HOME WITH THE LOST ITALIAN: Lost Italian celebrates 5th anniversary with look back

Forum News Service Jean Eppler created a contest-winning dip at Sarello's called "Cranberries Gone Wild".

Today marks the fifth anniversary of this column, and Tony, Gio and I wish to thank you for being part of our lives for the past five years. Writing this column is one of the best, and most fun, projects we’ve participated in together, and we love having this opportunity to share our passion for family and food with you.

For the past few weeks the focus of our family dinner conversations has been trying to choose our top five featured recipes.

With a database that now holds 260 features, arriving at a consensus was no easy task. But, after great consideration and passionate debate, I’m happy to say that Tony, Gio and I are satisfied with our choices.

1. Jean Eppler’s Cranberries Gone Wild Dip – Nov. 6, 2013

This recipe entered our lives through a contest we sponsored in 2013, when we went in search of the perfect party dip. Jean Eppler’s Cranberries Gone Wild dip made it through three elimination rounds, two nights of tasting and a public vote to emerge as the overwhelming fan-favorite. Even now, four years later, people stop us to tell us how much they love this recipe.

This colorful dip is easy to make and features fresh cranberry salsa over whipped cream cheese. With its seasonal ingredients and beautifully festive presentation, it is a perfect dish for the holidays.

2. Sarello’s Red Curry Scallops – Feb. 6, 2013

Featuring sea scallops sautéed in a velvety red curry sauce, this dish was a perennial favorite at our former restaurant, Sarello’s. With its elegant presentation, incredible flavor and overwhelming popularity, this signature specialty was an easy choice to make our list.

This recipe first appeared in our column, in anticipation of Valentine’s Day. Spicy, fragrant and delicious, Sarello’s Red Curry Scallops is abundant with aphrodisiac qualities and is sure to spice up your life, no matter when you serve it.

3. Fresh Berry Galettes – Jan. 14, 2015

If you’re a regular reader, you know that baking is a passion of mine, and these rustic fruit tarts are one of my favorite specialties. Easy to make and oh-so-delicious, these little free-form pies are always a hit whenever I make them.

But it was now-retired Forum photographer Dave Wallis’ beautiful photos that pushed this recipe onto our list, as his artist’s eye framed these tarts in a way that has made our mouths water ever since. Looking at his photos is almost as good as eating one of my galettes.

4. Sarah Anstett’s Cincinnati Chili – Jan. 30, 2013

A native of Ohio and talented home cook, my sister-in-law Sarah Anstett has a knack for taking a recipe and making it her own, and she hit it out of the park with her recipe for Cincinnati Chili. With its fragrant and unusual blend of spices, this chili is a specialty throughout Cincinnati, where you can order it served over hot dogs or, uniquely, generously heaped atop a plate of spaghetti.

A pasta traditionalist, Tony was a skeptic about this regional specialty (to the point of heckling) until he actually tried Sarah’s version. His zeal for this dish, and the fact that it is one of the all-time highest-viewed recipes on our blog, make Sarah’s recipe a shoo-in for this list.

5. Gio’s Meatballs – Oct. 23, 2013

One of the best perks of writing this column has been the opportunity to bring our son, Gio, into the project and watch his enthusiasm for cooking grow over the past five years. Gio and I developed this recipe together when he was 9 years old, and these meatballs have become one of our family’s favorite comfort foods.

Tender, moist and delicious, Gio’s Meatballs are easy to make and a great catalyst for bringing kids into the cooking process. This recipe was an instant hit with our readers, and as recently as last week they continue to let us know how much they love Gio’s Meatballs.

Recipe Time Capsule

Featured this week in …

2016 – Biscuits and Gravy Casserole – http://www.inforum.com/entertainment/4154113-biscuit-casserole-passes-brunch-test

2015 – Tony’s Top Ten Turkey Tips – http://www.inforum.com/entertainment/3879981-home-lost-italian-tonys-top-10-turkey-tips-your-thanksgiving-meal

2014 – Tom Shorma’s Walleye Chowder – http://www.inforum.com/entertainment/3611533-home-lost-italian-walleye-chowder-clear-winner

2013 – Peppermint Buttermilk Brownies – http://www.inforum.com/lifestyles/food/3063024-lost-italian-brownies-example-dishes-suited-latest-recipe-contest

2012 – Stuffed Turkey Breast and Sweet Potato Cheesecake – http://www.inforum.com/lifestyles/food/3033428-home-lost-italian-classics-shine-unconventional-thanksgiving-feast