Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 10 Seasonal Eating Posts 2013

Bacon and Caramelized Onion Pizza
Bacon + Onion + Pizza = Yum

The Blogging Year in Review

Although popularity is only one criterion for greatness, number of clicks is an easy-to-assess indicator of topics that interest readers most. Several of my favorite recipes showed up in the top 10, along with some rather surprising non-recipe posts. So, without further ado, here are Seasonal Eating’s top hits for 2013.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Hot Cocktails: the Snuggle and the Thaw

Two Thaw Cocktails with Hazelnut Chocolates and Liqueurs
Double Thaw with Extra Hazelnuts

Recipes by Robin and Penelope

Recently my friend Penelope took the opportunity presented by unseasonably cold weather to create a new hot coffee cocktail. I never drink real coffee (it makes me crazier), but the Thaw—with Godiva chocolate liqueur, Kahlua, and Bailey’s Irish cream sounded too good to pass up. So I bought a handful of decaf beans, ground them, and had hubby Bruce instruct me on the use of his French press. But while I was getting my coffee act together, I couldn’t resist experimenting with the brand new bottle of Godiva chocolate liqueur—a spirit that I’d never encountered before.  Having a bit of experience with hot cocoa toddy-making, chocolate seemed like the perfect foil for more chocolate—laced with a bit of alcohol.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hot Red Cabbage Slaw

Plate of Hot Cabbage Slaw
Bright Winter Hot Slaw

Recipe adapted from Midwest Gardener’s Cookbook

It’s the shortest day of the year, so time is precious. Are you ready for the fastest, simplest, recipe ever blogged at Seasonal Eating? How about a delicious side dish that’s bright purple-red and requires just a microwave and about 20 minutes to prepare? A recipe that’s cheap and uses few ingredients, yet provides vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber, and possible protection from cancer? That requires only a knife and cutting board plus two bowls, one of which can be used for serving? Yes, friends, this recipe is almost too good to be true. And did I mention that it’s delicious?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Holiday Potluck and Recipe Ideas

Branch full of Rosehips
My Neighbors' Rosehips

Suggestions by Robin

Here in the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice arrives this Saturday. Christmas will be here in a week, followed by the last week of the year and New Year’s. It’s a magical time of year, when days are short and hearts are bright. It’s a time to share food and fun with friends and family, a time when charity towards others is easy—ideally speaking. But what if we’re stressed, overwhelmed, and can’t balance our obligations? What if we’re estranged from our families? And OMG, what if we’re working retail? How can we best enjoy the holiday season as it builds inexorably to its conclusion?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Vegan Couvres: Portuguese Kale Soup with Fresh Beans

Closeup of Soup
Portuguese Kale Soup with a Difference (Soyrizo)

Recipe by Robin

Hot soup is the perfect cold weather food, warming up both body and spirit as we slide towards the shortest day of the year. With plenty of winter kale and potatoes around, I was inspired by a recipe for couvres, a type of Portuguese kale soup, from the 1972 community cookbook Cooking and Traveling the Cape Cod Way. Instead of the standard Portuguese sausage chourizo, I chose to use vegan Soyrizo, which acts quite differently than sausage in soup.  Luckily, this difference helps reduce the cooking time from almost 3 hours to less than 1. Using fresh cannellini beans (or precooked or canned ones) also helps trim the time.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Top Ten Cookbooks for Seasonal Chefs

Cones on Fir Tree
Holiday Season in the Woods

Ideas by Robin and Friends

'Tis the gift-giving season, and cookbooks make fun and practical prezzies for seasoned chefs as well as folks just starting out on their own. I still have the rather bedraggled copy of Joy of Cooking given to me by an employer circa 1982. I had wrapped up a copy for my then-boyfriend (who liked cooking) with a sigh, “it’s the best cookbook ever!” My employer overheard me and made me a happy camper by surprising me with the same gift. Of course, it’s a bit more risky to pick out a book for someone with an established cookbook collection. If you can’t check their bookshelves personally, and haven’t heard a hint about a book they’d like, try giving a bookstore gift certificate tied to an apron, silicone spatula set, metal BBQ spatula, or other kitchen gadget.

Top Ten Seasonal Cookbooks

Here are 10 cookbooks that I like to use, several of which are also recommended by my Facebook friends and fans.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Green Tomato Pie

Piece of Green Tomato Pie
Slice of American History

Recipe from The Vegetable Gardener’s Cookbook

Back in the day—a century or two ago—most gardeners extended their growing season and harvest by baking with unripened fruits. Resourceful gardeners would often put still-green long-season fruits into pies, a special treat in days of few desserts. Too-early fallen apples and late-season green tomatoes and green pumpkins were good candidates—all technically fruits because they contain seeds. This recipe was published in the tiny 1979 Vegetable Gardener’s Cookbook, “conceived and created by the Community Gardens of Santa Cruz County.” Unlike more recent recipes, this green tomato pie has a retro flair with molasses, brown sugar, and spices. Its old-fashioned flavor reminds us of pies that our grandmas made for us, like their grandmas and great grandmas enjoyed.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Spiced Squash Pudding or Pumpkin Pudding

Bowl of Squash Pudding with Whipped Cream
Beautifully Butternutted

Recipe adapted from Yankee Magazine

Love pumpkin pie, but hate the calories? Unsatisfied with commercial piecrusts, but don’t have time and/or skills to prepare them yourself? Is preparing pumpkin too time-consuming and messy, yet you eschew the can? Looking for a new twist on old-fashioned flavor with easy preparation? I have good news for you. This recipe adds an unusual spiciness to an easy-prep butternut squash pudding. Although Yankee magazine fashioned this pudding to stand on its own, adding a pastry or crumb crust isn’t out of the question, nor is substituting fresh or canned pumpkin for the squash.