Here are a dozen and a half highlights of 2009:
Organic carrots – cleaned 5lbs at a time. In 2009, our kids discovered vegetables beginning with carrots.
Stock – This year we were quite intentional about regularly making stock and using as the flavor base not only for soup, but also for rice, couscous and even to saute vegetables in a low fat way.
Tortilla soup with homemade tortilla chips – Soup became the staple of the year as we developed favorite flavor profiles.
Ribs – Ken perfected BBQ ribs this year with a savory rub and a long and low process of cooking.
Pizza – He also perfected both crust and topping combinations to the extent that it’s a rarity that we eat carry out pizza.
Salmon Chowder – This soup used both our kitchen made stock and utilized seafood which we had made a commitment to eat more of in 2009.
Roladen – A favorite, reminiscent of our days in Munich. Also one of the most Googled recipes of 2009.
Ice Cream Cake – The temperature on July 8, Madeleine’s birthday, was 104 degrees and thus we decided to have an ice cream cake for her. What a fun new way to celebrate. I’d like to try to make one.
Ox Tail Soup – Another of the most Googled recipes of 2009, however, it was probably one of my biggest culinary disappointments of the year. I had wanted to try ox tail for a very long time and when I came to find out that my maternal grandmother, one of my earliest cooking teachers, made it that desire increased. Well, the soup/stew wasn’t what I expected. Maybe I’ll try again in the new year.
Charlie Trotter – Eating at the Kitchen Table and meeting Charlie himself was an amazing way to celebrate Ken’s dissertation defense and inaugurate the final steps toward his PhD (which he received in May).
Meatballs – One of the funniest food episodes this year is when I made meatballs, and I kept making them, and making them, and rolling them, and preparing them, and making them… 442 in total.
Hot and Spicy Chicken Wings – Mine are the best in the Valley, no, in the world.
Olive Burger – Hungry for an olive burger like the one at the Keyhole Bar in the UP, I tried to re-create one. My version was quite delicious, but still it just wasn’t quite it. Unplanned, our summer vacation included a 2000 mile (each way) road trip to the UP and the Key Hole Bar where I ate the real thing.
The Perfect Steak – Ken’s grilling mastery is off the charts: delicious, juicy, and what beautiful grill marks on the steaks. Likewise, he’s grilled fish, ribs, ratones, and vegetables.
Grilled Cheese – This was Madeleine’s first grilled cheese that she made “all by herself.” Another Madison House Chef is launched.
Blueberry Muffins – 2009 was a year of baking and sharing baked goods. Baking is still one of my favorite ways to relax.
Pork Picnic – We tried and successfully accomplished Pulled Pork!
Bok Choy – This was our new vegetable of the year. While I’d eaten it many times before, I had not ever cooked with it, but now it’s in the regular rotation of vegetable sides.
Looking to 2010 I’m hopeful to do more baking, to explore more vegetables and create new ways to eat them, and to eat at another world class restaurant (maybe in Spain, the UK, or Finland). I look forward to learning to make homemade sausage, finding a great paella recipe, and continuing to catalogue these recipes (and share them) via this Madison House Chef blog.
Happy New Year, 2010 – Enjoy!