A Year of Newness: One Week at a Time

I’m not usually one for New Year’s resolutions, but I do love new experiences. So my goal for 2023: one new-to-me experience each week all year!

This goal is wide open. New foods to cook (and eat), new authors to read, new food trucks and restaurants to try, new movies to watch, new cities to visit, new trails to hike, new friends to make.

This could be an endless list.

My husband, Rick, is joining me on some (most!) of these experiences. And we’ve vowed to make this a thoughtful exercise. One we will approach with intention.

I’m thrilled to say we are off to the BEST start with a beautiful dish of pommes Anna. To be honest, I tried to make this dish on New Year’s Eve but since it was less than perfect and that was so last year, we made it again this first week of 2023.

Best of all? Rick and I cooked with our friend Kathy G. Mezrano, one of the best and most respected caterers in the entire Southeast. So, no pressure 😳

After I got the dangerous mandolin potato slicing part out of the way, we had a batch of Eight O’clock Howell cocktails.

Then we got to cooking, following a wonderfully detailed recipe from Chris Kimball and America’s Test Kitchen. We browned some Conecuh sausages, and I made a Dijon salad dressing for some crisp baby arugula.

Once our beautiful potato cake was done, we declared it an “open that bottle” night and enjoyed a delicious Sancerre.

And we ended our evening with global desserts leftover from our holidays: Mexican eggnog, Lebanese cookies and German gingerbread.

Not bad for a Wednesday.

Here’s the history and recipe for an Eight O’Clock Howell:

“Last April, every night at 8:00 p.m, the howling would begin. It was a way for Denver residents to honor our healthcare workers during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 8:00-hour was the scheduled shift change at most Denver-area hospitals and this was Denver’s way to recognize and thank them. So, we made the Eight O’Clock Howell simple to make for all the new home bartenders that were creating cocktails during lockdown. Just four easy-to-find ingredients and standard cocktail-making equipment. The howling in Denver stopped a while ago, but we’re still drinking this. Turns out, this cocktail works great this season too! The grain-forward flavors of our San Luis Valley Rye shine in this simple but bold cocktail.” Steve Kurowski, marketing director at Laws Whiskey House


2 oz. San Luis Valley rye (we used Elijah Craig rye)

0.5 oz. Cocchi Americano

0.25 oz. Dolin sweet vermouth

2 dashes orange bitters

Maraschino cherry, for garnish

Method: Mix all ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir and strain into a coupe or martini glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry. 

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