Your favorite recipe of 2015: Gallo Pinto (Costa Rican Beans and Rice)
This year, some of my friends of Costa Rican heritage have been teaching me their families’ recipes. It’s been such a fun learning process and I’ve discovered a real love of Costa Rican cuisine! First up was this Gallo Pinto, and according to my site statistics, you loved learning about this traditional Costa Rican dish as much as I did. Not only was it my most-viewed recipe of 2015, but it’s also my most “Yummed” (saved to Yummly users’ recipe boxes) recipe ever. A fantastic dish, especially with fried eggs for breakfast! Pura vida!
My favorite recipe of 2015: French Potato Salad with Baby Arugula
I’ve been all about the vinaigrette-based dishes this year and I was so excited to share my recipe for French Potato Salad with you over the summer. It’s such a light, fresh alternative to mayo-based salads that’s especially convenient for entertaining. With the unseasonably warm temperatures we’ve been having in NJ, I could’ve used a bowl of this last week!
Trickiest to Photograph: Roasted Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Soufflés
I had something of my own “deflate-gate” in the Striped Spatula kitchen this year. These soufflés were delicious, but photographing the scorching-hot ramekins in all of their puffed glory was a challenge! In order to capture them from different angles before they deflated, I staggered my baking times so that two soufflés would emerge from the oven every 5 minutes. When the timer went off, my friends and family (including the dog) knew to stay out of my way, because my time was limited to set up the scene and snap the photo. Thankfully, it all worked out in the end, and the post also resulted in finding my favorite Instagram hashtag of 2015: #holla4thecolla!
Favorite “Foodie Fun” Experience: Epicurean Palette 2015!
This year’s edition of Ground’s for Sculpture‘s annual fundraiser was a fantastic afternoon. I spent the day on a foodie adventure, tasting small plates and sips from some of the region’s best chefs and beverage purveyors. I knew it would be a fun event, but I didn’t expect my blog post about it to lead to some really great professional opportunities, including being invited to join the Jersey Bites team as a contributor. It was a real highlight of my year!
Almost didn’t happen: Grilled Guacamole
Hi there, I’m Amanda, I run a food blog, and I burn avocados. I’ve made this recipe more times than I can count, but the day I decided to photograph it for the blog, the phone rang with a pressing matter as soon as I put the avocados on the grill. (Of course!) I thought I returned in a short enough time, but let’s just say: apparently not. Those poor avocados were charred to oblivion! Thankfully, I was able to scrape them for an un-photographed bowl of guac and had some extra avocados in my produce drawer to re-grill for the photos.
Forever in our hearts: Chloe, the Striped Spatula Mini Dachshund
Sadly, our family lost our very best friend to cancer earlier this month. Though her small size and spirited personality made her look like a puppy, Chloe was 15 years old! She loved the aromas that came out of our kitchen when I was cooking for the blog and could often be found camped out in front of the oven. She knew that the sound of the 1-minute warning timer meant that whatever was baking was almost done, and would get up and lead me to the kitchen when she heard it. The best dog!
It’s been a delicious year on the blog, and it wouldn’t have been possible without you, my readers! I am so grateful to all of you for joining me on this journey. I’m planning a site redesign with some fun new features in 2016, and can’t wait to get started sharing a new collection of recipes with all of you. I wish you and your families all the best for a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2016. See you next year!
(Recipes featured in lead photo, from top, clockwise: Roasted Radishes with Tarragon Vinaigrette, Beef Tenderloin with Cognac Cream Sauce, Delicata Squash with Brown Butter Vinaigrette, Parmesan Duchess Potatoes, Bacon Bourbon Barbecue Sauce, Carrot Cake with Orange Curd)