Sunday, January 04, 2015


In my 2013 roundup, I spent a lot of time lamenting how infrequently I’d blogged that year. In 2014, I reached a new all-time low of just 32 posts. I still want to write more, but this year I’m not beating myself as much up over it. Reviewing those 32 recipes, I realized that nearly all of them are solid-gold keepers. Having limited time to blog can be frustrating, but at least it’s really helping the cream rise to the top. I try a lot of recipes that I never even bother to write about, because when I look back at the photos a month later (which is about how long I’m usually running behind on posting), I don’t feel like saying anything about them—a good sign that I might never bother cooking them again, either. With 550 recipes in my archives, I don’t have room in my life for new ones that are just OK.

The recipes that make it to Bookcook these days are the ones I can’t wait to tell someone about, the ones I want to urge everyone to try, the ones I’ve already made several times and already want to eat again. So even though this year only yielded a small pool of new posts, it was tough to choose favorites when so many have already become standbys. But here are the 10 that stood out as so magically tasty I can’t imagine life without them anymore.
  1. Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies: This was the first recipe I posted in 2014, and I correctly pegged it as a contender for the year-end best list. With three of my favorite cookie ingredients, how could they not be great? I did also used the word “favorite” a few months later to describe Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies, but ultimately, if I had to choose just one cookie to eat for the rest of my life, it would be these.  
  2. Carnitas: Meltingly tender, super-flavorful pork with very little effort = Miraculous.
  3. Roasted Tomato Pizza Margherita: A game changer. As written, it helped me use up extra cherry tomatoes all summer long. Even without the roasted tomato topping, the sauce is so good it’s become my go-to, supplanting the recipe I’d been using for 10 years. I haven’t looked back.
  4. Winter Panzanella: When I want a main-dish kale salad, this is it. The cheese, croutons, squash, and apple give it satisfying substance, and the flavors are phenomenal. Forget winter; I’ve been eating it year-round.
  5. Baked Egg Rolls: Deliciously crunchy and fairly wholesome, these made A especially happy and helped me get more comfortable with cabbage.
  6. Chicken Fajitas: An invaluably easy and crowd-pleasing weeknight staple.
  7. Potato Salad: The recipe that overcame my lifelong aversion, made me an instant convert, and got me through the interminable Southern California summer.
  8. Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding: I love pudding, and I love chocolate with peanut butter. Win-win.
  9. Vanilla Roasted Pears: It doesn’t get much simpler or more transformative than this. Fruit for dessert will never be a letdown with this recipe.
  10. White Bean Chicken Chili: I got this one in just under the wire because I knew it was listworthy. A smart, vivid iteration of the comfort-food standard.

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