Every December I meander through The Perfect Pantry's archives to select my favorite recipes of the year. Some years I struggle to find ten recipes worthy of a "best of" list, but this year, I had to whittle down from two dozen recipes I really love to just ten. All but one of the recipes are my original creations or adaptations, and the cookies (not my own recipe) are so good that they had to be included.
Here are my top ten absolutely favorite, I-promise-you'll-love-them recipes of 2010, in no particular order.
Of those that earned the designation of "top ten", shrimp, lemon, herb and feta macaroni and cheese might be the most indulgently fabulous recipe I've ever created, according to my husband Ted, my friends Bob and Charlotte, my daughter-in-law Melanie and, well, everyone who's ever tasted it. If you love Greek flavors, this mac and cheese is for you.
Appetizers aren't my strong suit, but asparagus wonton wraps with hoisin, wasabi or mustard filling never fail to impress. Perfect to make at a party, where friends can lend a hand with filling and rolling.
Bacon came out of the pantry closet this year, and one of my favorite recipes was this smashed potato and leek soup with bacon and thyme. An unexpected hit of lemon zest really sends it over the top, in a good way.
A simple side dish featuring a favorite ingredient in my Asian pantry makes the list this year. Steamed baby bok choy with hoisin glaze, served in a mini-bamboo steamer, is a healthy, balanced combination of flavors.
Not quite as healthy, but equally irresistible, sausage, egg and asparagus pizza made on a pita bread comes together in minutes, and works for breakfast or a light supper.
I've often posited that, in a former life, I must have been an Asian noodle maker, because I could eat noodles like Chinese spaghetti and meat sauce (pictured at the top of this post) every single day. To me, it's the most comforting of all comfort food, better than chocolate.
However, chocolate needs to be on any top ten list, and here it's in a savory recipe. The aroma of turkey mole chili brings me right back to Oaxaca, the region of Mexico that gave birth to dark, chocolatey mole (pronounced mo LAY) sauce.
Also on any top ten list (of mine, if not everyone's), there must be heat. I love this spicy red curry tofu with spinach and mushrooms. You could use the same recipe to make spicy red curry shrimp with broccoli and peppers, or almost any variation.
Another side dish that became an instant favorite, zucchini with golden raisins, pine nuts and lemon accompanied grilled fish in the summer, and roast turkey at Thanksgiving.
Could there be a top ten list without at least one dessert? I'm not a big sweets person, but I fell hard for these sweet and salty peanut chocolate chunk cookies. You will, too.
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