This past year I've had the chance to explore some exciting new territory. I've taken creative risks inside and outside the kitchen with some admittedly mixed - but rewarding - results. So, in choosing my favorite posts for 2009 at The Kitchn, I found myself drawn to those with an adventurous, expansive spirit. Here are 15 that have had a special resonance for me:
Pictured posts are in bold.
- Recipe Review: Lillet Sin Cocktail: I've been writing my Friday cocktail and spirits column, "Straight Up" for The Kitchn for nearly two years now, and have shot most of my drinks pics within the often less-than-ideal confines of my own apartment (windowsill, dining table, desk, etc.). So it was a true pleasure to use the gorgeous kitchen and lush garden of Ragdale House as a backdrop for these photos for my recipe review of the Lillet Sin cocktail. (Picking fresh mint from Ragdale's herb garden was a real plus too.)
- Kitchen Tour: Edna St. Vincent Millay's Poetic Farmhouse: Spending time inside this storied kitchen among all the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet's bone china, bean pots, bird's nests, and seashells was an unforgettable experience.
- My Mushroom Hunting Weekend: Whether she's slicing open a pungent durian fruit, eating fish sperm sashimi, or teaching herself Japanese cooking, Kathryn's a fearlessly hands-on culinary explorer. This post made me want one of those cool-looking mushroom-hunting knives.
- A Cheese Confessional: Here "The Cheesemonger" columnist, Nora Singley, went out on a limb to dish about her scandalous dalliance with a much-scorned cheese. Brava!
- Weekend Meditation: My Father's Fudge Recipe: I loved catching a glimpse of Dana's culinary lineage through this charming drawing and recipe. So much joy is captured on a single slip of paper.
- Ten Things I Love From My Mother's Kitchen: From worn and well-loved wooden spoons to a watercolor painting of a ham, Sara Kate created a dynamic portrait of her mother through a series of simple kitchen still lifes.
- Kitchen Tour: Gregory and Emily's Colorful Kitchen: It was a real treat to step into this sunny, homey, California kitchen, some 2400 miles from my computer screen. Thanks, Emily, for inviting us all in.
- Recipe Review: Earl Grey MarTEAni: One of my favorite cocktails at one of my favorite bars turned out to be easier to make at home than I ever imagined.
- Kitchen Bloopers: Wax Paper Is Not Parchment Paper: Sometimes a little experimentation leads to a brilliant discovery. Other times it spells disaster. Thanks, Emma, for the reminder that even the worst belly flop can become a funny story later on.
- Paired! Ader Kase Blue Cheese with Peanut Brittle: Inside or outside the kitchen, there's a lot to be said for unlikely alliances.
- On Egg Salad and Other Nontraditional Sandwiches for Breakfast: Elizabeth shakes things up by thinking outside the cereal box.
- Why Being Paper Towel-Free Is Overrated: Sarah Rae's sense of fun, creative verve, and awesome Photoshop chops made this thoughtful piece on the lowly paper towel a truly entertaining read.
- The Unique Wine of Greece: Part 1 - The Peloponnese: Travel. Wine. Yes!
- Going Underground: Department Store Food Halls: My first trip to Tokyo brought food-related adventures.
- 5 Exotic Foods We Want to Try Plus 5 We Really Don't: The good, the bad, and the icky. I enjoyed Faith's roundup of these unusual delicacies because it made me think about my own food boundaries. Maybe it's time to try something new from her list.
Thanks for reading. Wishing you all an adventurous and creative 2010!
(Images: See linked posts for full image credits.)