It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .
Here are my food highlights and low-lights of the year:
1. Worst canning idea of the year: watermelon jelly
2. Best canning idea of the year: pitted plums (on the right). We had a glut of plums this year, way more than I needed for plum cakes, plum sauce, plum jam. So I pulled out the cherry pitter and plopped them into jars. Raw, they're a bit tart; canned with a light sugar/water syrup, their flavor snaps. From now on I'll be fighting the squirrels for these plums with a little more urgency.
Runner-up: Peach salsa.
Second runner-up: Blackberry liqueur syrup.
3. Best fun-to-read food book I read this year: The Kitchen Counter Cooking School
by Kathleen Flinn. Read more about it here
4. Best straightforward, informative food book I read this year: The Fruit and Vegetable Stand: The Complete Guide to the Selection, Preparation and Nutrition of Fresh Produce
by Barry Ballister. Chock full of information about every type of produce you can imagine, straight from the mouth of a guy who's been in the business for years.
5. Niftiest food-related product I've tried: Ninja blender
. I got this a year ago for Christmas and have used it every single day since, often multiple times. With six blades, it makes obsolete my need to crush up coffee ice cubes in the garage with a meat mallet. (See mocha frappuccino recipe here
.) I can no longer live without this thing.
6. Niftiest food-related product I've never tried: bicycle-powered blender. It just looks fun.
7. Biggest garden-related disappointment of the year: tomatoes. We got a few, but nothing like the scads we usually get. We are hunkering down for a looooong winter with a paltry supply of roasted, dried, juiced tomatoes. Weeping quietly here.
8. Most innovative, scrumptious baked good of the year: peach muffins with cream cheese centers
9. Craftiest food-related project I made this year: embroidered tea towels. I've been making variations of these for months. You can finish one in about the amount of time it takes to listen to a San Francisco Giants' ballgame. Yes, that would be the World Series champion San Francisco Giants. Smiling now.
10. Best new bread recipe of the year: no-knead onion rolls
11. Biggest non-canning flop of the year: making my own vinegar. It ended up with little worm-like things floating on the top. Ewwwwww.
12. Best post that no one read but my mom (you did read this, didn't you, Ma?): anchovy sauce
. True anchovy haters are excused. But if you like them even a little bit, you gotta give this a try.
So there you have it. My best and worst food discoveries of the year. What about yours? I would love to hear what worked and what didn't.