For most of the past decade that I've been writing this blog, I've ended the year with a round-up of the recipes you all liked best but, this year, I feel the need to write more personally. Oh, if you really are curious, the Vegetarian Salisbury Steak was the single most popular recipe followed closely by the Peanut Butter Cream Filled Doughnuts. That means that you like a healthy entree followed by a decadent dessert. You are SO my people! And yes, this post includes the recipe for an awesome champagne cocktail and charcuterie board for one because food is still my business and my passion. But now, let's chat.
Before we dive in to the shit show that was 2020, let me say that 2019 was a pretty good year for me. I grew my business, joined and formed neighborhood social groups that brought me many new friends and a sense of community. There were dates and dinner parties and fun outings. I ended the year with every intention of making 2020 the best ever, as I'm sure did many of you. And it began just that way.
But, by the third week of March, my home state of New York was on lockdown. I lived in New York during 9/11 and believed it would be the defining event of my life. I was wrong. This year brought fear, sorrow, political, social and racial division, financial hardship and deep emotional pain.
Was there anything good? Yes! My friends and I found safe ways to connect. During the warm months, when New York's virus numbers were low and restaurants turned our streets into Parisian style outdoor cafe's, we dined out and we met in the park. My book club moved itself to Zoom. I also have a standing Zoom cocktail gathering with friends on Thursday nights where we can hash out our week and keep each other supported. And no, I am not sick of Zoom. I am so grateful for it.
I think everyone's moods got a little darker as we got closer to the holidays and we realized we'd likely be spending them alone. My friends were divided in their feelings toward Thanksgiving. Some cooked themselves a feast and others chose to pretend it was not a holiday to lessen the sadness. Personally, I made my favorite meal and had days of leftovers (which I love). And I am resolved not to be sad on New Year's Eve. I will feast on my own single-serving charcuterie board and raise a champagne filled glass to the new year and future possibilities. It may still be a bleak, lonely winter but spring and summer will be here before we know it and the world will be normal again. Cheers!
Charcuterie Board (and a Cocktail) for One
- 2 oz. Pink gin (I used Empress 1908 which has a more purple tone)
- 1 oz. Lemon juice
- 1 oz. Elderflower liqueur
- 4 oz. Champagne or prosecco
- Apple, sliced
- Cheddar cheese, cubed
- Seedless cucumber, sliced
- Carrots, sliced
- Toasted cashews
- Turkey, sliced
- Add the gin, lemon juice and elderflower liqueur to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with the champagne.
- Making a charcuterie board for company means adding a large variety of things to suit lots of tastes. But when it's a board for one, pick your favorites.
- Choose at least one fruit such as sliced apple, pear, berries or grapes. Select a cheese and slice or cube it. I chose cheddar to go with my apple but a blue like Gorgonzola, a triple cream brie or nutty Comte would be good options.
- Grab a handful of your favorite nuts and toast them for extra flavor. Choose a dip, like hummus, and some easy vegetables such as sliced cucumbers, carrots, celery or bell peppers.
- Finally, add crackers and sliced deli meat, such as turkey, to make it heartier.