Photo by Nicole.Franzen via Food52
You guys—I dropped the ball. I know it. I’m sorry. I know you were on the edge of your seat to see what other 4 recipes rocked my culinary world last year. And I totally blue-balled/blue-boobed you and took a two-month-ish hiatus. If last year were 2008, I would have nailed this project, but you know, life, distracted by other shit, etc., happened. But these last four are worth the wait. I saved the best for last. I always do. Enjoy, and then let’s get on with 2013, I guess.
I spent my junior year of college in Thessaloniki, which is basically Greece’s second city—a Boston or Chicago, if you will. And taverna dinners quickly became a pastime not least because of the simple yet incredible food. Greeks may not be good at paying income taxes or efficiency, but they’re goddamn good at potatoes. A gyro “hor-EECE paTATes” is a gyro not worth eating—that’s a fact. These potatoes are the essence of good Greek cooking.
While we’re talking Greek food, let’s talk lemon and oregano and chicken. And Ziploc bags. This recipe is basically putting all this into a bag, setting it down for a couple of hours and then grilling the contents of said bag. This is the best kind of cooking, as it leaves you plenty of time to drink a frappe and smoke cigarettes—a minimum two-hour affair—then you grill, then you repeat the whole process. Greeks might not be good at the economy but they’re good at life.
11. Vegetarian Chili
No meat? Yeah. But chili? Don’t worry about it. This recipe was awesome for using up some veggies that were on their way out, plus I used a Cooks Illustrated tip to “beef up” the umami flavor that meat usually adds to a chili. Turns out the combination of “nucleotides” (dried mushrooms in this case) and “glutamates” (soy sauce) amp up the savory that’s usually lacking in vegetarian dishes. The result was the best veggie chili I’ve ever had. (I urge you to google other nucleotides/glutamates, as this technique is great for many other recipes.)
I sprung for an ice cream maker (best money I’ve spent on kitchen stuff) last summer because Kaitlyn and I realized our habit had gotten quite expensive, so, DIY! I’d developed a taste for sweet and spicy chocolate from eating Steve’s Mexican Chili Chocolate ice cream, so when I saw this recipe in the booklet that came with the machine, it was bumped to top of the list and did not disappoint. Ours was spicier than Steve’s, but that’s just how we roll; adjust cayenne accordingly.