Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Janus


In ancient Roman myth, Janus was the god of beginnings and endings, which is one reason that they named January after him. Now that we are past the shortest, darkest day of the year, it is somehow fitting to begin to look towards the time of year when there will be more light, more growing things, and plenty of time out of doors to enjoy. But it's also a useful time to look back at what worked and didn't work in our lives this past year, to remember the good times, too. I like to look back at the things I've included on the blog. A careful look has reminded me that my list of recipes with links is waaaaay overdue for updating. A New Years's resolution waiting to happen, right there.

One thing I can tell you is that the kidney stone I had last January made a different diet essential; one that does not include as much oxalate. Banished are much loved foods like spinach, chard, chocolate and mery much of whole grains. Limited quantities of legumes, except for lentils, and of flours and other processed grains has also cut into my usual dishes and baking. The good news is that there are still plenty of wonderful foods to enjoy, including things like broccoli and all the squashes, romaine lettuce and iceberg (which at least has crunch) and many other veggies like carrots, celery, tomatoes and cucumbers. I confess that I'm still a bit unbalanced by it since things I had thought were good for me, like whole grains and spinach, are actually bad for me now. So for, say, Christmas Eve dinner, I had a half of one of those great rolls, a small portion of those delicious potatoes, but a goodly portion of the salad since it had romaine, iceberg and red cabbage, plus carrots and tomatoes. Went light on the ham, too, because of all the sodium, but that's a different health issue. In truth the most important part of the meal is the people around the table and the enjoyment of them is full and wonderful and hasn't changed a bit. I still enjoy my occasional glass of wine, too.

Some of the recipes from 2013 that I'm pretty sure I'll return to include the potatoes and rolls on the last post,
these crock pot caramelized onions,

these white chocolate macadamia nut cookies (because I can't have regular chocolate, but I can have white chocolate!),

this oyster stew since there is plenty of soup weather to come (and it better include LOTS of rain since we are in a severe drought right now and NEED rain),

this cherry tomato salad, because it is simple and fast, burrata is delicious, and with our lack of rain I'm not likely to grow anything next summer but cherry tomatoes.

Because there is always a great selection of stone fruits and berries each summer, I know I'll want to make

the free form pie with moondust powder using some of that fruit. Since there is also likely to be an occasion that requires bringing a pot luck dish,

I'm going to keep this post of a wild rice and carrot side dish handy. It has all of the necessary attributes for a good pot luck dish: delicious, sits at room temperature well, filling, pretty easy, can be made ahead, and is unusual. The bowl that it is served in is often the first one empty at pot lucks, so that should tell you something.

We made a lot of good bread this year, but my favorite Bread Baking Babes bread was the Italian flavored
Tomato Basil Garlic Filled Pane Bianco. Not only is the large loaf delicious and stunning to look at, but the same ingredients can be used to make little appetizer rolls. Another great baked good from 2013 is for

classic blueberry muffins. I can almost smell them!

There is also Fast Focaccia, a recipe that I also made for Christmas this year. That sort of brings it all full circle.
Do you have any other favorites from this year's Feeding My Enthusiasms posts? I would love to know what they are!

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