Comfort food, gluten-free recipes and vampire prevention appeared to be peak areas of interest for BAB readers in 2010.
Here are the top thirteen stories and recipes most visited on Bay Area Bites during the year:
#1 Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole by Denise Santoro Lincoln
"The casserole is undergoing a resurgence in popularity. After years of being maligned as a tasteless and gloppy suburban dish made with Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, it is finally coming into its own. Blame it on the economy and the rising cost of food, but high-end cuts of meat seared faultlessly and served with the perfect wine are passé in this environment: extravagant and unseemly amidst layoffs and foreclosures. Comfort foods are the new at-home gourmet chic, and there's nothing more heartening and reassuring than a chicken casserole."
#2 Giving Up Sunday Gravy: A Lost Food Tradition by Denise Santoro Lincoln
Have you ever given up a long-held family food tradition? I have. Years ago I gave up Italian Sunday Gravy, which is basically manna for Italian Americans. Although I stand by my decision, I often regret it as well.
#3 Hachiya Persimmons by Denise Santoro Lincoln
Hachiyas are the misunderstood fruit of winter: although they are sweet and wonderful when baked into cakes and puddings, many people are afraid to eat them because they are truly awful when immature. A firm Hachiya is extraordinarily astringent and inedible. I admit that taking a bite out of one is sort of like eating an unripe bitter walnut while suddenly having all the moisture sucked out of your cheeks and tongue. But there's a very simple way to avoid this: don't eat Hachiyas until they're ripe.
#4 Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes by Stephanie Stiavetti
Slowly, as I learned to bake using a completely new set of rules, I discovered that gluten-free baked goods can rival their wheaty counterparts. I learned how to make a gluten-free version of Thanksgiving stuffing, a fantastic butternut squash pie, and everything else that a normal person would sit down to enjoy with their loved ones. Sure, at first my family balked at my "weird" cornbread, but once they came around, they discovered that what I was making tasted good. Actually, I'd venture to say that my from-scratch versions tasted better than a lot of the prefab, processed stuff that my family normally layed out on the table during the holidays.
#5 Caramel Cake, The Recipe. by Shuna Fish Lydon
Shuna's famous CARAMEL CAKE with Caramelized Butter Frosting
#6 Meyer Lemon Ricotta Pancakes by Kim Laidlaw
On Sunday mornings, especially when the weather is rainy and cold and grey, I love to make a decadent breakfast, like brown butter waffles, a full English, or, one of my all-time favorites: delicate, soufflé-like ricotta pancakes. The first time I ate them was at the much beloved neighborhood restaurant, Rockridge Café, located on College Avenue in Oakland. I was hooked immediately.
So, with a bowlful of Meyer lemons, I decided to make some extra-lemony fluffy ricotta pancakes. You can make these for breakfast but they're also perfect for dessert.
#7 Froyo: How to Make Homemade Frozen Yogurt by Denise Santoro Lincoln
Frozen yogurt is going through a bit of a makeover. Soft serve that tastes like ice cream is out while creamy swirls that burst with the flavor of real yogurt are in. Shops serving cups of froyo that burst with yogurt's innate natural tartness are opening everywhere. Forget my favorite college flavor of orange, which tasted more like creamy ice cream that had been melded with baby aspirin. Today's frozen yogurt highlights sweet fruit flavors and is enticingly tangy.
#8 Vampire Pantry Preventatives by Stephanie Lucianovic
If you want to keep vampires at bay, you should stock your kitchen with the following vampire-fighting ingredients...
#9 Dacquoise & Meringue. A Detailed Instruction by Shuna Fish Lydon
Traditionally, dacquoise is defined as nut meringue. These edible architectural details can usually be found demurely hiding in between layers of buttercream as they start out crunchy but softly melt into a layer of sweet nutty unctuousness.
Easy on paper, the meringue (French, Swiss or Italian) is a component which can frustrate even the most seasoned baker. When recipes rely on egg whites or meringue as their main leavener, the workings and instructions of the recipe are very important. Few cookbooks can afford to take the time to explain thoroughly what I am about to here.
#10 Wheat Berries by Denise Santoro Lincoln
If you've never heard of wheat berries, you're not alone. When I mentioned to a few people that I wanted to write about them, I received some quizzical looks. So, for anyone not familiar with this whole grain, let me end the suspense: wheat berries are simply individual kernels of wheat. They are what King Arthur and other grain companies mill to produce baking flours, from whole wheat to cake and all-purpose. And, just as there are many different types of wheat, there are just as many types of wheat berries, with their color ranging from light tan to a reddish brown. But the most important thing about wheat berries, at least as far as this post is concerned, is that they are scrumptious.
#11 Pulled Pork Sandwiches by Denise Santoro Lincoln
Tangy barbecue sauce dripping over slow-cooked pork on a bun. Yum. I freely admit that I am a fan of all things pork. I love pork chops, bacon, and roast loin, not to mention all those sausages. But there's something astonishing about taking one of the least expensive cuts of pork you can buy and turning it into one of the tenderest and juiciest sandwiches you can eat. Ah -- the miracle of pork.
#12 Recipe: Apricot Jam by Stephanie Rosenbaum
Apricots, while more accessible, still have a certain forgotten-fruit quality to them. Just as quince gets described as apple's tough, weird older sister, so apricots are often just a placeholder for peach-lovers, something sweet and orange with a pit that will do until the real goodies come along.
But apricots are good for cooking in a way that peaches aren't, their flavor intensifying into an ineffable tangy sweetness that leans just right against a crumbly, buttery short crust or a piece of whole-grain toast, especially one spread with mild fresh chevre.
#13 Rich as Rockefeller by Michael Procopio
Today, I wanted something rich. Something that would make me feel like that big shot I will more than likely never become.
So I up and made myself a dish named for America's first billionaire-- Oysters Rockefeller.