I love the introspection the end of the year brings. It is kind of amazing to look back and see everything that you’ve done, accomplished, and been apart of. While I have been mostly silent on the blog this year, I still made somewhat of an effort to keep taking pictures. It would have been nice to take more than I did but I am happy that I still have something to show for the year.
Things started with creating and helping execute a menu (on top of many other tasks, including speaking at said event) with a friend for a woman’s tea event for our church. Can we say, “crash course in catering?” But the scones, lemon curd, fresh strawberry jam, tea sandwiches, cream puff swans, cheesecake bites and the cake… a chocolate genoise cake, filled with a stabilized whipped cream, and topped with chocolate ganache. All handmade with a whole lot of love and passion.
Then there were trips to Napa and Cambria that brought some incredible dining experiences. One of which was being seated at the bar that faces/interacts with the kitchen at the Glen Ellen Star. Intimidating yet inspiring to watch the head chef and his crew do what they do best. My tastebuds danced in delight from the bold and fresh flavors served with simplicity. Oh and taking pictures of our food was greatly encouraged by the chef.
This year also marked my first foray into creating a true celebration cake. Celebration as in awesome high end bakery type cake. I tested, and tested, and tested. Then we tasted and compared. I did a whole lot of math to pare down recipes for testing and filled the freezer single layer cakes. But I did it. I made the best dang cake I have ever made. It was a 3 layer white cake with strawberry bavarian cream filling, and a vanilla swiss meringue buttercream. And it was beautiful. I also made cupcakes (white cake with strawberry swiss meringue buttercream) so I didn’t have to make a huge cake for everyone.
But the year wasn’t all about butter and sugar. It was also filled with great abundance from garden. Various greens all year long (and still going in the dead of winter!), snow peas, english peas, broccoli, carrots, fava beans, dinosaur sized rhubarb, radish, herbs, and more greens.
The biggest, most impactful change in my food this year has been moving to a primal/paleo way of eating. And with that I also decided to cut sugar from my diet. I know, crazy, especially with my love for baking. But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I was heading that direction nutritionally whether I knew it or not. And now I’m experiencing food in a whole new way.
It has been a great year in food, despite not capturing more. I was able to grow my culinary chops, tantalize my taste buds, and start exploring food with a whole new outlook. I’m excited for what is going to happen in the kitchen in 2014… higher quality and more nutrient dense ingredients, possibly a wedding cake and more celebration cakes, continued growth in my culinary skills, and a whole new set of confidence.
Instead of including a ridiculous number of photos in this post I went ahead and created a couple of galleries to share the food of 2013.