Monday, March 04, 2013

Best Of: Recipes

It's difficult to winnow down a list of what seems like hundreds of recipes, mostly not from my own brain, down to just a few.  As I will do with my favorite restaurants and favorite posts over the next week, I will try to do just that.  I wanted a top ten but the smallest list I could make up was twenty.  Plus, I still feel as if I've left out way too much.

In alphabetical order, here are my twenty favorite recipes of the blog, plus one or two that I never wrote about to begin with.  Very few of these are my own recipes, but when they are I'll note it.

Allergen-Free Crumb Cake (American/allergen-free - featured in the post "Food Ethnography on a Budget: Allergen-Free III: Crumb Cake", published March 23, 2010) - I don't have any food allergies that I know of, but when I wanted to see how those with them do eat our favorite desserts, I was struck at how amazingly buttery a crumb cake can be without butter, eggs, milk, gluten, soy or tree nuts.  Check out Cybele Pascal's Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook for this recipe.  Your friends will probably  never know it's allergen-free at all.

Asado (Uruguayan - featured in the post "World Cup Buffet: Asado (URU - Uruguay)", published July 5, 2010) - I'm unfamiliar with the foods of South America.  What better time to familiarize myself with them than the World Cup?  While the next one doesn't come up for another year and a half (hello, Brazil!), at least we can revel in the magic of Uruguay's 11th trip with one of the country's favorite things: meat.  I still haven't bothered to find the recipe for suprema Maryland, a type of milanesa-style chicken found, surprisingly enough, in Uruguay.

My Aunt Florence's Crab Cake (Chesapeake - featured in the post "Snacking State-by-State: Maryland I - Crab cakes like mah great-great-aunt used tah make, hon", published August 28, 2011) - For a short while, I wanted to do a new blog project after the state-by-state one where I wrote about my experiences interpreting my great-great Aunt Florence's many recipes.  This sole recipe is the result, one of two of her crab cake recipes.  Because, well, crab cakes.  Delicious, crab-(as-opposed-to-breading-) filled crab cakes

Bacon & Pancetta Wot (American/Ethiopian-style - featured in the post "Bacon Cook-Off: Bacon & Pancetta Wot", published June 13, 2010) - From the Great Grapes bacon cook-off in 2010, I created a recipe for a decidedly un-Ethiopian wot with several kinds of pork.  Delicious, but it'd never play in Addis Ababa.  And it amazes me that I took no photos of this.

So I'm using this lovely one taken at Great Grapes by Lyndsay Polloway.  Bacon and injera.  It's just wrong, isn't it?

Bread Pudding with Vanilla Bourbon Sauce (Cajun - featured in the post "Snacking State-by-State: Louisiana IV - Bourbon? Vanilla? Butter? Yes, please!", published August 10, 2011) - This was such a decadent bread pudding, and so reminiscent of one I had in New Orleans the previous year, that I had trouble not gobbling the whole thing down all at once.  Instead, thankfully, I froze some for later, especially with that hard sauce.

Chincoteague Single-Fried Oysters (Chesapeake - featured in the post "What to do with a quarter peck of oysters", published May 7, 2008) - Don't you just love cornmeal-fried urshters  you shucked yourself, hons?  I sure do.

Cochinita Pibil (Mexican/Yucatecan/Maya - featured in the post "Cochinita Pibil", published August 3, 2008) - In Mexico and the US, I've enjoyed eating cochinita pibil whenever I can find it.  But in Maryland it's not easy to find it, so get a pork butt, some achiote paste, bitter orange juice and banana leaves.  It's time to slow cook some cochinita pibil!

Crawfish & Shrimp Étouffée (Cajun - featured in the post "Snacking State-by-State: Louisiana III - What you say? Étouffée!", published August 7, 2011) - Buttery, silky, crawfishy.  About all I can say about it.  Next time though I hope to find actual Gulf Coast crawfish for this recipe.

Domino's No-Fail Quick Fudge (chocolate and vanilla) (candy/American/"back-of-the-box" - featured in the post "All Night Fudge-athon!", published December 6, 2006) - One of my first recipe posts, this one is usually no fail for a reason.  Even better, I left the chocolate out of half of the batch and made vanilla and chocolate fudge.  That was one memorable cookie swap.

Double Chocolate Devil's Food Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (cake - featured in "Post #666: the Recipe of the Beast", published April 26, 2008) - For my "hexakosioihexekontahexaphilic post" I made the most chocolately devil's food cake I could.  And it was damned good.

Eastern North Carolina-Style BBQ (Smoked in the Slow Cooker) and Cole Slaw (Southern/barbecue - featured in the post "Snacking State-by-State: North Carolina I - East Is East, West Is West, Never the Twain Shall Meet", published March 11, 2012) - I guess I just have a thing for pork.  But Carolina pork barbecue smoked in the slow cooker?  Blasphemous, you say. But others have found a way to do it, by golly!

Fleur de Baie Caramels (candy - featured in the post "'Fleur de Baie' Caramels", published July 25, 2009) - This was my attempt to make sea salt caramels, re-interpreting someone else's recipe for fleur de sel caramels with one specifically Marylandish touch: Old Bay.  Freshly made they had a very subtle Old Bay flavor, so I rolled them around in more Old Bay.  Waiting a few weeks proved to me that this was a mistake, as the subtly flavored ones became more strongly flavored, while the ones I rolled in Old Bay became - how did I put it in my August 4 follow-up post again?  Oh yes - wince-inducing.

Fried Soft Shell Crab Sandwich (Chesapeake - featured in the post "Snacking State-by-State: Virginia II - More of that Bounty of the Chesapeake", published October 21, 2012) - In exploring the seafood of the Commonwealth, I made a soft shell crab sandwich not unlike my maternal grandmother's, only immortalized by John Shields in his Chesapeake Bay Cooking (his recipe came from a crusty old feller in Virginia, but it was more or less the same).

Lidia Bastianich's Tomato Sauce (Italian - featured in the post "Lidia Bastianich's Tomato Sauce", published October 2, 2008) - I saw Adam "Amateur Gourmet" Roberts make this at the Baltimore Book Festival not long before I put up this post.  While I like mine a little thicker (I just simmer it longer), it's still a good go-to basic Italian sauce.

Murgh Makhani (Indian - featured in the post "Snacking State-by-State: New York II - "Murgh" is the word!", published February 29, 2012) - One of my all-time favorite things to eat is murgh makhani, or butter chicken.  And now, thanks to Julie Sahni and this state-by-state project, I can appreciate just how complex and laborious a process it is to make it!

Nana's Dressing (American - featured in the post "Nana's Dressing", published January 22, 2007) - My late Italian-American grandmother - whom we called "Naa-naa" (not "Naa-nuh" or "Nah-nuh") -  made a fierce stuffing.  It was not, in any way, Italian.  It was still good.  And no, she never deep fried it on a stick.

Um, Miss Paula?  Hellooooooo...

Nataing (Cambodian - featured in the post "Food Ethnography on a Budget: Cambodia II - Nataing, Crispy Rice Cakes and Jícama Pickle", published November 11, 2009) - When I got the idea to do a snacking culture-by-culture/country-by-country series in 2009, I started with Cambodia, and found an amazing coconut milk and paprika pork dish from Elephant Walk Cookbook author and Cambodian-American chef Longteine "Nyep" De Monteiro (co-authored by Katherine Neustadt).  I made it again for a blogging party it was so good, and now I have a hankerin' for more.

Pombe Ya N'Dizi (Tanzanian - first featured in the post "Food Ethnography on a Budget: Tanzania II: Pombe Ya N'Dizi", published January 25, 2010) - From the same series, I decided to make wine - traditional Tanzanian banana wine, to be exact, as written by Dorinda Hafner in her cookbook A Taste of Africa.  After several months, it ended up more like a banana liqueur than a banana wine, with a good bit of sediment at the bottom.  A pretty potent banana liqueur to be honest, taste-wise and proof-wise.  It was kind of a precursor for that crisp Mr. Beer pale ale that I tried to make just a bit more interesting by adding extra hops and wild rice when I explored Wisconsinian cuisine late last year.

Shrimp and Grits (Southern/Lowcountry - featured in the post "Snacking State-by-State: South Carolina II - True Shrimp and Grit", published July 11, 2012) - Ah, the buttery, silky smooth taste of grits smothered in shrimp and three kinds of dairy products.  ***Ecstatic Homer Simpson Sound***

Smith Island Cake (Chesapeake - featured in the post "Snacking State-by-State: Maryland IV - Once on Smith Island", published September 7, 2011) - I don't know if many Marylanders have eaten the state dessert, and I know most of us haven't tried making it.  I did both.  It was very satisfying.  All those super-thin layers of cake glued together with a chocolate ganache filling is something everyone should experience at least once.  Or twice.  Hell, at least thrice a month or so.  But no more, or it's not special.


Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce (briefly mentioned in the post "Anatomy of a Thanksgiving Dinner (or, I STILL have leftovers)", published November 29, 2007) - Before I found this recipe in the Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann, I had no idea just how wonderful freshly-made cranberry sauce could be, with citrus, red wine, sugar and lots of cinnamon and cloves.  Now I can't imagine a holiday season without it.


theminx said...

I can vouch for the deliciousness of the bacon wot and the nataing. I think about the latter sometimes. Maybe I'll make some soon.