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.
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 2008What 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)
According to the NumbersAccording 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 ResolutionsCheck 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).