Monday, January 09, 2012

Good Eats of 2011

One of my 2011 resolutions was to cook something new every week. I can't say with certainty that I met this goal literally (okay, I can definitely say I didn't meet it...I'm pretty sure I didn't cook anything new while on vacation), but I did uphold the spirit of the resolution, and we tried a lot of new recipes this year. Some were from cookbooks (new and old), and others were found on the web. Most of the recipes we gave a try turned out to be winners and have shown up on our plates more than once.

Although I haven't made this a 2012 resolution (okay, I haven't yet made any real 2012 resolutions), I do intend to keep trying new foods. Fortunately, we both enjoy cooking (most of the time), and we have adventurous palates, so trying new foods is fun and not a chore.

For my own reference and in case you're wanting to give some new recipes a try, I'm including links to a few of our favorites from 2011. (Some of the recipes listed below were first tried in 2010, but they were favorites of 2011, so I'm including them.) Let me know if you give any of them a try.

Butter Chicken
A very simple recipe for a very tasty Indian dish. I can't vouch for the authenticity of the recipe, but I can say that it tastes delicious. 

Sweet Potato Ravioli
Making your own ravioli can seem daunting until you've given it a try. This recipe makes it so simple. We usually use butternut squash instead of sweet potato, but it's delicious both ways.

Shrimp Curry
We both love curry of all varieties, and this is a quick, easy, and hearty one with good flavor.

Coconut Curried Fried Rice
The coconut and curry flavors really take this fried rice to the next level. After eating so much nasi goreng (fried rice) in Southeast Asia during our travels that we thought we might never want to eat it again, this recipe brought us back to this easy (one pot!) and tasty meal.

Couscous and Feta Stuffed Peppers
We love stuffed peppers, and this recipe is our new favorite way to make them. The filling is so delicious, and if you make too much, it makes a great dish on its own.

Risotto with Mozzarella, Grape Tomatoes, and Basil
This is summer in your mouth. It's so good, especially at the height of summer when we could pick the tomatoes and basil straight from the garden.

Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Chorizo and Manchego Cheese
We made this appetizer for our holiday party, and it might have been my favorite dish we made. In addition to piquillos, we also used sweet cherry peppers, which make for a more bite-sized appetizer.

Light and Fresh Potato Salad
This is one of our standby summer sides. With no mayonnaise and some vegetable additions, it's really fresh and scrumptious.

Zesty Three Bean and Roasted Corn Salad
Another summer favorite, this salad is great for cookouts. It has a little kick, which raises it far beyond the typical bean salad in my opinion.

Crap. Now I'm hungry.

If you've got any great recipes to share, please leave them in the comments. I love having new things to cook up in the kitchen.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Books: 2011 in Review

A Few Statistics
  • Number of Books Read: 39
  • Number of Books That Were Fiction: 35
  • Number of Books Written by a Woman: 24
  • Number of Books That Were at Least Partially Set Outside the United States: 18
A Full Listing of the Books I Read (in the order I read them):
  • Take Me Home by Brian Leung
  • Displaced Persons by Ghita Schwarz
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • Tinkers by Paul Harding
  • The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard
  • The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli
  • The Age of Orphans by Laleh Khadivi
  • What is Left the Daughter by Howard Norman
  • Dear Husband by Joyce Carol Oates
  • You Lost Me There by Rosecrans Baldwin
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  • Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed
  • The Gendarme by Mark Mustian
  • Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
  • Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
  • Solo by Rana Dasgupta
  • The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  • The Personal History of Rachel Dupree by Ann Weisgarber
  • A Gate at the Stairs by Laurie Moore
  • Room by Emma Donoghue
  • Going After Cacciato by Tim O'Brien
  • The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
  • Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones
  • Accordian Crimes by Annie Proulx
  • Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson
  • Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  • Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier
  • Hand Me Down World by Lloyd Jones
  • Jim the Boy by Tony Earley
  • The First Desire by Nancy Reisman
  • The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
  • Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
  • The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
  • Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
My Top Books of 2011
(This is hard. Very hard. But there are the six books I awarded 5 stars on Goodreads. An additional sixteen books received 4 stars, fourteen received 3 stars, three received 2 stars, and one received 1 star.)
  • Tinkers
  • Age of Orphans
  • The Invisible Bridge
  • The Personal History of Rachel Dupree
  • Once Upon a River
  • Unbroken