Wednesday, January 04, 2012

new years cheers, 2011

Happy New Year Everybody!! It's that time of year to look forward... resolutions, new starts, goals, hopes... but also to look back, fondly, on 2011. It was a good year for this blog (8 years!!) and for me personally. A year full of good friends, good food and good fun!

• I was able to cook for my first Friendsgiving. I made "cheat" turducken instead of a turkey... a much easier and more practical alternative to a regular turducken. It was great!

• My good friend Julie started an amazing travel blog, My Roving I, this year. I was honored to do some guest posts for her... 3 posts all about St. Louis as it relates to travel. You can find links to all the posts here. In return, Julie did a guest post here! Wow, what a post! It's about her and Scott's visit to Dario Cecchini's famous butcher shop and café in Panzano, Italy. I am so awed by their travel skills.

• There were dinner parties. At this one, hosted by Kelly, we made Osso Bucco with the help of Mario Batali! No, really! I got cooking advice from him on twitter!

• Speaking of dinner parties, I was honored to be the guest of honor at the ultimate one... My friends John and Cathy featured an Iron Stef MENU one night at the the restaurant Table Three!! What a birthday present! It may never be topped. The food, by chef John, was wonderful, and I was surrounded by some of my most favorite people! Thanks to all who came, and to Cathy and John and Table Three for the menu!

• There were new friends in 2011, too! I got to know some of the area bloggers better, like the super-cool Stacey. I cooked this Baked Shrimp with Feta that she posted on her food blog Every Little Thing. Yum!

• I lost a good friend this year... My Grandma. Not to bring the party down... she was a saint of a woman... mother of 12, grandmother of, like, 38... never judging, rarely angered. I miss her, but what a blessing to have such a person in my life.

• 4 of my food-community buddies started a podcast in 2011... Stewed STL. It's the 4 of them with a different guest each episode discussing the current goings-ons of the local food scene whilst drinking. They asked me to design the logo, which was really fun... I wrote about the process on my other blog. I also got to play "bartender" during one of the tapings... opening tallboys of Busch and pouring shots of the infamous Malört... fun stuff!

Here are some of my favorite dishes from 2011...

English Hot Pot... which taught me the glory of ham stock.

Crockpot Chicken and Eggs. An old favorite from my early blogging days.

• Miso and Shiso were sort of a theme combo in 2011... pictured above is Miso Salmon, and earlier in the year I made Miso Shiso Mussels. Mainly because it's fun to say... they also taste great!

Green Garlic Risotto. god bless farmer's markets in the spring.

Caramelized Leek and Morel tart. This? Will get you laid.

• In 2011 I got a new niece. I used that as an excuse to get a fancy new camera. I loved my old camera (and payed respects in this post), but it was time for an update and upgrade. Luckily, My friends Corey and Kelly taught a food photography soon after I got the new tool... I wrote about the class and what I learned in this post.

• Hopefully my photos for this blog will continue to improve... afterall I have a reputation to live up to... in 2011 I could official call this blog "Award-Winning" !!!! Wow, you guys. I am still so tickled and honored by this. 2010 Best Food Blog in St. Louis. Little 'ol me? Very cool. *Group Hug!*

• Childhood was fun. The funnest! I decided to re-live a bit of mine by making a Chef Boyardee Pizza Kit pizza. It tasted just like I remembered and took me right down memory lane. Judge if you will, but these pizzas make me giddy.

• I made my first visit ever to New Orleans in 2011! It was a road trip with 3 of my favorite people. We ate, went to a voodoo shop, checked out the market, and more. The food was dreamy, especially Cochon. Photos from the trip are here.

• A challenge is always fun. When I discovered Turnip Cakes, a traditional dim sum item, I fell in love. I had to have more. So I made some. It was quite the endeavour, but it payed off.

• 2011 was the year of Knuckles Handerson... my hand. He visited lots of places with me, including restaurants! Meet Knuckles in this post, and follow him on twitter and tumblr. :D

• Don't worry, Knuckles did not replace Skank Ham. She was alive and kicking all through 2011, and will be doing the same in 2012.

2010 Iron Stef recap

2009 Iron Stef recap

2007 Iron Stef recap

(this is not to say other years weren't good... I just didn't write recaps...)

Cheers to you!! Happy 2012 everyone!


Every Little Thing said...

I'm very glad to have met you too! Great recap. Glad you had a positive year!

Graceful Cuisine said...

Happy new year of the meatball! I love it! Great idea for adding dried figs to your lamb meatballs; I've got to try it. Love your flavor combinations in your other recipes too!