, and arguably most successful, attempt at handling yeast. Still, no one can deny that this monkey bread was sinfully delicious. Just look at it! Gooey, tongue-tickling cream cheese icing; sweet, cinnamon-y puffs of warm bread drenched in caramelized brown sugar…Not to toot my own horn, but…drool.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes (March 2010)
Even if Smriti hadn’t requested these for her birthday, I probably would have made them for myself at some point. Carrot cake is my favorite flavor of cake (yes, even more than chocolate), and this recipe really knocks it out of the park. The cakes are slightly crusty/crunchy on top, but super dense and chewy inside. Also, the fact that there are vegetables in it really helps justify the consumption of many many cupcakes in one sitting. Fiber is important, guys.
OK, so maybe I should have studied a little harder for my last set of law school finals. But if I hadn’t decided to procrastinate, I would have never made these cookies sandwiches, and then where would we be? Caramel and chocolate have been a delicious combo since…forever…and these cookies were no exception. Chewy, slightly caramel-y cookies + rich ganache = awesome.
Strawberry and Nutella Crepes (June 2010)
Oh, the memories associated with crepes…Well, now that I’m no longer an awkward 15 year old, I can finally enjoy these delicious treats. And when I say delicious, I mean delicious. If you think about it, the fruit and thin pancakes are really just vehicles for transporting Nutella into your mouth. And everyone can agree that Nutella is the best thing ever.
Chinese-Style Birthday Cake (November 2010)
This cake is not only on my “best of” list for 2010, but is probably the best cake I have ever made. Ever. Because: (1) I suck at making cakes with more than one layer; (2) I really struggle with frosting a cake, so I avoid doing it whenever possible — ergo, not many cakes being made in Tina’s Kitchen; and (3) this cake is just unbelievably delicious! Light and fluffy, and not cloyingly sweet like a lot of other birthday cakes. And the fresh fruit layered throughout really add something to the cake that no sugar roses ever could.
Braised Pork Ribs (November 2011)
Again, not to pat myself on the back too much, but…my mom really got a pretty kick ass meal on her birthday. Just saying. Homemade dumplings, Chinese birthday cake, and these juicy, fall-off-the-bone braised pork ribs? I’m a great daughter, right? Right???
Apple Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts (November 2010)
November was apparently a great month for cooking here at Casa del Tina, and these doughnuts were definitely a high note. Chewy and pillowy without the hassle (and calories) of frying, these were a very welcome addition to my brunch menu. Absolutely scrumptious dipped in freshly whipped, sweetened cream.
Crab Cakes (November 2010)
These were so good. How good? So good! In fact, I sneaked probably about two crab cakes’ worth of batter while shaping/frying the cakes. Which, of course, inspired me to turn this into a dip, but there will be a post on that later. But just to confirm the awesomeness of these crab cakes, my friend Matt made them for himself a week or so ago, and pronounced them to be delicious.
Almost No-Bake Cheesecake (December 2010)
No baking and it’s creamy and delicious? Yes, please. I really have to thank Kevin over at Closet Cooking for this one. There’s not much else to say about this dessert other than…try it. Immediately.
Salt and Pepper Chicken (December 2010)
And, to round off a delicious year, we have Salt and Pepper Chicken. It was probably one of the fastest and easiest dishes I made all year, it was nostalgic, and it was scrumptious. Dan actually asked for leftovers the next day…and was very sad to learn that I had beaten him to the punch and eaten it all myself!
So concludes a year of good eats. Thanks to everyone on facebook (and beyond) who have been following my blog. It makes me feel good to know that I’m not just sending these posts out into a cyber void. Happy New Year!