Here we are at December 26th and my last post for 2014! Time really flies.
This post is like a year in review. If you are relatively new to The Kitchen Scout (and even if you’ve been with me from the beginning), this is the email to keep in your inbox as it will be your go-to reference when you are looking for a dish to make, a restaurant to try in the Boston area or just a story to read! I’ve tried to put things in categories for you, and included all the links to the 53 posts of the past year!
And although 2014 is winding down, I am looking forward to 2015 and seeing where the blog takes us! I hope you are too.
Let’s begin “It’s a Wrap, 2014!”.
Tina Fey and Amy Pohler are hosting The Golden Globes on January 11th so you’ll need some chips and dip when watching the
party awards show! My Back to School Guacamole or Truffled Ricotta Dip would work well on their own or in combination. Feeling more adventurous? Kitchen Scout reader Timm recently made these Cheese & Spinach Phyllo Cups for a party and emailed me that they were gobbled up! I made appetizer sized Turkey & Zucchini Burgers for a party and they too went in a flash. You can make them entree size if you wish. And since we can (sadly, sorta) purchase zucchini in the depths of winter, you can start out 2015 with the healthy Grilled Zucchini Roll-Ups with Herbs & Cheese from Ellie Krieger. They also make a great snack that will keep in the fridge for several days.
Another healthy snack to nibble on is this Holiday Survival Mix, also an Ellie Krieger recipe.
For vegetarian options, my Black Bean Burgers with Lemon Yogurt Sauce were a big hit with many readers. I feel like making them right now! Another hit was my Roasted Eggplant Parmesan. Readers have told me they make a batch and eat it throughout the week. Delicious as a sandwich for a different twist. Butternut Squash Risotto is easy comfort food for any night of the week. If you are in the mood for salad, my Kale Caesar Salad or Tomato, Feta and Preserved Lemon Salad from Fine Cooking Magazine will do the trick. Another great side dish is my adaptation of Ottolenghi’s Mango & Coconut Rice Salad.
In the mood for pasta? The Kitchen Scout has three options. Farfalle with Leeks and Chicken Sausage is a quick dinner you can make in a flash with few ingredients. If you have more time, try Fettuccine with Lamb Ragu which I made with my hilarious friend, Sue. Or channel your inner Gwyneth Paltrow and make her delicious Fried Zucchini Spaghetti (summer photos of farmstands included).
Hosting a Superbowl party? Make the recipe that got the blog started, Chicken Parmesan Meatballs, but double the batch as they’ll go fast. I recently made them with ground beef, at my friend Amy’s suggestion and they were pretty darn delish. Apricot Chicken feeds a crowd and Chicken with Red & Yellow Peppers is pretty to look at and perfect dinner party fare.
Do you need some comfort food? Beef & Butternut Squash Stew is a light version of the traditional stew as squash plays the part of the potatoes. Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Parsley also shouts comfort as does Cauliflower Bacon Gratin (see notes on this recipe if you’ve made it before as I’ve made adjustments based on reader’s comments). And if one bacon recipe isn’t enough, you have to try Brussels Sprouts, Bacon & Gruyere Frittata. No, you really have to as it is a meal, an appetizer, whatever you want it to be and it is beyond yummy.
Feel like some fish? Try my father’s Jumbo Shrimp with Lemon & Garlic or my Salmon with Orange-Avocado Salsa. Seared Scallops with Corn & Bacon is a restaurant redo and can be made with frozen corn at this time of year.
Although these dishes are best cooked during the summer, you could try Cherry’s Tomato Tart or Summer Vegetable Ceviche (swap out the nectarines with some mango, pineapple or a ripe red pear?)
If you are ever craving sweets again after the holiday season, I have options, many of which include chocolate it appears! Either Espresso Chocolate Mousse Cups or Glazed Chocolate Cake would be a nice ending to your next dinner party. Double Chocolate Loaf Cake is my twist on a Smitten Kitchen recipe and an easy fix if you have a chocolate craving and not a lot of time. Want to get the kids in on it? Ask them to make these Salted Caramel Brownies or Applesauce Spice Muffins. And if you are feeling more adventurous, you can try these delicious Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies or Sarah Bernhardt Cookies. And since we can always swap out thawed frozen fruit for fresh in summer recipes, you could make this gluten free Peach & Blueberry Crumble in the middle of a snowstorm if you want.
Need a special drink for New Year’s or Valentine’s Day? Try my Bourbon & Bubbles Cocktail, inspired by Bobby Flay’s recipe.
Switching gears, if you received Ina Garten’s latest cookbook for a holiday gift, check out My Week with Ina Garten to see what I’ve made from the book so far. I especially loved the Herb Roasted Fish! I made her Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes for Christmas dinner, but swapped out cream cheese for the goat cheese as that was a more familiar flavor profile for my family. Yum!
Traveling to New York City soon? Check out my adventures and the places we ate here, here and here.
Want to take a cooking class, get inspired by my visit to Sofra Bakery & Cafe with my friend Amy.
And finally, if you are from Boston or are traveling to the Boston area and want to check out our restaurant scene, here is where I went for the blog: Sarma and The Kirkland Tap & Trotter in Somerville; Puritan & Company, T.W. Food and Giulia in Cambridge; Farmstead Table in Newton; Bondir in Concord; Salt Kitchen & Rum Bar and The Market Restaurant on the north shore; The Farmhouse in Needham; Dumpling Daughter in Weston and Artistry on the Green in Lexington. Read my reviews and plan your next outing!
Threaded throughout are stories, some meant to be funny and some meant to be more serious as this is a personal blog as well as being a resource for recipes, restaurant reviews and other food adventures. Completing this post, I realize just how busy this year has really been!
Thanks so much for coming along for the ride and invite your friends to join us on Fridays in 2015.
Happy New Year from my family to yours! xo
I’m just catching up on some Kitchen Scout posts I’d missed and love this one, Valerie! What a great year of inspiration you’ve shared! Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to bringing these recipes and reviews to us. You’re the best! XOXO
Thank you Jane! I really appreciate it! It has been a lot of fun for me. Hope to see you soon! xoxo
Excellent post Val and a good reminder of all the delicious things that I’ve cooked as a result of reading your blog. You reminded me that I need to remake that amazing lamb ragu. Happy New Year. I can’t wait to see what new things you come up with in 2015. It’s been a blast being part of your exciting journey. xo
Thanks, Ellen! That lamb ragu really is delish! Have a happy new year!