Friday, May 16, 2008

My Top 10 of All Time

Last night, NH asked me what I'd choose for my last meal and I didn't have an answer.
How is this possible for someone as food obsessed as I?

In the first place, NH does not typically ask food-related questions so I was caught off guard.
Secondly, he'd only let me choose one food or dish; I might be able to do that for each meal category but how can you choose one ultimate, favorite, last food?
"Is it oatmeal?" he asked. I love my oats but would it be my last chosen meal? Probably not.
Lastly, it was 10PM and my head was definitely fuzzy. We've been experiencing a heatwave the past two days and we have no air conditioning. Lethargic and slightly sweaty, I was in no position to consider this most difficult question.

The Amateur Gourmet is among the food blogs I have bookmarked to read regularly. Adam's latest post is a Top 10 Dishes- how appropriate! I love his posts, they are often inspiring.
Today I've decided to compile my own Top 10- much more feasible than a Top Uno.

My list includes both home-cooked and restaurant dishes, as well as notes on why each is worthy of the top.

2008 Top 10 Dishes
in no particular order

1. Apple Pie- (made only by Mom, aka MBM)
You'll never convince me there is a better pie. You just won't. Don't even try. I don't want to hear it.
I can't tell you when Mom started baking pies regularly and when my family became obsessed with them; one day I realized we stopped requesting homemade cakes for our birthdays and switched to pies. Any pie is great but it's the apple that gets me every time.
Now that I'm a married woman and no longer privy to Mom's pie as often, this is the one I will request when visiting.

2. Giada's Veggie Meatloaf with Checca Sauce
Another 'MBM' recipe, although this year I'll have to make it myself. Discovered while watching Everyday Italian on the Food Network, it's probably the newest dish to my list. It may not sound good if you've never had it but it's actually very flavorful and hearty- the lentils, mozzarella cheese, and spices marry so well, and the Checca Sauce completes it (an Italian tomato salsa that's good on other things too). The recipe has many steps and requires some time but no intricate skill......OK that's it, I have to make Veggie Meatloaf next week.

3. Frutti di Mare
I love going out and trying new dishes at restaurants, but if frutti di mare is on an Italian menu I'll most likely order it.
Frutti di Mare is a dish of linguine or fettucine with a medley of shellfish- most often prawns, clams, mussels, and scallops. I adore shellfish and since NH is allergic I can only order it out. It can be a bit of a gamble whether the seafood is cooked properly but I guess I've had extremely good luck.
One caveat- if the dish has a cream sauce I'll pass- too heavy and it takes away from the seafood. Usually it made with a light tomato sauce.

4. Oatmeal- my recipe
My obsession with oatmeal is quite deeply rooted and I don't see it ending anytime soon (insert photo of 90-year-old Sarah eating her breakfast oatmeal). But it's such a yummy and healthy food! Tons of fiber and low in calories, I can dress it in so many different ways and eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner- often do!! These days my pick is McCann's Quick Cooking Steel Cut Oats, but I'll be happy with any oat you give me.

5. seared Day Boat Scallops
I've mentioned my love of shellfish already; scallops are my number one favorite. My preferred preparation is seared- caramelized on the outside and creamy on the inside. Sauces and accompaniments could be almost anything, although I do like them with a little citrus juice. My preference is for the large Day Boat variety; the tiny ones will do in a pinch.

6. Grandma Irene's Thanksgiving Stuffing
This is the stuffing Mom makes, and it's her mother's recipe. It's fairly simple, I don't go for those crazy stuffings with lots of things in them. It's a slow cooked combination of stale bread cubes, onions, celery, and herbs. It's one of those dishes I didn't love as a child; now it's the only leftover I care about the next day.

7. Swedish Oatmeal Pancakes at Alana's
I love pancakes; I'm a pancake girl, no eggs or waffles please. I make them from scratch at home and they are fantastic and easy. A posting on them is needed in the future.
The Swedish oatmeal pancakes at Alana's Cafe in Burlingame are a whole different thing.
The real maple syrup is key, number one- so many breakfast places serve fake syrup and it's disappointing. At Alana's the real stuff is flowing. Number two, these pancakes have flavor and texture. And hello, note the connection to my oatmeal obsession.....
I am incapable of leaving any of these pancakes behind on my plate. I usually don't need lunch that day.

8. nonfat Frozen Yogurt
So the link takes you to a specific place: Yumi Yogurt in San Mateo. That's because my love of this food was born here... or should I say my feeling that fro-yo should be it's own food group. I've tried many nonfat frozen yogurts at other shops and I like them too, but given a choice I'll go to Yumi please. Favorite flavors? vanilla bean cheesecake (oh yea), boysenberry, key lime pie, tart plain (like Greek yogurt), pistachio...there are more but that's good enough.

9. Salmon Sashimi (Sake)
I love sushi and we have it out to dinner more than anything else. It seems almost dishonest to pick one favorite, but it should be fresh sake. There is nothing like a high quality, thickly-cut piece of salmon sashimi- buttery, smooth, and luscious- straight, dipped in a little soy sauce, or with a little lemon.
Often I'm not in the mood for sashimi but I always try to seek out a roll containing fresh salmon. Actually, my second favorite sushi item would be Unagi (barbecued eel) and for some reason rolls containing both are few and far between- can anyone tell me why?

10. Roasted Vegetables
Quite a broad final dish, but I can't narrow it down. When I think about what I crave and eat most often, veggies comes to mind and this is my favorite preparation. Depending on mood, season, and availability, they could be carrots, sweet potatoes, eggplant, onions, zucchini, bell peppers, or sunchokes.
Under this broad umbrella, my top 2 combos:
Sweet Potato Fries with Cinnamon
Roasted Eggplant with Tomato sauce and Parmesan.

P.S. Do you see I figured out adding links today on Blogger? Yes yes I know it took a little while, but I'm only a semi-decent internet whiz.

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