looking back, looking forward, and a cocktail recipe: the st. honoré 75

I’ve washed my hands more times that I can count today, but they still smell of smoke and onions and garlic. I began the morning by chopping vegetables, preparing my mise en place for braised beef short ribs (tomorrow night’s dinner) and for barbecue baked beans (part of tonight’s dinner). While the short ribs were braising, releasing meaty aromas into the kitchen, I kept an eye on the temperature of the Big Green Egg, opening and closing the vents in the top to keep the pork butts inside smoking at a steady 300 degrees.

Tonight we’ll gather with my parents, my grandmother, my aunt and uncle and cousins, and we’ll dine on pulled pork with vinegar sauce (thanks to this book for the recipes), barbecue baked beans, and potato salad.  We’ll have the short ribs tomorrow, served over creamy grits. And we’ll have champagne, too.

We’ll drink the bubbly to celebrate the end of 2011 and the beginning of the new year. And gosh, I am so ready for a new year.

I have mixed emotions about 2011. I’ve had some wonderful experiences throughout the year, but everything has been overshadowed by my father’s health. Since January 29th, our lives have revolved around a series of emergency room visits, hospitalizations, rehab stays, and doctors appointments. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, but I’ve been trying to focus my efforts on getting used to the new Dad.

I’m having a hard time with that, but I’ll keep trying.

It will be good to see 2011 growing smaller in the rear-view mirror of life.  My hopes for 2012 are not tremendously high — I’m a realist, after all — but I’m pretty sure it will be a better year than 2011 was.

I’d like 2012 to be the year that my dad uses his walker comfortably, and without a fear of falling.

In 2012, I’ll get to hug my brother again.

In 2012, we’re taking our kids on two pretty cool family vacations – a Disney cruise to start, and then a trip to California next summer.

In 2012, I turn 40. My husband and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. My daughter will start 3rd grade and my son will be in kindergarten. Lots of milestones with happy potential there.

I want 2012 to be the year that I write more – and more often. Fiction is a dream for me, but it’s never going to happen if I don’t start writing it. And maybe I won’t be very good at it, but at least I will have tried.

I would love to be healthier in 2012. And I will be.

To ring in the new year, and bid goodbye to that stinker of a year, 2011, here’s a cocktail for you. I raise my glass to you, dear readers, and toast to your health and happiness and peacefulness in 2012.

Cheers to a more beautiful 2012.

*   *   *   *   *

Because I think it would be good for me, I’m going to take a couple of weeks off from regular posting here at the merry gourmet. It’s always hard for me to stay completely away, but I’m going to try. See you again in January!

Yield: 1 drink

St. Honoré 75


1 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 ounce Meyer lemon juice
Champagne or other bubbly (cava, prosecco, sparkling wine)
Lemon twist, for garnish


In a chilled champagne flute, add St. Germain and lemon juice. Top with the bubbly and garnish with a lemon twist.

Tweaked from the recipe from St. Germain's website.

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13 Responses to “roasted tomato soup and the critic”

  1. tami — September 27, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

    i made tomato soup yesterday (and today) and it has such strong memories for me. i cannot WAIT to hear about your CIA experience and trip to NYC. safe travels. xoxox

  2. Paula — September 27, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

    Your soup recipe looks wonderful (even without Oliver’s rice LOL). Great before and after photos of the tomatoes too by the way.
    Enjoy your few days at the Culinary Institute! I went and visited your new blog. I think the idea is fantastic (!!!) I know that you will reach so many people that need so very much to read what you will post. You are wonderful for having created Eating Despite Cancer.

  3. Mauna — September 27, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

    My mom always put corn cornels in my tomato soup. Now it just doesn’t taste right without the corn.

  4. Liren — September 28, 2011 @ 1:43 am

    What?! Wow! I am so excited that Oliver has developed a liking for tomatoes, though the addition of rice on the bottom is a little interesting.

    I am so glad to see your new blog, MJ. I know that you will have a real impact in that space – food and cancer is another battle in and of itself. I remember too well from my parents’ fights how terrible the illness can be, especially to those who love food. Especially to those who need the nourishment. I’m looking forward to following you there as well.

    Have fun at CIA! So excited for you 🙂

  5. Gail — September 28, 2011 @ 6:21 am

    Nothing, but nothing is better than tomato soup. With or without rice.
    But always with grilled cheese!

  6. Brian @ A Thought For Food — September 28, 2011 @ 7:58 am

    There are few things more comforting than a bowl of tomato soup… and, as Gail said, grilled cheese. 🙂

  7. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite.com — September 28, 2011 @ 8:00 am

    I’m with Gail – grilled cheese and tomato soup – I could live off of that!!!
    Enjoy NYC and the CIA, I am green with envy…
    And go you with the new site. You’re an inspiration.

  8. Erin @ A Nesting Experience — September 28, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

    I love roasted tomato soup. This looks so delicious. Perfect for cool fall days!

  9. Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — September 28, 2011 @ 3:29 pm

    Ha, I had Campbell’s tomato soup today. I jazzed it up a bit with milk, spinach and crumbled tortilla chips, but your version looks way, way, way, WAY better 🙂

  10. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — September 29, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

    This soup looks lovely! Tomato soup is one of my favorites, and roasting the flavors adds so much great flavor!

  11. Karriann Graf — September 30, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

    I love tomato soup in the winter time…..especially when we make our famous grill cheese! The grill cheese is perfect for dipping.

    “Spice it Up”

  12. Russell at Chasing Delicious — October 9, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

    Yum! This recipe sounds scrumptious. I love tomato soup – the kind without rice too ; ). It takes me right back to being a kid!

  13. charlotte — October 12, 2011 @ 8:58 am

    Made it yesterday – with yellow tomatoes. Delicious and beautiful. Thanks!

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