I hope that everyone had a fabulous New Years Eve. I was half expecting to see a bunch of people post their favorite hangover remedy today. ;)
I was an old fart last night and decided to stay in. I did "fun" stuff like re-organize my closet, sort clothes to be discarded, others to be stored for the season or donated. Then I started working on a ginormous jigsaw puzzle I received as a Christmas present. I love puzzles, the more difficult the better. After that, I took some time to review my posts for 2011 and take note of what recipes my readers were most drawn to during the year. I was pleasantly surprised to see that 6 out of the top 10 were Armenian (or at least regional - not looking to do battle with any neighbors) recipes.
Pictured above is my Armenian grandmother. She was my original source of foodie inspiration. The first shot is of her with one of her brothers cubing lamb for Shish Kebab (I have still never made Shish Kebab myself - my Mom and my sister make it a lot ... and I have a slight grill phobia). The second shot is of her in the kitchen of the house I grew up in, no doubt working on a word-search puzzle. That was one of her favorite things to do. I miss you Grammy!!! I do have to clarify that although she would cube and marinate the lamb for Shish Kebab, my grandfather was the Grill Master General. Nobody knows how he did it, but he could feed a crowd of 6,000 off a little charcoal hibachi grill, and everything would somehow be served hot and all at the same time?!?!
I miss you too Grampy! This was him goofing around on an oriental rug buying trip. I think he was in Iran at the time. He used to be a buyer for Jordan Marsh Department Store.
Aside from maybe PJs in the morning, I don't think I ever saw him not wearing suit pants and a dress shirt. Even working in the garden! This man kept the most amazing gardens I have ever seen. He had fruit trees in the yard, a grape arbor, rose garden, flowers everywhere, a watermelon patch, strawberry patch, big vegetable garden, you name it! Me ... I couldn't grow a Chia Pet!! It seems appropriate that when he passed, he was found sitting under his cherry tree.
OK, enough about the family, now on to the food! I was shocked to see that by far, the most viewed recipe of the year was Harissa. I wish I had some insight into why that was. I'm curious to know if people were interested because they had never heard of it, or if it was that people from other cultures in that region took a peek because somehow, Harrisa, the National Dish of Armenia, was recently categorized as a Turkish dish??? I realize that the dish has been around a lot longer than I have and that many cultures have their own take on regional dishes, but that does strike me as odd. Anyhow, here is your top 10 of 2011:
- Beet, Carrot, and Apple Salad
- Banana Coconut Oatmeal Bread
- Apples and Creme Kadayif
- Caramel White Chocolate Chip Rice Flour Cookies
- Butternut Squash Chips
- Cream Kadayif
As for my own personal favorites of 2011, I'd have to go with ...
|Almond, Chocolate, Toffee Paklava|
|Kale and Pancetta Stuffed Shells|
|Peanut Butter and Nutella Yeast Rolls|
|Yuzu Glazed Snack Mix|
|Apricot/Prune/Sour Cream Coffee Cake|
|Buffalo Chicken Croquettes|
So there you have it - your favorites for 2011, and mine. To be honest, a lot of my favorites are actually on your list, but since many are things that I grew up eating and/or making, I tried to look beyond those. My absolute favorite was definitely the chocolate paklava! I hesitated for y-e-a-r-s to mess with the original, much like recently changing up my Pilaf. Now I'm kicking myself on both counts. No matter how much you love something, don't be afraid to mix things up. Who knows, you might have a hit on your hands.
Best wishes for 2012, from my kitchen to yours.