It’s been a very special year, food-filled year for me in 2012 – my first child was born, a beautiful healthy 8.5 pound daughter. I ate my weight in citrus, frozen yogurt, kale chips and cake during my pregnancy; ate my way through Israel, New Orleans, Wisconsin and Florida, and tried out some great new recipes that I got to share with you all.
At Rosh Hoshanah I always take the time to reflect on my spiritual self and my relationships; but at the secular New Year, I like to take a look back and pause on all the special things that I did, places I went and of course, delicious things I ate (and cooked).
Best side dish: Za’atar Roasted Potatoes. Who knew that such a simple combination of Za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice mix) plus roasted potatoes could produce such an easy and delicious side dish. My husband loves za’atar and so every time we go to Israel or one of our friends goes to Israel, he insists we need more za’atar. This recipe was born out of my desire to use up some of the excess za’atar that had accumulated in my cabinet – it was such a hit that it has become a regular in my dinner rotation.
Best Cookbook: Jerusalem. This year brought a ton of new cookbooks: the good, the bad, the redundant and then there was Jerusalem, the first cookbook by the London-based duo Yotam Ottolenghi, an Israeli and Sami Tamimi, a Palestinian. Not only is the cookbook visually stunning, the recipes are a delight for those looking to branch out. The husband and I have already starting making our way through the book, and so far haven’t found a recipe we didn’t like. I highly recommend!
Best Shabbat Chicken
Everyone has a go-to for Shabbat dinner, and mine is citrus-herb roasted chicken. While my husband opts for a roasted chicken marinated in a host of dry herbs, I think the natural citrus juices, fresh herbs and olive oil keep the chicken super-moist. While I didn’t create this recipe during 2012, I still think its worth to include in my round-up of the year. I hope it will become one of your go-to recipes too!
Best dessert trend: homemade pop tarts! Oh pop tarts – you bring me back to childhood. I am quite certain you are filled with nothing but things that are bad for me, so I have been happy to come across a new dessert trend: homemade pop tarts! I had my first pop tart treat in New Orleans earlier this year at a charming little cafe called Velvet Espresso Bar. Hankering to make your own? You can buy a pop tart mold from Williams Sonoma.
Best creative twist: Pumpkin pizza. As I have written many times (so many times you are probably bored hearing about my love of the pumpkin) – I love pumpkin, and I am always trying to find new ways to use my favorite, seasonal ingredient. Co
ming up with this recipe for Pumpkin Pizza with ricotta, sage butter and crispy shallots was definitely one of my finer culinary moments this year. Creamy, savory, slight sweet with some crunch from the shallots – its like an explosion of flavor in your mouth. But this recipe is probably best to make during the Fall/Winter when pumpkin is in season – I wouldn’t recommend trying this one with canned pumpkin.
Pronounced: shuh-BAHT or shah-BAHT, Origin: Hebrew, the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.