Best of 2012

Happy New Year! Here’s to 2013 and the glorious meals, peals of laughter, new friends, and unforgettable adventures I hope it has in store for you.

Before we remove the protective film from this brand new year, I’d like to take a moment to look back on some of the best things 2012 brought. The two biggest, happiest events for me have been (1) the birth of my baby boy in the spring — Milan is now seven and a half months and he’s a ray of sunshine — and (2) wrapping up the manuscript for my upcoming vegetable cookbook, which will come out mid-2013 under the title The French Market Cookbook.

Here on Chocolate & Zucchini, after a little post-baby break, I was delighted to come back with two new series of Q&A posts: Draw Me A Fridge (in collaboration with my friend Alexia Colson-Duparchy) offers a sneak peek into our guests’ fridge habits, while Parents Who Cook asks parents about their kitchen life after they had children. I also picked up the Edible Idioms series where I’d left it, except now they’re illustrated by Mélina Baumert‘s wonderful watercolors.

Aside from these, here are some of the highlights of my year — and if you care to share your own, I’d love to hear about them!

Favorite new food source: La Ruche qui dit oui !, a service that allows individuals to place group orders with local producers.

Most frequently made pasta dish: curried butternut squash pasta, which I’ve cooked with various kinds of winter squash and various shapes of pasta.

Most memorable food-related read: Tamar Adler’s Everlasting Meal.

Favorite non-food related read: Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. Contenders: Aria Beth Sloss’s soon-to-be-released Autobiography of Us and M. L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans.

Favorite new appetizer quickie: beet hummus.

Favorite vegetable to play with: kale, which has just recently become more readily available in Paris.

Favorite new salad and soup topping: savory granola.

Favorite new store: Sipeasy, a great little store in my neighborhood that’s devoted to cocktails and everything you need to mix them at home, including rare and hard-to-find liquors.

Favorite new utensil: the stovetop smoker I received in preparation for an article I’m writing, which I’ve played with to exciting results.

Favorite new podcasts: The Truth, The Longest Shortest Time, Slate’s Double X Gabfest, and Les Femmes, toute une histoire.

Favorite chocolate discovery: Domantas Užpalis’ Lithuanian chocolate factory and Colins Kawai’s mochi truffles.

New favorite hangout: Le Poussette Café, a joyous haven for new parents, where I went once or twice a week after Milan was born.

Favorite new bakery: La Boulangerie du Vide-Gousset, formerly Au Panetier, which the new owner of the next-door restaurant Le Vide-Gousset has taken over. (10 rue des Petits Pères, 75002 Paris, +33 (0)1 42 60 02 78.) Beyond the gorgeously preserved historic décor, I love that it focuses on just a handful of products, including an excellent sourdough-leavened rustic bread, called Pain des Petits Pères.

What about you, any faves to tell us about?

{And if you’d like to hop aboard the C&Z time machine, it will take you back to see the:
~ Best of 2011
~ Best of 2010
~ Best of 2009
~ Best of 2008
~ Best of 2007
~ Best of 2006
~ Best of 2005.}

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