Sunday, January 1, 2012

I Really Did Try

I really did try to get into regular blogging in 2011, it just didn't happen. On the flip side, I cooked a lot. And when I say I cooked a lot, I mean I cooked almost every single day in 2011 and tried tons of new recipes! I also frequently posted my culinary successes to Facebook. My goal for 2012 is to faithfully blog here at least once a week, even when I don't have photos to share.

To kick things off I wanted to share some dishes I found on other blogs (& on Pinterest) that really made us happy and one that was a huge fail.

1. Chicken Parmesan Bake from Food Wishes

This recipe is really good, especially considering that I was skeptical but made it for dinner anyway. It was fantastic (although I must admit I used way more mozzarella cheese than the recipe actually called for)and the hubby called it a keeper! I used Chattam Village Garlic & Butter Croutons by Marzetti and did not find them overpowering at all.

2. Chinese Lemon Chicken from Appetite For China

It's a winner! I made 1 small adjustment, I put a pinch of red pepper flakes in the sauce to knock the sweetness down a bit!

3. Panda Express Orange Chicken from Return of the Yummy

I must confess, I made lots of changes and am really glad that I did. Seeing as how I have never actually had anything from Panda Express (not even sure we have them here) I have no idea how this stacks up but we thought it was awesome! What did I change? I used about 2 inches of fresh ginger and 5 large cloves of garlic that I minced in the food chopper. I entirely skipped the rice wine in favor of 1/2 cup of orange juice (from the orange I zested) and 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar. I not only cut the sugar in half but I switched out the white sugar for dark brown. The other thing? After we added the zest and chicken we let it sit for about 15 minutes and it was amazing! I highly recommend the resting period! It did not sog anything out and the chicken had this perfectly sticky glaze. One thing the hubby and I both agreed on is that it could have used more sauce so next time I will double the sauce.

4. New England Clam Chowder from Food Wishes

Truly the BEST clam chowder I have ever had in my entire life and I am picky! Our only complaint was that we wanted more! I did not use whole clams because I could not get any the night we decided to make this. It was fantastic the first day! No 24 hours of resting like other recipes I have made required to bring it to full flavor. This is chowder love!

5. Brussels Sprouts Lardons from Ina Garten

This was the year of Ina at our house. I was gifted with a box set of her first three books and several magazines featuring her recipes. It's going to be hard to ever eat frozen, steamed Brussels Sprouts again. This is such an easy and fabulous dish that I bet even non-Brussles Sprouts lovers will ask for seconds!

Lastly, for those not in the know Pinterest is an absolutely awesome digital environment for people who like to craft and cooks and share their interests. So when I kept seeing the pin for Hassleback Garlic Cheese Bread, I just had to make it. After all, three dozen pinners can't be wrong, can they? Why yes, yes they can. The idea is to bathe bread in melted butter, garlic and cheese and then to pop it into the oven to melt and goo. The idea is fantastic, the recipe floating around left a lot to be desired. All of my ingredients were good and fresh (I had used my flour and yeast in other dishes the same weekend) but the bread let just too much to be desired. I tried the butter bath/cheese part on a different loaf of bread a week later and it was excellent. So, try the bread with your favorite loaf but skip using the bread dough recipe on the site.

And with that Dear Friends, I am off to cook New Year's Day dinner.... stay tuned, you're gonna love it!