Saturday, December 31, 2011

On The Verge of a New Year

GF Lemon & Rosemary Cookies (Blackbird Bakery)
2011 was pretty good to me.

The first episode of Spatula aired this year. Our transition into a  Gluten-Free house was a delightful challenge this year. I experienced Yosemite National Park for the first time. I wrote a lot of articles and did a lot of yoga. I've been lucky enough to share the year with some really awesome friends and family.  And, throughout the year, I've made some kick-ass food.

That makes me a pretty happy girl.

While walking Bleu Dog this afternoon, FD and I talked about our New Year's Resolutions. Of course, we discussed the little things that we want to accomplish in the new year and our life-long goals that we always revisit. And we shared the things we have overcome this year as well as those that we still need more time to resolve, or grow from, or experience--all those things we carry between every year. But, ultimately, I told FD, I'm not making any resolutions for New Year's; I'm going to resolve things as I go along this year. In other words, I'm going to go with the flow, be more open to seeing the present moment and thoughtfully reflecting and changing in that moment.
Lake Erie Walleye Fish Cheeks

If 2011 taught me anything, it was that change is possible all of time, and if we are open to seeing opportunities and taking chances, things can happen. Good things, bad things, different things, job things, personal things--things. It's these things that shape who we are. So why put all the pressure onto becoming someone I hope to be on one day of the year when I should be aware of myself everyday and resolving to be who I am in the moment and going from there?

That said, I have quite a bit great memories from 2011. From the special meals shared at Revolver with close friends or the most fantastic meal at Lolita with my in-law's to the unexpectedly perfect meals that just happened, from our Fish Fry in July to Fairy Dust, from my obsession with Nigel Slater to my new-found love for Chicken Pate with Basil and Cashews and from eating the most perfect burger to baking the most beautiful GF Christmas cookies, I have to say that no matter what every year I feel my palate gets stronger and my skill gets sharper.  My journey with food feels never-ending, and that is a beautiful realization today, the last day of 2011.

Since the semester has been over, I've either been in the kitchen--figuring out GF holiday baking--or spending time with family. Most people would think spending six-to-eight hours in the kitchen in one day is maddening, but more and more, for me, it's becoming a mediation. A place where I can challenge the mind and calm it at the same time. And because of the time I'm willing to commit to the kitchen, I found several awesome GF cookie recipes (all from Blackbird Bakery). And those those quick moments mean so much more too, such as sautéing Walleye fish cheeks quickly in butter, lemon, salt and pepper, as Michael Ruhlman recommended; these fast meals, in contrast to more time-consuming recipes, show me that every dish has its own possibilities, secrets, and sanity.

 I don't know what the new year will bring, but I hope there are even more aha! moments in my kitchen, many more great meals shared with dear friends and family, and a lot more moments of reflection and resolve.

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