Cook's Hideout: Best of 2010

December 30, 2010

Best of 2010

I’ve never done a Best of any year before, because to me it’s extremely difficult to pick “the best” in anything. I like everything, but I don’t usually love something (except for eggplant of course). For me to love something, it has to be extra special and I think this year there are a few that I really loved and would like to share it with you guys. Also this happens to be my 400th post, so I wanted to make it a little special.

So here is the list of my Best things this year (everything is not food related):
2010 was really a very eventful year for me: Buying our first home, moving in and organizing everything as per our taste took a lot of time; a lot of time away from the blog. Family visit this summer was one of the Best family times we had this year; again lot of time away from the blog. But then came the Best time for the Blog in the month of November with Vegan Mofo and I was able to post 22 posts which is unheard of for Cook’s Hideout in 2010.

Here are some more Best Of 2010 list:
Best Vegetarian restaurant: We stopped by Veggie Heaven in Teaneck, NJ one weekend, just because we were looking for Chinese restaurants in the area and this was the first one that came up on my Iphone search. We were pleasantly surprised how flavorful each dish was and thoroughly enjoyed everything we ate there. They had some killer Kung Pao Chicken dish (all veggie, of course) and the Spicy Hunan dumplings were to die for. We’ll definitely be going there frequently now.

Best Dish in a Restaurant: I’m partial to eggplant dishes, but this Baingan Mirchi ka salan (Eggplant-Chili gravy curry) that we had at Moghul restaurant in Edison, NJ is probably the best salan dish I’ve ever had in my life. The eggplants were creamy and just melted in your mouth, chilies tasted spicy, but not fiery hot and the gravy was so smooth and delicious. I’m actually on the quest for the perfect salan dish now.

Best Dish I made/ tried: This has to be Rasmalai that we made for ICC. Even though it is a time consuming and involved recipe, loved the end result.

Best Ingredient tried: My newest favorite ingredient is “Almond Butter”. I love it so much that I’m thinking of adding it to everything I cook, be it dal, subzi, rice, anything (I don’t add it to everything, but the thought definitely crosses my mind). It’s perfect for making creamy pastas & curries without adding cream and tastes super yummy on toast too. I buy 16oz. Trader Joes Almond Butter for $4.99 and that’s the best deal I found in town (beating even Walmart).

Best Picture(s): I love both these pictures:

Best Kitchen investment: This has to be hands down my new KitchenAid Stand mixer. I got the most basic model for $110 ($199-30% discount-$20 Kohl’s credit-$20 Mail-in rebate+7% NJ Tax) and I love love love how easy life’s got and how many things that can be done when your hands are free from holding a mixer. This is money well spent for me.

Best Pants I bought: Now this is totally off from the kitchen, but I wanted to mention about these pants from Coldwater Creek since I absolutely love them. They are knit denim, they look like regular denim pants but they are so comfy that you could wear them the whole day. A must in everyone’s wardrobe, I’d say.

Well 2010 went by quite fast as any other year, but I do have lots of good memories of it to remember for years to come and made quite a few good friends both online and offline. Hoping that the New Year brings lots of joy and happiness to all of you.

To end the year the old year and begin a New Year on a sweet note, here’s Almond cake I made recently from David Lebovitz’s blog.

The only change I made to the recipe is to use 4 whole eggs and 4 egg whites (to replace 2 whole eggs). I don’t think this changed the texture or the taste of the cake, it was still very moist and extremely delicious. The top cracked a little bit making it look very rustic.

Wish you all a Very Happy & Prosperous New year. Enjoy!!!

Sending this over to Srivalli @ Cooking4allseasons for her "Best of 2010" event. Thanks Valli for reminding.


  1. Very fun post, Pavani. Rasmalai is very much on my to-do list and yours looks amazing. I tried a tomato salan from Arundati's blog Escapades this summer and it was a total hit so that's my salan suggestion for you. I've thought of buying a stand mixer but I still can't justify the cost and space for my wee kitchen. Your looks fab!

    Nice to see a glimpse of you in this post :) Wishing you and your family all wonderful things in 2011.

  2. Thanks for the wishes Nupur. Will definitely try Arundati's Salan recipe soon.

  3. 2011 sure flew past by Pavani and what you said is so true - it is so hard to pick 'the best'. That Rasmalai looks so yummy and kudos for that.

    Wishing you a very Happy and Joyous 2011.


  4. Nice Post. Liked reading it. Happy New Year.

  5. I love Kohls for kitchen electrics too. $110 is a steal for that! Nice to catch a glimpse of you, Pavani! Happy 2011!

  6. This is the 2nd time I at Cook's hideout..and I must say I am impressed. I never knew this side of you. The food and the pictures look great...I am going to visit this blog more often to get some good recipes and tips...
    Thanks for sharing... :)

  7. awesome post to end the year
    wwish u happy new yr 2011

  8. Wishing u a happy and prosperous new year to u and ur family..Beautiful recap..

  9. Thank you Siri. Wish you and your family a very Happy New Year.

    Thanks Lakshmi.. Happy New year to you too.

    Thank you Vani. 2010 must have been quite busy for you too with the move back to India and welcoming the new baby. Wish your family a very Happy New year.

    Thanks Anuya. Yup.. I'm full of surprises. no just kidding ;-) Please do keep visiting.

    Thank you Notyet100.

    Thank you Priya. Wish you and your family a very Happy New Year.

  10. Doing the best of is indeed very difficult.. rasmalai we made for ICC was definitely very yummy... love the texture of the almond cake you made.. will try it out sometime..

    btw, I am planning on making the mini quiche, you made for blogbites, this evening

  11. Wish you a happy new year!

  12. A very Happy new year to you n ur family , loved going thru ur wonderful blog !!!

    - Smita
    (fun foods for little eaters

  13. LOvely post. Wish u a very happy new year :)

  14. wishing you and your family a great new year..

    nice post..

  15. Wishing you a very Happy New Year Pavani, hope you have a great year ahead!

  16. So many 'bests'in an year!Really very happy for you and wish you many more 'bests'in the happy New Year.

  17. A very Happy New Year to you and your family Pavani. I loved reading your this post of yours, you shud definitely do these every year :) and 400 posts, thats a great milestone!

    The kitchenaid has been on my wishlist for ever but I really don't know what I would use it for, to justify the cost.

  18. Wishing You a Very Happy New Year 2011!
    I love the recap- I got to look for almond butter always wonder what can I do with that :) No I have an idea. Love ur kitchen aid babe too :)

  19. Fun post to read..and Wishing you a very happy new year!

  20. Thanks for the lovely recap..

  21. Almond butter's certainly one of my favorite ingredients too, Pavani. Your year seems to have been a wonderful one, and thanks for sharing some of it with us. Wishing you a lovely 2011!

  22. The rasmalai looks so delicious...this is one that I would surely want to try. Wishing you and family a happy and prosperous 2011.

  23. Thanks for your wishes Pavani! Happy new yr to you and your family.

  24. The rasmalai looks so delicious...this is one that I would surely want to try.
    Restaurant in Edison NJ


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