December 31, 2009

Camellia blossoms cloaked in ice today. They’ll be in bloom by March. Hope springs eternal.

Is that you I see over there, 2010? I’ve been looking forward to getting to know you.

And 2009, so long, farewell. I’ve cooked a lot of wonderful food, grown some amazing crops and flowers in the garden, read a zillion books and learned so much about so many things. But I’m ready to move on.

This blog, something I muttered about for months, was born in March (albeit quietly), but now calls to me frequently. Between the blog, the inspirational Food52 site, and my new ‘invisible’ friends on Twitter, this December 31 looks very different than 12/31/08.

Last year, I was a landscape designer who cooked. I had one client and that wasn’t working out too well. And business had completely dried up with the economy. It was a bleak landscape, indeed.

Now, it seems, I’m a cook who writes and gardens. Maybe teaches, too. Not a day goes by without pondering what the heck I’m doing with all this. Maybe 2010 will be when I figure it out. For now, I’m just putting one foot in front of the other, going with what feels right, and cooking to beat the band.

Since college, when I bartended at a very popular bar, I have avoided the Circle of Hell that is New Year’s Eve. Ours will be spent at home, just the two of us. Well, four, if you count Dylan and Beans.

We’ll have a nice dinner. I’ll open a big burgundy from the wine stash. There will be Buzzed Brownies from Sugar & Spike (so fantastic, I immediately had to freeze 8 of the dozen received.) We’ll watch a movie or two. Up & Taking Woodstock are waiting in their happy Netflix packages. It’s unlikely I’ll be awake at midnight.

I am immensely grateful to everyone who visits me here. Wishing you a very happy, healthy new year.

grass fed & finished steak from Stoneyman Gourmet Farmer (Bethesda Women’s Market), rubbed in spices and brown sugar

Recipes for a quiet New Year’s Eve:

Parmesian Cod (for Dennis)

Cowboy Steak (for me)

Sweet Potato Gratin (maybe Potatoes Anna, haven’t yet decided. )

Grilled Brussel Sprouts

Parmesian Cod
(Something I saw Jamie Oliver make, I think.)
Serves 1

2/3 lb Cod, or one fillet
½ c Flour
1 egg
½ c Parmesian Cheese, freshly grated
Pinch cayenne
½ avocado
½ lemon
A good handful of mache or tender arugula
Olive oil

Get out a non-stick pan – do not attempt in anything else. Seriously.

Rinse the fish fillet and pat dry.

Set up a dredging station. You’ll need two flat plates and one pan or shallow bowl with sides.

Put ½ c flour on a plate, season with salt and pepper, and place it on the left.

Whisk up the egg with a little water in the pan. Give it a pinch of salt & pepper, too. This goes in the center.

On the other plate, stir together the cheese, a tablespoon of flour and the cayenne and place that plate on the right.

Now, with your left hand, place the fish in the flour. Pat the flour into the flesh, turn, and pat the flour into the other side.

Next, using your right hand, pick up the fillet and dip it into the egg mixture. Both sides.

Again, using your RIGHT (wet) hand, place the wet fillet into the dry cheese. Use your LEFT (dry) hand, to pat the cheese into the fish on both sides.

You can do this prep an hour or so before dinner. Just put the fish back in the fridge to stay cold, and remove 10 minutes or so before cooking.

Ready to cook? Heat a whisper of oil in the non-stick pan until a drop of water sizzles.

Slip in the fish and cook on medium high for 4 minutes or so. The cheese should be nice and brown and crispy. Turn and do the same to the other side.

While the fish cooks, toss a handful of mache with olive oil (I have some heavenly Pistachio Oil from the LeBlanc Huilerie on Rue Jacob, Paris. That’s what I’ll use.) Add salt & pepper and pile the mache on the plate.

Top with the cooked fish, and the avocado half, cubed, and add a healthy squeeze of lemon juice to the whole thing.

Serve piping hot.

4 Responses to “New Year’s Eve”

  1. Anonymous

    Cathy, what a lovely & sweet post. I wish that all your dreams come true, new friend!


  2. Virginia Burton

    Happy 2010 to you! I've been starting each morning with a cup of coffee, Miss Kitty on my lap, and your blog. What a nice way to greet the day!

    All the best to you and Dennis!

  3. Sarah from Toronto Gardens

    Yummy sounding fish recipe. I like the way you make the steps sound simple and do-able.

    We saw the Woodstock movie last night too! Made my 16 yr old son want to live in the 60s. Made me want to re-watch the original.

    Nice to find your blog through Twitter.

    Happy New Year.

  4. Erica

    This looks like the perfect New Year's Eve! Have a delicious 2010 and "talk" to you on Twitter!


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