I really love doing these posts every December. For most of the year I’m glued to my statistics, busy worrying about which post is doing well, what’s flopping, and what, if I’m super lucky, has gone viral. The bulk of the year is all about riding the wave of popular opinion and playing the numbers. But for this post I give myself permission to step back and take the rare opportunity to reminisce about the sheer joy that some of my favorite dishes have given me. Last year I limited myself to my favorite 12, and I agonized over which ones to include, and which ones sadly had to be left out. This year I got smart and upped the number to 25! I still had to leave out some favorites, but it was a lot more fun with 25 slots to fill.
These Moroccan Lemon and Cardamom Meatballs are an example of my ongoing fascination with Middle Eastern food. I’ve discovered so many exciting new flavor combinations — like lemon and cardamom! — that have really reinvigorated my cooking, and without a lot of hard to find ingredients. With lemon, cardamom, cinnamon, pine nuts, cilantro, mint, and feta cheese among the ingredients, these meatballs are unlike anything you’ve probably had before.
If’ you’ve read this blog for a while you already know I’m a fool for pumpkin, so I had to include at least one pumpkin recipe, and this one is a winner. It’s an easy and foolproof way to start off the fall season, and I keep on making Pumpkin Blondies right through to the New Year. They’re my go-to for pot lucks, bake sales, food gifts, and just any old time I want to give (or get) some love from the oven.
I also have an ongoing love affair with citrus, and this Meyer Lemon Roast Chicken was a stand out from the year. A Limoncello mustard and brown sugar glaze helps create a crispy skin, and warm, roasted Meyer lemons and fresh thyme finish it off beautifully. You all loved it as much as I did!
I included these Nordic Open Faced Sandwiches because they represent a direction that I’d love to explore more in the coming year. Beautiful, light and clean, this way of eating is so smart. This post also contains the recipe for my 30-second dilled mayo, which is incredibly versatile.
Another through-line on my blog has to be fabulous appetizers. I love them, and when I go out to eat I often just order a few in place of an entree. They tend to be a more exciting way to eat, if you ask me. My Vidalia Onion Strings with Horseradish Aioli aren’t to be missed.
And finally, 2014 was the year of the Popsicle on TVFGI. I’m crazy for them, and I’m already planning my roster for next summer. Iced Coffee Popsicles are a no brainer…they’re the most refreshing way to enjoy coffee ever. Check out the slideshow below to see the full list of 25 All Stars of 2014!
Check out The 2014 All-Stars
*This post was in association with FOODIE.com