The winner of the Shun knife is Rachel of Baked by Rachel (comment 281). Congratulations! I hope you enjoy your Shun knife.
When I first started cataloging my recipes on this blog, it was merely for my own amusement. It was also rather convenient to be able to tell friends and family members, “Look it up. It’s on the blog” when asked for a recipe. Two years and three hundred and thirty-five recipes later, I think it’s safe to say that this blogging thing is now more than a hobby. If you are thinking of starting a food blog, let me be straight up with you. It is a lot of work. The process of putting up a decent post encompasses hours of time, which includes developing and testing the recipe, photographing the steps, editing the photos and writing an engaging introduction and clear recipe instructions.So, why do all that work? Quite simply, I love it and I can not imagine NOT doing it.
This year brought some changes to my blog. A new lens and a more understanding relationship with my camera enabled me to shoot photos that I was proud of and, I hope, others enjoy looking at (believe me, it’s a work in progress). From there I embarked on the process of hiring a designer to do a complete re-design of the blog (many thanks to the amazing Christy Broxton). In addition, I was excited to introduce a new weekly how-to series, which focuses on skills such as cutting an onion, holding and cutting with a chef’s knife, and making gravy.
As I was planning this post, I looked back on the post I wrote at the end of year one. Some of my thoughts from that time deserve to be re-iterated:
“The more I became immersed in the world of food blogging, the more opportunities I had to meet and befriend those who share this interest. Along the way, many wonderful people have helped me and provided me with invaluable tips and assistance. In addition, many have become friends and I feel so lucky to have met them.
Even though this blog has become an important part of my life, it is simply a sliver of what is valuable to me. Behind the cooking, the writing, and the photos are one thoughtful, kind husband and two enthusiastic, sweet little boys, as well as supportive parents, in-laws, and friends. They are my true inspiration. I am thrilled when my loyal readers enjoy and comment on my recipes, but to hear my boys ask to help me in the kitchen and to be my official taste-testers is the best reward I could receive. So, thank you to each and every one of you – my family, my friends, and my readers. I could not do this without you.”
Last year I was able to narrow down my favorite recipes of the year to my top eleven. I was not nearly as successful this year and I ask you to indulge me a little as I take a little stroll through some of the dishes and treats that I will make time and time again.
Prosciutto, Goat Cheese & Cherry Jam Rolls
Savory Cranberry, Pistachio & Goat Cheese Palmiers
Seared Scallops with Chimichurri Dressing
Spicy Black Bean Dip with Roasted Red Peppers
Smoked Salmon & Potato Wonton Pierogies
Three Mushroom, Camembert Cheese & Thyme Puff Pastry Strudel
Caramelized Onion & Spinach Olive Oil Quick Bread
Challah Bread (Braided Egg Bread)
Focaccia with Caramelized Onion, Tomato & Rosemary
Glazed Pink Grapefruit Quick Bread
Heath Bar Chocolate & Toffee Cinnamon Rolls
Crispy Parmesan & Rosemary Cups with Spinach & Strawberry Salad
Grilled Pattypan (or Summer) Squash with Tomato & Feta Cheese Salad
Mushroom, Caramelized Onion & Cannellini Bean Salad
Pesto Potato, Tomato & Fresh Mozzarella Salad
Baked Crepes with Sun-Dried Tomato Sausage, Zucchini & Mascarpone Cheese
Baked Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs
Black Bean Burger with Lime-Cilantro Mayo
Crockpot Chickpea Stew with Balsamic Caramelized Onions
Grilled Mahi Mahi with Red Pepper & Cilantro Pesto
Pork & Green Bean Lettuce Wraps with Sesame Hoisin Sauce
Pork Skewers with Molasses, Dijon & Sage Glaze
Roasted Tomatillo Shrimp Tacos with Honey-Lime Slaw
Smoky Burger Sliders with Grilled Pineapple & Chipotle Mayo
Turkey, Brie, Pear & Cherry Chipotle Panini
Vietnamese Caramel Ginger Chicken (Ga Kho)
Bacon Polenta with Sauteed Crimini Mushrooms & Thyme
Baked French Fries with Chile Peppers & Cilantro
Green Beans with Balsamic Roasted Shallots
Spaghetti Squash with Gorgonzola, Dried Cherries & Pecans
Twice-baked Sweet Potato with Chipotle Pecan Streusel
Apple Upside-Down Biscuits
Brie Cheese & Strawberry Puff Pastry “Ravioli” with Chocolate Sauce
Chocolate & Caramel Sugar Cookies
Chocolate & Nutella Fudge with Sea Salt
Chocolate & Peppermint Candy Cane Wedding Cookies
Chewy Nutella & Oatmeal Bars
Dulce de Leche & Chocolate Waffle Cone Ice Cream
Lime Squares with Gingersnap Crust
Summer Cherry & Crystallized Ginger Crumb Bars
I am truly grateful for each of you that stop by my blog on a regular basis. Some of you leave comments, others do not. While I love to receive and respond to comments, I am just happy to know that so many people enjoy reading this blog and serving these recipes to their family and friends. As a token of my appreciation to all of you, I am giving away a beautiful (and I do mean gorgeous) 6-inch chef’s knife by Shun Knives. I own two Shun knives and they are, without a doubt, the favorites in my knife block. Read more about this knife here.
To win this beauty, please leave me a comment on this post. Please remember to provide your email address so I can email you if you win. Read below for instructions on earning extra entries.
This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada (you didn’t think I’d leave out my fellow Canucks, did you?) and will be open until Tuesday, April 12 at 5pm PST.
The winner will be chosen using a random number generator and will be notified via email, so please make sure your email address is correct. You will have 48 hours to respond to me, or a new winner will be chosen.
To earn additional entries, leave separate comments for each of the steps listed below. If you don’t leave separate comments for each step, the number generator will not count them as separate entries.
1. Follow Cookin’ Canuck on Twitter and re-tweet the giveaway, being sure to include my Twitter handle.
Thanks, everyone and good luck!