Trying to sum up whatever the heck I’ve been up with a series of photos, despite spending much of the year with malfunctioning cameras, has become something of the norm here, so that’s what I’ll do first for some good ‘ol 2012 reflections. As usual, I have grand ideas and google docs and ideas floating around my head about noteworthy recipes (so far, it’s an ode to Artisan Vegan Cheese, Thai cuisine, liqueurs and pickling), memorable dishes and inspiring travels , but this photo set is a concrete stop that is actually happening.
It was a year of travel, that began with a departure from Bangkok, no less, Vida Vegan location scouting, Northwest getaways, two Brooklyn hiatuses, the tossing of an alarm clock, and much welcome time to think with the equally-embraced absence of my long-time office job. And all that thoughtfulness – and time, led to culinary projects, like the 100 Days Homemade, and within and beyond that, even more from-scratch initiatives…anything I can make from scratch in my kitchen, I want to try my hand at. It’s already led to homemade Sriracha, Bolivian coffee liqueur and next up, various bitters.
So here it goes, from Deep Thoughts with Jess to 12 months in 12 photos:
January. I started the New Year on the last day of my month abroad in Southeast Asia, taking breaks from packing my giant backpack one last time to wander the crowded streets of a celebratory Bangkok, and a couple of jet-lagged days later, was carried off to Los Angeles for a special menu tasting and meet & greet weekend at Veggie Grill. Enjoy the photo bomb of sorts by Ms. Daryl Hannah.
February. Looking back, this month seemed to be spent in young coconut withdrawal, recreating Thai and Cambodian dishes, and at Sizzle Pie eating brunch pizza. It also included a weekend getaway with my first Valentine in a million years, J. Legume, and these chocolate frosted sugar cookies for the occasion.
March. True to its name, The Inspired Vegan has consistently pointed flavors in a direction that I want to go. The spread below was for a small dinner soiree, and includes wet jollof rice, garlic parsley paste (which I wanted to make again and again), bright-black potatoes, chipotle & blood orange ketchup (a variation on Bryant Terry’s recipe), funmilayo fritters and gingered sesame brittle.
April. I seem to recall springtime featuring the end of my prior camera, and the lack of photos in my archives confirms this. A photo of Zelda checking out the salted caramel chocolate chip bars with a pretzel crust, however, will do just fine.
May. Every year, there’s a spring green that lays claim to my heart, and this year it was definitely pea shoots. They’re just so…fresh. I steamed, I broiled, and most memorably, sauteed with garlic and olive oil for more than one incredibly vibrant pizza (instructions over here). This one, about to go into the oven, has soon-to-be roasted whole cherry tomatoes, those pea shoots, dollops of miso tofu ricotta, garlic cloves and fresh lemon juice.
June. A new month, a new tablecloth, the start of 100 Days Homemade, and mugs of uproariously juicy fresh strawberries from the farmers’ market. Sweet, precious moments.
July. This post is all about those moments and tastes that remain on your mind and tongue, and this simple spaghetti with a roasted cherry tomato sauce, steamed kale, nooch and garlic bread says all that. Buon appetito! For reals.
August. With the summer passing by, I finally made up my mind and saved up for a new camera, more expensive than I’d ever allowed myself before, which malfunctioned one month later (and once more after that, with the same issue, but who’s counting?). Frustrations with Canon aside, there were so many photos to choose from for August, but I just had to go with the Nacho Skillet Salad. And this was even before the start of butternut queso in my life. Come on.
September. This month began my thirtieth decade with a short jaunt to Seattle with J. Legume, where we enjoyed a very special meal at In the Bowl, which continues to be one of my go-to Seattle eateries. The eggplant curry with fresh, soft tofu is shown below. Posing for a dorky photo with the Vegan Black Metal Chef after his premiere cooking demo at Chicago Veganmania *almost* made the cut. Almost.
October. What a month, it took me from Chicago to Portland to New York City to the Catskills back to Brooklyn, with a reunion with my siblings that was considerably extended by Hurricane Sandy. Here’s Jen outside Babycakes, with what is surely an iced Stumptown (really).
November. My favorite experiences in November were many: the (first!) Vida Vegan Tech Seminar in Seattle, creating an Ethiopian feast for Thanksgiving, well, surely some other stuff, and the fruition of my patient homemade liqueur-making. Nine jars of preserved, boozy bounty! More raving and notes this way. One of these days, I will take a swell photo of these beautiful colors.
December. If it’s good enough for one of the busiest cities in the world, this holiday-lit monument is surely good enough to sum up my entire month, which just happened to include a sudden second Brooklyn hiatus. A girl could get used to that.