Ring in the New! 2014 in Review
Happy New Year to all of you!
Traditionally this is a time to review the old year, and consider the new one. So I’ve been going through my old posts, and thinking about the things people seemed to like.
I know which posts have been shared most often on Pinterest, which ones keep getting search hits, which recipes friends tell me they made, and which ones are still read regularly, though I wrote them a year ago… and so I thought I would share with you some Old Post Love – Inhabited Kitchen’s Top Posts of 2014. (And I wasn’t aiming at this – but I do seem to have 10 of them… Just chronological order, though.)
Carrot Kohlrabi Salad. (And I have been told that yes, people have tried the carrot turnip variation and found it good.) A light, bright salad in midwinter. Very nice when all the stews and casseroles are starting to feel heavy. And I didn’t know what to do with kohlrabi when it started turning up at Greenmarket… I hope this helps someone else!
Mini Meatloaf Muffins. Things cooked in muffin pans have been very trendy this year… These are cute, sure, but the real advantage to them is that they both freeze and then reheat very quickly and easily – a big batch gives you many options for future meals. (Looks like I’m going to have to figure out a version without oats, for myself, now… they’re much too useful to just drop out of rotation.)
Ginger Orange Glazed Carrots. Clearly I need to continue posting interesting things to do with carrots… They’re readily available, inexpensive, everyone likes them, but how many carrot sticks do we really want to eat? These, though, while they do take a little more fuss than plain boiled carrots, are so worth it – lovely texture, sparkling flavor.
Quick Chili. There are certainly “better” chili recipes out there – but I had several people tell me that this recipe finally got them away from canned chili. It’s fast, it’s easy, it is unintimidating… They’d gotten caught up in the mystique of the Perfect Chili, and this gave them the information they needed to just start cooking. Well, that’s the goal, here… start cooking.
Spinach Cheese Casserole. I suspect part of the appeal was simply that it is pretty… but it is also easy and good.
Unsweetened Granola. This was the top in search hits – clearly there are people out there other than me who want granola that isn’t half drowned in sugar or honey… I’ve hesitated a little to write about the things I make without sweetening that most people do sweeten, but… you may be seeing more of that.
Not Eggplant Parm. I just made that again myself, a few nights ago, with cooked eggplant from the freezer. Like the chili, people liked that there was an alternative to the Right Way to do something. Yes, when you have the time and energy, totally bread, fry, and layer your eggplant slices – the texture is better. (One of these days I’ll even do that and write about it.) But sometimes (Often? Usually? On any weeknight??) that just isn’t an option – but you have this eggplant…
Hot Pepper Soup. So, the CSA (or your garden) is giving you vast numbers of hot peppers… what are you going to do with them all? This is a delicious option.
Roast Stuffed Pumpkin. This one is as much about the presentation as about the contents – a friend even made hers into a Jack o’Lantern by cutting just the skin of the pumpkin as a face! (The kids loved it!) The stuffing could be used in any winter squash, though – and it does taste good…
All Fruit Cranberry Sauce. Yes, there is an audience for recipes without added sweetener…
I am definitely going to continue talking about basics, even if that doesn’t seem exciting, because I do think it helpful. Alternate methods of making dishes you’ve had before seem to be popular – whether that is stripped down simplified, or without sugar or gluten, or just updated a bit.
I’m also going to continue to work on what the trade calls Production Values. Photography, definitely – I do think my pictures are getting better, but they certainly still have a way to go… I will keep tinkering with the website itself to make it more accessible, easier to use, more interesting… I need to make this interesting, useful, and enjoyable for you, my readers.
In the end, you are the people who inhabit this kitchen… Thank you all for joining me here. Have a cup of tea, leaf through a few recipes, try a technique. Please feel free to tell me what you want to know about, share your own knowledge with me, let’s explore this together. I have cooked for more than 30 years, and I’m still learning all the time – let us share a year of experiments and old favorites, basic meals and festive holiday dinners, tips, tricks, and classic technique.