Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Own Annual Performance Review: The Feminine Wiles Top Five Recipes

OK.  I’m not in school, so I don’t have a report card to look forward to next week.  (Not that I’m certain, however, that everyone Chez Wiles receiving a report card next week is actually looking forward to it.)

And as a stay-at-home-mom, I don’t have a manager to give me an annual performance review.  (Am I the only person who actually looked forward to those meetings?)

And let’s face it, loving and thoughtful as they may be, Snarky Son (SS) and Darling Daughter (DD) aren’t going to leap out of bed tomorrow morning and exclaim, “Wow!  You did all that laundry while we were sleeping?”

Pity.  Because I bask in positive feedback like a teenaged girl in the 70s basked in baby oil at Folly Beach.  (Oh wait.  I was that girl.)

Although I never planned it, that positive feedback is one reason Feminine Wiles, which I’ve now been writing for nearly a year, has been so gratifying.  I’m downright dazzled by the number of folks who tell me they’ve read my posts or tried my recipes.  And I’ve been somewhat surprised at which recipes have been most popular.  Take a look at this Top Five list for 2009:
  1. Shrimp and Grits.  I’m crazy about this recipe myself, because it can be made ahead.  In fact, it looks like I liked it so well that I used it in two different blog posts.  My bad.
  2. Killer Blue Cheese Dip.  I actually ate this recipe at several holiday parties this year.  And I’m not sure that other people don’t make it better than me!
  3. Waffle of Insane Greatness.  I’m not sure whether it was the name that drew people’s attention, but truly – the name is not an overstatement.
  4. Red Sangria.  Granted, while the kids were at camp this summer, I managed to post not one, not two, but three different recipes.  Plus, I somehow manage to reference sangria in about every third post.  Couldn’t skew the results, could it?
  5. Bacon Bloody Marys.  I got more than double the usual number of clicks when I ran this post, including hits from readers in Israel, Singapore, Romania, and Anchorage, Alaska.  I suspect, though, that this is partially because I managed to use the words, “Spiderman,” “’bacon,” “underwear” and “Bloody Marys” all in the same headline.  From what I hear, though, folks who tried it were pleasantly surprised.
So what does this tell us?  Other than, that for reasons surpassing understanding, forty percent of the Top Five list are alcoholic beverages?

Beats me.  But here at the start of a new year, I’m astounded and gratified by the response to Feminine Wiles.  I’d originally thought it would be read by a few family members and friends.  And only the ones who took pity on me, at that.  I had no idea how lucky I was.

So thank you.  What better way to start 2010.


PS – Well, heck yeah, there’s a new recipe after all that yacking!  The kids and I had a great pork roast this week.  I usually grill pork roasts (to keep from having to wash a roasting pan), but with this wicked cold weather, it would be days before the roast was done.  This version was great – and as the kids know, the pork fried rice later this week will be even better!

Garlic and Rosemary Crusted Pork Loin Rib Roast

One 3 ½ or 4 lb. pork rib roast
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken broth (or water)

Preheat oven to 400.  On cutting board, use large knife to cut together garlic, rosemary,½ teaspoon of salt, and pepper.  Continue to mince together until paste-like.  In a small bowl, combine garlic-rosemary paste and olive oil.  Rub mixture over roast, and place, fat-side up in a large roasting pan (no need for a rack).  Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and roast for 30 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350.  Pour wine and chicken broth (or water, if using) in bottom of roasting pan, and roast until internal thermometer registers 155 degrees (approximately one hour).  When done, remove from oven and allow to rest 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving -- maybe with Simply Sublime Potatoes Au Gratin?
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