Saturday, January 1, 2011

Best Of 2010

I just Love New Year's Day and today is a stellar one with temps into the 40s and a brilliant sunny start. It is sad to see the snow melt and I am soon to head back out to play more in the disappearing heavy wet white before the predicted rains start.
The first day of a new year is bursting with possibilities untainted by the realities of the days ahead, gripped by an optimistic, exciting, anything~can~happen feeling that I Love to embrace. I try to feel this every day but New Year's Day is even more special, like a birthday. This week, I have experienced one of those "watch what you ask for" moments....the classic resolutions of wanting to lose some weight and cutting back on caffeine have been floating thru my mind and to my surprise, I was seized with a bout of food poisoning the last four days and has made a very good start to this resolution. It made the long travel home from my family holiday in Michigan an interesting one, as you can imagine.....
I also Love to reflect back on the "best of" the year passed. I have so much to be grateful for each year and this one was huge with the completion of my commercial kitchen, breaking ground to my new vineyard and working in my clay wood fired oven. I am completely grateful for the loyalty of my customers, friends, neighbors, family and farm help whose support is what makes my dream become a reality. I am blessed and grateful beyond words. Here are more of the highlights and Best of 2010:

Favorite new adventure
My *new* kitchen!!!! I now have an amazing commercial kitchen separate from the house. Which I cannot say enough amazing things about....AND now my house is not taken over by catering equipment, I have a storage floor above the kitchen for everything related to the business, aaaahhhh~

Favorite new DIY projects
My clay wood fired oven!!!! I have had a few pizza parties in this amazing oven and am now playing with baking in dream is coming true.....

Favorite new ground breaking adventure
Grape vineyard. This last spring I broke ground for the site in a field I had been cover croping for six years and planted dozens of grapes for making table wine. Dozens more are to be planted in the spring of 2011. I am currently working on having my license for being a farm winery. YES!! I am sooooo excited!!!!!

Favorite food adventure
France....traveling to Rouen to eat at the restaurant, La Couronne (established in 1345) where Julie Child first had her French culinary experience that changed her life. It changed mine as well....

Favorite new ingredient
pear flavored Modena balsamic vinegar, oak barrel aged for 20 years. Simply Divine.

Favorite new pairing
Delicata squash, oyster mushrooms, shallots and gruyére cheese. Richly Divine.

Favorite new staple
red quinoa.....I Love quinoa and this one takes one more step into taste enlightenment. The perfect grain, loaded with complete protien and an enchanting history......

Favorite new ice cream recipe
Strawberry rhubarb crisp...fresh and exquisite....

Favorite gastronomic meal
La Couronne~Rouen, France and Nostrama~Bar Harbor, Maine

Favorite escapist experience
snorkeling off Culebra Island. All I wanted to do is float, staring at the brilliant wonders beneath me, hoping to have this luminous sight etched permenantly in my mind’s eye

Favorite new tradition
Skiing out to join my neighbors at their cabin in the woods on New Years Eve for thier unbeatable New Year’s festive revelry

Favorite event
the first day working in my new kitchen.....the favorite event that still continues....

Favorite new kitchen gadget
Knife magnets!! No more knicking knives or fingers searching for the right knife. Knives are now organized neatly in a row on the magnet mounted right where you need it on the wall.

Favorite new appliance
Convection oven!! This is not new, far from it. I purchased my convection oven at an auction eight years ago. It has been stored until this year. Placed in my new kitchen this summer, plugged in and it sparked right up and has been a miracle appliance ever since.

Favorite new cookbook
Thai food made easy.....this book is fabulous. Made easy is the key. Fabulous Thai food made in a snap.

Favorite new pieces of cookware
Le Creuset, my collection is slowly growing and I am completely in Love with each piece

Favorite new knife
Kuhn Rikon, Switzerland made, sharp and light as a whisper. The lightness I have to be careful of but when cutting tomatoes it is superb and for cutting the crustiest of bread, the Rikon glides thru as if cutting butter.

Hair raising event
The fire on my apprentice, Laura's first day......short lived, thank goodness due to the fabulous Saint Albans fire department!!

Happy 2011 one and all, may your resolutions, dreams and wishes all start to become a reality~

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