Colorful & comforting seasonal recipes for savory dishes, sweets and cocktails. 

A Few Favorites: 2015

A Few Favorites: 2015

Oh my, it's been a delicious year with you all. The end of 2015 marks the first full year of food blogging here at Chase the Flavors. My goal when I wrote the very first post was to build a space to share homemade recipes that shift with the changing seasons. Today I'm sharing my absolute favorites and a few stories that go with them. Cheers to a wonderful new year! 

Breakfast/Brunch

If only ever morning could start with Herb Fried Chicken Biscuits with Apricot Mustard. Mark jokes that he was a vegetarian before he met me and my family, which is pretty accurate. We're fried chicken folks through and through. 

These Rosemary Cayenne Granola Bars are one of my favorite on-the-go breakfast bars. I love making a batch late on a Sunday evening and snacking on them throughout the week. We survived on these and take out the first week in our new home (back in January) and recently I packed them as snacks for a road trip with friends up to Chicago to see El Vy. My friends know I'm an ardent fan of The National and Matt Berninger, but can I just bottle up Brent Knoft's joy and take it with me everywhere? 

This Matcha Bowl with Honey Granola & Cocoa Nibs is deliciously quick in the mornings. The matcha smoothie is packed with coconut milk, banana, pineapple and honey and loaded up with chopped fruit, granola and cocoa nibs. I made it for the first time after returning from Long Beach for the US Barista Championship where I happily gorged on acai bowls for a week. 

Leftover butternut squash is a dream come true for morning waffles. I love these Butternut Squash Waffles with Bourbon-Maple Creme Fraiche as a weekend brunch option. 

One of my favorite parts of this year has been developing recipes with the seasonal vegetables from our CSA share with Urban Roots Farm. The summer abundance of mustard greens turned into this Shakshuka with Braised Mustard Greens. 

Dips/Appetizers

Our CSA share was packed with eggplant throughout the year and I've happy to say I went from moderate fandom to head-over-heels in love with eggplant. This spicy Sambal Roasted Eggplant with Cardamom Yogurt uses homemade sambal oelek for the heat and fragrant cardamom yogurt as a dipping sauce to cool things off. 

During the holiday season I focused on giving leftovers a full blown makeover. My favorite is this White Bean Dip with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Caramelized Shallots because bacon. 

Mushroom Asparagus Quinoa Cakes with Sage Cream topped with fresh microgreens needs just you and a fork. I love them tossed in a salad or served with an egg on top. 

Lunch/Dinner

I was thrilled when spring greens came back into season this past year and celebrated with everything green I could fit in a bowl, dressed in spicy horseradish and topped with seared salmon. This recipe for for Spring Greens with Pan-Seared Salmon and Horseradish continues to be a go-to lunch option using whatever greens and herbs I have on hand. 

Committing to an 18-hour pork braising means you've earned the best leftover bánh mì. Between the beer, garlic, and maple-honey, I'm not really surprised I look for excuses to repeat this recipe for Farmhouse Ale Braised Pork Shoulder & Next Day's Shredded Pork Bánh Mì Sandwiches.

Call it pizza or flatbread, but whatever you do, grill it. The best part of this mild winter is grilling for dinner isn't out of the question. This recipe for Grilled Flatbread with Roasted Grapes and Arugula was one of my favorites from the summer season and became a template for a delicious year of grilled bread + roasted fruit + spreadable cheese + herbs/greens. 

Drinks

The only thing better than batch cocktails for a group of friends is letting your guests mix and match with flavors of the season. I loved putting together this DIY Collins spread using fresh herbs and citrus fruits. 

The Midnight Mule is a quick twist on the Moscow Mule using meyer lemon juice, vodka, and coffee stout. I made it recently with Ballast Point's Victory at Sea Imperial Porter, their porter with vanilla and coffee, and oh my word. 

I love this Lavender Margarita with salted pistachios around the rim of the glass. I harvested so much lavender from our plants this summer making cocktails, lavender iced coffee and desserts. 

Throughout the winter I find myself dreaming of summer cocktails and this Cantaloupe Mint Gin and Tonic. A quick batch of cantaloupe-lime-mint ice cubes is a game changer for the simple gin and tonic mixer. 

beet shrub.jpeg

This year was filled with shrub-based cocktails, but my absolute favorite was this Beet Lemon Whiskey summer cocktail made with a homemade beet shrub for the first Cocktails on the Farm event at Urban Roots Farm. 

Two things here: dessert and drinks (that's really all one needs, right?). This Pecan Pie Bourbon Milk Punch is made by infusing milk in leftover pecan pie. We made quite a few rounds of these this holiday season. 

This year I fell in love with cold brew tea, especially this recipe for Cold Brew Sencha Green Tea with Grilled Peaches

Dessert

By far my favorite dessert of the year were these Roasted Cherry and Coconut Pistachio Orgeat Popsicles

This Fresh Peach Tart with Maple-Almond Dates and Vanilla Bean Mascarpone was a happy accident. A batch of peaches I picked up for canning were too ripe to can and needed to be eaten/frozen instead. I made this fresh peach tart and Mark and I devoured it on our first wedding anniversary. 

If you've made it this far into the post then you deserve the rawest bit of honesty. Our home was burglarized this year and among the items taken was my camera. I had a week of phone camera food photography until my dear friend Elise lent me a camera. This recipe was my first one after the setback and is a cherished reminder of the kindness of friends and family and the importance of pursuing creativity and going after what you love.

I love making and sharing food with you. Thanks for following along this year and cheers to 2016. 

Chardonnay Poached Pear & Pistachio Mascarpone Ice Cream

Chardonnay Poached Pear & Pistachio Mascarpone Ice Cream

Spicy Butternut Squash Dip & Dukkah

Spicy Butternut Squash Dip & Dukkah