Hello and welcome! We are continuing on with our Best Of, Reader Favorites today with the top 10 Djalali Cooks posts from all of 2021. There are definitely a few surprises on this list and I had a lot of fun looking through the numbers to find out what resonated with all of you the most this year. Let’s get right to it – it’s Reader Favorites 2021!
1. Tahdig (Persian Rice) in the Always Pan
I have talked a bit about the Always Pan and I just received the Noosh-e-Joon Platter, a shallow ceramic platter that has handles on both sides. Our Place sells it as an Always Pan accessory. The platter comes with a Damkoni, which is a cotton “pocket” that fits over the lid to absorb moisture to get perfectly cooked rice with a crispy bottom. It also came with a small bottle of saffron and a recipe for Tahdig. So that’s what we are making today: Farah and Sophia’s Tahdig Polo, courtesy of Our Place and the Always Pan.
2. Best Ever Tuna Melt
The story of the Tuna Melt is that of an accident. The story goes that during a busy shift at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Charleston, South Carolina, a bowl of tuna salad perched above the griddle, fell atop a grilled cheese sandwich while it was open-faced, on the griddle. So maybe it’s more like the accidental invention of Toasted Ravioli, when a ravioli accidentally fell in the deep fryer. I love it when an accident becomes an icon!
3. The Classic Steakhouse Wedge Salad
Today I have one of my favorite steakhouse starters; the Classic Steakhouse Wedge Salad. Buttermilk blue cheese drizzle, dressed tomatoes and bacon pieces; this salad is so simple, yet so refreshing and savory. I think the Wedge Salad is often maligned because of the iceberg lettuce (mostly), but then also the bacon and blue cheese don’t do it any favors in the nutrition department. But I don’t care what anyone says; I love a well-balanced Wedge Salad.
4. Campari Olive Oil Cake
If you’re a subscriber, you may have noticed that I have often included recipes for Campari-based cocktails in the emails – it’s no secret, it’s my favorite apéritif! I came across this recipe for Campari Olive Oil Cake, by Melissa Clark. I was so intrigued, I had to try it! So today, we are making this citrusy cake with an easy whipped crème fraîche to top.
5. Neapolitan Semolina Cake with Citrus and Cardamom
Today we are making a Neapolitan Semolina Cake (Migliaccio di Semolino), which is like a cross between cake and flan; its texture is dense and creamy, yet it’s light and refreshing. The flavor is only lightly sweet, perfumed with citrus, vanilla and spice. This cake’s base is a semolina porridge, mixed with ricotta and eggs. I found this recipe in the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated and it sounded so interesting, I thought it would be fun to try.
6. Spanakopita Pasta Bake
I am not surprised this one made the Reader Favorites list – it’s regularly a top post. I came across My Greek Table, a show hosted by Diane Kochilas from Maryland public Broadcasting. She makes classic Greek dishes look simple and amazing. In one of the episodes I saw, she did a Spanakopita Mac and Cheese. Well, I had to try this. Today’s recipe is a little different, it’s a recipe I found on the NY Times Cooking site, but the idea is the same.
7. Our Kitchen Renovation
Today, I am sharing the images and details of our 2020 Kitchen renovation. The kitchen was only part of the house renovation, but it is by far the most dramatic transformation of the entire project. I have been looking forward to sharing this with you for a while now, so I hope you enjoy this inside look at Our Kitchen Renovation.
8. Pineapple Marinated Chicken
Today’s recipe is a really great way to prepare chicken breast. We often do whole chickens, so we are fine with breasts, but typically when I do a recipe that is just pieces of chicken, I always go for thighs. Well, I wanted to try this recipe I found on the New York Times Cooking site because it promises to deliver a tender, juicy chicken breast. I was skeptical. So we are doing it here today; let’s see how this Pineapple Marinated Chicken goes!
9. Updated Classic: Not So Sloppy Joe’s
As a kid in the 70s and 80s I have fond memories of eating Sloppy Joes; mostly at my Grandma’s house in the summer time. I am sure she made hers with the recognizable packet of McCormick Sloppy Joes Seasoning; and I loved them. The loose meat sandwich wasn’t new then, in fact its origins go all the way back to the 1930s; with the first mention of Sloppy Joes in the 1940s. A classic, in my book. I hadn’t had Sloppy Joes in probably 30 years, and never from scratch, so I thought it might be a fun recipe to do here.
10. Classic Ballpark Soft Pretzels
I was surprised this one made the Reader Favorites list, but I am glad it did because it’s really easy and super fun. it’s a Our favorite activity so far this summer has been enjoying our favorite teams’ games, snacking on ball park snacks, with ice cold beers out on the screen porch, cheering on our teams. So today, we are making Classic Ballpark Soft Pretzels.
Thank you so much for joining me for Djalali Cooks Reader Favorites 2021! I have to say that I think it’s so great that Tahdig (Persian Rice) is the number one post of 2021! It’s a pleasant surprise that the classic Tuna Melt and the Wedge Salad were high on the list; when I posted those recipes I wondered if folks would think they’re a little “old School”, but it just goes to show that classic recipes are classics for a reason – sometimes we just need to be reminded of them. Take care and be well, everyone! xo Kelly