THE YEAR IN EATS (+ A NEWFOUND LOVE FOR SORBET)

This year saw our Journal take a more structured tone and we devoted particular days to particular topics. Wednesday’s became Recipe Wednesday and we worked to get ourselves organized and cook. EVERY WEEK.  It was quite a feat of organization since we also run the production office, online store, design, pay bills, and as I mentioned on Monday, also manage this Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Facebook. It’s a lot of content. Erin joined the team full-time early in the year, Sara continues to make this stuff worth reading, we planted the garden (again), and we got cooking.

My biscuit recipe made it into the Wall Street Journal thanks to Charlotte Druckman. (More on Charlotte’s terrific new book Skirt Steak in the coming months.)

The recipes reflect the year in my garden, several cocktails thrown in for good measure, and some great new (and some older) cookbooks.  It has been a good year, a few of the recipes include:

Ginger + Mint + GinPeople’s Pops  and a recipe from Nathalie Jordi (congrats to Nathalie and Brett on their recent wedding), Olivia’s Toddy, Tomato Sandwiches (of course) on our Heath Ceramics Collaboration plates (of course),  and so many more that you will find by exploring our In The Kitchen category on the Journal.

Also big news for this year, my son Zach (and father to my new grandbaby, Stella) opened a catering company called Magpie + RUTH  with his sweet girlfriend (and mother to my new grandbaby, Stella), Ashley. They brought us a slew of delicious meals, jams, cheeses, and, to the dismay of my hips, bread.  (Did I tell you that I have a new grandbaby?)

The Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium was nothing less than stunning and we even found a way to barbeque dresses. An all barbeque “sides”  lunch (mostly vegetables) by Ashley Christensen might be one of the best meals of the entire year.

So, again, it was a BIG year. My stomach is also bigger and I believe that I am ready for another round of Detox.

But, before I jump off that cliff, one last, newfound love for 2012: sorbet.

Sorbet has been a staple in our studio this year. Zach started it with his Buttermilk Ice Cream (which he originally called Sorbet), and continued through the winter with his Lemon Bourbon Sorbet (he swears he didn’t touch my bottle of Pappy Van Winkle). A recent trip to the farmer’s market resulted in a bag filled with beets.  Not my first-and-favorite vegetable, the distinct, earthy flavor of beets can be somewhat polarizing. Most folks either love or detest them, but this delicious sorbet may be just sweet enough to change a few minds post-holidays.

If you’re already a beet lover you may have found your new favorite dessert; the blend of apple, citrus, and a dash of Cathead Vodka give this dish beautiful texture and flavor, no ice cream machine required (although I have come to adore mine).

RED BEET SORBET

2 pounds red beets, trimmed and peeled
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of sugar, depending on desired sweetness
1/2 cup apple juice or 2 medium sized apples (if you prefer to use a juicer)
1/2 lemon, juiced
A splash of Cathead Vodka

Cover the beets with water in a large saucepan and boil over medium-high heat until they are fork-tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and blend cooked beets in a food processor or blender with all of the remaining ingredients until the mixture is smooth and the sugar is dissolved.

Chill the mixture in the freezer; a shallow dish works best.

Our sorbet took just over an hour to cool to the perfect consistency.

Looking forward to cooking our way through 2013,
xoNatalie

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