Did anyone else have a whirlwind of a holiday season? Even now, mostly through January, I’m just now getting to writing. After Thanksgiving, Christmas was just a hop, skip, and jump away. After Christmas, Rob and I traveled up North visiting Boston, Maine, and Connecticut. Two weeks later, we took a road trip to visit my sister and friends in New Orleans. Celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the overall holiday/New Year season with family and friends was more than wonderful, it was truly a blessing.
But so was all the amazing food.
For a quick run-down, starting from the week of Christmas at my mom’s house for hor’derves, ending with this week’s vegan inspired meals, here are our holiday dishes in Cliffs Notes: Foodie Volumes form.
NOTE: It’s ok to drool. No one will judge.
- Dungeness crab cocktails and Mom’s dip (yep, my absolute fave straight from the waters of our former backyard)
- Beef Wellington (Rob’s fave, and he only gets it once a year. Poor guy.)
- Pork Loin Chili
- Oysters from off the Massachusetts coast
- Oysters from off the Maine coast
- Oysters from 2 different river beds in Maine
- Maine Lobster (in the best way: a simple roll in a local fisherman’s pub. Also had great coffee.)
- New England Shrimp
- Oxtail Tortellini (yes, I will be recreating this)
- Scottish Salmon (Chinooks, you’re still No.1, but this beast of a fish takes a close second)
- Lamb Shoulder Risotto
- Lamb Leg
- Lamb Rib (Lamb. Rib. OMG.)
- Oh, and all those lambs were in one dish. Well, it probably was just one lamb…
- Maine Finnan Haddock with Absinthe Cream (Absinthe cream, people!!)
- Goat Meat Chili
- Duck Confit Poutine. The real deal.
- Fermented apple, cider beer. Kinda like kombucha, only better.
- Truffled Venison
- Wild Boar Pappardelle
- Wedding Cake Latte (pumps of vanilla and almond syrups)
- Jenn’s Bacon and Spinach Wrapped Chicken
- Lemongrass Hot Wings
- Etouffee French Fries
- And finally…. Duck Sausage with Spicy Mustard and Cranberry Sauce (in hotdog form, mind you)
After finally taking yet another step into the social media world, I did document many of these on Instagram, #eatingacrossAmerica and #42potatoes. Needless to say, it’s been fun. And filling. But mostly fun.
So now it’s back to the real world; Rob is back flying and I am back teaching, and in four days I’ve given myself 7 paper cuts. One of which is in that little soft spot between my fingers (now, if that’s not cause for a choice word or two, I don’t know what is). However, reality doesn’t mean the food adventures have to stop. Oh no, my friends, it’s only just beginning.
I am taking a new approach to the new year. Like many resolutions, the oh-you-made-a-new-years-promise-to-eat-better-and-detox-but-after-three-days-of-quinoa-torture-you’ll-give-in-to-the-hidden-frozen-candy-bar resolutions obviously don’t work so well. I’ve learned not to make resolutions that will end up in failure, making me feel defeated and diving into plate(s) of nachos. So this year, there are no resolutions, just more fantastic eating.
We have an overabundance of beets from our farm, so I’ve been trying to be creative with them (plus, almost every restaurant we visited in New England had some sort of beet salad on the menu, so I’m inspired). Beets are an incredibly versatile veg, and after putting in the initial efforts to prepare them, having them ready to use in the fridge lends to infinite possibilities.
To prepare roasted beets: cut off all the greens (if you have beets with their green tops – they are edible and delicious, by the way), then wash and dry the skin. Place the beets 3-4 at a time in a foil, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap the foil loosely around the beets making a little package. Pour in about ¼ c of water, and leave a little opening at the top for steam to vent. Place in a 400 degree oven for an hour to an hour and a half; until a paring knife slides easily in the beets. Remove, let cool, and peel the skin off using a paring knife, or just your fingers. NOTE: you will get beet-red stained hands, but it will fade with a few washes.
At this point, they beets are ready for whatever beety plan you have for them. I choose to lightly marinate them with rice wine vinegar, salt, lots of black pepper, and dill, and keep them in a glass jar for making salads, hashes, or pureeing with white beans and garlic for a delightful and healthy crostini topping. They are great for breakfast, on sandwiches for lunch, chopped up finely as a relish on tacos, and fantastic paired with sweet, fatty fish.
In other parts of the country, beets tend to be the start of the spring season. Here in Northern Florida, they are a staple at the moment. So, whether you are able to use them now, or have to wait until April, hopefully some inspiration has sparked for a healthy new year. Enjoy!