Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Recap Part 1: Reader Favorites

Happy 2011!

I thought I'd kick off this (nerd alert: binary!) New Year with a recap of your favorite recipes from 2010.  Because let's face it, I don't just cook and blog for myself.  I do it for you, too!  That's right.  This post is dedicated to all 55 of you that subscribe to me on Google Reader.  All 8 that subscribe via blogger, too.  And, the countless others that follow my blog sans subscription through Google search, my facebook posts, and the like.  Together you checked out my website a whopping 16,635 times!  Whoa!  I'm so honored to have people that *want* to read about my kitchen chronicles and try new recipes with me. 

What I'd love even more is if you began to come out of your shell and start leaving comments on my blog, too.  Let's face it, we all know that my blogging dwindled in the second half of the year and I just couldn't find the motivation to get back on track.  For 2011, I resolve to get back on the blogging band wagon and I need *you* to help hold me accountable.  Cheer me on when you see something you like!  Let me know if you tried something from my blog - successful or not, too!  Together, we can cook great things :).

So now back to Reader Favorite Recipes from 2010.  These recipes are the most popular ones from my website based on number of hits.  Yup, I have this nifty thing called Google Analytics.  It tells me how many people visit my site, what they look at, how long they spend there, and what part of the world they are visiting from.  Neat, huh?  Don't worry my privacy protection fans, it's all aggregated data and so I can't like...internet stalk you or anything :P.

Without further adieu, here are your favorites from 2010.  (And you can see 2009 favorites, here!)

#10: Copy-Cat Chipotle Burrito Bols
(201 pageviews in 2010)

Do you love Chipotle?  Then you'll love these bols. (Yes, not a typo, there's no w.  It's Spanish!)

#9: Spaghetti Meatballs
(213 page views in 2010)

Photo Credit: Amadeo

You really can't go wrong with this classic Italian dish.  This one comes from Chris' Grandmother who was from Sicily and is one of the few dishes that I will make over and over again.  It freezes well so one batch will provide a good 6 meals for the 2 of us!

#8: Spinach, Sausage, and Cheese Manicotti
(291 page views in 2010)

Photo Credit: Eater's Digest

I have smart readers that know a good recipe when they see one.  This is another one of those recipes that actually gets repeated in this household.  The method of stuffing the shells *uncooked* is ingenious.  I like to use sausage, spinach, and cheese (as the title of this recipe suggests) but it is adaptable to the filling of your choice.  Bonus: this one freezes well, too!

#7: Grandpa N's Char Siu Bao (Chinese BBQ Pork Bun)
(337 page views in 2010)

A never-before-seen on the web recipe from my family to yours.  This authentic bun recipe was made countless times by my Grandpa for me.  Since Chinese people tend to not write down recipes, it didn't quite taste exactly as I remembered but is a good starting point.  As I tweak (and document!) this recipe over time I hope to someday get it just as Grandpa used to make.  Stay tuned for future iterations and improvements to this recipe!

#6: Red Lobster's Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
(439 page views in 2010)

This one came straight off of Red Lobster's own website so it's not even a copy-cat - it's the real deal!  Tilapia is one of my favorite types of fish and this preparation is yummy.

#5: Mock Bravo Della Casa Salad
(485 page views in 2010)

Me thinks my readers have a thing for copy-cat restaurants based on Top Reader Picks #10, 6, and 5!  This copy-cat salad is based on my husband's favorite from Bravo! Cucina Italian.  It is the only creamy dressing that he'll eat and he ate this recipe too so I'll take it as a stamp of approval.

By the way, what other copy-cat recipes would you like to see on here?  Now's your chance to leave a comment!

#4: Red Velvet Whoopie Pies (626 page views in 2010)

Each time I see this pictures it practically brings tears to my eyes.  This is by far the most beautiful food photograph that I have ever taken in my life...let alone 2010.  It holds a special place in my heart because it was the first (and only) time that I was accepted to the "food porn" website Food Gawker.  I have no doubt that this recipe made the Top 10 because of the traffic it brought to my site.  That and this recipe is actually quite divine!  Here's to hoping my photography skills continue to improve in 2011.

#3: Lasagna
(662 page views in 2010)

[No food photo.  Sad face.]

This recipe was shared by my Aunt Wah to my mom and I practically grew up on this stuff.  No kitchen should go without a tried and true lasagna recipe.  This one uses cottage cheese instead of ricotta and I find I like the texture better...perhaps because it's what I grew up knowing.  Now to just remember to take a picture of this when I make! 

Garfield would approve.

 #2: Chinese Bakery-Style Cake
(1,278 page views in 2010)

Did you all see the page view count on this one?!  It completely blows all others above out of the water and for good reason, too!  I just wish I had better photography skills to truly capture the magnificence of this cake.  As I said previously, authetic Chinese recipes are hard to come by because the cooks just don't write them down.  I got really lucky and found this one online.  I made some minor modifications and shared it with you.  This is the most commented upon recipe in my blog and I can tell you all love it, too.  What's not to love about the sponge cake layers sandwiching fresh fruit and custard before the entire thing is enveloped in fresh whipped cream.  It looks complicated but it's really not so bad.  And, I gaurentee that it's totally worth it.  If you haven't tried this yet, go.  Now.

Drumroll please....

#1: Chinese Bolo Bao with Nai Wong Filling ("Pineapple" Custard Bun)
(1,590 page views in 2010)

No big surprise here!  The King of 2010 Recipes (mostly due to Google search where it indexes #1!) is the Chinese Bolo Bao with Nai Wong Filling.  This is sort of kind of a Christine's Kitchen Chronicles original because I took 2 existing web recipes to recreate a bun Chris knows and loves.  I have to say that nobody that saw or ate this little beauty was disappointed.  It tasted and looked like it came from a real Chinese bakery.  From its sweet crisp topping to its tender bun leading to a silky custard surprise inside, it is 100% goodness.
There you have it, folks.  Your favorite recipes from 2010.  Be sure to stay tuned to Part 2 of this series - MY favorite recipes from the year!  So far so good on getting back on the blogging wagon, huh? :)

Wishing you a fantastic 2011!

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