The year that was

Posted by Anita on 01.03.08 8:17 PM

(c)2007 AEC ** ALL rights reservedFor us and for many of our friends, 2007 was a year of extremes and contradictions in our house and in our lives. I’ll spare you the maudlin, navel-gazing adjectives (oh, wait… shoot) and jump right into the highlight reel.

When January was just hours old, we rang in the new year with a streamlined version of our annual cassoulet. The next day, we invited you to tour our kitchens… yep, plural. The dysfunctional old one, the temporary kludge in the basement, and the yet-to-come remodeled dream. Later in the month, Cameron’s birthday was the impetus for the year’s most popular post: Boston Cream Pie cupcakes, which won the cupcake roundup for which they were created! Two other recipes created in the basement ‘camp kitchen’ — Fennel-Pear-Bleu salad and Golden Vegetable Bisque — turned into recurring winter favorites.

February was a slow month on the blog; we had some exciting progress on the kitchen remodel, then took a much needed hiatus to spend time with family after my dad passed away. Mom and I whipped up a batch of her justifiably famous banana bread, and Cameron cheered us up with a hopeful post about the promise of summer fruit from spring’s blossoms.

A March business trip turned up some pretty dismal dining experiences in the Big Apple, but the week was redeemed by fabulous cocktails at Pegu Club, among other worth establishments. Back on the home front: Can it have been nine whole months since we discovered our beloved Gialina? Our early crush has blossomed into a full-blown love affair with this solid, cozy Glen Park pizza bistro. By the end of the month, the kitchen wasn’t quite finished, but we’d moved back upstairs and started cooking. Our first meal: heritage-breed chicken, pasta with pan gravy, and broccolini.

(c)2007 AEC ** ALL rights reserved Not long after that, we hosted our first blog event: April’s edition of Mixology Monday featured all manner of Champagne cocktails… more than 16 in all. At Eastertime, Mom came to visit, and DPaul and Sean joined us for a traditional ham supper beginning with a stunning green-pea soup. Sam invited us all to show the world that English food is no joke, and Cameron responded with St. John’s roasted marrow bones and parsley salad from Nose to Tail. The end of April brought our first attempt at locavore eating, courtesy of the Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge. Could we eat exclusively local food for a whole week on just $140? (Answer: Hell yes.)

With May’s warmer weather, we started breaking out the tall, cool drinks. A tonic tasting was first on the list. (Stay tuned for an update with two new contenders). Speaking of drinks, we paid a visit to Seattle and made our first trip to Vessel, home of the inimitable Mr. Jamie Boudreau. Back home at the end of the month, I told you all about the pleasures of learning to cook Thai with Kasma.

(c)2007 Andrew Mann ArchitectureCome June, Cameron penned a fairy-tale ode to his favorite new/old restaurant, Two. We marked the 40th anniversary of Dorothy Parker’s demise with a round of classic Martinis. With the finishing touches in place, the kitchen remodel was finally ready for her closeup, Mr. DeMille. We headed up to Napa, new camera in tow, to pick walnuts for our annual batch of Nocino at Mr. Hoffman’s orchard. Rounding out the month, Cameron began his full-circle tour of the edible landscape in our backyard.

July in The City meant that summer was in full swing! Time to grind some beef for the season’s first backyard burgers. Sean taught us how to make perfect Mint Juleps, and we pitted pounds and pounds of fruit for homemade Maraschino cherries. We hosted four carnivorous friends for an afternoon of sausage-making mayhem, then wrapped up the month using our new ‘corn zipper’ to make a gorgeous summer souffle — a plate-licker of a dish if ever there was one.

In August, a young Cameron’s fancy turned to home-cured gravlax. We honored Mrs. Child with a supper of ham in piperade and souffle potatoes. Oh no we di-int make Piña Coladas! (Oh yes we did, and they rocked.) But sometimes you have a flop or two in the kitchen; we had a whole week of them, dammit. Thankfully, we were able to get some decent food into our bellies when we headed north to Cookie’s house to share a retro-style potluck with other Bay Area bloggers.

(c)2007 AEC ** ALL rights reserved As the rest of the Bay Area blogoverse headed to Bi-Rite Creamery to celebrate September’s Indian summer, we snuck over to the Mission District’s other local treasure of an ice-cream shop, Mitchell’s. As always, there was plenty to drink at our house: An ode to our local Hetch-Hetchy water, a batch of homemade pear-infused brandy, and a cocktail in honor of Cameron’s favorite musical.

Some folks questioned our sanity, but yes, we really did can 100 pounds of Mariquita Farm tomatoes last October. Spending a couple of weeks at Mom’s meant lots of comfort food: a revamped Creole Rice Casserole, and our entry into National Meatloaf Day. Later in the month, we went public with our locavore status, plunging headlong into the Dark Days Challenge. A search for an all-local eats and drinks led us to an eerie tale of murder most fowl and my new favorite cocktail: Gin, honey, and lemon is indeed the Bee’s Knees.

November was obviously booze month: I won the inaugural edition of Raiders of the Lost Cocktail, and got to choose the next theme ingredient: Benedictine. We learned the truth about Mai Tais at Tiki-Ti, took our place behind the bar chez Hedonia, and won a “Does My Blog Look Good in This?” mention for… wait for it… a cocktail photo.

(c)2007 AEC ** ALL rights reservedWhich brings us barreling on home to December… what a month! After we shared our favorite way to gobble up turkey leftovers (that’d be Enchiladas suizas), we bellied up to the bar for a sweet vermouth tasting, and spent seven straight nights eating locally sourced suppers. While preoccupied with Menu for Hope, were stunned to be nominated for Best Blog Covering Drinks — we never expected to win! (Thank you all, again. Wow.)

So yeah… highest highs, lowest lows, and all the what-have-you in between. I wouldn’t repeat this year for love or money, but I can’t say it wasn’t without its memorable occasions. I know it seems trite to say we couldn’t have done it without you, but it’s true — we’re truly blessed to have so many passionate subscribers, thoughtful commenters, and fabulous foodie friends.

I hope 2008 brings you everything you want, both in and out of the kitchen.

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