It’s New Years Eve and after a glass of sparkling wine or two, past the stroke of midnight, in the presence of family and friends, we set unrealistic goals and deadlines that are doomed to failure because they’re made in the most unrealistic of circumstances. What a way to start off each new year!
Instead, I plan on stretching my culinary muscle in 2013. I have a Pinterest board (http://pinterest.com/ontariotable/testing-new-recipes/) full of new recipes to be tested that include some decadent and impressive, some traditional and others elaborate. They appeal to my sense of flavour or better put, layering of flavours. You see I like my food as complex and my wine. If I’m going to put that much effort into each one of these dishes, I want to make sure it gives back as much more pleasure than the effort it’s taken to make it.
So I’ll go through my collection of recipes. Some of them are old and others are new. Then I’ll priorize them under savoury and sweet – that’s as complicated as food should be in 2013. Then I’ll plan on making one special dish a month. I can’t wait.
Since we eat with our eyes, it’s not suprising that most of my collected recipes seduced me with a delicious picture. I wanted to take a bite out of each one! I have a recipe for Swiss Chard, Pear and Gruyere Tart that is sumptuously delicious looking! I’ll plan on that recipe in August when Swiss Chard is at it’s best.
I can’t wait to try the Pureed Butternut Squash Soup. I could make it now since there are still some butternut squash in storage. I like them when they’re aged a bit. Age dries squash and the resulting dish is somehow more flavourful. So this one is best to make in January and I’ll pair it with some delicious Niagara Icewine – after all January is Icewine season.
February will get a bit nicer with a Tuscan Soup and Simple Garlic Mushroom Bruschetta. After being off chicken for a few years, I’m feeling I will bring it back with a recipe for Baked Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken. The picture shows juicy, thick chicken breast – utterly irresistable! Spinach will also make a great comeback with recipes like Spinach and Cheese Pizza and Sauteed Spinach with Coriander.
Of course desserts play a large role in my collection. I can’t wait to taste the Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Strawberry Rhubarb Compot, the Dulce de Leche Pound Cake or the Chocolate Clafoutis.
This just scratches the surface of my recipe collection, but which ever I choose to make each month, it promises to be a very delicious 2013. What’s in your collection of decadent treats you can plan for in the new year? Happy New Year to all and remember, life is all about living and eating well.
Try this for a delicious New Year’s Day brunch.
New Year’s Toast with Maple Caramelized Apples
4 tablespoons (60 mL) unsalted butter
1 cup (250 mL) sugar
1 tablespoon (15 mL) Ontario maple syrup
3 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
4 1-inch thick slices day old bread
2 farm fresh eggs
1/4 cup (60 mL) whole milk
1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
Butter for frying
Heat oven to 450F (230 C). In a skillet, add butter sugar and maple syrup. Over medium heat, cook, shaking the pan occasionally (don’t stir), until the sugar melts into the butter and the mixture bubbles. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add the apples to a 8×10-inch baking dish and pour caramel sauce over top. Bake for 30 minutes or until the apples give up their liquid and it evaporates and the sides of the mass are dark brown and sticky looking. This could be considerably longer depending on the water content of your apples. Remove from oven and let cool.
Meanwhile, in a shallow mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla. Quickly dip slices of egg bread in egg mixture, careful not to let it soak up too much. Transfer to a skillet and cook over medium heat until slightly browned on both sides. Transfer to a baking pan in single layer and pop into the oven for the last 10 minutes of the caramel apples baking time. Remove both from oven and serve hot with vanilla ice cream. Serves 8.
Life doesn’t get much simpler or delicious than this.