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Our Year In Food

January 6, 2012

Well, as the New Year has officially commenced, the time has come to look back at the year gone past.  Look at what you discovered, experienced, endured and enjoyed in the days that now seem so far away. 2011 really was a year of culinary adventure for us. We have always loved to cook, always enjoyed experimenting but 2011 brought a burst of new adventures and trials. I thought it would be fun to look back at some of those adventures

JANUARY – the bitter winter in TN was a bit more than we cared to endure. We continued to enjoy our winter CSA veggies and continued to curse Mother Nature when it kept all those fresh veggies from us.

FEBRUARY – we experimented with mushroom logs (no, not those kind of shrooms). The shitake shrooms worked amazingly well the first time, but whether from log neglect or product failure we were never able to get it to produce again (my money is on log neglect) – but it was a fun try!

MARCH –  I didn’t die when eating homemade goat cheese. The goat cheese was much more successful than the shrooms – we are blessed to have some great goat milk providers here locally and my love for Noble Springs continues to grow. Goat milk ain’t cheap and its arguably cheaper to buy goat cheese, but the process is so darn easy (and it impresses your friends, lets be honest) that its hard not to find joy in making it at home. You all should really try it. Make mozzarella at least!

APRIL – we got a whole lamb! While actually ordered in February as a birthday gift for my wonderful husband, in April we received the whole lamb we had ordered from Peaceful Pastures. 40+ pounds in all, which we were able to select how we wanted most of the cuts broken down. Despite one epic Easter dinner and many many glorious meals since, we are still working our way through it all. There are few meats as delicious as lamb in my opinion and I must give my self a little pat on the back for that gift. Thoroughly enjoyed.

MAY – We were given the opportunity to enjoy a fantastic trip to Spain, thanks to my amazing parents. There are so many things we loved about that trip and we still talk about how we need to pack up and move to Barcelona. We loved it so much that we convinced 2 of our dearest friends to go their for their honeymoon this year. If only we could go with them! The food, the wine, the siestas, the food, the markets, the restaurants, the long leisurely meals, the food, the fact that beer and wine is often cheaper than water, the fresh seafood, the cava… did I mention the food?

JUNE – we ventured into our first attempt at pickling. Just your basic bread and butter pickles and pickled jalapenos, but pretty darn delicious and super easy.

JULY – Peach and blueberry picking! My dear friend Dana and I went on an adventure to several pick-your-own farms and stocked up on blueberries, blackberries and peaches. Lots of wonderful fruit all around, but lots of time spent in the kitchen the next few days breaking them all down and canning. Next year, less peaches – as delicious as they are, it is a pain in the who-ha to peel them all.

AUGUST I won 3rd place in my first ever recipe competition! The Tomato Art Fest in East Nashville was a great time. Lots of fun tomato themed booths and food, and the recipe contest was a fun adventure. Amid some pretty stiff competition I felt honored to have even placed.

SEPTEMBER – In our continuing efforts to eat local and seasonally, we decided canning tomatoes was a must. Thankfully the end of tomato season corresponded perfectly with my mom coming into town, so I had some great help through this process. In all we canned 50 lbs of tomatoes which gave us close to 20 quarts  to get us through the winter. The tomatoes have been amazing and totally worth the effort. Despite the mess we will definitely have to do this again!

OCTOBER – We experimented with aged eggnog. The simple mixture of eggs, cream and lots-o booze stirred together and set in the back of the fridge, is a little frightening in theory. The the science behind it makes perfect sense, and for some great nog. The alcohol kills anything that could live in those eggs or want to take up home in the mixture, and the aging time gives it a unique flavor. We dipped into it at Thanksgiving, and are still enjoying it to this day – topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a healthy dash of nutmeg and it doesn’t get much better than that on a cold winters night.

NOVEMBER – We explored one of my favorite cities – Chicago – for the big 11/11/11 birthday and experienced some true culinary gems. Hot Dougs for some of the best, most inspirational versions of meat in tube form that I have had to date. The Publican for a fantastic journey through some foods we have never experienced, and many other great stops and eats along the way. Not to mention that I got to spend my birthday with a crew of great friends.

DECEMBER – Consider the above picture your spoiler alert. Suffice it to say we ended the year with a bang!

So Happy 2012 everyone! We hope your 2011 was fantastic, memorable and full of adventure and that the new year brings good times for all! We would aboslutely love to hear about your culinary adventures from 2011, or any awesome plans you have for the new year.


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