Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Year of Feasts for the Eyes from 2010

 This last year has been a true learning curve for my recipe blog. I mean that quite literally, because I have taught myself how to make recipes for the very first time! I had so much fun learning how to make my own Semolina Gnocchi, just by watching a television show.

 I literally paused the video to try and figure out how Lydia Bastianich made her Sardinian Sausage Sauce and Ciccione pasta. I couldn't find the recipe online, and I didn't have her cookbook.  I felt like an honorary Italian for a day.

I also received a very unexpected surprise-- I won a contest for making "Eggs In Purgatory"!

I was given a $500 spa gift certificate and give a one year's supply of coupons for Eggland's Best Eggs. I have been spreading out the enjoyment of massages at a local spa, and I'm sad to see generous supply of my free eggs are dwindling.  This recipe will also be featured in an upcoming cookbook from Ladies Home Journal.

I am looking forward to the return of grilling season.  One of my favorite recipes I created was this Lamb Burger, glazed with fig jam and caramelized onion.  Just looking at this photo makes me drool at the memory biting into this, and tasting the feta cheese that I had stuffed in side.

I am mourning the loss of our tomato garden, because this Seared Scallop and Pasta dish is not only super fast to make-- it's one of my favorite recipes that I've made.

 I reconnect with my Mexican roots by learning how to make a very easy-- and really good-- Tex-Mex Chili Gravy.  At last, I could have my favorite cheese & onion enchiladas, right at home.  This is comfort food!

I finally learned how to make my own soft pretzels, and these were much easier than I thought they'd be.  These were a big hit for my annual Oktoberfest party.  I won't be waiting a whole year to make these again.

I love to bake, and I have to give this Savory Crostata pastry my own special award for it's flavor.  The pastry is tender, and the addition of marscarpone and Parmesan cheese yielded a flavorful pastry that made me do a happy dance.

The filling enabled me to use our homegrown Swiss Chard, ricotta cheese and leeks-- I loved this, and it's a perfect meal to serve to a vegetarian.  I must make this again-- soon!

  I have a sweet tooth, indeed.  Lemon is my chocolate, without a doubt.  I created this Lemon Curd Ice Cream when I was gifted with a jar of homemade lemon curd.

 This photo doesn't begin to do justice to the success of this recipe.  It was creamy, and the lemon balance was perfect.  I'm watching our Myer lemon tree very closely, because I'm going to make my own homemade lemon curd and more of this ice cream.  This is my favorite ice cream recipe, so far.

Strawberry season is months away, but I can guarantee that my son will be begging me to make this cake again.  This is a Cook's Illustrated winning recipe. The sponge cake is one that I've used for other recipes. 

I am a fan of the Pioneer Woman's recipes, but I have to limit how often I make them.  If I had her busy life on a cattle ranch, maybe I could indulge in many of her butter-laden recipes.  However, I can see myself eating a slice or two of her Perfect Pound Cake.  Ree Drummond knows how to pick great recipes!

One of my most memorable moments was actually meeting a Food Blogger, that I'd only known via email or phone.  We finally got to meet,  in person, and I was looking forward to it for weeks.   I talked Monica, of "Lick the Bowl Good" into flying out from Texas. She agreed to be my roommate and travel companion in San Francisco. I drove 2 hours north to pick her up at the airport, and the adventure began! We attended the Foodbuzz Food Blogger Festival, along with over 300 bloggers from around the world!  Even though I'm old enough to be Monica's mom, I didn't feel an age barrier between us.  I felt as though our meeting was simply a formality because we got along great and shared a lot of laughs.

Foodbuzz arranged for gourmet food trucks to be parked inside Ft. Mason.  Here is a local chef and friend, Todd Fisher and his lovely wife (Ada) posing with Monica.  Todd presented a winning recipe from Fresh Express-- which is located in the Salinas Valley where I live.

Of course, we tooled around San Francisco in my car.   (We won't talk about how I lost my wallet, and someone turned it in for me. Or, our adventure through some sketchy parts of San Francisco at night-- trying to navigate back to our hotel.

Other lovely "faces" from the Foodbuzz even is (top left) Joan of Foodalogue, and lovely Val of More than Burnt Toast.  I loved meeting this lovely young gal from New Jersey, Allie of "All I Eat Food!"

(Bottom Left)  ...and, Monica's wonderful husband "Mr. H" flew in from Texas on the last day of the Blogger Festival.  I've forgotten the name of the girl with the gorgeous hair, but I do remember she was from Vermont. Such lovely ladies, aren't they?

It was bittersweet saying goodbye to my Texas friends, as I drove home, while they stayed in San Francisco for a couple more days.

In the summer of 2010, I had to make a huge adjustment in my work schedule.  I'm gone from early morning until almost 9:00 at night.  As a result,  I find that time has become very scarce to edit and post recipes that I've made.  I'm a perfectionist, yes indeed.  Each post is about a two-hour investment for me, as I try to decided which of the many photos I take will best show you how I made something.  I do my best to carve out time to post at least one or two recipes per week. 

I'm so thankful to all of you who visit my blog on a regular basis.  It is my joy to share with you-- and to show you-- the dishes that I prepare for my husband and my son.  I have come a long way in how I photograph food. I've overcome my aversions to certain foods-- such as curry, butternut squash and garbanzo beans!  I still have many recipes on my "Bucket List" that I hope to learn. Many of the inspirations come from you!

Tomorrow is the last day of 2010.  Overall, I feel very blessed with all that I have.  I'm looking forward to another year of new recipes and good health for all of us!

Happy New Year!

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Kate said...

What a parade of food! It was a great blogging year. I hope 2011 is as fun.

Monica H said...

Oh yum! Everytime I see that burger I drool. Maybe it's the glaze, but it just wants me to eat it!

I'm so glad you finally decided to share some photos from our trip. I love the photos of Sam and I at WS and at the ferry building. Will you send those to me please, ma'am?

Also I think Allie's friend is Sarah.

Happy New Year to you my friend. I loved meeting you this year and I look forward to all our blessings in 2011.


bellini valli said...

It has been a pleasure tro share your culinary journey in 2010 Debby. I look forward to all that you offer in the years to come. Have a gracious and happy New Year!!!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a lovely array of food Debbie. Congratulations on your recipe being in a Ladies Home Journal book. That's terrific. Hope you have a happy and healthy new year.

Mary said...

I have so enjoyed visiting here this year. I love the food and recipes you've featured. I hope the New Year brings you health and prosperity. Blessings...Mary

Stacey Snacks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stacey Snacks said...

Deb, I loved your recap of 2010. The Swiss Chard Galette sticks out in my mind, and your Eggs in Purgatory make you an honorary Italian more so than the gnocchi!
Have a wonderful year full of good food, friends, health and love!

wordmama said...

Today, I intend to make your Tex-Mex Chile gravy to serve with the tamales I'm making. We used to eat at a fabulous little Mexican restaurant that we nicknamed "Tamale Lady's" and my favorite thing was the gravy for the tamales. I will also make your Cheese and Onion enchiladas, too.

I'm glad to see that you featured the recipe in your 2010 wrap-up. Thanks for the great recipes and the beautiful blog.


Allie said...

Wow Debby you have had quite a year! So many amazing recipes and memories :) That's great that you won the Eggland's best contest...what an honor. Jay has been checking out your blog since I talk about you and he's dying to make your pretzels! I loved meeting you and Monica as well, definitely a highlight of my CA trip! Here's to another great year :)

Proud Italian Cook said...

Deb, You're an honorary Italian in my eyes!You have a beautiful blog and I can't wait to see what you have in store for 2011. Blessings to you and yous!


Simple Simon said...

A very Happy New Year to you and thanks for all your wonderful blogs!

Joanne said...

It has been such a blessing to get to know YOU Deborah! Thanks so much for always being such an inspiration and what a lovely round up! Happy New Year!

kitchenaid rvsa slicer said...

ohh yummy...the burger looks soo delicious..

Stacey said...


I never left a comment on your blog before but after your "Year of Feasts" post I couldn't resist. Your pictures always have me drooling!! I guess you can say I'm a blog lurker (LOL)! I have been truly enjoying your delicious looking recipes and blog. You are a very talented woman. I'm not sure how I came across your blog but I'm a personal chef and you are an inspiration for sure. I have been wanting to start a blog for quite some time but I'm photo challenged plus I'll use the excuse of being busy working and my 3 kids. Then there's what to name it (LOL). In any case, you seem busier than me so I have no excuse. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy and delicious 2011! I look forward to more of your delicious looking recipes - thanks!

FOODalogue said...

I was so enjoying all the food photos, slowly scrolling down and I almost missed the photo of me and Val (I'd love if you would email it to me). I'm so happy she introduced us. I really love the work you do here.

All the best to you in 2011.

Anonymous said...

Fabulous post. Lots of great recipes to try. I also love tackling new recipes. Macaron is on my list!