Welcome back after a little holiday vacation. My hometown in Wisconsin even squeaked out a White Christmas this weekend. I had an amazing holiday break and hope that you and your family shared the same. I’m fully rested and ready to make the most of the last days of 2011. Rockin’ New Year’s Eve plans anyone? Â I thought I’d start the New Year’s count-down early and share the Best of Minnesota Locavore this year. It’s a list of the posts that captured the most views and comments since this little blog began in March. It’s been a phenomenal year full of surprises and new beginnings. All in the name of local food. How cool is that? It’s anÂ unofficial list, based entirely on the ever-so highly scientific Google Analytics. Be sure to comment on your favorite posts of 2011 either here or over on ourÂ FacebookÂ poll.Â I’d like to put together a “Reader’s Choice” list of all your favorite posts too!
So. Without further ado. The envelope please…
Minnesota Locavore’s Top 11 of 2011
1. Classic Rhubarb Cake Posted May 17
This recipe continues to be the most-viewed post on the blog EVER. Coincidentally, my rhubarb bread recipe over on 20Food is also my top post of the year on that blog. It may not be in season now in Minnesota, but there’s still several views per week of people anxiously awaiting spring and fresh rhubarb. It’s a Minnesota classic after all.
2. Flax Seed Pumpkin Bread Posted October 11
This was the kitchen partner’s and many readers’Â favoriteÂ recipe of 2011. A hearty pumpkin bread with local flax-seed from Whole Grain Milling. If you haven’t tried this in 2011, find some time this week. It’s the best way to top off a year of good food.
3. Baked Eggs in Two-Cheese Tomato Cups Posted August 31
This postÂ was famous for marking the end of my crazyÂ Eat Local America Challenge month of August. It was quite the month. 27 new local recipes in 31 days, ending with this simple parmesan crusted egg, baked in a fresh tomato from our garden. With this recipe came a complete list of the Eat Local America Challenge recipes I ate during the month. It’s a good bookmark to keep handy if you’re looking for some new local recipes in 2012.
4. Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Posted May 31
Memorial Day weekend was my first chanceÂ to try out my new canning equipment on a strawberry-rhubarb jam. I managed to preserve a few different recipes in 2011 (not as many as I planned), but it was a good start for my first year. My jams came away as the favorite by all the visiting taste-testers we had. I loved being able to give the jars away all summer and during the holidays this year. There’s nothing better than the taste of late-May captured and jarred on a piece of toast in chilly December.
5. Egg Nog Ice CreamÂ Posted December 11
As a food blogger, finding the perfect recipe to post at just the perfect time is no small feat. The recipes that come out of my kitchen aren’t always what the rest of the world is interested in putting on the table. My egg nog ice cream recipeÂ addedÂ just a few weeks ago, quickly jumped up as one of the most popular posts ever on Minnesota Locavore. It was just in time for the holiday season and one of my all-time favorites.
6. Homemade Horseradish Sauce Posted October 3
When horseradish was the 2011 Herb of the Year, I knew I had to give making my own horseradish sauce a try. This weekend when my dad put the holiday ham on the table, it was served with a jar of my homemade horseradish. It made me smile (insert warm fuzzy food feelings). And then my eyes started to water (end warm fuzzy food feelings). So not joking when I mentioned it gets stronger with age.
7. Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream Posted June 6
Ice cream was a common feature for me in 2011. Somehow I am certain that 2012, 2013, and 2014 will be the same. I love the freedom of homemade ice cream. To me, there are no limits on what you can mix with sugar and heavy cream. I scream you scream for more ice cream in 2012!
8. How to Cook a Pumpkin Posted October 9
2011 was about learning new things for me: How to create a blog. How to PhotographÂ /Â TweetÂ /Â FacebookÂ about said blog. How to grow A Little AcreÂ andÂ make pickles. How to share my kitchen failures without cursing like a sailorÂ on a blog. You get the idea. I learned A LOT in 2011. As an added perk, you let me share it with you week after week. Learning how to cook a pumpkin was one of the many things I learned, and the most popular How-To post of the year.
9. Sangria on a Stick Posted August 25
Let’s be honest, I love everything about the State Fair. Mostly because there’s ice cream involved (see #5 & #7), and cheese curds. and strawberry shakes. and a bottomless glass of milk. and food on a stick. My sangria on a stick was a tribute to my favorite 2 weeks of summer and a big hit in 2011. Did you know there’s only 240 days left until the next Great Minnesota Get-Together?
10. Stamppot (Mashed Potatoes with Kale) Posted October 31
Kale and I became good friends this year. We were introduced this fall at the farmers’ market and have managed to get together for dinner a few nights each week ever since. I love its versatility and willingness to get thrown into whatever dish I’m putting together. Thank you my friends in The Netherlands for introducing me to kale with this recipe.
11. Find It Local Friday: Minnesota Taco Night Â Posted November 11
What would 2011 have been without Find it Local Friday? and Minnesota tacos? The last of the Top 11 of 2011 was the best Find it Local Friday post of the year for one of the best local meals on the planet. When going local gets tough in 2012, the tough will make local tacos.
Here’s a special thanks for a TREMENDOUS year of eating and growing local food. Â I look forward to sharing more of the locavore life with all of you in 2012!