Monday, January 5, 2015

My favorite world recipes of 2014

You may have noticed that I've been slowing down a little, especially in the last few months of 2014. This is in part due to this job I have, where I have to write between 7,000 and 9,000 words every week (if I could devote that many words a week to writing a novel, I'd be able to pump one out every 10 weeks), and in part due to my older kids not taking swimming lessons anymore. I know that doesn't seem like it should have anything to do with anything, but I used to spend poolside time working on my blog posts, so without that I haven't really got a regular slot carved out for blogging. I know, I ought to be able to make one, but I just haven't managed.

I could launch into a speech about New Year's resolutions and swear to do better this year, but I don't want to make any promises because I'm mostly bad at keeping them. But regardless of how many weeks pass between posts, I do believe I will eventually get to the end of the alphabet. Eventually.

Anyway, I want to start the new year by remembering last year. I made some great food last year, and here's a list of my favorite 10 recipes:

Emilia Romagna, Italy: Tagliatelle with Porcini Mushrooms

Simple dishes are sometimes the best tasting. This whole meal was brilliant, but my favorite part was the mushroom pasta. It had a simple, earthy flavor and was one of the best things I ate all year.

Honduras: Carneada

I had a hard time deciding which dish from Honduras was my favorite, because I loved all of them. So I chose the main course, because it was definitely the star of what was a really amazing show. It was juicy, full of flavor, and it went beautifully with the other items on the menu.

Hong Kong: Soy Sauce Chicken

It's rare that I make a dish that all six of us like, because my kids have very different tastes. But this soy sauce chicken was loved by all, so much so that I really wish I'd made a lot more of it. And it was really easy to make, too.

Israel: Bourekas

My Isreal meal was definitely one of the most time-consuming blog meals of the year, but it was worth it. I chose a lot of different dishes and these cheese-filled bourekas were one of my favorite things on a very full table. I ate way too many of them and almost couldn't make room for the rest of the food. Almost.

Jamaica: Coco Bread

I am pretty sure that coconut-flavored bread has made my list of favorites in past years, so this may be a bit of a repeat. It wouldn't be fair to leave it off the list, though, because my whole family adored this bread. In fact, it actually inspired tears in my older daughter, who could not believe I had the audacity to eat the leftovers while she was at school.

Kazakhstan: Kazakh Lemon Chicken

This chicken dish had very complex flavors and I thought it was really delicious. It's actually the only dish that made the top 10 list that wasn't loved by both me and my husband, though, because he really doesn't like olives. I didn't think his personal preferences should exclude an otherwise fabulous meal from the top 10, though, so here it is. Delicious, lemony and tender, mmmm.

South Korea: Korean fried chicken

My American fried chicken recipe is pretty yummy, but I don't make it very often because of that whole most-unhealthy-thing-ever problem. I don't think this fried chicken recipe was really much better in terms of health but oh my, it was delicious. In fact my chicken-on-the-bone hating husband declared that these were the best drumsticks he'd ever had. High praise!

Kurdistan: Xorsht Fesenjan (chicken with pomegranate molasses and walnut)

OK, so the photo really looks awful. Like, if you had to go by pictures you would probably put this chicken in the bottom 10 of the year. Flavor-wise, though, it was amazing. It had a really deep, rich flavor that was reminiscent of sun dried tomatoes, but only a little. Be prepared for big, bold flavors if you make this dish.

Kuwait: Kuwaiti Honey Cake

My eight year old liked this honey cake so much that she actually said she wants me to make it on her birthday instead of getting her a store-bought cake. What? She loves those sickly-sweet, butter cream frosted cakes so it was a shock to hear her say that. I loved this dessert too, it was very middle-eastern in flavor and had a great texture.

Lebanon: Djej w Batata Bil Sayniyyeh (Baked Garlic Chicken and Potatoes)

I love one-pot meals for their ease, but this one was really delicious, too. You really gotta love anything with a garlic sauce, and this was one well-executed garlic sauce. With the potatoes it made for a really delicious and complete meal.

Runners Up

Honduras: Corn Tortillas

OK I know it's just corn tortillas, and nothing could be simpler to make. But the difference between these tortillas and something you'd buy at the grocery store is like night and day. These tortillas have an amazing, smooth texture and they don't fall apart when you try to fold them up. Stuff them with whatever you want and they'll hold together, and they taste delicious, too.

Hong Kong: Soy Sauce Noodles

My whole Hong Kong meal was delicious and I thought these noodles deserved a mention for one very important reason: they were the first Asian noodles I've personally made that did not turn out sort of slimy. Because of this dish, I finally have conquered chow mien, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Kashmir, India: Saunf Aloo

These were beautiful, simple and creamy potatoes--an easy dish to throw together and serve with Indian curry. I love making curry on or off my blog, so this recipe is going into my book and will for sure be accompanying some of this year's Indian dishes.

That's my list! I hope you tried some of these dishes too, and if not that you will have a chance to do so in 2015. They're totally worth the effort (and some were hardly any effort at all!)

Happy new year and I really do hope to have more posts up in 2015!


  1. I just wanted to take a minute and let you know how much I love your blog. I, too, am working my way around the world. Your posts have been really helpful. Also, all these all look amazing!

  2. Thanks Lauren! If you try any of these recipes let me know what you think!


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