2009, A Look Back

January 4, 2010

I love reading all the “Best of” lists on food blogs in these first few days of January.  I thought about creating a list of my own, detailing out month by month the things I made that I liked best in 2009.  But the truth is that some months there were lots of things I liked and there were some months that weren’t so popular in my kitchen.  My husband had the brilliant idea to just tell you all what I liked best in each category.  So here goes.


This Rosemary Flatbread with Blue Cheese, Grapes, and Honey could actually fit into the main course or bread category as my favorites as well, but I’m sticking it in appetizers.  This was so good I made it three times in 2009 and truthfully can’t wait to make it again.



I actually didn’t make much bread in 2009 (note to self: in 2010 make more bread).  I absolutely loved these Yogurt Flatbread, also called Naan.  They were easy to make and matched up perfectly with so many of the foods I love to cook.



It almost doesn’t get any easier than these Petits Pains au Chocolat.  I have taught quite a few people how to make them over the course of the year and everyone (kids and adults alike) are delighted by them.  I’m choosing this recipe because there is so much bang for your buck, but if I were to go on taste alone, I would probably choose the Grits Frittata instead.



Given the title of this post, could my favorite really be any other than this Sweet and Salty Cake?  I made it four times in a month and will be making it for another birthday toward the end of January by request.  It’s a bit of work but it feeds so many and turns out so perfectly.

Main Course


It was a little hard to choose a favorite main course.  Not to toot my own horn, but I made a lot of good things last year.  I’m going to choose this Roasted Tomato and Olive Galette with Fontina because I just made it again last week and was shocked once again by how good it is.  This is something you can serve with absolute pride, it looks beautiful and tastes fantastic.  I’ve made it countless times and it always turns out perfectly.

Party Food


I made these Oven-Fried Rice Balls with Gruyère for a 40th birthday party.  It was a recipe sitting in one of my notebooks for years and I kicked myself for waiting so long to try it.  I could very happily eat theses beauties for dinner once a week in addition to being on my party menus from now on.



I was inspired by a beautiful blog to create this Fettucine with Oil Cured olives, Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese.  We have eaten it many times since.  I will literally buy fresh fettucine any time I see it so we can have it for dinner.  I never tire of this flavor combination.



I made a lot of good salads in 2009.  When I look back on that category, it is interesting to note that many of the ones I wrote about did not include lettuce.  This was one of the superstars.  Next summer, when beautiful heirloom tomatoes are everywhere, promise me you will make this Heirloom Tomato Salad with Burrata, Torn Croutons, and Opal Basil.  I did so for a special dinner party and it was a huge hit.



Being non-sandwich lover, I didn’t make a lot of them in 2009.  But Tai’s Vietnamese Tofu Sandwich was a serious contender for favorite main course.  Make this for any somewhat adventurous eater in your life and you will get high praise.  It is delicious on so many levels and healthy to boot.

Side Dish


I have to be honest, I love broccoli so much that I eat it steamed once or twice a week.  I could easily eat it every night.  It was so awesome to make it a different way and have it taste so new and amazing.  This Blasted Broccoli will convert anyone who says they don’t like the green stuff.  Garlicky and spicy.


Leave it to Ina Garten to write a perfect soup recipe.  As I write this post, on January 4th, all I want is a big fat bowl of this Pappa al Pomodoro.  So rich, hearty, and good.

I loved just about everything I made in both the Mexican and Asian food categories (look at the side bar to your right) so if you need further inspiration, those are good categories to look through.  I’ve so enjoyed this year and all the cooking and can’t wait to share lots more recipes in 2010.  Happy New Year!


  1. Great recap. I love all of your recipes. I enjoyed meeting you in 2009, I hope we can meet up again in 2010. Happy New Year!

    Comment by Maria — January 4, 2010 @ 11:54 pm

  2. Thank you so much for the wonderful round up of 2009. All your recipes look so amazing and I can’t wait to bake that sweet & salty cake! So happy to have stumbled across your blog! Happy New Year!

    Comment by Jess — January 5, 2010 @ 1:21 am

  3. happy new year, dana! a simply lovely and inspiring compilation. much happiness, good health and deliciousness to you and your family in 2010!

    Comment by giao — January 5, 2010 @ 1:25 am

  4. How dare you tease me with a summer salad of heirloom tomatoes and basil……my garden is dead and gone.
    20 degrees of frozen winter out there, and I will have to wait till August to eat Suzanne Goin’s wonderful salad.
    Boo hoo.

    Comment by Stacey Snacks — January 5, 2010 @ 2:35 am

  5. Dana – so many of the recipes you just featured have been added to my “must make” food file. The thought of the Oven-Fried Rice Balls with Gruyère alone has me swooning over the thought of how good they must be.

    Comment by Kristina — January 5, 2010 @ 3:17 am

  6. Everything looks so wonderful! Lots of stuff going on my “to make” list here…

    Comment by Ele — January 5, 2010 @ 8:27 am

  7. This is a better idea – with my roundup in some months I had to leave out favourites and in others I struggled to come up with anything worthy at all.

    Those Vietnamese sandwiches were out of this world good. And I’ll be making your chocolate cake for Ed’s birthday next month – stay tuned! :)

    Comment by Hilary — January 5, 2010 @ 2:54 pm

  8. I love your list! It’s funny, since just about everything here was already on my must-try list from you. I was planning on making papa al pomodoro this month (the prefect January treat!), so will try yours. I am officially starving with an hour til lunch to go! I am hoping to get a top 10 list up this week, it’s a lot of fun reading everyone’s favorites I think.

    Comment by fresh365 — January 5, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

  9. Very nice… maybe in 2011 I can do something similar, I’ve also been enjoying quite a bit the collection of annual favorites all over the foodblog world

    I will be making your blasted broccoli soon!

    Comment by SallyBR — January 5, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

  10. Thank you for a wonderful year of posts. Reading your blog has been entirely inspiring and empowering, helping me in the last push towards vegetarianism. Your recipes have nourished us for all of 2009.

    Comment by Sarah — January 5, 2010 @ 9:54 pm

  11. Dana! Whenever I see a picture of your galettes I feel famished. Hope to some day visit you and partake in one of these fablous pies of goodness. I would just rather have yours than try to replicate ;) Great post ~

    Comment by Sara — January 5, 2010 @ 10:02 pm

  12. Oh boy. Mistake to read this right before dinner when I’m debating what to cook… I love this idea for a retrospective. What an incredible year you’ve had! I have to admit, I’m a new reader but I love your site and am looking forward to 2010…

    Comment by Megan Gordon — January 6, 2010 @ 12:03 am

  13. Yum…..there are a lot of things that I missed that are now on my “to cook” list. For 2010 I think you need to add a “quick and easy” category. I made the lentil, chick pea, veggie stew last night and it was a hit. Even my 5 year old and 2 year old gave it a thumbs up. (Well the 2 year old didn’t, but he did eat a good serving of it).

    Thanks for all of the hard work you put into this blog. It definitely has helped me cook better food for my family.

    Comment by Kelly — January 6, 2010 @ 4:54 am

  14. What a yummy list of “treats”. I made the Pappa al Pomodoro tonight for my husband and a friend who is staying with us and it was fantastic! Thanks for all of the inspiration and for putting some flavor into my nightly cooking!

    Comment by Kelli — January 7, 2010 @ 5:48 am

  15. By coincidence I stumbled upon your blog and really like it. Great recipes, great pictures! Will be back for sure!

    Comment by Anja (Savorychicks) — January 7, 2010 @ 12:53 pm

  16. Yum I love looking back over all the amazing things you’ve made in 2009! Can’t wait to see what you make in 2010.

    Comment by Ashley — January 15, 2010 @ 3:18 am

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