2021 was another interesting year. In some ways, it felt like a continuum of 2020 due to COVID-19, the Delta variant, and the year-end Omicron variant dominating the news cycle. While we hoped to see this nasty virus and pandemic in the rearview mirror after last year, we find ourselves still consumed by it. Ok, moving forward cautiously optimistic! I'm not going to write about COVID, but I will write about some of my favorite dishes I cooked throughout the year at home
While culling through a year's worth of photos taken while cooking at home, halfway through, I realized this was not going to be an easy task. There are simply too many. I do like sharing dishes that I have enjoyed and hopefully will inspire you and others to get in the kitchen and cook. Having a well-stocked pantry makes the task of putting a delicious meal together in a short amount of time seamless, without significant effort. The pantry is not just a closet where various shell-stable items, dry goods, canned goods etc. reside, but your refrigerator and freezer also come into play here.
Another tip, especially if you are cooking a meal from scratch, cook more than you need for just one meal. Not only will you have ingredients leftover, but they can be the basis for an entirely different quick dish for another meal. I like to call these "next-overs," rather than leftovers. It just sounds better, right?
Here they are month-by-month. This was a tough one! These dishes are in no order other than the ones that made "the cut," and they represent a certain month of the year. You will note, there are no recipes embebed here, only photos. There are still more days left in the year to squeeze in a few more. As we enter 2022, I am contemplating and ask myself, will this be the year I do a cookbook? TBD........
Wishing you and your loved ones, a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous 2022 and I hope you get inspired to cook at home!
January-Black-eyed peas with collard greens, BBQ local shrimp and skillet cornbread. It is a tradition in the South to cook and serve black-eyed peas and greens. They are believed to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year.
February- Is Valentine's month. It is also still squarely in Winter and heart-warming dishes such as these are in order. It is also an occasion to up your home cooking game to impress your loved one.
March- Is when you get glimmers of Spring. Occasional warmer sunny days give way to damp cool nights. In the South, it is usually time for soft-shell crabs to first appear on local restaurant menus and in special fish stands but only for a brief time before they are gone! It is usually a very quick and short window when they are available. If we have a lucky and good year, the season may last intermittently until May.
Easter Leg of Lamb
April- Even though it is tax month for many Americans, it is also when we celebrate Easter. Lamb is a traditional meat served in observance of this holy holiday and is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is also when we begin to see more Spring weather and signals that Winter is over. It is also when The Masters Golf Tournament is played at Augusta, GA.
May- is the month when the annual running of the Kentucky Derby. This race is one of the most anticipated and fastest three minutes in sports. It is celebrated all over the country. Mint Juleps, country ham, BBQ and pickled shrimp are the order of the day.
June- Summer is upon us along with warmer temps and slightly longer days. This is often when many people break out the grill! I celebrated this one with a locally raised grass-fed beef burger with black truffles and gruyere cheese. Grilled asparagus, vidalia onions, spicy mayo and bread & butter pickles were just the right accompaniments.
July- Mid-Summer is HOT in the Low Country. Temps and humidity are way up which means beaches are crowded. Corn, peaches, okra and other summer crops are abundant. Seafood is available here and it is a nice light alternative in the summer season.
August- Hot, hot and hotter! 🥵 Are we there yet? Meaning, is it Fall yet or are we in hell?
September- Summer is still hanging on but Fall is getting closer!
October- Fall is here! You can feel it in the air. Temperatures are cooler, days are shorter and ingredients from our local farms have shifted.
November- I absolutely love Fall! I get excited for Thanksgivings and the start of the Holiday Season.
December- Well, another year has passed. As we come to the end of 2021, the holidays are upon us which means it is time for joy and celebration. I love to cook and share with friends, family and loved ones. Looking forward to the new year! Cheers 🥂
Wishing you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2022.
Happy cooking in the new year!