Hello and goodbye. That time of year when we look at the past 12 months and search for accomplishments and meaning and face toward the new year with both anticipation and maybe some trepidation. Did we accomplish all we wanted to; did we grow, provide, serve enough? Will we make changes to how we manage our lives and our time in the New Year and manage to fulfill dreams that today, right now, seem imminently possible or maybe even imminently impossible?
My own experience this past year has included the continuation of a difficult journey. I still need a cane to walk as the result of a severe injury suffered in February 2010. I could never have imagined that something so simple as my leg falling asleep could result in an injury that has changed the entire landscape of my life; affecting both my professional career and personal relationships. Discovering through this process the new friends who have become steadfast and the old ones who found it easier to look the other way.
Through it all I remain grateful for the readers who visit this blog and participate with me in this journey. I’ve loved to cook and provide sustenance for those around me for as long as I can remember and this blog allows me a journal of those experiences. Your engagement along with your encouraging comments makes me grateful for each one of you. Your compliments, especially on my photography, can take me to the moon. Any progress in that arena has surely been made possible over the course of the past two years by regaining the ability to stand and walk without a walker. When my balance was of greater concern than white balance. I wish you could have been party to some of that early work; I’m sure that you would have valiantly tried not to but even I had to laugh at the ridiculousness of it. Walker, dog, gate, 1 dish at a time, so tired by the time I got anything setup and in enough pain that I was lucky to snap 2 photos of the end result. Someone told me that I should have done a blog post about what it took to get a dish made and a photo taken but I’m just grateful that those days are past. I might still be hobbled a bit but it’s focusing on the progress that keeps me going. Is it good or bad that I can now work on a post long enough to generate 50+ photos each time? 🙂
So I wish for more progress in this coming year. To learn and grow even more. To get physically stronger and emotionally tougher. To continue building relationships both in real life and with friends I have met online. Maybe to hop on a jet plane and make a trip to a blogging conference finally! And I wish the same for you. That you realize your dreams or maybe even just realize what they are. That you find support and encouragement on your path and that maybe I’ll even be a party to seeing your success or a friend when it seems that will never happen. To each of you I say, Happy New Year!
Seems this is the time of year for a lot of blogs to offer up their most popular posts; using criteria that each decides upon. I thought it might be interesting; sort of a nod to the future with a first recipe of the year while also reminiscing about the year in review. For the posts from this past year, I’ve included those that were seen the most and for something new, I’m including this tasty tart that is easy and delicious; easy enough to pull together today even if you have the last of holiday company coming by for a visit. Combining two things I love, bacon and caramelized onions, it’s a favorite in our home.
I admit I was a bit surprised when I compiled the posts that statistics consider my ‘Best Of.’ Why? Well, I’ve been doing this blog or a variation of it for 16 years and yet what lists as half of my most popular posts? The booze. Yes, you guys like the adult beverages A LOT! I only started doing a cocktail each week on a regular basis a couple of months ago and it’s evident they are hugely popular so today I’m glad I made an appetizer…we need something to munch on with all of those libations!
This is a simple tart…no crust required! Dough is put into a pan that has had some butter melted in it first, it’s covered with bacon, caramelized onions and Parmesan and baked. Easy and delish. I hope you enjoy it and do be sure to check out the most popular posts of 2011 after the recipe. Cheers to YOU!
Bacon and Caramelized Onion Tart and the Best of 2011
A crispy crust is topped with caramelized onions and cheese.
- 6 oz. slab bacon, cut into 1/4? matchsticks
- 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2-3 Tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp Dry mustard
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Heat bacon in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat renders and bacon is crisp, about 12 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain
- Return skillet to medium-high heat; add onions, balsamic, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat, check seasonings and set aside.
- Heat oven to 425°.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, mustard, salt and pepper; add milk and eggs, and stir until smooth. Let batter rest for 10 minutes.
- Put butter into 9 X 13" baking pan and heat in oven until butter is melted about 2-3 minutes.
- Remove baking dish from oven, pour in batter, and sprinkle with cooked bacon, caramelized onions and half of the Parmesan cheese.
- Return to oven and bake until puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle the remainder of the Parmesan on top, cut into squares and serve warm.
Our Most Popular Posts of 2011
10. Maple Bourbon Bacon – This one may have squeaked in and it’s a good thing because this might be my personal favorite. Participating in Charcutepalooza was life changing stuff and learning how to cure and smoke my own bacon was a highlight. Ask my friends and family what they got for Christmas this year…it would include bacon!
9. Make Your Own Coffee Liqueur – Made with espresso and a hint of chocolate; I truly do think this is better than Kahlua!
8. Cocoa, Cayenne and Espresso Roasted Walnuts – These were perfect…crispy, toasted, cocoa and a hint of heat. So good.
7. Maple Bacon Roasted Turkey – This is the best turkey I have ever had so it’s worthy of being in this list…and has been for the third year in a row. Yes, it’s that good.
6. Wood Butter – A Recipe for Your Wooden Spoons and More…
5. How to Make Cranberry Liqueur – Easy, gorgeous and so tasty…the perfect holiday liqueur!
4. VootBeer – A fabulously refreshing and unique drink; a very adult Root Beer Float!
3. Molasses and Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – I think if these cookies had not been included in the ‘best of’ by readers I would have had to fudge. Simply the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made.
2. Cranberry Ginger Fizz Cocktail – Listed on sites all over the web as a suggestion for a holiday drink…it is quintessentially so. Gorgeous, refreshing and filled with flavors of the season.
1. The Smoretini – This is it; the single most popular post based on viewer visits. I think every woman on the planet must have pinned this cocktail. A Girl Scout memory type of thing revisited as an adult beverage? Must be it.
Hope you enjoyed this roundup and I look forward to seeing more of you in the coming year. Happy New Year!