I’ve had a run of culinary successes lately — the kind that have me boasting such things as “This has to be one of the best Adventures in Domesticity experiences of ALL TIME.” Well, it got me to thinking if I could actually pinpoint the BEST Adventure in Domesticity. I couldn’t. However, as I approach my 100th entry in the category, I couldn’t help but wax nostalgic, and thus I’ve compiled this list of my favorite culinary adventures on this blog.
A word or two about the list. I’ve chosen the recipes based on a variety of factors. Some dishes are so good and easy that I make them on a nearly regular basis. Some are time intensive but so amazing they can’t be ignored. The point is that each of these recipes makes me giddy in some way, and thus they’ve earned a spot on the list.
I’ve excluded cocktails because they’ll clearly receive their own list someday.
Listed in Alphabetical order:
Banana Crunch Muffins: Ina Garten’s recipe is pitch perfect. Heaven is biting down into that first warm muffin, feeling the light crunch of the crust, followed by the soft, fluffy filling. And the flavor? Amazing. I don’t have many occasions to make muffins, but next time I do, you can bet I’ll be making a batch of these.
Borscht: Throw a bunch of chopped vegetables into a bowl with some sour cream and beet liquid? Sign me up! This simple soup has complex flavors. And did I mention how easy it is to make? Dynamite.
Butterscotch Budino: The butterscotch budino at Pizzeria Mozza here in Los Angeles is legendary. But here’s the best part: the recipe is widely available online. The homemade version pales compared to the restaurant, but let me tell you something: that’s like saying Niagara Falls just isn’t as impressive as the Grand Canyon. Okay, that might be a bit dramatic, but the point is that this rich, creamy budino will have your eyes rolling to the back of your head. If a schlub like me can make it, anyone can.
Chicken Tikka Masala: My friend Eunnok introduced me to this recipe a few years ago, and I’ve been using it ever since. Sure, it might not be exactly as you’d get it from your local Indian restaurant, but it’s pretty damn close, AND the yield is so large you’ll be enjoying it all week long. For a vegetarian option, try subbing the chicken for paneer cheese.
Chocolate Bombe: It’s not often that I take on a Julia Child recipe as they tend to be overly involved and massively intense. However, my mom used to make this cake when I was a kid, and I decided it was my time to try it myself. The bad part: it takes about two days (there’s a lot of “setting”), but the end result is more than worth it. This is a chocolate lover’s dream, and news flash: I’m a chocolate lover.
Chocolate Sorbet: I’ve now made several ice creams from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, and all of them have been extraordinary. My favorite, however, has been the recipe for chocolate sorbet, which is so creamy and decadent, it’s shocking to find out there are no eggs and no dairy. For the flavor-to-healthiness ratio alone, this recipe wholeheartedly deserves a spot on this list (peppermint patty mix-ins optional).
Chocolate Tartlets: The one that started it all. My very first Adventure In Domesticity came when I attempted — successfully, I might add — to make chocolate tartlets. At the time, it was the most ambitious thing I had ever done. It just so happens that it also remains one of the best. I’ve made the tartlets several times since then, including for a blogger bake sale where they were maligned, but only because I was perceived to be “some gossip blogger.”
Chocolate Tofu Pudding / Celery Root Puree: I lump these two things together only because they appeared in the same post, not because they are some sort of amazing pairing (which I assure you they wouldn’t be). The chocolate tofu pudding comes courtesy of Mark Bittman, and it serves as possibly the most healthy and unexpected entry in the mousse / pudding / ice cream genre. Like the chocolate sorbet, it’s high in flavor, low in bad stuff, and for that reason, it’s been made umpteen times. As for the celery root puree, I can assure you that you’ll never go back to ordinary mashed potatoes (okay, maybe garlic mash) after you try it.
Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie: Back in December of 2010, I held a reader-submitted pie contest, and this recipe was a finalist. It lost to a perfectly lovely Turtle Pie (there was a panel of voters), but in the months since then, I’ve found myself extolling the virtues of this recipe more. Simply put: this apple pie recipe is one of the best out there.
Daeji Bulgogi Burrito: One of my all-time favorite go-to recipes is Daeji Bulgogi. Sweet, savory, spicy, garlicky – it’s always a show-stopper, and it’s even better wrapped up in a burrito shell with some rice. This is homemade fusion at its best.
Flat Roast Chicken: This could very well be my favorite recipe on this list. It’s cheap, it’s fast, it’s easy, and it yields enough for two or three meals. And did I mention that it’s also out-of-this-world delicious? It will restore your faith in the humble chicken. No wonder this recipe went viral (viewed over 24,000 times on StumbleUpon alone).
Galbi: One of the first recipes I learned is also one of the best. This Korean marinade will make your BBQ sing. It’s a must-have in your box of tricks.
Grilled Corn Salad: My friend Bets and I once endeavored to whip up a Mexican feast for ourselves. The main event were chilaquiles, but it was this simple side salad that stole the show. Bright, refreshing, tangy, flavorful — it just kicks ass. I’ve made it many times now for many people. I’ve used fresh corn, frozen corn, canned corn, and it all works. This is a killer side and will win you nothing but accolades.
Kimchi Pancakes: People have heard of potato pancakes, but not as many are familiar with the kimchi variety. Some can’t even conceptualize what they might taste like. Take the plunge and try this sour, multi-layered dish, made best when drunk and starving.
Mango Coconut Shrimp: This dish earns a spot on this list not because of the shrimp but because of the mango coconut sauce. It can serve as a simmering sauce (as in this recipe) or simply as a dip, which is how I like it best. Like all my favorite dishes, it combines sweet, sour, salty, and spicy all in one bite. Plus, it takes two seconds to make. Can’t go wrong.
Moroccan Carrot Soup: Easily one of my favorite soups to make, this brightly orange concoction is a nice change from the usual carrot ginger soups one finds pretty much everywhere. Add a dollop of yogurt, and this healthy, flavorful soup becomes wonderfully decadent. Again, drop this in the easy-healthy-SUPERtasty category.
Orecchiette with Breadcrumbs: Back in 2005, I was unemployed and living off a diet of Hot Pockets and frozen pizzas. I decided it was time for a change. I needed to cook. I turned on the Food Network, and there was Giada De Laurentiis making this dish, which looked so easy and simple that I knew a neophyte like me could even pull it off. The first attempt was a success, and so began my dubious cooking career. After all these years, I still come back to the orecchiette recipe, which not only tastes wonderful but takes to variation very nicely. Lately, as seen in this Adventure in Domesticity (which also includes a red velvet cupcake recipe), I’ve been prone to mixing some pepperoni into it, which may sound strange to some, but I assure you it is oh so perfect.
Ribs: Enough of these quick and healthy recipes. Sometimes I want something big and manly. Enter Tyler Florence’s oven baked ribs. Sure, eschewing the grill may be sacrilege to some, but try these melt-in-your mouth ribs, and you’ll forget any reservations you may have had. I don’t make ribs often, but when I do, it’s this recipe all the way. Salivating already.
Strange Flavored Chicken: Of all the recipes on this list, this might be the quickest and easiest. Just mix a few ingredients together (ie. oil, vinegar, sugar, etc) and toss with pre-cooked chicken. You will never be prepared for the explosive flavor that will take over your mouth. This Sichuan dish is called “strange” because it’s nearly indescribable. Imagine every single flavor sensation happening ALL AT ONCE. Sweet, spicy, tangy, salty, nutty, numbing — it’s kind of insane and unlike anything you’ve ever had.
Tuna and Hummus Sandwich: I made this sandwich for the first time about three weeks ago, and it is literally the only sandwich I eat now for lunch when I’m home. I actually get excited when it comes time for lunch now. It’s that good. Basically, I make a big batch of Ina Garten’s wonderful tuna salad and an equally sizable batch of hummus on Mondays, and then spend the rest of the week enjoying the fruits of my labor. I roll my eyes with ecstasy nearly every time I take a bite, and I’m just as enraptured now as I was with my first bite. It does not get old. This is quite simply might be my favorite homemade sandwich of all time.
Brazilian Shrimp Stew: Totally unexpected and amazingly tangy.
Shrimp Piri Piri: Reliable, tasty.
Soft shell crabs: Simple, delicious.
Sour Cream Banana Pancakes: This is how to make moist pancakes.
Have any of you made these recipes? What should I make next?