Last week I made almond biscotti just because. They were a bit crumbly, as the dough turned out a bit drier than expected. But along with a cup of strong coffee, they made for delicate, delectable breakfast treats. Here’s a bit to nibble on, along with my rundown of TLG in 2010:
I didn’t do as much cooking as I would have liked, but did attempt a number of dishes for the first time, like this ratatouille. I discovered Marcella Hazan’s simple tomato sauce, which contains nothing more than a can of tomatoes, 5 tablespoons of butter, and a halved onion; found a go-to granola recipe; concocted a classic chicken salad that pairs poached chicken breast with crunchy bosc pears, celery, and scallions. I discovered a penchant for Israeli couscous and experimented with Boston Organics’ delivery service, and when the temperature dropped, I turned to beef and beer chili and roast chicken to warm me up.
My roommates and I held several potlucks, including a Spanish-themed one featuring paella and tortillas de patatas, and a Southern night replete with fried chicken and macaroni and cheese. I hosted several weekend brunches, a couple of which dovetailed nicely with the beautiful late summer weather we had this year. There was also this recent Middle Eastern-themed brunch inspired by Oleana.
Speaking of Oleana, my visit there was one of several memorable dining experiences in 2010. I had an interesting meal at Toro, tried Five Guys for the first time, dined on French and Italian fare at Pigalle and Rialto during Restaurant Week. Though I shouldn’t have been, I was caught off-guard with great food at Garden at the Cellar. Dave’s Pasta in Davis Square has yet to disappoint me with their impressive selection of behemoth sandwiches, some premade and some made to order, all on top-notch bread from Jessica’s. In my travels around the New England area, I hit up Duckfat in Portland, ME, and some places in New Hampshire and western Mass that I would definitely go to again. I also successfully embarked on a 48-hour pizza-eating spree in New Haven.
Over the past year, several events have led me to believe that the once-sleepy Boston food scene is rising from its slumber. Chefs focused on modern interpretations of New England fare and committed to local, seasonal, sustainably produced ingredients are leading the charge. In April, I attended Taste of the Nation Boston, an exquisite parade of food and drink by some of Boston’s best, including Gordon Hamersley (who graciously served me and, in anything but my finest moment, whom I proceeded to tell his duck breast was overcooked) and Jody Adams. On a sublime autumnal afternoon, I sampled barbecue, tacos, and other small plates at the Boston Local Food Festival along the piers in Fort Point, followed a couple weeks later by the ode to meat that was the East Cambridge Rib Fest. I also treated myself to the Cheese 101 course at Formaggio Kitchen, where you can drop $50 and walk out with a bag that’s lighter than a pound; I certainly have. But that place is a treasure trove for serious cheese lovers, and they are serviced by a well-trained and knowledgeable staff.
WordPress just sent me a perky review of how my blog fared in 2010: “Here’s a high level summary of your overall blog health: Wow. We think you did great!” Luckily, some more objective data followed: “The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 18,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.” I’m told the post on Israeli couscous garnered the most views, followed by the one on chicken salad. That indicates to me that visitors want 1) recipes and 2) arresting photos, which I will bear in mind for 2011.
To all who read this blog, thank you. I tell myself I do it for myself, but I’m not sure I could do it alone. Your support and readership are important to TLG and your feedback is always encouraged.
I didn’t make any new year’s resolutions, but did take the time to reflect on how I would like this blog to evolve. I plan to cook more often and discuss food and health issues more consistently. That may entail scaling back on restaurant posts — I have no future as a critic, lacking both the tongue and palate for it — which will be replaced with more recipes and reflections. I hope you’ll stick around. Bon appetit!