For me, the last day of the year is a day of reflection spent looking back at the year through photos and words pondering all that went right and all that went wrong. One inevitable consequence of this kind of retrospection is puzzling over how a whole year slipped by since popping open a bottle of bubbly one winter ago. Miraculously, as I look back through 2010, so much has happened, I can hardly believe it’s only been 365 days! Yes, it’s been a very full year, and before anyone accuses me of being full of horse excrement, I’ll tell you why.
I wrote for Readymade and Tablet Hotels. I styled and photographed food for books and product packaging. I created 10 recipes for Good Bite’s Weeknight Meals: Delicious Made Easy which will be on store shelves in Fall of 2011. I spoke at Techmunch, Foodbuzz Festival and Blogworld Expo. I showed up on Grill It! With Bobby Flay. I’m sure I’m missing stuff here, but you get the point, I kept myself busy.
Project Food Blog
When I first joined Project Food Blog I was skeptical. Skeptical about Foodbuzz’s motives, skeptical about how far I’d make it and most of all, skeptical about its benefits. I was was wrong. Not only did I have the honor of making it to the final round of three, I met dozens of awesome food bloggers AND I learned a lot about myself and my blog in the process.
One of my life goals is to get to a place where I can spend at least half the year travelling. I’m one of those people that learns best by doing, and I can’t think of a better way to learn about other cultures and food, than by immersing myself in them through travel. I spent an incredible 48 days travelling, including 28 days spent abroad. I launched a new blog to talk about my adventures outside the kitchen. I visited 7 states and 6 countries in that time and as I get ready for my frist trip in 2011, I have to say I’m looking forward to another year of great experiences to share with you.
This year was a good year for making friends. Between both trips to Orlando (Pillsbury Bake-off and Orlando CVB), both trips to Vegas (Uncork’d and BlogWorld Expo) and the trip to San Francisco for Foodbuzz Festival I feel incredibly privileged to have met so many awesome people. Then there is Twitter, I’ve been on it for a while now, but I don’t think I really “got” it until this year. My Twitter peeps (you know who you are) span the globe from London to Tokyo and Sydney to Bonn and while I may not have met all of you in person, I hope to fix that in 2011.
Quitting my day job
This was far and away the biggest change for me. It not only represented a pull away from a scheduled 10-6 day, it also represented a big financial shift (a euphemism for being broke), and for the first time in my life I didn’t care. 2011 will be the year that determines whether I can continue doing what I love or if I’ll need to go back into an office, but having taken the leap I can’t ever say I didn’t try.
To close this year out and get 2011 started off on a tasty note, here are 10 of my favorite meals from this year (in no particular order).
Pappa al Pomodoro
Simple, comforting and filling without leaving you feeling heavy. It’s good in summer with fresh tomatoes and good in winter with canned tomatoes.
Chocolate Truffle Tagliatelle
If you can get over the silly name, this is honestly one of the best pastas I have ever made. It’s one of those dishes that just popped into my head one day, I made it, and it was just as I’d imagined it.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
I normally post the 10 most popular posts for the year. This year, the only post that would have made that list is this one. This fried chicken recipe was my sixth most popular post this year and I’m glad the word is getting out because it’s awesome.
Baby Octopus in Tomato Sauce
I think this was vaguely inspired by something I ate in Barcelona. The octopus turns out super tender and garlicky and the sauce is best mopped up with a hunk of bread.
Buta Kakuni is my favorite preparation for pork belly, and using turnips (kabu) was originally a play on words that turned into a delicious variation of the classic.
Basil Chicken (Gai Pad Krapow)
I rarely make a dish more than once, partially because I need to keep developing new content for the blog, but I also bore of food very easily. This is one dish that was made more than anything else in my kitchen this year because it’s ridiculously simple and absurdly delicious.
This really simple one pan breakfast (and variations there of) has been a regular staple on lazy Sunday mornings all year long.
Of the classic pasta sauces, Sugo alla Amatriciana is by far my favorite. My version takes it back to its roots, using guanciale, the most addictive of all cured pork products.
Bak Kut Teh
I had this dish for the first time on my way out of Singapore and I’m so glad it was as I was leaving, otherwise I would have had this for every meal while I was there.
This has been one of my comfort foods since the first time it was served to me in Australia as a kid. I’ve made it ever since, and finally got around to posting my version.