Thursday, September 4, 2014

Recipe adventures

In the last 1,001 days (well, just under that), I've tried a lot of new recipes, thanks to this goal:

#82 Cook one new recipe per month.

With a batch of Moosewood Tuscan beans with sage I cooked on Monday, I've checked the longest ongoing goal off my list: a new recipe in all 33 months!

Not surprisingly, there was an ebb and flow to my progress: there were some months in which I tried a bunch of new recipes and jotted down only the first one, and others that found me focusing on tried-and-true recipes (or not cooking much at all). I loved this goal, though. I liked the little nudge to actually act on a recipe I bookmark online or tear out of a magazine (Cook's Country, Bon Appetit and Cooking Light are some of my favorites), and as the months went on, I started noticing types of recipes toward which I gravitate. I've had a lot of fun cooking in my little kitchen over the last four years. It's funny to imagine that next month I'll be cooking in a totally different space.

Among the 33+ new recipes I tried, there were some that I especially loved trying, and some that I went on to prepare over and over again. These are eight of my favorites, in chronological order:

  1. April 2012: sweet corn and quinoa with honey-lemon vinaigrette from Iowa Girl Eats. This became a true staple in our household this summer. (Also, I think I spelled "vinaigrette" wrong for my entire life until now.)
  2. May 2012: salted nut roll bars. I've made at least a few batches of these each year since finding this recipe.
  3. August 2012: smoky pulled pork tacos (also from Iowa Girl Eats). This recipe tops the list of my go-to slow cooker meals.
  4. March 2013: best birthday cake via Smitten Kitchen. My friend Nora introduced me to this cake, and I think it was the first cake I made from scratch. I haven't tried the chocolate frosting pictured in the post - I usually pair it with a vanilla buttercream frosting. And besides the cake my mom makes for my birthday, this really is the best birthday cake.
  5. August 2013: tomatillo salsa verde. In our CSA box that month, we got a box of tomatillos, with which I had never tried cooking before. I loved roasting them in the oven and loved this salsa.
  6. September 2013: sweet corn and bacon skillet mac and cheese. (Again, this is from Iowa Girl Eats, though I promise she has not compensated me.) I have not cooked this recipe over and over again, but this week's combination of having leftover bacon in the fridge and seeing this recipe on the list prompted me to revisit it - and I'm glad I did.
  7. October 2013: lasagna soup thanks to a Kowalski's Market recipe I found adapted for a blog via my Google search! This is my favorite soup at the local Kowalski's deli, and I ending up cooking it several times last fall.
  8. January 2014: slow-cooked carnitas. I found this recipe for Josh's birthday, and I think this will be his traditional birthday dinner for a long time.
This is another item I'd like to have on my next 101 in 1,001 list - and another one I can't believe is complete!


  1. You may not have made sweet corn and bacon mac multiple times, but I sure did after you linked to it....

    1. So many good ingredients, all in the same recipe. I think I'll be coming back to this one a lot more this fall!