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Kelseyincleveland’s First Blog-o-versary

15 Jul

I can’t believe that it’s already (only?) been a (slightly over) a year since I started writing this food blog.  Over the course of the past year, I have learned so much about cooking and am incredibly grateful that I had this blog to press me to try new ingredients, techniques, flavor combinations, and dishes.  The prospect of posting at least a few new dishes every week kept me from falling into a food rut.  There are certainly plenty aspects of this blog that could use drastic improvement (the photographs, especially!), but overall I am really proud of the food I produced over the past year.  I am consistently surprised and humbled by all of the friends, family, and strangers who read the blog.

Kelseyincleveland’s First Blog-o-versary

All-Time Most Popular Posts:

10.  Chipotle and Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork with Roasted Jalapeño Polenta

9.  Zucchini and Ginger Fritatta

8.  Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders with Sweet Potato Tater Tots and Hot Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce

7.  Lemon Garlic Sardine Pasta with Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

6.  Faux Bagel and Lox

5.  Lemon Mashed Great Northern Bean Enchiladas with Homemade Tortillas

4.  Spaghetti and Fried Eggs with Orange Pangritata

3.  Vegetarian Stuffed Poblano Peppers

2.  Mujaddara with Spiced Yogurt

1.  Ricotta Dill Mac and Cheese

My Favorites:

In no particular order:

Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade chicken stock is the backbone of an incredible number of my favorite recipes.  Used from everything as the basis for a flavorful broth in a delicious soup to the cooking liquid for a creamy and comforting risotto, homemade chicken stock imparts an essential depth of flavor to nearly any dish you can dream of in the kitchen.

Perfect Roast Chicken

My perfect roast chicken recipe was only the second recipe I ever posted, but still remains my go-to stand by for a roast chicken.  Though I frequently switch the ingredients in the brine or make use of a different rub or glaze, the method outlined in my perfect roast chicken recipe is tried-and-true as far as brining and roasting times and has never disappointed me.

Falafel and Fattoush Sandwich with Yogurt Dressing

Though slightly time-consuming to make and assemble, these delightful falafel and fattoush sandwiches were worth every minute.  The fattoush salad is equally delicious on its own, as is the falafel dipped in some of the yogurt sauce.  However, combined and wrapped in a fresh pita, this sandwhich is crispy, fresh, and absolutely addictive.

Spinach and Polenta Soup

I am counting down the weeks until a Cleveland clambake so I can replicate this briney, creamy soup.  Though I’m sure it woudl be pretty darn good with simple seafood or vegetable stock, the clam broth really took this unique soup over the edge.

  Pasta Cacio e Pepe with Salt Cured Egg Yolk

The salt-cured egg yolk included in this simple pasta cacio e pepe was incredibly simple to make but has myriad applications.  It certainly dressed up this simple pasta dish, adding a layer of rich, yolk-y flavor that was absolutely divine.

Scallion Pancakes with Spicy Hoisin and Jalapeño Shredded Chicken

I won’t lie to you – these scallion pancakes take a good amount of muscle to get right.  On the bright side, you can skip your workout the day you make these.  On the even brighter side, they were crispy, flakey, and incredibly flavorful.  Though they would be good with any sort of Asian-esque topping, this jalapeño-shredded chicken and spicy-sweet hoisin sauce was spot on.

Warm Chickpea Salad with Yogurt Dressing (De-constructed Falafel)

If the falafel and fattoush sandwich from above looks good to you but you aren’t in the mood to spend an hour or two in your kitchen prepping and cooking, this delicious warm chickpea salad is perfect.  It combines all of the flavors and textures of a falafel sandwhich with a very small percentage of the work.

Chipotle Chicken Salad

This flavor-packed chicken salad had a really amazing variation in texture that made it addictive to eat.  The salad was also colorful, making it very enticing to dig into.  It was also creamy, spicy, smokey, and absolutely delicious.

Fiddlehead Ferns and Lake Erie Perch with Hollandaise Sauce

This delightful brunch dish had very few components but was really lovely.  The salty-crisp perch skin went beautifully with the lemony, rich, creamy hollandaise and the fresh, bright crunch of the fiddlehead ferns.  The ferns sopped up the sauce, making them the perfect vehicle for a decadent hollandaise.

Grilled Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Pizza

At least for me, anything made on the grill immediately tastes ten times better.  And who can turn down a good slice of pizza?  Especially when it’s topped with melty cheese, spicy chicken, and fresh cilantro?  Not me.

Zak’s Favorites:

In no particular order:

Vietnamese Phở bò

What can I say? Pho is my Phavorite of all the soups. Quite possibly of all the foods in the world. ALL of them. I was very interested to try a home made version, and this recipe certainly lived up to the expectations. I’ve had amazing Pho in Boston, New York, Los Angeles and Cleveland. Even with all these other great Pho experiences, I’m glad to report that Kelsey’s version was authentic, delicious and great for several leftover meals. Hazzzzah!

Fennel Frond Pesto with Gnocchi and Olive Oil Toasted Bread Crumbs

Pesto can be tricky because it’s oftentimes too salty or oily for my taste. Kelsey figured out a perfect balance of pesto goodness with this fennel-infused version. The consistency of the pesto was perfect. Instead of being too thick or too thin, it lightly clung to the gnocchi for dear life as any good pasta sauce should. I never thought I would have to gauge the viscosity of a pesto…but here we are.

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Potatoes, Carrots, and Onion

Kiss me, I’m Irish. Well, not really…I’m used to having corned beef in a Jewish deli. The idea of corned beef in any iteration besides a sandwich is a foreign concept to me. At least, it used to be foreign. This version of corned beef is equally good and actually more fulfilling thanks to the vegetables on the side. After the initial meal, it was satisfying to use the leftovers to make Reuben sandwiches, which appeased my Jewish deli cravings. Kiss me, I’m Jirish.

Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Fritters with Spicy Balsamic Reduction and Black Bean and Corn Cilantro Salad

These little buggers were excellent! They seemed like a mix between potato pancakes and veggie burgers. Not the store-bought frozen veggie burgers, but a more organic and fresh approach to the meatless burger. The fritters were amazing by themselves, but they would have been great on a roll or bun as well.

Sriracha Marinara with Meatballs

Sriracha goes on everything except iced cream. Almost without exception, this hot sauce can be used on any food to give it some spice. I never thought of using it in spaghetti and meatballs…shame on me. It seemed like a great idea when Kelsey first told me about the recipe. The Sriracha added an entirely new dimension of flavor and turned regular ol’ spaghetti and meatballs into a unique delicacy.

Chilled Avocado Corn Soup with Zucchini “Latkes”

Again, the specter of the Jewish deli arises whenever I think of latkes. Potato pancakes are always good in my book, but they can be bland if there’s no love (salt) in them. If you’re going for a low sodium version, it’s best to supplement them with a vegetable. The addition of zucchini to these potato pancakes was the perfect supplement. The pancakes were crispy, flaky and somewhat magical.

Thyme-Seared Steelhead Trout with Thyme-Mushroom Quinoa

I never really heard of steelhead trout before. I’m no ichthyologist but I thought I knew a little something about different trout varieties. Steelhead caught me totally by surprise. Thankfully, I’m always happy to learn about (and taste) new kinds of trout. This dish was possibly the best fish I ever had, but certainly the best ever cooked by Kelsey. It was very similar to salmon but possessed a more exotic and delicate flavor. If I ever order steelhead trout in a restaurant, I would be shocked if it came out anywhere as good as Kelsey’s.

Pearled Barley and Beet Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Healthy, hearty and addicting. Three adjectives that don’t usually go together when speaking of my favorite foods. This recipe, however, pulled it off in a big way. I love the idea of a giant bowl of food that you can throw in the fridge and snack on periodically. This recipe was a perfect realization of that paradigm. Whether it’s a snack, side dish or main course, this recipe knocks it out of the park.

B’s Sauce

Best pasta sauce, ever. ‘Nuff said. Thanks B!

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