Revisiting the year that was, I was trying to think of how a year-end roundup should go this time around. The most commented on? The recipes I cooked the most? The recipes I liked the most? Best cook books? And then I remembered the trip to Croatia, and the food and wine discoveries there, and other great meals so here goes … and they’re not numbered for a reason.
- Dangerous Duck at Café Miranda in Rockland Maine. There were so many reasons this was the perfect meal. A truly horrible day with no chance to eat anything but a mini bag of Doritos from a vending machine, hugely hungry and this miracle of a dinner. I’ve thought about asking for the recipe, but it’s nice to have it as a treat (and I don’t have to cook and clean up). However, the next batch of duck confit I make will definitely have some Sichuan influences!
- Oatmeal Caramel cookies from Rose Bakery at Dover Street Market (30th & Lex). Speaking of recipes, we have asked for the recipe for this amazing cookie and sadly have been turned down. I never expected to fall in love with this sad little hockey puck of a cookie—all that was left by 4:00 — but it just goes to show how truly amazing butter, oatmeal and sugar can be! If I was more of a baker (or more of a confident baker), I’d have tried to figure this out a while ago (and put on 30 pounds in the process). Until then, like Dangerous Duck, these cookies will have to remain an occasional treat. Unless someone can get the recipe?????
- The last dinner in Croatia. Not only was this probably the most beautiful meal I’ve ever eaten, it all tasted as good as it looked (and those were pretty high standards). Add the Presidential Suite at the Kempinski Hotel Adriatic and Venice across the sea and this was one for the record books (and year-end roundups). The best of the best? I’m still fantasizing about the “Istrian new fritaja with black truffle”.
- Charcuterie from two experts. At our pig roast, along with the pig, there were two competing plates of charcuterie that were some of the best I’ve ever eaten. If I had to pick two favorites, it would be Mark’s pepperoni (pepperoni taken to a whole different level!) tied with John’s salami (absolutely the best ever!). So good that I ate it all before Frank could even get a piece (well, it would have been mean to just leave him the two slices that were left…). If you get lucky, Mark might have some pepperoni at his store (weekends only) and if I get really lucky, maybe John will make some more salami (hint, hint).
- Drinkable gazpacho, from the New York Times. Smooth, cold, delicious and so much better than the cold “salsa” version. If you are anything like me, you ate/drank all of this before any could make it to the freezer. That will make both of us sad (and resolved to set some aside next summer), especially since we’re about seven months to more…
- DIY fruit roll-ups. Took me back to my childhood and were as good as remembered (if not better). Luckily apricots are in season sooner than tomatoes…
- Another DIY—hot chocolate mix. This one you can make and enjoy now (unless the weather pops up to 70° again). Use good chocolate and cocoa and make it exactly how you like it.
- 4 hour baguettes. There’s nothing like a hot baguette and if you’re hours from France (or Maison Kayser), it’s going to be your best bet.
Thanks to my cousins for the plethora of cookies spelling out 2015 and Happy New Year to all!