To paraphrase an observation that Gordon E. Moore, the co-founder of Intel, once made about the density of transistors on a chip: life seems to double in speed every two years. 2014 was no exception with life accelerating like a blueberry rolling down Mount Everest.
As I close out the year I find myself packing up my kitchen for yet another move, this time to Tokyo, Japan. On one hand, I'm excited by the possibilities presented by living in the largest urban area in the world, but on the other hand, I'll miss my big sunny kitchen in Sapporo with its daily view of the sun setting behind the mountains in the distance.
On the blog, 2014 was all about going back to the basics. Whether it was a technique for making an ultra-rich chicken stock, an incredibly flavorful tomato sauce, or just a fool-proof method for making sunny side up eggs, I shared some of my ideas on making the basics taste better with less effort. Having run this blog for 7 years, it was also time to overhaul some old favorites like my Chocolate Pudding, Spaghetti Amatriciana, and Beef Stew with all that I've learned in the time since I first published them.
But enough of my reminiscing, here are the top 10 posts of 2014, chosen by you (based on the number of social shares).
1. Chicken Parmesan Nuggets
Following up on last year's #1 post Chicken Parmesan, it's no huge surprise that my appetizer take on this perennial favorite won the audience top-spot in 2014 with almost 70,000 pins, likes and tweets.
2. Vegan Spinach Dip
Whether you're vegan or not this is just plain good and a great dish for mixed gatherings of vegans and non-vegans.
3. Egg in a Biscuit
Soft boiled egg inside a cheddar chive biscuit... Need I say more?
4. Caramel Sauce
I never really understood why people pay exorbitant amounts for a small bottle of burnt sugar and butter, given how easy (and delicious) it is to make at home.
5. Kimchi Jjigae
So this one isn't entirely a new recipe for 2014 as I've posted it before, but I've made a few changes over the years and updated the recipe with all my current tricks to pack the most flavor into this warming stew.
6. Matsutake Gohan
Honestly you guys always manage to amaze me with your broad palette and interest in trying new things. As much as I love this dish, I kind of figured this one would get lost to the winds of time due the obscurity of the main ingredient.
7. Soboro Don
Who doesn't love a great chicken and rice bowl, and this one is not only delicious, it's easy to make and fun to eat to boot.
8. Meyer Lemon Cake
Having lived both in Asia with it's myriad of exotic citrus fruits (like yuzu, sudachi and kalamansi), as well as in the US, I can safely say that Meyer lemons are my favorite sour citrus. This buttery lemon cake with a triple dose of Meyer lemons is really good.
9. Shiso Gyoza
While my vegan gyoza are pretty damn good, they're never going to taste quite as good as a full fat pork filling. With a shiso leaf wrapped in with the filling, these potstickers are a sure crowd pleaser.
10. Crispy Roast Chicken
Despite having spent most of my years on Earth in the kitchen in some capacity or other, I'm still learning new things all the time and this technique that I adapted from making Peking Duck is a great way to ensure you get a moist flavorful bird with very crisp skin.
Here are my 10 favorite dishes from 2014. Honestly, 2014 was so full of great food it was difficult to pick just 10, but I selected these based on the fact that I continued to make them even after I'd published the post.
1. Egg in a Biscuit
So I know this was on the other list, and I tried avoiding overlap, but I had to make an exception for this because it's easily one of my favorite foods of all time.
2. Tuna Poke
Speaking of favorite foods of all time, Tuna poke is one of those things I could have once a week with a hot bowl of rice and never get sick of.
3. Spaghetti with Soy Sauce Butter Scallops
This ridiculously simple pasta has to have the best effort to reward ratio of anything I made this year. All the ingredients are in the name, and the preparation is just as simple.
4. Nikumiso Dengaku
I've done a regular Eggplant Dengaku before, adding ground pork to the dengaku sauce just takes this dish to another plane.
5. Vegetable Lasagne
Labels like "vegan" or "gluten-free" often carry with them an implicit suggestion that they're not quite as good as the original. Not so with this lasagne made with roasted veggies and a cashew bechamel. It's incredibly flavorful and complex, and like the original makes fantastic leftovers.
6. Chocolate Pudding
This decadent chocolate pudding is intensely chocolatey and since it comes together in about 15 minutes, it's a perfect way to sate those sudden chocolate cravings.
7. Honey Lemon Chicken
As a kid, this was one of my favorite dishes and after having it for the first time in a long time, I have to say that's it's still one of my favorites.
Speaking of childhood fav's, this dish was one of the reasons why I loved visiting my grandparents in summer.
9. Oyster Rice
You know those dishes where you keep going back for more, until there's nothing left? This is one of them.
10. Corn with Bacon Vinaigrette
This was one of the fridge-cleanup recipes where I had a few slices of bacon, some wilting basil and corn that had seen better days. Still, it was so good it managed to win a spot on my list of favorite dishes this year.