Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More 2009 in Review: A few of my favorite things (food)

Earlier today I thought it might be fun to do a post about nine of my favorite things from 2009. The first things that came to mind were foods! So I decided to do a post about nine of my favorite food discoveries from 2009. Maybe, later, I'll look into other favorite things....

All of these are foods or recipes I "discovered" in 2009. They are in no particular order, just listed as they occur to me!

1) Curried Vegetable Stew. I am in the middle of eating a big pot of it this week! After all the Christmas indulging, by Sunday night I was craving this vegetable stew. Every time I make it I tinker with the directions and add something new. This time I partially cooked a big sweet potato in the microwave and added that. I also, by the way, partially cooked the delicata squash in the microwave before adding it to the pot. Topping with plain yoghurt (I like nonfat Greek yoghurt) and chutney is a must!

While I'm talking stew/soups, I can't leave out my beloved Kabocha Pumpkin Squash Soup. It's not new to me this year, but I love it so, and the Kabocha Squash season is short! I have one left, and after I cook that up, it's farewell till next year, I guess.

There is also a wonderful soup my mom makes with kale and other greens, zucchini, canned tomatoes, and chicken broth that is so tasty and so healthy, and it is a wonderful 2009 discovery. Unfortunately I don't have the recipe (I just let my mother deliver it to me), so I can't include it here. (If I get it, I will edit it in later.)

2) Oven roasted broccoli, oven roasted cauliflower, and oven roasted brussels sprouts. I put all three of them together because I make the cauliflower and brussels sprouts exactly like the broccoli (although I didn't use garlic with the brussels sprouts, you probably could, but it might burn too much with the length of cooking time needed). The only other difference is that it is really important to roast the brussels sprouts for a long time, till they are very well done and browned almost to the point of blackening! I made the brussels sprouts with Christmas Eve dinner, and they were deeelicious. I omitted the grated parmesan because my sister's husband doesn't eat cheese. Actually you can omit the cheese from any of the recipes, but don't leave out the grated lemon rind and squeeze of lemon! I know the brussels sprouts do stink up the house, but we discovered on Christmas Day how to get rid of the smell—cook bacon!

3) Delicata squash oven fries. Oh. My. God. I love these! (I also love sweet potato oven fries, but they're not new to me!)

4) Pumpkin desserts, except for pumpkin pie. For example, Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Cake, Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf, and other baked goods not made by me... such as Pumpkin Spice Pudding Cake (I've only eaten it as samples at QFC), Pumpkin Scones (like the ones at Starbucks), Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (more QFC samples), Pumpkin Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (like the one I bought at whole foods during my 22-mile run). But I don't like pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, or pumpkin ice cream! Must be a texture thing—I like the baked stuff but not the soft stuff. Let's also throw in Sweet Potato Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, not a pumpkin dessert obviously, but another tasty way to turn a vegetable into a treat! The second time I made them I added some spices to the mix as well. Yummy!

5) Upside Down Pear Cake and other pear desserts. This summer/fall I made tons of different recipes using the pears from Rod's tree. All were delicious, but the upside down cake was a favorite! This Fresh Pear Cake is amazing too (here's a picture)....

6) Zucchini chips from Lucca in Sacramento. Who knows if I will ever be in Sacramento to eat at Lucca again, so I may have to try my hand at making zucchini chips someday! As far as I can tell they would be made exactly like potato chips, slicing zucchini paper thin, probably patting dry, fried crisp and dusted with salt.

7) Ono! This is a white fish that I had in Hawaii (also called Wahoo in other locations). It may be available in some other places but I suspect the quality would not be as good as freshly caught local Hawaiian. My favorite preparation was in a sandwich, simply grilled or fried on a bun with lettuce, onion and tomato. Rod would add to this category (of foods we had in Hawaii), loco moco (rice topped with a hamburger patty, egg(s), and gravy—also with a scoop of macaroni salad on the side), and the fresh mango from the Farmer's Market. I would definitely agree that fresh Hawaiian mango is unlike any mango I've ever bought in a grocery store! I wish we were allowed to carry some home!

8) Dreyer's Slow Churned Ice Cream and 6-ounce cups. I have been totally on board with the Dreyer's Slow Churned Ice Cream for years, so it's not new in that sense. However, this year I have tried some rocking flavors! For example, Hot Cocoa, Peppermint Candy, Egg Nog, and Take the Cake. (And looking at the website, there are many others yet to try!) I wish they'd stock the seasonal ones year round. I love the slow churned because it has about half the calories of premium ice creams like Ben and Jerry's, but is just as delicious to me. I also like the cups (though they are relatively expensive compared to the larger carton, and only available in a few basic flavors, I like the coffee flavor), because they have a pretty generous (but reasonable) 6-ounce serving size.

9) And finally, Reese's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and Three Musketeer's Mint Minis. Hey, I'm no saint! (As you may have guessed from the ice cream category above.) While I'm at it, let's also add Gu Mint Chocolate—love me some minty chocolate! (No, I don't consider this really a food. I'd have to be pretty chocolate desperate to snack on it! I think.)

So there you have it! Nine (plus) great favorite foods from 2009. I kinda think they're gonna stick around for 2010! (And I forgot to include the Oroweat Sandwich Thins and Oroweat Double Fiber English muffins—but I don't want to take anything else off the list!)

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