Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ringing in 2011 with a Top 10 list, and a Giveaway!

Happy New Year friends!  2010 has officially come to a close, and what a year it has been.  On the rollercoaster of life, this blog has been a consistent high point, and I get such happiness from sharing my love of food with each of you every day. Throughout this past year, I hope The Cilantropist has given you delicious recipes that helped you experience the simple joys of eating well and sharing good food with friends and family.  I have so many exciting ideas to share with you in 2011, and I can't wait to get started; I hope you will continue to pull up a comfy chair and follow along with me on my adventures.  

But first, lets take a little look back at 2010 and your favorite posts and recipes!  I chose the Top 10 based on pageviews, twitter, reader comments and emails; not surprisingly, many of the top posts were from Project Food Blog, where I made i my mission to put my very best food forward and improve the quality of my blog by leaps and bounds.  So, without further ado, here are the The Cilantropist's Top 10 post of 2011!    

1. The post where I shared my lunch menu for A Presidio Picnic, with Italian Pressed Sandwiches is by far the most viewed post on The Cilantropist.  The post includes a recipe for Sopressata and Provolone Italian Pressed Sandwiches, which I also made for a post-Project Food Blog Celebration, and is the most popular recipe with readers.  For the lunch, we also enjoyed Parmesan and Gruyere Cheese Straws from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten, as well as Spiced Pear and Cranberry Pocket Pies.  The Pocket Pies were a huge hit as well, and I can't wait to make them this summer with peaches! 

2. My Shredded Red Cabbage Salad with Pistachios is consistently a reader favorite and definitely the most popular salad on The Cilantropist.  I have had so many readers and friends tell me they made this salad and they just raved about it.  Me?  I have made it at least 10 times.  I just can't get enough.  The recipe is adapted from James Peterson's Cooking, which is a fantastic go-to cookbook that includes expert recipes for everything under the sun. 

3. This is the most commented post on this site with 104 comments! Many home cooks and bloggers have told me they made the marshmallow recipe with great success, and I myself have made it five times now.  I originally shared my experience of Making S'mores from Scratch: Homemade Marshmallows and Graham Crackers, after camping with friends in the Laguna Mountains of Southern California.  Children looooove these marshmallows.  They are pretty popular with adults too.  (Try adding them to your coffee or hot cocoa!) 

4. I made this White Chocolate Layer Cake with Apricot Filling and White Chocolate Buttercream as a celebration cake for our lab when got a big grant to fund our research.  Everyone was definitely impressed and the cake tasted like I had bought it from a top notch pastry shop.  I think this post is so popular because I also included some step-by-step photos, and my tips and suggestions for making layer cakes.  

5. As part of Project Food Blog, we were tasked with remixing pizza; this Brie and Bacon Piadina with Balsamic Fig and Onion Marmalade was my way of changing up a traditional pizza and sharing a popular type of Italian flatbread from the Emilia-Romagna region near the Adriatic Sea.  The Balsamic Fig and Onion Marmalade would be amazing on any sandwich or with other roasted pork, and the combination of brie and bacon is always a winning one.  The basic piadina recipe was from Grilled Pizzas and Piadinas by Craig Priebe and Dianne Jacob.

6.  The bounty of gorgeous fall fruits at the farmers market inspired me to make this Pomegranate and Persimmon Salad.  But really, I think the reason this post was so popular is my quick 45 second video on How to Remove Pomegranate Seeds.  Check it out, and be empowered to eat a pomegranate!

7.  In this post, you can watch a step-by-step video on how to make Homemade Ladyfingers and a Pomegranate Charlotte.  This was the first time I ever recorded a video for The Cilantropist, and it was so much fun!  If you haven't seen it yet, definitely check it out.  This charlotte is certain to impress guests for a party, so keep it in mind for your 2011 gatherings.  And if a charlotte is not your style you can also use the homemade ladyfingers to make a Lemon Berry White Chocolate Trifle!    

8. When I got my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker at a thrift store for only $10, one of the first recipes I made was this Dense Dark Chocolate Ice Cream.  The ice cream was rich, and tasted almost like a thick, dark chocolate brownie.  Mmm... Later, after I made homemade marshmallows (see Top 10 post #3), I used the Dark Chocolate Ice Cream to make Rocky Road Ice Cream.    

9. This Tom Yum Goong with Homemade Nam Prik Pao (Thai Hot and Sour Soup with Prawns, and Homemade Roasted Chile Paste) was one of the most satisfying recipes I have ever made, both from a personal and taste perspective.  The Nam Prik Pao is fiery!   

10. This recipe for Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies is the most searched for term on The Cilantropist.  Make them, and you will know why.  They are my favorite chocolate chip cookie to date.

I hope you enjoyed my Top 10 list from 2010!  And now... for the giveaway!  One lucky reader will receive the cookbook of their choice from the following list: 

Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home


Grilled Pizzas and Piadinas

Do you recognize these cookbooks?  They are the three cookbooks that I used to make some of the recipes from my Top 10 posts!  I wanted to share them with you because I have found them to be great resources and I wanted to show you how much I appreciate you.  

So how can you win???

Because I write this blog for myself and for you, my lovely readers, I want to know exactly what tickles your fancy.  What do you like to eat most?  Do you have a sweet tooth?  Or are you a hardcore carnivore?  Do you like recipes for parties and entertaining, or are family-style meals more suited to your lifestyle?   

So to enter this giveaway, tell me two things: 

1.) What types of recipes would you like to see more of on The Cilantropist?


2.) What is your all-time favorite recipe to make?  (Anything, sweet or savory, easy or challenging!)

...For a bonus third entry, you can become a new follower on twitter or subscribe to this blog using the links in the sidebar.   

The giveaway will be open until Friday, January 7th at 9pm PST, and I will post the winner on Monday January 10th.  I am sponsoring this giveaway, so it will only be open to residents of the US and Canada for shipping reasons; feel free to comment even if you can't win because all your feedback is important to me.

Most importantly, THANKS SO MUCH for an amazing 2010! 


  1. They all look great and I can't wait to see what goodies you come up with in the New Year.
    I went past a store the other day and thought of you it was called "Cilantro" it looked cute, but since I was driving I couldn't get a photo :(
    Happy New Year!

  2. I am a new reader and now susbcribe! Looking forward to following!

  3. My favorite was the Presidio post. Just wonderful story, photography, and food. It's what it's all about. I've got a mean sweet tooth but I love seeing your Italian recipes. Which probably explains my love for the Presidio post. Would enjoy any of those in 2011.

  4. What a lovely post. I always look forward to your recipes. You make it look so easy and gorgeous, especially baking, even though I know its not. What would I love to see? More baking - cakes and pies- because I'm a little challenged in that department so I appreciate learning from good bakers like yourself. Favorite recipe? Probably plain old eggplant parm because of the comfort of Italian food, plus it reminds me of my dad.

    Happy New Year, Amanda. Wish you all the best 2011!

  5. I think you have a great variety of recipes on here. The perfect balance of sweet vs savory and home cooking vs entertainment cooking. Keep up exactly what you are doing!

    My favorite recipes to cook are either my chocolate-beer chili, or my meatballs ( But my REAL favorite recipe is any new recipe I try that comes out delicious! Happy New Year!

  6. Hi Amanda - I need to make your cabbage salad, I liked it the first time I saw it. That will be my New Year's resolution! Ha!
    Wishing you all the best in the new year, and a happy healthy delicious 2011!
    (I'll let the other folks win your giveaway, those are really some awesome cookbooks!)

  7. I keep meaning to make that red cabbage salad from James Peterson's Cooking, I'm going to have to try it soon. Oh and the Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip cookie is for sure one of my favorite recipes to make.

    What would I like to see more of?: anything that is quick and easy to make with lots of veggies!

    What do I like to make the most?: I answered that above - Chocolate chip cookies! And yes that's why I want to see more quick and healthy meals, I need room for my chocolate chip cookies :-D

    Also wanted to tell you that I already subscribe to your blog and follow you on Twitter.

    Thanks for the giveaway. Wishing you a wonderful start to 2011.

  8. New follower on Twitter (@saladgoddess).

    These top 10 look wonderful! I love it when people point me back to recipes I've forgotten (white chocolate apricot cake...) and also when I learn something completely new. I'll look forward to seeing what you come up with in 2011.

    My favorite recipe to make is anything new that is worth the effort -- and maybe that yields an extra meal. Right now vegetarian black bean chili is filling that bill.

    Thanks for the giveaway and Happy New Year!

  9. Oh my gosh, homemade graham crackers?! How fun! I definitely want to try that. Happy New Year!

  10. lovely post and giveaway, I am in Canada
    barefoot in paris looks like a lovely book
    Happy new year to you and family

  11. What a delicious year you had! I am addicted to those Cheese Straws from Barefoot in Paris - with a glass of Champane they are perfection! I am a definite carnivore and love reading about recipes for entertaining as well. Looking forward to more fabulous posts in 2011 - Cheers!

  12. More veggies! I love to base my meals around vegetables vs around meats or grains! I think my favorite thing to make is SUSHI! =)

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  13. Hi Amanda - Happy New Year!

    What a great 'best-of' list - and your pictures are so beautiful ... I was wondering, do you do cocktails? That would be great to see :) And my all-time fave things to make are COOKIES. (you may have guessed this)

    I'm already a twitter follower! xx

  14. Hi Amanda

    what a wonderful recap of your year, your top 10 truly is an amazing array of delectable foods, you certainly did provide a perfect balance of flavors for us to drool over!
    Have a healthy and happy new year!

  15. I love your blog! The photos and recipes are wonderful. If I had to choose I would say I would like to see more savory dishes, but this is a somewhat selfish choice. I make so many sweet things myself that I love to be inspired into making more savory dishes, and your blog does this for me.

    My all-time favorite thing to make are scones - the English kind. There is something about rubbing the butter into the flour, and then adding the milk to make a dough, that is very comforting.

    And I am following you too. I wouldn't want to miss a post!

  16. I want to see more main dishes. Like easy stuff I can make for dinner. This is the feedback I also get, so I scour the blogs looking for ideas. It seems like everyone is so obsessed with desserts and cookies and cakes!! Those are great, but you can't really live on that.

    My favorite thing to make is tart dough. I make savoury and sweet tarts. It's the most versatile, lovely culinary element.

  17. i would like to see more vegetable focusced main dishes or hearty sides.

    my favorite thing to make is cookies - the exact type varies with season and time.

    jacquieastemborski AT comcast DOT net

  18. already a subscriber

    jacquieastemborski AT comcast DOT net

  19. You gave your readers a lot of beautiful dishes this year, Amanda. Glad to have had the chance to meet you. Your blog has blossomed so much in the last several months. Looking forward to more great posts from you.

    I didn't come for the giveaway but I'd be happy to have the James Peterson book since I already have the other two. As far as what I'd like to see, I like reading about your baked goods since I'm such a baking fanatic now. Me? pasta dishes are still on top of my favorite dishes to make. Can't get enough of it.

    Happy New Year!

  20. More easy recipes. Especially vegetarian. And I love to make anything that is part chocolate. Thanks!
    bridgestranslation at yahoo dot com

  21. What a delicious year you've had! I love to find heart healthy recipes that are quick and easy to whip up after work, using ingredients available in my local grocery. My fave thing to make are cookies- little treats that make smiles. :) Hope you have a Happy New Year!

  22. I'm not actually entering your contest (though feel free to hand over a book if you want), but I just want to say that Norwegian Cilantropist better be having a fabulous time. Or else! And when she's back, can she please bring me some apricot cake?

    Oh, and happy new year! To good food and new friends!

  23. I am looking for healthy but comforting meals that will please both me and my boyfriend! My favorite recipe to make is tortellini soup with veggies...the cheese tortellini makes it feel indulgent but I also get lots of veggies too!

  24. I'd LOVE to see more healthy options... New Years resolution time!

  25. Happy New Year and best wishes to you in 2011!

  26. My favorite recipe changes weekly, but today I made frozen fat free yogurt... toped off with fresh fruit. Its now one of my favorites! YUM!

  27. Sister - Love the top 10 list!

    To answer your questions I think I would like to see some extra recipes for Bella! (She requested too!) And of course in my vast store of recipes I would say my favorite would have to be my taco salad (lol!) or your simple noodle soup! Can't wait to hear about your trip to Norway!

  28. A lovely collection of recipes!

    That giveaway is awesome! Healthy, cheap and scrummy recipes are always great. Mario Battali's Chicken Parmesan is a recipe I love to make over and over again.



  29. Hi Amanda,

    The Top 10 recipe list made me hungryyy!! You've captured some amazing clicks and the recipes r real awesome!

    I would love to see more ice cream recipes! I Loved ur dark chocolate ice cream post! Drooooool worthy!

    My All- time favorite recipes relate to snacks! Its a favorite of everybody and i love making them! And of late i have started baking, so yeah Cakes!!

    I am your follower and i have subscribed to your updates too! :D

    Wishing you have a wonderful year ahead with thousands of moments to celebrate!

    Oh yeah! The giveaway! Would love to have the pizza cooking book!


  30. Great, I'm hungry now.

    Hmm. I'd like to see some more savory food. After the holidays, I know I'm craving good savory food [and vegetables!].

    My favorite recipe to make, hmm that's a tough one. I've never been one for "favorites". I love anything that can be made in one pot [chili, soup, stews, etc.]

  31. Wow!!! All of your posts look mouthwatering! Happy New Year! :)

  32. Thanks for sharing your top 10 list! The white chocolate layer cake and dark chocolate ice cream are definitely my favorites from the year.

    That being said, it's probably obvious that I have quite a sweet tooth! My favorite things to make in the kitchen require baking...I love experimenting with cakes, so of course I'd love to see more of those on the Cilantropist :)

    My absolute favorite thing to make is Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies. They're outrageous. 'nuff said.

  33. I personally think that your Thai recipe looks amazing--and I can't get enough of Thai food. Therefore: More Thai! :)

    My favorite thing to make is probably (boringly) spaghetti sauce. So easy and so satisfying.

  34. I'd love to see more breakfast recipes. I'm a breakfast addict and I love finding new ways to make it.

  35. I love making my smoked gouda mac and cheese. It's so delicious!

  36. Goodness, everything on this list looks amazing. And I can't wait to see your recipe for those pocket pies with peaches. :-)

    I just found your blog and to be honest, everything looks wonderful - so I'd love to see more of the same! I think my favorite thing to make is anything dessert-y that involves fresh fruit.

  37. i follow your rss feed and you on twitter!

  38. Amanda: I have loved getting to know you and your lovely blog this year (thanks to PFB!).
    All your posts are wonderfully photographed and written. Or your fab list above I adore your charlotte and your homemade s'mores.
    I am mostly a flexitarian: I love vegetables in any shape and format (although I am NOT a vegetarian full-time!) naturally, I would love to see more recipes for those. And desserts (life is always in need of extra sweetness!!!)
    I swoon over James Peterson's book!
    Oh, did I mention: happy new year, may 2011 be even more exciting for you than 2010.
    Amelia (from Z Tasty Life)

  39. P.s. My all time favorite recipe to make is something as atavic and simple as bread!!! I made a lot over the holidays...will recount soon in a post.

  40. I would like to see more of your wonderful savory recipes.

  41. You have a great variety of recipes and everything is delicious! But I would like to see more dishes for one or two people, because it's often annoying to make a whole recipe when you need such a small portion. Also, more really healthful food. After this winter break, I need a break from all the fattening foods I've been eating.
    My favorite recipe to make is deviled eggs. They're so easy to make beautiful, and everyone loves them.

  42. I want to make all of these! What a great top 10 list! I've expecially got my eye on the smores :)

  43. First, that salad looks amazing (as do all of your featured recipes - but wow the colors!).

    Second, I am a hard core meatatarian by blood but I am trying to discover more foods and ingredients that make my carnivorous side feel satisfied while being more healthy for me.

    My favorite recipe to make has got to be the most basic simple tacos (you know, the ones that you sprinkle Ortega seasoning on). They hit the spot every single time and never get old.

  44. I'd like to see more recipe for meals I can pack up and take to work for lunch. I'm really tired of making sandwiches. LOL
    My favorite recipes right now are anything I can make in my new grill pan. Everytime I use it I smile. Funny how such a simple kitchen item can make me so happy.
    Happy New Year.

  45. The overview of 2010 certainly was impressive, great recipes. With all the glorious pictures it makes it hard to choose a favourite dish. Well done!

  46. I would love to see more recipes using beans and lentils! I eat a mainly vegetarian diet and need some more inspiration!

    I love to cook Indian food, especially dal!

    I am also a new subscriber and look forward to seeing your creativity and tasty recipes throughout 2011 and beyond!

  47. I remember that you left the comment a congratulation for my first top9 of foodbuzz.
    I had a good time with my Korean blog last year too. My English is horrible, so I was a little nervous. But I'm going to try enjoying my English blog this 2011. I like your photos style and the recipes. It is a good fun to visit your blog.
    Happy new year and thanks to you~.^^*

  48. Happy New Year, Amanda. I live too far away to qualify for your giveaway but I'm sure I'll be amply recompensed reading about your cooking adventures this year. It was the charlotte recipe which led me to your blog via PFB - just after I had attempted my first ever charlotte. I wish I had read (and seen!) your instructions before...
    As for tickling my fancy: what really excites me about food blogging is looking into other people's kitchen's, observing food trends in other parts of the world and getting inspired to try something new. Tempt me... ;) I'm sure you will.

  49. Happy New Year! I realize this is no help, but I encourage you to keep doing what you're doing. I love the variety of recipes you continue to come up with.

    It's hard to choose a favorite recipe, but I have a quick and easy blondie recipe that I've made a million times :) Love the adorable picture of you!

  50. Hey Amanda! Once again, another great post!! I am so excited to try making lady fingers to make my own trifles. I'm also excited to try out the marshmallow and graham cracker recipes.
    My personal favorite posts from you were the video posts. I know it must take a lot of time to put them together, but I really liked the visuals of seeing how you made the lady fingers. I also thought your interview was GREAT! It's always good to hear about a new restaurant in town (even though SD is so far from me).
    My favorite types of recipes are for comfort foods: Meatloaf or Mac and Cheese. I would love to see ways to make these meals more healthy.
    PS Happy New Year. I hope your travels were wonderful!!

  51. I am looking forward to your posts is 2011.

    As to the giveaway questions: I just want to see more of the same. Love the photos you include, allowing us to eat with our eyes. And the videos are wonderful, too! I've tried several of your recipes and so far my favorite (and one I even re-blogged at is the one for your Roasted Chicken with Grapefruit Cilantro. There are so many others I have bookmarked to come back to and make, too.
    Best wishes for a wonderful new year to you and I look forward to seeing more from The Cilantropist!


  52. i love your collection of recipes.. i have the pocket pies bookmarked. They are so cute:) thank you for sharing then and here's to an even better year ahead ..x

  53. Happy New Year Amanda! I have truly enjoyed following you this year. When I started blogging in the middle of the year you were one of the first blogs that I came across.

    My favorite of your posts are the picnic from PFB. I really enjoyed that post and enjoyed the locations you chose. Your menu was perfect!
    The Pomegranate Lady Finger dessert is simply stunning though.. another favorite.

    This year I really liked your video posts. The Food Truck was my favorite! You are a natural in front of the camera. I'd love more of those!

    I recently signed up for twitter, not really understanding it yet, but I followed you (@LivLifeToo) Now I"ve got to figure out how it all works!

    Here's looking forward to 2011!!

  54. I started following you because I loved the name; I've stuck as a follower because you're great!

    I'd love to see you try more Indian foods. Be my scout! I've collected the spices; working on the nerve.

    I'm definitely a savory cook and a timid baker. My favorite things to make are Italian, espcially canneloni.

    One of these days, I'll figure out Twitter. Until then, see you here in 2011.

  55. I wanna see some cilantropist apparel. Good examples would be Cooking aprons or trucker hats.

  56. I love all your posts - and the top 10 are great! But I really, really enjoyed the luxury dinner :) (not something you can do every time, clearly :)). My favorite and much appreciated dish that I made from your blog is the red cabbage salad! So easy, so fantastic.
    And I agree with so many others, it would be lovely to have more healthy and comforting meals with lots of vegetables :).
    I also agree with Rush - a Cilantropist apron would be so fancy! Maybe a giveaway for next year ;)? When do we see a Cilantropist cook book? All those beautiful recipes and lovely pictures would already provide us with a wonderful collection (but I guess this is not the purpose of a food blog... hmm). Happy New Year, Amanda - looking forward to those 2011 posts :)!

  57. Hey girlie, I KNEW those s'mores would be in the top 10! They all looks fantastic.

    I also love posts with interesting side dishes.

  58. Oh those s'mores were such a delight to see! I was very impressed when you made those!

    A happy New Year to you, Amanda!

    For my entry, I'd say the things I enjoy reading about the most are creative vegetarian dishes. Of all the things I'm most likely to try, that would be it. So if you have anything up your sleeve, do share! ;-)

    My favorite thing to make are soups. I never use a recipe... it's always pure experimentation and I have so much fun with it.

  59. I am consistently wowed by your sweets and myself I like to make soup (any soup!) most of all. GREG

  60. I'm a little bored with my culinary rotation so I'm definitely in the mood for wholesome weekday vegetarian meals!

    Happy new year!

  61. Great collection of recipes! All top NOMZ

  62. happy new year Amanda
    delicious round up, i couldn't pick one

    I think you're already doing a wonderful job, but if I'd choose than I'd go with more sweets and more quick veggie dishes.

    Hope you're having a wonderful day

  63. Congratulations on a fantastic 2010! I am so happy I found your blog last year! This year I'd love to see more desserts, mostly because yours are so pretty.

    I love making homemade marshmallows, mostly because people are so surprised that they are homemade!

  64. Welcome 2011.

    I like appetizers & wine, so more of that plaese.

    I love making plates of cheese & nuts, chocolate and honey the most...let's me get creative.

  65. Beautiful line favorite is the cabbage salad, love it! But they are all wonderful.
    I enjoy all creative dishes but since I do not really know baking, they are a favorite of mine :)
    Hope your 2011 is amazing so far!

  66. This is a great blog. I like it and thanks for sharing this one.