I haven't cooked anything new or bl*g-worthy lately (e.g., tonight's dinner was marinated, baked tofu and brown rice—jealous?), so I thought I'd share with you ten of my favorite GFD recipes from 2010. These aren't necessarily the most epicurean or elaborate items from the archive, but they're the foods (and a drink) I find myself returning to again and again—some because of demand (the chocolate-chip cookies may be the primary reason I'm ever invited anywhere for dinner), others for ease (avocado toast, anyone?), and all because they're delicious.
That's correct, I find raw kale delicious. Not just nourishing and healthful, but also comforting and scrumptious. Raw Tuscan Kale Salad was my refuge from the fat-fueled, boozy sugar high that is the last couple weeks of December. When running from event to event shoving white food in my face finally overwhelmed me, I donned my fleece and retired to the couch, where I caught up on Gossip Girl (why can't Blair and Chuck just be together?) and ate this salad. The holidays are over (praise Jah), so you can skip the office parties and family gatherings, the chips and dips and roasts and cookies and punch, and move straight to the trashy TV and garlicky, peppery salad.
Other foods that I like to eat on the couch in front of the television include...well, all foods, actually. But especially soups. There's nothing like a warm bowl of soup and the blue glow of the television to help a girl forget that it gets dark at 4 p.m. Bright, lemony Red Lentil Soup With Lemon was featured on this bl*g in 2010, but I've been cooking it for years and never tire of it. Unlike winter, which I'm already so sick of I could (and do) cry.
Asparagus, Rice, and Pancetta Soup, on the other hand, I made for the first time in 2010, and then went on to make it a second, third, fourth, and fifth. Right now it has me pining for spring, when the asparagus tips will begin peeking through the soil. Because that's pretty much the only springlike event in Vermont, unless you count mud, barren trees, gray skies, and daffodils dusted with snow. But once that asparagus shoots up, I'll combine it with salty pancetta, loads of Parmesan cheese, fresh thyme, and white rice, and eat a warm bowlful while I watch the m*therf%ck!n' snow continue to fall.
If and when summer finally arrives, I'll make Chilled Thai Squash Soup, a cold, spicy slurp of a soup that's perfect for cooling off on a hot day (something I cannot even imagine right now as I sit at my computer wearing long underwear, fleece pants, a long-sleeved shirt, wool sweater dress, sweater, and scarf, an outfit that in some states is grounds for divorce). Also perfect for cooling off on a hot day are Creamy Raspberry Popsicles. I didn't discover these until late last summer, at which point I made a batch every week until raspberries went out of season. Some days I ate a popsicle for breakfast, another for elevenses, one for dessert after lunch, one for mid-afternoon snack, and one after dinner but before walking to the lake to buy a creemee and watch the sun set (at 9 p.m.). My god, I love summer.
I'm not sure when avocados are in season, but I eat No-You-Don't-Need-a-Recipe Avocado Toast year round. Before you judge remember that I live in Vermont, where being a localvore would require surviving on beets and turnips from October through April and forgoing most fruit save berries and apples. So I supplement my diet with avocados that are flown in from some tropical location I'm thinking I should move to. Mashed with the juice from a lime that I hope for the sake of my carbon footprint arrived on the same plane as the avocado and sprinkled with salt from France, this snack is about as unlocal as I can get without trotting over to McDonald's, and far more delicious than a Chicken McNugget.
While I haven't actually stepped foot in a McDonald's for years, I have been known to walk catatonically around Costco, which is where I buy one of the ingredients for Sun-Dried Tomato and Pistachio Pesto. Not the pistachios
the sun-dried tomatoes. Although I usually come home with, in addition to the tomatoes, a migraine and a mega-supply of something I don't need, the trip is totally worth it. Even if you don't like sun-dried tomatoes. Or pistachios. Or Costco. Make a double batch of pesto and freeze portions to eat on those winter nights when you can't bring yourself to do much more than boil a pot of water for pasta but need to eat something delicious to remind yourself that life is worth living.
If that doesn't work, drown your sorrows in a few It Was a Dark and Stormy Nights.
For the drowning of the sorrows I also recommend Possibly the Best Chocolate-Chip Cookies Ever. Unfortunately, they require 36 hours of lead time, and I don't know about you, but when I'm ready to drown my sorrows, I need to drown them RIGHT NOW, not in a day in a half. Fortunately, Possibly the Best Chocolate-Chip Cookies Ever freeze well, so you can make the batter when you're not in the throes of depression and bake a cookie whenever you need a little pick-me-up. They're also good for winning friends and influencing people.
I should probably end this post here, with dessert, but instead I'm going to close out this look back at 2010 GFD recipes/diatribe against winter with salad dressing. I'm generally a fan of shortcuts in the kitchen, but I just can't abide store-bought dressing—olive oil and a little lemon juice or good balsamic vinegar are preferable to anything sold in a bottle. Sometimes I'll get fancy and add fresh herbs or make dressings that require a blender, a recipe, or more than four ingredients, but since I had it for the first time last spring, this simple Red-Wine Vinaigrette has been the most common accompaniment to my greens. The ingredients are few and all staples, the effort required just barely more than unscrewing the greasy cap to that bottle of Wish-Bone that's been sitting in your fridge door for god know's how long. And when viewed from above in the right light, a jar of this dressing resembles the sun, something I haven't seen in so long I can't remember what it looks like.