Top 10 Recipes in 2007

Here are the top 10 recipes on Closet Cooking based on page views in 2007:

My Top 10 Favorite Recipes in 2007

The year 2007 was the year that I discovered food blogging! My adventures in food blogging started when I got back from my vacation in Japan. I was looking for recipes for some of the dishes that I had tried when I was there when I came across a blog about Japanese food. After reading through all of the posts on the blog I followed some of the links in the blog roll and I found more food blogs. The pictures on the food blogs were so enticing and tasty looking that I both started to cook and to take pictures of what I was cooking. After a while I decided to start my own food blog and the rest is history.

I have come a long way since I started food blogging. Before, I was making the same few dishes over and over again. Now, I have tried many new foods and dishes from several different cuisines. Along the way I have met many other food bloggers that have both inspired me and helped me along the way.

I look forward to discovering many new and tasty foods in 2008!

Happy New Year!

With the year coming to an end I took the opportunity to look at what I had been making. Here are my 10 favorite dishes from 2007:

Turkey White Chili

Turkey White Chili

I recently came across the concept of a white chili . I have made the more standard red chili many times and I recently made green chili but I had never heard of a white chili before. After looking at a few recipes, a white chili seems to be a chili that is made with white beans and white meat and that also does not contain tomatoes or tomatillos. I though that it would be nice to try making a white chili with the turkey leftovers and the turkey stock that I had just made. This is a pretty basic chili recipe and yet it turned out to be really tasty. I think that the home made turkey stock played a big roll in the flavour of the chili. I will have to try making my own stock more often in the future. The corn added a nice sweetness to the chili that I enjoyed. I served the chili with sour cream and shredded cheese for garnish and some cornbread on the side. I think that I am enjoying the turkey leftovers more than the original turkey dinner!

Turkey Congee (Rice Porridge)

Turkey Congee (Rice Porridge)

I came across this recipe for turkey congee a while ago that looked interesting. I had never had a congee before and so I wanted to try it. A congee is a rice porridge. I made sure to set aside some of the turkey leftovers from my holiday turkey dinner to make the turkey congee. I was not able to find the dried scallops that the original recipe called for and I forgot to pick up the dried shrimp. Luckily I had some dried shiitake mushrooms on hand and they were listed as a possible alternative. Instead of cooking the congee with the turkey bones I used the turkey stock that I had made using the bones. Although the congee took a while to cook it did not require that much hands on time. The aroma of the congee from the turkey stock and the shiitake mushrooms was amazing. Despite the nice aroma the congee had a fairly subtle flavour. At first I was a bit disappointed but as I ate it, it grew on me. By the time that I had finished the bowl I realized that I was really enjoying it. I guess that flavour does not need to be super strong to be good. I also really liked the creamy texture of the congee. I will definitely have to look harder for some dried scallops to try the next time I make this.

Turkey Stock

I have been wanting to try making my own stock for a while now. When I made my oven roasted turkey drumstick dinner I made sure to cook extra drumsticks so that I could use them to make some turkey stock. I froze all of the bones and leftover meat and vegetables until I was ready to make the stock. Making the stock was pretty easy though it needs to simmer for a long time. It is something that you would want to do on a weekend. The stock had an amazing aroma both while it was cooking and after it was refrigerated.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar, Pine Nuts and Parmigiano Reggiano

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar, Pine Nuts and Parmigiano Reggiano

I have really been enjoying brussels sprouts this season and I wanted to include them in one of my holiday dinners. I can't believe that it took me so long to try roasting brussels sprouts in the oven. I have yet to meet a vegetable that does not taste better after roasting in the oven. I tried roasting some brussels sprouts tossed in oil, salt and pepper before the holidays and they were really good. Even with such simple seasoning they were easily my favorite way of preparing brussels sprouts. For my holiday dinner brussels sprouts I decided to jazz them up a bit and I found a recipe for roasted brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar, toasted pine nuts and parmigiano reggiano . They turned out pretty good. The balsamic vinegar added a nice sweetness and the pine nuts added a nice creamy texture.

Curried Turkey and Quinoa Salad

Curried Turkey and Quinoa Salad

I was staring at all of the leftovers in my fridge trying to figure out what to make for dinner when inspiration struck. A curried turkey and couscous salad sounded pretty good. As I was reaching for the couscous I noticed the quinoa and thought that it would work even better. While the quinoa was cooking I chopped up some vegetables and threw together a quick dressing. I even found some mint that needed to be used. The curried turkey and quinoa salad turned out to be pretty amazing! The dressing was flavourful and nicely balanced. The mint which almost didn't make it into the salad, ended up being the star of the show making very bite refreshing. The crunchiness of the celery and the pecans went well with the tender quinoa and the chewy dried cranberries. This salad would likely do well without the turkey or with the turkey replaced by chicken. I have a feeling that I will be making this salad fairly often in the future.

Honey Glazed Ham

Honey Glazed Ham

It has been a while since I have had a ham dinner and I have never made one myself so I decided to make one for Christmas dinner. It took me a while to choose between doing a honey glazed ham and a maple glazed ham. Since I have been doing so much with the maple syrup lately I though I would give it a rest and went with the honey. I picked up a bone in, smoked ham that looked good. Cooking the ham was pretty easy and it tasted really good. It was nice and moist an flavourful, though the clove was really subtle. I think I may include a bit of ground cloves in the glaze the next time to increase the clove flavour a bit. The best thing was that there was a of ham left over. I will get to enjoy ham dinners for a few nights. I tossed the bone in the freezer and if I recall correctly, one can use a ham bone is split pea soup. Now I will have to look for some recipes to use up some of the ham.

Oven Roasted Turkey Drumsticks and Vegetables

Oven Roasted Turkey Drumsticks and Vegetables


The other day I had turkey breast which was really good but I was missing the dark meat. I thought that I would try making turkey drumsticks next. I knew that I would not have much time for this meal so I decided to make it a one pan meal and roast the vegetables under the turkey drumsticks. It was pretty easy to make; you just need to clean and chop some vegetables, push some sage under the turkeys skin and wait for it to cook. I took Peters advise from the comments on the turkey breast post and just coated the skin with some melted butter and it crisped up nicely. The sage cooking under the buttered skin smelled really good! I forgot to make the gravy but the vegetables certainly tasted great all coated in the turkey drippings.

Merry Christmas! I hope you enjoy some tasty food!

Rice Pudding with Cranberries and Pistachios

Rice Pudding with Cranberries and Pistachios


This months Sugar High Friday theme is pudding. I was pretty pleased with the pudding theme as I have never made pudding before and I have not really eaten a lot of pudding. I have been seeing some really nice looking pudding on food blogs for a while and this was the perfect excuse to try some. There are a lot of different types of pudding out there and I though that I would start with a simple rice pudding. Making rice pudding is similar to making rice except that you use more liquid and you cook it a bit longer. You can do so many different things with rice pudding. You can use different types of rice. I used Japanese short grained rice. You can use different liquids such as milk, coconut milk, etc. You can use different sweeteners like sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc. You can make it with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. You can add different things like fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts etc. Since it was the holidays I decided to go with a holiday theme of cinnamon, orange zest, cranberries and pistachios. I was hoping that the rice pudding would end up white with the red cranberries and green pistachios but the cinnamon darkened it. The aroma of cinnamon and orange while it was cooking was pretty amazing. I could not wait for the pudding to cool down so I ate it warm. I will have to try cooking it in the fridge the next time to see how it is. The rice pudding tasted really good. It was nice and creamy and the cranberries were chewy and the nuts were crunchy. I look forward to experimenting with variations of rice pudding and other types of puddings. I wonder if you can cook rice pudding with milk in a rice cooker?

Yule Log

Yule Log


This months Daring Bakers challenge was a Yule Log. A Yule Log is basically a cake that is made to look like a log. I had never seen or heard of a yule log and I was looking forward to making it. I ended up procrastinating until the very end. In fact I just finished making the yule log now. (I really need to try to start the January challenge earlier.) Like many Daring Baker challenges this one had several components including the genoise cake, a butter cream and marzipan mushrooms.

Maple Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce


One of my favorite parts of a holiday dinner is the cranberry sauce. It seems that the cranberry sauce only makes an appearance once or twice a year so it is one of the things that I look forward to. I think that cranberry sauce goes really well with turkey and I tend to use it like gravy on the turkey. I thought it would be nice to try replacing the sugar with maple syrup. This was my first time making cranberry sauce and I was a little surprised when the cranberries started bursting. I was not expecting the popping sound. The cranberry sauce turned out pretty good and it was really easy to make. I ended up with a lot of leftover cranberry sauce which was good as there was a lot of leftover turkey to go with it.

Broccoli au Gratin

Broccoli Gratin


"Broccoli and Cheese" is a dish that my mother often makes for holiday dinners. Since I will not get the chance to have hers this holiday season, I thought that I would try making it myself. Unfortunately I was not able to get the recipe from her before I made it and I had to pull it from memory. Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables and I happily eat it plain, but melted cheese makes almost anything better! It turned out pretty good. The crisp croutons and almond slivers add a nice crunchy contrast to the soft broccoli and cheese. Overall this makes a pretty simple and tasty side dish. When I get the chance I will have to see how close I got the recipe.

Chocolate Fudge with Pistachios

Chocolate Fudge with Pistachios


It has been a long time since I have had fudge so when I came across this post about a quick chocolate and pistachio fudge I was immediately craving some. I had just discovered pistachios a couple of weeks ago I was really interested in trying them in a chocolate fudge. I know that this is not a recipe for real fudge but it looks like fudge and sounds both tasty and easy. I thought that I had all of the ingredients on hand so I decided to make it right away. It turned out that I only had 2 3.5 ounce bars of dark chocolate so I had to cut the recipe down. The fudge was really easy to make. The hardest part was waiting for the fudge to set! The condensed milk and butter transformed the previously solid chocolate into something that although it felt solid to the touch, it seemed to melt in the mouth. The salty pistachios nicely contrasted the surrounding sweet chocolate. This fudge is supposed to freeze well though I do not think it will last long enough to require it.

Sugar Plums

Sugar Plums

I had been wondering what sugar plums were for a long time and the other day I came across this recipe. As soon as I saw the recipe I knew that I would have to try making them! Sugar plums are made from nuts, dried fruit, honey and spices. I had just found some dried figs at the grocery store and I was itching to try them so I threw some into the sugar plums. The sugar plums were super easy to make, though they were a bit messy. I found that the best way to mix everything together was to just reach in and mix with my hands. The sugar plums were absolutely amazing. The natural sweetness of the dried fruit along with the honey was just perfect and not too sweet. The spices and orange were really good. The crunchy nuts contrasted nicely with the soft and chewy dried fruit. With all of the nuts spread throughout the sugar plums it takes a while to chew them so you get to enjoy the flavour for a while. I made the sugar plums a bit too big and the next time I make them I will cut down on the size a bit.

Thyme and Rosemary Roasted Turkey Breast

Turkey Dinner


This weekend I cooked the first of my holiday dinners. I was still not ready to try cooking a whole turkey so I decided to go with just the breast. I roasted it in the oven with some herbs and vegetables. I picked up a meat thermometer so it was pretty easy to tell when the turkey was done. It turned out pretty good. The turkey was moist and tender. The skin did not come out crispy though. The next time I will turn the oven to broil for the last few minutes to see if I can make the skin turn golden brown and get nice and crispy. Overall it was not bad for my first attempt at roasted turkey. I served the turkey with cranberry sauce , broccoli gratin , sweet potato casserole and salad.

Cranberry, Orange and Pistachio Biscotti

Cranberry, Orange and Pistachio Biscotti


There are only 10 days left until Christmas and I had wanted to do some holiday baking. Since I have never baked for the holidays before I though that I would try some new things. I saw this post about holiday biscotti the other day. I do not remember ever having biscotti before so I though it would be nice to try it. I had also recently just discovered pistachio nuts and I thought it would be nice to bake with them. The red of the dried cranberries and the green of the pistachios make these biscotti fit in well for the holidays. They were pretty easy to make. I tried eating a slice after the first baking and they were pretty good, After the second baking they were really hard and difficult to chew. The biscotti was really nice when dipped in some warm hot chocolate to soften it up a bit. Next time I might have to dip these into some white chocolate.

Panang Moo Yang (Curried Pork Chops)

Panang Moo Yang (Curried Pork Chops)


I pulled some of the panang curry paste that I made a while ago out of the freezer. I had frozen some of it in individual serving sizes for easy use in the future. This time I made a panang curried pork chop from The Big Book of Thai Curries. I was interested in seeing how the spicy, peanut curry paste would work with honey as a marinade. This dish was pretty easy, just marinate the meat and bake it in the oven. I served the pork chops on rice with lime wedges. The pork was full of flavour, crispy on the edges and juicy on the inside. The sweetness of the honey went well with the panang curry. The curry paste was still aromatic and flavourful even after being frozen.

Penne with Pumpkin and Sage Sauce

Penne with Pumpkin and Sage Sauce


I still had a cup of pumpkin puree left and I remembered seeing this post based on this recipe for a pumpkin pasta which sounded pretty interesting. The sauce was a pumpkin and sage sauce with some of the spices that are commonly combined with pumpkin and chili sauce for some heat. I have been using and really enjoying sage a lot lately and I was interested in seeing how it combined the pumpkin. I added the sage leaves to the pan a bit earlier so that they could fry up a bit in the oil. As I often do I added a teaspoon of the chili sauce and tested the sauce to see how it was. I ended up adding an extra teaspoon of chili sauce to bring it up to the level of spiciness that I was happy with. The pasta turned out pretty good. The pumpkin sauce had a nice blend of spices, spiciness, creaminess and sage.

That was the last of my pumpkins. I think I went through about 6 pumpkins this year and I really enjoyed them. I used them in a wide variety of dishes from sweet to savoury. The pumpkin has proven itself to be very versatile. There are still a bunch of pumpkin recipes in my bookmarks to try the next time I get some more pumpkins.

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream


I still had a pumpkin that I had purchased before Halloween that looked like it needed to be used soon. I noticed that I had not yet put my ice cream maker away and so I was thinking maybe a pumpkin ice cream. I was also thinking about a pumpkin pie. In the end I decided to combine the two and make a pumpkin pie ice cream. I started with pretty much the same ice cream recipe that I have been using for most of my ice creams so far. I decided to replace the white sugar with brown sugar and I cut back a bit on the amount as I did not want this ice cream to be so sweet. I added some classic pumpkin pie spices and some freshly made pumpkin puree. The pumpkin pie ice cream turned out pretty good. It was nice and creamy and tasted like pumpkin pie. I garnished the pumpkin pie ice cream with caramel sauce and some crumbled gingersnap crust.

Maccheroni Calabrese with Asparagus in Alfredo Sauce

Maccheroni Calabrese with Asparagus in Alfredo Sauce


The other day I came across an interesting looking pasta at the grocery store called maccheroni calabrese. The maccheroni calabrese is a 2-3 inch long rolled up tubular pasta. I immediately though of using it with asparagus because of the similar shape. I decided to go with a simple alfredo sauce which is a sauce made from butter, cream and parmigiano reggiano. It was an easy and tasty dish. I always enjoy finding new shapes of pasta.

Daeji Bulgogi (Korean Spicy BBQ Pork)

Daeji Bulgogi (Korean Spicy BBQ Pork)

Daeji/Dwaeji bulgogi (?? ???) is a Korean dish of marinated thinly sliced pork. Bulgogi literally means fire meat in Korean. It is named such as it is generally cooked on a barbecue with fire. Where bulgogi marinade typically does not include any heat the pork version is generally spicy. I used gochujang to add the heat to my daeji bulgogi. Gochujang is a Korean fermented bean paste with chilies. Daeji bulgogi is normally made with thinly sliced pork. I used a pork loin and I put it in the freezer for an hour to make slicing it easier. Daeji bulgogi can be served with rice and side dishes such as kimchi or it can be wrapped up in lettuce leaves. It also makes a good donburi or rice bowl. Leftover daeji bulgogi makes a great bibimbap .

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I still had some carrots left and I decided to make a carrot cake. Carrot cake is one of my favorite desserts and I especially like the cream cheese frosting. As I had never actually made a carrot cake before I went looking for a recipe and I came across this one that sounded good. I really liked that it included maple syrup in both the cake and the frosting. In an effort to make it a bit lighter I replaced some of the oil with apple sauce. I figured that the apple sauce would help keep the cake moist and it would also add some flavour. The carrot cake ended up tasting great and being nice and moist. The cake part was so nice that I really didn't mind the higher cake to frosting ratio. The maple flavour in both the cake and the frosting was also really nice. I will be making this again. Must not eat any more slices today...

Carrot Soup with Dill Pesto

Carrot Soup with Dill Pesto


While I was walking through the farmers market I noticed some nice looking carrots and I realized that I have not done anything with carrots so far this year. I grabbed some carrots right away. When I was looking for carrot recipes I came across this recipe for carrot soup with dill pesto. Dill is one of my favorite herbs and I have been wanting to try making a pesto with it for a while. I was sold on the carrot soup with dill pesto recipe. I found the same recipe on several sites on the web so it looked promising. I did not end up having enough chicken stock so the soup was pretty thick, though I like a thicker soup so it was not a problem. I also did not have enough dill so I added some parsley to round out the pesto. The soup was pretty good. It was nice and simple and placed the carrots right up on center stage. The dill pesto was also pretty good and went well with the soup. I will have to look for some more ways of using the dill pesto.

Sour Cream and Chive Biscuits

Sour Cream and Chive Biscuits


Not too long ago I tried making buttermilk biscuits and they turned out really good. While I was looking for a recipe for them I came across the concept of sour cream biscuits with chives which sounded pretty good. Chives are a herb that I seen at the grocery store but never actually tried cooking with so I was looking forward to trying them. I decided to use the recipe that I used for the buttermilk biscuits and just replaced the buttermilk with the sour cream. I added a bit of cheddar cheese to the biscuits for some extra flavour. They turned out nice and light and fluffy. I was a bit disappointed that the chives did not have that much flavour. I am not sure if it was just the bunch that I got or if chives in general do not have much flavour. I will have to try working with them again. Overall the experiment was a success as the sour cream biscuits were nice. There are still a lot of biscuit flavour combinations that I want to try.

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, Pine Nuts and Parmigiano Reggiano

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, Pine Nuts and Parmigiano Reggiano

At the start of the season I was pretty indifferent to brussels sprouts but I have been having them fairly often lately. I seem to pick them up each time I walk by them in the grocery store. The brussels sprouts seem to well in the refrigerator so if you buy them at the beginning of the week they are still good at the end of the week. Plain old boiled brussels sprouts may be boring but add some nice flavours and they are pretty good. This time I dressed up the brussels sprouts with pancetta, toasted pine nuts and some parmigiano reggiano. They make for a good side dish and I am always looking for tasty new side dishes starring green vegetables.

Dates Stuffed with Cream Cheese

Medjool Dates Stuffed with Cream Cheese


I first discovered dates a few months ago. I saw a friend eating them and I asked what the were. I found a package of small seeded dates at the grocery store and picked them up. I really liked them and ended up snacking on all of them. I have seen several recipes that call for dates and I look forward to making some of them in the near future. In fact the package that the dates came in mentioned that dates could be used as a replacement for sugar in recipes. I like the idea of having found a new way of adding sweetness to dishes that also adds a bit of flavour for something different from plain white sugar.

The other day I was in the grocery store and I saw a package of dates that were easily two or three times bigger than the dates that I had tried the first time. I grabbed a package right away. The package called them Medjool dates. This was the first time that I thought that there might be different kinds of dates so I looked them up and found this article on wikipedia. Apparently there are several varieties of dates. I will be keeping an eye out for them. The Medjool dates were really good! Nice and large and sweet. The label on the back of the package suggested stuffing them with cream cheese and there was no way that I could resist trying. The figs stuffed with soft and creamy cream cheese were amazing!

I was planning on bringing the my pumpkin cake roll to Peabody's Housewarming Party over at Culinary Concoctions by Peabody but ever since I tried them I have had medjool dates stuffed with cream cheese dancing through my head. They are really simple to make; just slice the dates in half, remove the pits and place some cream cheese on the inside. They make a great appetizer or snack.

Pumpkin Cake Roll

Pumpkin Cake Roll


I got a bunch of pumpkins from the farmers market while they had them and I still had three of them. I was looking through my bookmarks for pumpkin recipes when I came across this one and this one for pumpkin rolls. I had bookmarked the pumpkin roll cake because it look really good and I wanted to try baking a rolled cake. I did not know what a jelly roll pan was but it turned out that the baking dish that I had been using as a general purpose baking sheet was a jelly roll pan. It was much much bigger that the 11x15 that the recipe called for so I only used one end of the pan. The cake came out of the pan easily after baking. It was thicker on one end than the other but it rolled up without breaking. In the end it turned out pretty good. The cake was really moist and the filling was nice and creamy. The pumpkin and spices both smelled and tasted good. The next time I make a pumpkin cake roll I think I will add some pecans. I have a feeling that this cake will disappear very soon. I imagine that a banana cake roll would also be really nice. Or maybe a banana and chocolate cake roll, or a lemon cake roll, or...

Egg Curry

Egg Curry


I have seen a few posts ( here , here and here ) about egg curry which sounded pretty interesting. I like eggs but I don't seem to get around to using them in savoury dishes all that often. With curries being one of my favorite types of savoury dishes I was sold on trying an egg curry. This is a pretty easy curry dish. I chopped the onions and chilies in the food processor to save some time. However, I have gotten used to toasting and grinding coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a mortar and pestle. (Fresh ground cumin seeds smell really good.) Serve with some rice and it is a fairly quick and tasty meal.

Shrimp and Mushroom Fettuccine with Corn and Pancetta

Shrimp and Mushroom Fettuccine with Corn and Pancetta


I came across this dish for shrimp, chanterelle mushroom and corn pasta a while ago. It looked similar to Chanterelle and Corn Risotto with Scallops that I made and really enjoyed not too long ago. I wanted to try cooking with chanterelle mushrooms again and I hardly needed an excuse to make another dish with shrimp in. Corn season was long gone so I did not have access to fresh corn on the cob. I ended up forgetting to get the chives and so I replaced them with some dill that I had on hand. It turned out to be really good. The sweetness of the corn balanced the saltiness of the pancetta and mushrooms fried in butter. The cream made the pasta nice a creamy and the dill actually went pretty well in the dish. Of course the prawns were nice and juicy and succulent.

Camarones en Salsa (Shrimp in Salsa)

Camarones en Salsa (Shrimp in Salsa)


I was looking for a quick meal for a busy weekend and I remembered seeing this post on Shrimp a la Diabla. How could I resist shrimp in a spicy sauce? This dish is pretty much just shrimp cooked in a hot and spicy tomato based sauce. You can add the heat however you like. I used some fresh ground chili peppers, but you could also use chopped chipotles in adobo or some kind of chili sauce, etc. Serve with rice and or refried beans etc. I was in such a hurry that I forgot to add the cilantro.