Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wilde Favorites - 2011

The stats of 2011 tell a very sugary tale in the Wilde kitchen.  Four of the five fan favorites from this year were a part of candy challenge 2011, but were they my favorites?  I actually have a whole different set of favorite recipes from this year.  These are things that I have made again and again this year, proving that they are a keeper in this kitchen.  They also prove that I did in fact eat more than just sugar this year...

5. Rosemary Foccacia - This foccacia was made early in the year as a part of my attempt to make it through the Bread Bakers Apprentice challenge.  I didn't finish the cookbook this year, but luckily I made it to the 'F' recipes.  This foccacia, while time consuming, was a lot of fun to make and totally amazing to eat.  Even though this recipe made an entire baking sheet full of focaccia, I ate the entire slab.  The majority of it was made into sharp cheddar paninis and greedily eaten without a napkin.

4. Indian Pizza - I made a bunch of different pizzas this year and this was by far my favorite.  The chicken curry beneath the mild mozzarella made the perfect pairing that made me not want to share any of this.  I tend to make this dish during the summer, otherwise the apartment smells like curry for a week!  Next year I plan to make more strange and delicious pizza flavor combinations.

3. Thanksgiving Potato Pies - This meal was a total winner with everyone that ate it.  Boyfriend and I didn't have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, instead I made these bad boys for us earlier in the week.  They were declared "The best thing you've made, ever."  I want to make them again and again, changing up my potato pie mix-ins.

2. Coconut Joys - Okay, of course one of my top 5 had to be from the candy challenge.  While there were very few challenge recipes that didn't win praise, these were my all-year favorite.  Compared to a Bounty or Mounds bar, they were spot on for the store-bought candies.  I ate the vast majority of these before they even made it to work.

1. Buffalo Mac 'n' Cheese - Something that I first had at S'Mac in New York City, I decided that I wanted to have it all of the time.  The combination of Buffalo sauce and blue cheese makes this dinner absolutely fantastic.  I've made this recipe again and again because I love it and so does boyfriend!  If you're in the mood for something a little Upstate NY, throw this together and enjoy.

There we have it!  My top 5 recipes for 2011, don't they look delicious!  Now you can see that I did indeed eat more than candy this year, although it was a sweet year in many, many ways.  Here's to a great 2012, I look forward to seeing you all there!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fan Favorites - 2011

As we approach the end of 2011, I though we should look back on some of our favorite recipes of the year.  From the stats, it's pretty easy to see which recipes were your favorites, but maybe you are curious about which ones I liked the best.  Or, maybe you're not.  Either way, the completion of the year is a good time to look back and reflect on our past.  Let's sift through the entries and reminisce on some of our go to recipes of 2011.

Starting with the fan favorites!!!  These are the top five recipes with the most blog hits all year.  Since this year was the year of the Candy Challenge!!! we saw lots of candy recipes, and they seemed to strike a chord with all of you. 

5. Ganduja & Caramel Candy Bars - These dense, rich and chewy bars came about as a part of the Daring Bakers August challenge.  A peanut and pretzel-filled layer of sweet caramel, topped with a peanut butter and chocolate slab, these bars were rich.  They needed to be cut into 1-inch squares in order to be considered "one serving."

4. Three Musketeers Bars - Another candy favorite!  I was totally sceptical when I started making this recipe.  There was no way that I could duplicate the classic candy bar.  And I was right, it wasn't exactly the same, it was better.  This bar is a slightly denser and way more chocolatey version of the classic.  These didn't last long on the snack table at work.

3. English Muffins - A departure from your love of all things chocolate, the English muffin recipe comes in third for your all-time favorite this year.  In the early days of 2011, I tried to take on the Bakers Apprentice Challenge.  After a few months I realized that trying to complete two challenges in one year was a bit crazy.  Thankfully I made these guys before I abandoned my yeast for a while.

2. Pumpkin Pie Mallomars - In my year of the Candy Challenge!!! I produced a ridiculous amount of marshmallow.  From raspberry to chocolate, key lime to pomegranate, there was no flavor that I wouldn't dare to make.  Around October I decided that I was time to give the Mallomar another try.  It was totally worth it, these were super delicious.

1. Buffalo Sponge Candy - By far, your favorite recipe this year has been my sponge candy recipe.  It has received twice the number of hits at our number two finisher and continues to popular every week.  Sponge candy is a hometown favorite, but people from around the world have their own brand of the candy.  With names like fairy food, honeycomb, violet crumble, crunchy and sea foam, it permeates the candy world without being obvious.  With the popularity of this recipe, I've decided to film a how-to video next year.  Look forward to seeing me in the kitchen, whipping up a batch of my favorite treat!

So there we have it, your top five recipes for this year!  It would seem that you all have a bit of a sweet tooth!  With Candy Challenge 2011 coming to a close, you'll see fewer candy recipes in 2012.  Don't worry though, I just got a new candy cookbook for Christmas and I've got to try it out!

Stay tuned tomorrow for MY top five recipes of the year!  You'll remember that I did a little more than eat candy all year, there were a few vegetables in there too!

Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Bars

Slowly, I'm coming back from the dead.  The cold virus that knocked me down like a freight train has been galliantly fought off by my immune system and I'm on the mend.  It has been rough, being sick at this time of the year, because this is the most fun time of year to cook!  This is the time of year that you can make everything red, green and blue, cover everything in sprinkles and frosting and feed your coworkers endless supplies of sugar.  They don't complain because it's festive.

I had big plans to make you lots of cookies the week leading up to Christmas, these bars are as far as I got.  While they were certainly delicious, I can't say that they are terribly festive.  Now that we've made it past December 25th and the presents have been put away, I suppose that you need some treats to celebrate the New Year.

Now that I'm living withing throwing distance to New York City, I've been getting lots of questions about what I'm doing for the big night.  Sadly, since I've been sick, we haven't made any plans at all!  A few years ago, before we were living here, boyfriend and I came to New York for the ball drop.  We figured, "You have to do it once!" 

Unfortunately, that year it was freezing cold.  I'm talking single digit temperatures as we approached midnight.  We had layered pants upon pants and sweaters under our jackets, yet still, we were cold.  There was no way we were going to sit still in Time's square for eight hours.  We would have been peoplesicles.  Instead we wandered the city from four in the afternoon until the ball finally came down to ring in the new year. 
We actually had a good view of the descending ball from our final position at the southeast corner of Bryant park.  The winds were even blowing in our direction and we got a nice shower of confetti and balloons.  However, moments after midnight, the crowds quickly dispersed and we hoofed it back to our hotel room as fast as our frozen bodies could take us.

This year looks to be a lot warmer here in the Big apple.  Does that mean that you'll see me in with the throngs of people in Time's Square?  Not a chance!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I hope you spend it with people you love, whether you decide to ring in the new year at eight o'clock or midnight.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spicy Sesame Noodles

It's official everyone, I work at my company!  I know, it's an odd thing to say.  You might even be thinking "Wait Vicki, didn't you start your new job in July?"  First, thank you for remembering!  Second, yes.  I did start working at my job in the summer, but today I got my first set of business cards.

They are so pretty.  My name Dr. Wilde, Ph.D., in bold black lettering, tells everyone that I am an official member of the team!  Before I would go up to people and be all, "Hi, I work here!" and I would have no tangable proof to back up my claim.

Not any longer!  I work here now and I can prove it!  I can even back it up with a little information about what I'm working on.  I can spew fancy chemistry and pharmaceutical words and sound like a professional.  But don't let the business cards and fancy language fool you!  I'm still feeling my way around my new job. 

When I joined the team I was told that my first year would feel like I was thrown into the deep end of the pool.  I've learned to float and now I'm learning to swim.  Soon, I'll have all the goods necessary to back up that business card.  That little piece of card stock holds a lot of pressure and responsibility!  Here's to finding my sea legs!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Peppermint Mallomars

We are two weeks away from the culmination of the holiday season and my house is full of delicious cookies!  Yes, I've been making dozens and dozens of cookies, but that is not the only reason why I am buried in deliciousness.  Perhaps you have noticed a theme among some of your favorite food blogs today.  The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! 

I'm so happy to be a part of such a fun, creative and generous group of people.  I originally saw the idea posted on Love and Olive Oil a few weeks ago.  A grand cookie swap between the bloggers of the world.  A massacre of flour, sugar and butter that would culminate in the biggest collection of holiday cookies in one place. 

It was probably not very simple to orchestrate, so many thanks to Lindsay from Love and Olive oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen.  They were able to organize over six hundred bloggers in a complex cookie swap, each blogger sending out three dozen cookies and receiving a three dozen cookies in return, mmm cookies...

I tried out a whole bunch of different recipes before I finally came up with this one.  Something that really represents what I have been doing all year long.  A combination of candy and cookie, I give you the holiday mallomar.  The marshmallow is coated in sparkly sprinkles, rather than chocolate, on top of a dark chocolate cookie.  If you haven't tried making marshmallow yet this year, you should dust your candy thermometer off and get into the kitchen.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thai Chicken Curry

It's been just over a month since boyfriend and I returned from our trip around the world.  While we travelled through Thailand, we had three cameras and two iPhones.  As you can imagine, we came home with over two thousand images and twenty gigabytes of video.  It has taken me this long to go through the pictures!  To celebrate the momentous occasion of finishing my photo editing, I decided to make some curry! 

Keeping it simple today, enjoy some images from Thailand, then make some curry while you plan a trip of your own.

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaeo

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

The Beautiful Andaman Sea

Phangnga Bay (as seen in this years Amazing Race!)

Thailand has some pretty flowers!

Now, on to the curry...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Peanut Butter Brownies

Sooo, tis the season, right?  The season where we make nothing but cookies in our kitchens and get to real food as an afterthought?  Well, that's how things turned out in my kitchen this weekend.  These brownies are the product of a cookie-filled weekend at the Wilde household.  If you're already brownied out after last week, just tune back in on Thursday when I make some real food!

These brownies were the first of three recipes that I tried out this weekend.  I had big plans for these cookies.  They were to be packaged up and sent around the country as a part of the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011!!!  I have made these in the past and the note in my cookbook read "12/05/09 - Delicious!"  Thinking that I could probably trust myself, I got out of bed in the early morning hours of saturday to make these bad boys.

To give my past self credit, these brownies are delicious, they just won't be sent to my cookie swap friends.  You might be asking yourself why, especially if you are my secret cookie swap friends, but there is a good reason for it.  The delicious chocolate glaze that sits on top of these brownies didn't really set up.  If I mailed these delicious brownies to my secret cookie swap friends, they would be greeted to a big chocolate mess when they opened the box. 

So, if you don't need to ship brownies to anyone and you want an entire 15x10-inch pan of brownies all for yourself, make these!  And don't worry, I wound up with an awesome treat for the Cookie swap, I hope my secret matches like them!  You'll all have to wait until next Tuesday to see them!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Coconut Brownies

Did anyone else wake up this morning and wonder how it came to be December 1st already?  I know that I did!  It feels like we should still be working our way through September right now.  Maybe it's the warm weather that we've been experiencing in the Northeast (not that I'm complaining one bit!).  Maybe it's the fact that this is the first time in my life that is gorverned by the real calendar and not the scholastic calendar (where was the influx of undergrads to mark the beginning of September?)  Maybe it's because I kinda skipped out on the whole Thanksgiving dinner thing?

Some of you were wondering why I missed out on my turkey dinner last Thursday, I promise I had a good reason!  Instead of partaking in a Thursday evening food-fest, boyfriend and I spent the usual binging hours flying from New York to Florida.  We flew down to warmer weather to visit his parents on the sunny Gulf coast and that's why we missed our turkey and stuffing.

Yes, I know that New York City enjoyed near record temperatures last weekend, but it was still warmer in Florida.  Plus, boyfriends parents live a mere seven-minute walk to the beach.  It would take me hours to walk to the beach from my apartment in New Jersey, then I would find myself confronted with the chilly Atlantic.  Brrr...

I enjoyed a restful weekend at the beach and got a little sun, then I fell asleep in the back seat of the car when returning to the airport.  Yes, I was thoroughly made fun of.  What can I say Vicki plus sun plus car ride equals nap time!  Who am I kidding, I fall asleep in the car all the time.

Since I know that you aren't feeling bad for me now for missing thanksgiving dinner, here are some brownies.  They are awesome and one of the tastiest treats to come out of the Wilde kitchen in a while!

Did you also notice the new tab at the top?  Be sure to stop by and check out my upcoming challenge for 2012!  I need your help, I need your input, I need you to challenge me!!!  Go on, it will be fun.
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