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I've been having a great time checking out Nashville's high end dining on the cheap thanks to Groupon. Have you tried it yet? Its awesome. I don't know why I ever hesitated.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Best of 2008 and Ten Culinary Resolutions for the New Year

The end of a year is always a wonderful opportunity for making new resolutions about culinary accomplishments I hope to make in the upcoming year, but also for looking back and recapturing some of the best moments of the last year. So I'm taking a look back at my absolute favorite original recipes that I posted in 2008, as well as a few of my favorite essays. These favorites are based on my personal opinion, as well as the reactions of my friends and family (aka "the tasters"). These recipes were selected because they epitomize the Skinny Gourmet Philosophy: they seek the union of big taste and big health. Some are packed with hunger fighting nutritional elements, like protein and fiber, to keep you satisfied. They also use wise indulgences, big flavor items where a little bit goes a long way to keeping your palate engaged. Better still, this list of show-stoppers includes quite a few that assemble in no time flat, so you don't have to worry about foregoing tasty, healthy food for the convenience of a freezer dinner.

After I review my favorite recipes and essays of the year, I'll take a look at the 10 most popular posts (by the numbers), reveal my 10 resolutions for building my culinary skills in the new year, and share a funny thing that happened to this blog in the past year.

Bon Appetit!









Top Ten Recipes of 2008

Chicken Tortilla Soup
This is a recipe I have lovingly worked on for more than five years. A delightful, soul-warming blend of spice and lime that is so full flavored you won't believe how healthy it is for you. You can eat your full and feel guilt free!
Lemon Cherry Scones
Delicious bright citrus flavor that pairs perfectly with the deep sweetness of dried cherries, all enveloped in a classic scone crumb. An instant classic in our home that now gets requested by friends!

Olive and Artichoke Savory Quiche Muffins
Simple to put together for a brunch, these flavorful quiche style "muffins" pack tons of hunger-fighting protein. They dress up and travel well enough to take to a party, but they are also perfect for breakfast or snacking at home.
Orange Anise Biscotti with White Chocolate
A delicious twist on a classic biscotti, dripping with decadent white chocolate. My favorite contender from a year of experimenting with biscotti.
Rainier Cherries and Chevre Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
My favorite salad of this past year. Flavorful, creamy, and eye-pleasing, this salad comes together with the savory yet sweet (and easy to put together!) homemade raspberry vinaigrette.
Orange Fig Buttermilk Bran Muffins
A favorite family recipe in our home for years, the sweetness of figs and the lightness of orange really elevate the traditional bran muffin. Packed with fiber, these make great to take on-the-go for breakfast or snacks.
Vietnamese Pho Soup
If you have been enjoying this classic soup at restaurants, it is time to try it at home. Rich beef broth takes on dazzling complexity with an assortment of bright complementary flavors. Enjoy all you'd like, because this soup is healthy for you too.
Almond Crusted Shrimp Tacos with Raspberry Pico de Gallo and Spicy Lime Mayo
Simply fantastic. Mouthwatering. These fancy looking tacos come together in a snap. Go indulgent with the almond crust or go super healthy and omit the crust...your choice!
Five-Spice Sesame Crusted Pork Chops with Asparagus a l'Orange
Elegant yet easy to assemble, the tangy orange plays off the subtle heat of the Chinese five spice on the pork chops. A bit of an indulgence, but with a flavor worth savoring, and they assemble quickly enough to put together after work for a classy weeknight meal.


Favorite Essays of 2008

What is Food Porn?
Souffle Confessions: How I lost my Kitchen Virginity to a French Madame
Kung Pao: Reflections on Immigration and Food
Iced Mocha: Mud in the Eye of the Little Guy Coffee Shop
Ten Mistakes New Herb Gardeners Make (and How to Avoid Them)
Against Risotto



According to the Numbers

According to the numbers, the most popular posts of 2008 (by views in the past year, not necessarily published in 2008) were:

10. Baked Potato Soup
9. Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
8. Classic Cutout Cookies and Icing
7. Gourmet Italian Pasta Salad
6. The Skinny Gourmet Philosophy
5. Skinny Gourmet Best of 2007
4. Vietnamese Pho Soup
3. Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
2. What is Food Porn?
1. Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ten Foodie Resolutions

Check back and see how I do accomplishing these goals in the coming year (even with a baby on the way!)

1. Master the art of the gnocchi
2. Perfect my Cinnamon Rolls
3. Learn to make Beef Wellington
4. Consistently achieve the coveted "bump" in madeleines
5. Create the perfect Irish lamb stew
6. Cook my way through the entire list of cruciferous vegetables
7. Make three new recipes from The Inn at Little Washington cookbook
8. Come up with five ways to incorporate quinoa into our diet
9. Learn to make exquisite tomato bisque soup
10. Convert my meringue obsession into skills with macarons



A Year in Blogging


From January 1, 2008 until December 31, 2008, this site enjoyed 49,278 visitors. I was totally thrilled by those numbers when I saw them, but then I immediately regretted not working a little harder to get the extra 722 people it would have taken to break 50,000 for the year. But that is what New Years Resolutions are for, right?

The funniest thing that happened to this site last year, in my opinion at least, was that I published a nice little post entitled "What is Food Porn?" I actually worked on this post for months, polishing the text and carefully deciding which exemplar photos to use (mostly the work of others, but also some of mine). But it turns out that putting the word "porn" into the title of a post, even on a food blog, equals increased blog traffic. Especially when one part of your blog title includes the word "skinny." What first surprised me about this was that I would appear high enough on a list of search results for "skinny porn." But even moreso, I was really surprised that anyone who saw me show up in that list of results would click though. What, you were looking for emaciated women but suddenly decided you might be hungry for a little food blog cooking? And the most surprising of all: some small percentage of those folks who found my site while searching for "skinny porn" actually stayed and looked through the site.

So at any rate, if you start seeing recipe posts about "Masochism Pie" and "Threesome of Desserts" you'll know that I've resorted to cheap gimmicks to pull in traffic. (This is, by the way, a joke. I will not be making Masochism Pie).

17 comments:

ttfn300 said...

Great roundup!! I'm looking forward to seeing the fruits of your new years resolutions :) hehe

quinoa is very versatile, i've tried it in muffins and even a frittata!

Foodista said...

Sometime this year too I had reacted to Playboy Mexico's December cover. I had reacted negatively, but curiously enough, that post had more hits than I ever imagined for my less than a year old blog.

Anyway, I'd like to invite you to take some time to drop by at Foodista. We have launched an online food and cooking encyclopedia ala wikipedia and we'd like you to see what the foodie community have contributed. Please do include us in your list of New Year's resolutions :)

Darius T. Williams said...

Love the run down - looks great!

Happy New Year to you too!

-Darius
www.everydaycookin.com

Kalyn said...

Thank goodness for no masochism pie.

I used to do Friday Food Porn photos and stopped for the same reason!

Erin @ The Skinny Gourmet said...

TTFN: Glad you enjoyed the roundup! It is always fun for me to look back and try to pick out my favorites. I'm impressed with your quinoa verve...I would not have thought to use it in muffins or frittat.

Foodista: best of luck on your new site. Nice to know the random food+sex traffic is getting spread all over.

Darius: Happy new year to you as well.

Kalyn: I laughed when I read your post. Somehow I think of your site as so wonderfully homey and even a touch motherly that the image of hordes of porn seekers descending on it weekly is too much.

Denise said...

Wow, what a great find, you were recommended in an article on "top 50 recipe blogs". I am always looking for great healthy but gourmet recipes.
When I click on the savory muffins I just see a photo but no recipe/article - is there something wrong with this link?
Also as a survivor, thanks for running to raise funds. I loved the pic of the guy in the pink tutu.

Erin @ The Skinny Gourmet said...

Denise: the guy in the pink tutu is wonderful. I was an emotional wreck the whole day, and I thought it took a pretty special person to bring smiles and laughter to what can be a very hard event. And a tough lookin' guy in a tutu will do it every time.

At first I thought maybe you were trying to click the photos and that they weren't linked. but then I realized I just had a brain fart and had put in the image location where the link should be. My bad. I fixed that problem, and for good measure converted all the photos into links as well.

Glad to hear you like the site! Hopefully we'll see you around here again soon.

Kitchen Vixen said...

Congratulations!

I'd love information on the loyola park yoga classes. Signing up for a class would totally make me go. Also, cheap is good. Great, actually!

Kevin said...

What a tasty looking roundup! Perfecting cinnamon rolls is a great resolution!

linda said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Joyce

http://www.videophonesguide.com

Schmutzie said...

You are being featured on Five Star Friday!
http://www.fivestarfriday.com/2009/01/five-star-friday-edition-36.html

kristen said...

For a good quinoa idea, I take quinoa, chicken sausage, walnuts and fontina cheese and stuff it into a bell pepper to bake. It is really good! Check it out at mytastytravels.blogspot.com I just found your blog and am really liking it. I just started my blog, so it is definitely a work in progress. Thanks!
Kristen

Astra Libris said...

Ohhhh, what a beautiful collection of recipes!! I can't wait to try the pork chops...

Happy 2009!!

Ari (Baking and Books) said...

Mmm mmmm! What a mouthwatering set of photos. That biscotti drew me in especially, bookmarked!

Denise said...

I too want to find the definitive gnocchi recipe. I have about six to try. Will alert you if I find a keeper.
My son bought some for dinner on Friday - ugh. Expensive floury blobs.

Erin @ The Skinny Gourmet said...

Kitchen Vixen: awesome! would love to have you join my yoga class. For you and any other local readers, just google the chicago parks system, and search for their class schedule.

Kevin: Thanks. I'm looking forward to more tasty asian-inspired food on your blog in the year to come.

Linda/Joyce: Welcome. Always nice to have new faces around. I'll look forward to seeing you come back often!

Schmutzie: Thanks for the feature! Glad you liked the souffle post. It is really one of my favorite pieces of food writing that I have put together since starting this blog.

Kristen: What a mouthwatering suggestion. That sounds delightful. I will definitely have to give that a try and post about it.

Astra: hope you enjoy the pork chops!

Ari: Hope the biscotti turn out well for you. Remember the strength of zest can vary, so use your gut to determine if you need to increase the zest.

Denise: If you find a killer gnocchi recipe I would LOVE if you would pass it along.

Anonymous said...

congrats on the new baby! I hope he's being a good boy & letting his mommy keep up with her new yr. resolutions! :) good luck with those!
as for quinoa - have u tried quinoa pilaf? make it the way you'd make a rice pilaf...substitute chicken broth for water to add more yumminess!!!
jenny

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