My oh my, what a year it's been for this little blog.
Yesterday, I found out I'm one of the five finalists for a Canadian Food Blog Award in the Best Recipe Blog category. Well, smack me upside the head and call me flattered! I don't think there's a word to describe how excited, humbled and amazed I am... perhaps exhumblazed?
The winner for my category will be selected by a panel of judges, but the winner of one of the other categories, Best Food Blog, will be chosen based on public vote... so head on over to Beer and Butter Tarts from January 1st to 15th to cast your votes for that one.
Anyway, it's a perfect way to cap off a great year, but there was quite a bit of great stuff in the past twelve months that's worth revisiting. So without further ado, here's a recap:
Biggest Highlights of 2010:
* Project Food Blog. Man, what a ride. I still can't believe I made it to the Top 24! From making homemade pizza with smoked duck to filming a cheeky 1950s-style video, I made it through eight challenges before being eliminated, was featured with other Canadian bloggers in Good Food Revolution and met a ton of talented, inspiring and enthusiastic bloggers along the way.
* Wine tasting at Chateau des Charmes. For the launch of Kitchen Play, I was invited to work with Michele Bosc to select wine pairings for each of the courses on the inaugural menu. I had a blast chatting with Michele about their products and discovered one of my new favourite everyday white wines along the way.
* Lunch with my Grandmother. Out of all the Project Food Blog entries I wrote, my very favourite was the Brazilian Fusion lunch I shared with my grandmother at her nursing home. My grandmother cooked many memorable meals for me when I was growing up, and I'm really glad that I had a chance to return the favour.
My Top 10 Favourite Posts and Recipes of 2010:
10. Blueberry-Hyssop Ice Cream: A brilliant shade of periwinkle-blue, this ice cream echoes the colour and aroma of an anise hyssop plant in full bloom.
9. Spicy Grilled Calamari: Aside from the fact that this recipe gave me an opportunity to make tongue-in-cheek Chtulhu references, it's also a deliciously different way of preparing grilled calamari. Lemon? Cumin? Oh my.
8. Mom's Marshmallow Cake: This cake is to me what madeleines were to Proust. I guess that's what comes from being a child of the 1970s. Kitsch factor aside, though, it's really quite delicious.
7. Double Cherry Almond Crumble: Tart and sweet all at the same time, the real star in this crumble is the almond shortbread topping. I normally eat my cherries straight up, by I'll make an exception for this one.
6. Upside-Down Blueberry Cornmeal Babycakes: Wild blueberries on a crumbly sweet cornbread base. Need I say more?
5. Winter Squash and Fennel Soup: Warm, soothing and slightly spicy... not to mention one of The Boy's favourites. It's become one of our very favourite winter soups.
4. Seafood Paella: The Boy and I celebrated our fifth anniversary this year. To commemorate the occasion, I made paella... just like we did on one of our very first dates together.
3. Strawberry Lemon Thyme Jam: We loved this jam so much that we finished the first batch in a matter of weeks... so I ended up making a second batch with the last of the season's strawberries so we wouldn't have to wait a whole year to have it again. We just opened the last jar. I will cry when it's gone.
2. Pumpkin-Cranberry Coffee Wreath: This yeast-leavened wreath is beautiful to look at, smells downright heavenly, and is unbelievably yummy... especially when it's freshly baked and still a bit warm from the oven.
1. Brazilian Beef Empanadas: The main course from my portable Brazilian lunch, these little two-bite turnovers are a sentimental favourite. BTW, the filling is also a delicious comforting meal on a cold winter day... instead of wrapping it up in pastry, just spoon it onto plain white rice instead. Simple, soul-warming food.
...and shamelessly borrowing a clever idea from the Baking Barrister, here are
My Top 10 Favourite Google Searches of 2010:
10. "Who was Saint Muffin?": I'll admit, I was a terrible student in Catholic school, but I don't remember a Saint Muffin. However, you'll find Oh Saint Muffins here (including the story behind the name).
9. "hot spinach girl": Ah. Good ol' Rule 34... you never fail to let me down.
8. "why you should hail cthulhu": Because hideous tentacle-headed cosmic entities of gargantuan size tend to get a bit pissy if they feel they're not getting the respect they deserve. Duh.
7. "a girl and a boy kissing in a bathroom badly": Ummmm.... do I want to know why it's important that they be kissing badly?
6. "cake that looks like a food fight": Bake cake. Frost and decorate. Throw on floor (or wall, if wall is cleaner). Done.
5. "girl dunked inchocolate tied up": I don't know what's scarier - the fact that my blog showed up in this search, or the fact that two completely different people used the same search.
4. "basil overdose": I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure that's impossible.
3. "double cherry booty": I'm going to assume this was a pirate looking for buried fruit. Please humour me.
2. "the good and bad of apple beer": There's good apple beer? Colour me surprised.
1. "shmale": This is a perennial favourite. Imagine their disappointment when they get a recipe for Kale and White Bean Soup, instead of mispelled transvestites.
Happy New Year, everyone! Hope 2011 has many wonderful and delicious things in store for you.