The Best Desserts, Best Main Dishes and Best Soup Recipes of 2011

Monday Greetings!  I hope that your holidays and Christmas have been delightful this year.  It is hard to believe that in just a few more days we will be celebrating the New Year and will be ushering in 2012!

Before we all get to popping champagne corks and staying up too late for the New Year’s Eve festivities, I want to share some of our favorite recipes from 2011 with you.  Several months were really tough to decide since there were so many great recipes to choose from.  Our waistlines can attest to that.  😉 The desserts were particularly good, but we tried to mix it up a bit and give you a nice selection of our pick for best recipes.

A number of these recipes are from some of the chefs we met and interviewed this past year.  If you have not tried some of these, we hope you will make them in the coming year!

Garlic Soup

JanuaryCote d’Azur Cure All Soup (Garlic Soup) – I made this soup with beautiful Heirloom garlic from Singer Farm Naturals, however, any type of nice fresh garlic will work.  The soup is silky smooth, sweet and delicious.  The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.  I did not publish the recipe since her cookbook was new when I originally wrote about the soup.  If you would like the recipe, please leave me a comment and I will send it to you.

Italian Ricotta Cheesecake

February  – Italian Ricotta Cheesecake with Meyer Lemon Curd – We adore this lighter variation of a cheesecake.  It tasted just like the Ricotta Cheesecakes that we have had dining out in Italian restaurants or from good Italian bakeries.  I made it with Meyer Lemon zest and Amaretto and topped it with homemade Meyer Lemon Curd for serving.  With the subtle hint of Meyer Lemon and booze, this was a real winner!

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Two Chocolate Sauces

MarchChocolate Bread Pudding with Two Chocolate Sauces – This fabulous and decadent recipe is from Ralph Brennan’s New Orleans Seafood Cookbook.  We had this dessert at Red Fish Grill in New Orleans following our interview with Ralph Brennan.  I made the recipe from the cookbook at home and it was identical to the dessert we had while in New Orleans.  This is truly one dessert that can travel well!

Dutch Baby with Boozy Strawberries

AprilDutch Baby with Boozy Strawberries – I made this beautiful Dutch Baby to celebrate the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton.  It is definitely elegant enough to serve to whatever royalty might be coming to visit you in your home.  A touch of Amaretto with the fresh strawberries makes it very festive.  We loved this very fussy fancy and quite scrumptious pancake. 🙂

Crisp Wasabi Tuna

MayCrisp Wasabi Tuna – This is one of our favorite main dishes that I made this year.  The recipe is from Chef Craig Deihl at Cypress in Charleston, SC and is from his cookbook, Cypress: A Lowcountry Grill.  He suggested that I make this recipe during our interview with him this past spring.  Yes, it takes some time to prepare, however, it will totally rock your world when you taste the combination of flavors.  This one will make you feel like a true chef!

Hoppin’ John

JuneHoppin’ John – This is what we are having New Year’s Day!  Who knew Hoppin’ John could taste this good?  Chef Sean Brock from Husk and McCrady’s in Charleston, SC obviously did since this is his recipe.  This is definitely not your Momma’s Hoppin’ John.  Chef Brock’s dish is made with the original and authentic ingredients that you can order from Anson Mills.   Sea Island Red Peas and Carolina Gold Rice make this recipe so incredible.  It is seriously one of the best things we have ever had!  Well, maybe the lunch he prepared for us at Husk wasn’t too bad either. 😉

Fried Green Tomatoes with Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Salad

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