Bacon and Caramelized Onion Tart and the Best of 2011

Hello and goodbye. That time of year when we look at the past 12 months and search for accomplishments and meaning and face toward the new year with both anticipation and maybe some trepidation. Did we accomplish all we wanted to; did we grow, provide, serve enough? Will we make changes to how we manage our lives and our time in the New Year and manage to fulfill dreams that today, right now, seem imminently possible or maybe even imminently impossible?

My own experience this past year has included the continuation of a difficult journey. I still need a cane to walk as the result of a severe injury suffered in February 2010. I could never have imagined that something so simple as my leg falling asleep could result in an injury that has changed the entire landscape of my life; affecting both my professional career and personal relationships. Discovering through this process the new friends who have become steadfast and the old ones who found it easier to look the other way.

Through it all I remain grateful for the readers who visit this blog and participate with me in this journey. I’ve loved to cook and provide sustenance for those around me for as long as I can remember and this blog allows me a journal of those experiences. Your engagement along with your encouraging comments makes me grateful for each one of you. Your compliments, especially on my photography, can take me to the moon. Any progress in that arena has surely been made possible over the course of the past two years by regaining the ability to stand and walk without a walker. When my balance was of greater concern than white balance. I wish you could have been party to some of that early work; I’m sure that you would have valiantly tried not to but even I had to laugh at the ridiculousness of it. Walker, dog, gate, 1 dish at a time, so tired by the time I got anything setup and in enough pain that I was lucky to snap 2 photos of the end result. Someone told me that I should have done a blog post about what it took to get a dish made and a photo taken but I’m just grateful that those days are past. I might still be hobbled a bit but it’s focusing on the progress that keeps me going. Is it good or bad that I can now work on a post long enough to generate 50+ photos each time? πŸ™‚

So I wish for more progress in this coming year. To learn and grow even more. To get physically stronger and emotionally tougher. To continue building relationships both in real life and with friends I have met online. Maybe to hop on a jet plane and make a trip to a blogging conference finally! And I wish the same for you. That you realize your dreams or maybe even just realize what they are. That you find support and encouragement on your path and that maybe I’ll even be a party to seeing your success or a friend when it seems that will never happen. To each of you I say, Happy New Year!

Seems this is the time of year for a lot of blogs to offer up their most popular posts; using criteria that each decides upon. I thought it might be interesting; sort of a nod to the future with a first recipe of the year while also reminiscing about the year in review. For the posts from this past year, I’ve included those that were seen the most and for something new, I’m including this tasty tart that isΒ  easy and delicious; easy enough to pull together today even if you have the last of holiday company coming by for a visit. Combining two things I love, bacon and caramelized onions, it’s a favorite in our home.


I admit I was a bit surprised when I compiled the posts that statistics consider my ‘Best Of.’ Why? Well, I’ve been doing this blog or a variation of it for 16 years and yet what lists as half of my most popular posts? The booze. Yes, you guys like the adult beverages A LOT! I only started doing a cocktail each week on a regular basis a couple of months ago and it’s evident they are hugely popular so today I’m glad I made an appetizer…we need something to munch on with all of those libations!

This is a simple tart…no crust required! Dough is put into a pan that has had some butter melted in it first, it’s covered with bacon, caramelized onions and Parmesan and baked. Easy and delish. I hope you enjoy it and do be sure to check out the most popular posts of 2011 after the recipe. Cheers to YOU!


Our Most Popular Posts of 2011

10. Maple Bourbon Bacon – This one may have squeaked in and it’s a good thing because this might be my personal favorite. Participating in Charcutepalooza was life changing stuff and learning how to cure and smoke my own bacon was a highlight. Ask my friends and family what they got for Christmas this year…it would include bacon!

9. Make Your Own Coffee Liqueur – Made with espresso and a hint of chocolate; I truly do think this is better than Kahlua!

8. Cocoa, Cayenne and Espresso Roasted Walnuts – These were perfect…crispy, toasted, cocoa and a hint of heat. So good.

7. Maple Bacon Roasted Turkey – This is the best turkey I have ever had so it’s worthy of being in this list…and has been for the third year in a row. Yes, it’s that good.

6. Wood Butter – A Recipe for Your Wooden Spoons and More…

5. How to Make Cranberry Liqueur – Easy, gorgeous and so tasty…the perfect holiday liqueur!

4. VootBeer – A fabulously refreshing and unique drink; a very adult Root Beer Float!

3. Molasses and Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – I think if these cookies had not been included in the ‘best of’ by readers I would have had to fudge. Simply the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made.

2. Cranberry Ginger Fizz Cocktail – Listed on sites all over the web as a suggestion for a holiday drink…it is quintessentially so. Gorgeous, refreshing and filled with flavors of the season.

1. The Smoretini – This is it; the single most popular post based on viewer visits. I think every woman on the planet must have pinned this cocktail. A Girl Scout memory type of thing revisited as an adult beverage? Must be it.

Hope you enjoyed this roundup and I look forward to seeing more of you in the coming year. Happy New Year!

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  1. Barb, we are on the same page recipe wise. I have spent time on your site and can honestly say I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve seen and read on your site. You are my kind of cook πŸ™‚ This post in particular gave me more insight into you as a person. I’m so sorry you were injured so badly. Yet, you are a brave trooper who continued to provide great content, mouthwatering photos and seriously good recipes for your readers. I really respect you and am glad we met. Happy New Year! Loving your best ofs…

    1. Dawn…thank you so much for such a kind and heartfelt comment. I’ve loved to share the foods I make for as long as I can remember; most often in person with friends and family and now with readers. Makes it all worthwhile to hear someone love that effort!

  2. You have been blogging for 16 years, that is beautiful! I really love enjoying your photography for sure, your drinks are so sharp looking:-) Loved your round-up, especially the molasses and brown butter chocolate chip cookies, YUM! I am so happy to have met you, cheers to a continued friendship in 2012! Hugs, Terra

    1. I have. Though when I first started it was just an html website. I’ve had a web development company since 1996 and it was the first site I created; I still have some of those recipes that have yet to make it to the blog which I’ve been doing now for…hmm, 3+ years I think? I started with a different name for the blog but this past June did a complete overhaul and went back to that original domain name that I started with all those years ago; it was like coming home again!

      Glad to have met you too Terra and love the synergy you share with me and others!

  3. We all do get surprised at the post popularity statistics indeed. Not talking about the search phrases that led people to our website. Awesome post and recipes!

  4. You’ve got a.knack for those cocktails, but really, I love it all. Looking forward to another year.

    1. Thanks Callye…altho if anyone was checking I missed today! Oops…maybe a Saturday Sipper? πŸ™‚

  5. OK, I have to say that this is one of the best round-ups of recipes I have seen this year – I want to make EVERYTHING on the list! I can see why your drinks are popular though – the ginger cranberry fizz & cranberry liqueur look like sparkly jewels and sound amazing! I am sorry to hear about your injury – twisting a knee over Christmas (OK I was skiing – but not fast or on a challenging slope…!) reminded me that we are never far away from a seemingly inconsequential fall that can have lasting consequences. I got lucky and seem to be healing, but it could easily have gone the other way. Sending you strength and good humour for the coming year (and I know I still owe you an e-mail about my site redesign – I have not forgotten!!) πŸ™‚

    1. Aw thanks Jeanne; that is so sweet and really means a lot to hear that.

      Yes…I am definitely aware of how something small can deliver a huge consequence; glad to hear you are doing better though…ahh to be young again when healing was counted in days or weeks, not months (or it seems…years!). Yay for not forgetting…I didn’t think so; the end of the year is a crazy time; glad for a bit of reprieve from that myself.

      Thanks for visiting!

  6. This is an amazing roundup of fabulous treats. The photos are of course stunning and your drive and motivation is inspiring. I wish you all the best for health and happiness in 2012.

  7. I’m not surprised in the least – look at the fabulous drinks you’ve concocted! I’m lovin’ the voot beer but can definitely see why the smoretini was #1! Fabulous savory – too bad we can’t really do bacon in our house anymore. Cheers to 2012, Barb – I’ve got a feeling things are just going to keep getting better and better πŸ™‚

    1. Let’s hope so…here’s to you and a great 2012 for both of us. So glad you joined our group and I’ve had a chance to get to know you even if just a bit. Here’s to a wonderful New Year.

  8. What a beautiful post, stunning photos, and I have to tell you – your journey and the writing of it is incredibly inspiring. I am in awe. Happy, happy new year and wishing you a healthy 2012!

    1. Thank you for the sweet comment Mary Anne (I might love your Anne; I might also have that as a middle name!). I have my moments of howling at the moon but moving forward is really the only direction to go!

  9. I can easily see why all of these were your most popular posts this year. I love the cranberry ginger fizz cocktail and have got to make one for the new year. Yes, it is so important to even realize what your dreams our. Thank you for your support this past year. Happy New Year :)xo

    1. We could both make the drink and sip from afar? Thank you too Lora…I treasure your friendship; it’s not virtual anymore, it’s real.

    1. Thanks Cindy..and the Vootbeer is just a very fun drink. Goes down VERY easy; that’s all I’m saying.

  10. So funny booze hits the high list. My highest reads are the very basics… homemade chicken soup, cranberry sauce, buttermilk biscuits… and the like. Tomatoes on the Vine does drinks more often than food. Do you follow her? You should at least drink together! πŸ™‚
    You know I haven’t followed you very long – just recently this past year, and am really sad to hear of the hardships you have faced physically and emotionally this past year. What a challenge. I cannot imagine – and I have also had my own challenges (as we all do) – but with your positive attitude, passion, and obvious tenacity, it is clear you will see nothing but more and greater progress in 2012.
    Happy New Year to you! Talk to you tomorrow – and next time, never put caramel and bacon in the same title. I am still drooling!

    1. I don’t know her but sounds like I need to huh? My dad used to lament how stubborn I am…I am thankful for that stubbornness and tenacity; it has seen me manage through difficult times!

  11. I love all your homemade recipes especially the alcoholic ones but my absolute favourite would have to be . Molasses and Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies πŸ™‚ can’t wait to try them they sound and look so so so delicious!

    1. Those cookies are just fabulous Daisy; I wasn’t kidding when I said my most favorite chocolate chip cookie ever. Just the best.

  12. It’s funny you should mention the booze Barbara, ‘cos it is stunning, but I’ve been wondering what you do with it all. Your friends and family must be REALLY happy with that aspect of your blogging!
    Of course, I love it too – that and those drop-dead wonderful molasses and brown butter cookies.
    And I have also loved getting to know you just a little over the ether, through Twitter. I look forward to sharing lots more recipes and chats with you in the new year.

    1. Neighbors, my dad and my sister, my kids and good friends…they all get some. I have some left I admit. Come on over!

  13. I love your list! Yes, the cocktails seem to call my name the loudest, but that’s because I try to stay away from sweets:)
    And that Coffee Liqueur photo is just gorgeous!
    I remember several of us on Twitter trying to figure out the basics of photography after buying our DSLRs, and I can tell you without an ounce of jealousy that you have come much further than me! You are my inspiration on so many different facets of life, and photography is just one of them.
    Here is to another great year ahead and small steps towards our personal goals!
    Cheers and Happy New Year!
    BTW, this tart definitely calls my name, even though there is no booze in it (but bacon will do as a wonderful substitution:)

    1. Oh Lana, thank you so much; what a sweet compliment. I’m hoping that you are getting settled back into your life with your family and that your mom is holding her own. I agree…let’s take those small but mighty steps, continuously.

  14. Happy new year to you Barbara! My favorite are the wonderful cocktails on your blog..have bookmarked almost all. Love the way to weave your posts into beautiful stories. Looking forward to join you in more of foodie fun this year.

  15. You need to move to NYC. I’ll work-out 5 hours a day just to eat your sweet and savories a few times a week. That tart is beyond words, even beyond the overused adage, ‘everything is better with bacon’. Although I’m 95% ‘teetotaler’, I veally vant that Vootbeer – and the Smoretini!

  16. I love this post so much! Not because of the delicious tart recipe, not because of the beautiful photographs counting down the top ten from 2011 but because of your words. So enjoy the way you write. Every time I come here I can envision you sitting in front of your laptop as you write out your post yet as I read it, it’s as if you stopped typing, lowered your screen, leaned forward a bit began talking…sharing your story with me, one on one. Thank you!

    Happy New Year to you Barb, you are among the best there is and I wish you all the best.

    1. Exactly what I would hope for Paula; I’ve lamented my lack of writing ‘skill’ but that’s because I don’t feel like a writer, I really am just putting down on a keyboard the conversation I’m having in my head. It doesn’t seem like writing so much as just recounting, if that makes any sense. You are a dear, sweet friend and I would love to have that one on one…one day!

  17. Happy New Year Barb! The tart look fabulous! And my favorite of your top 10 list has to be the wood butter and the homemade liqueurs! Here’s to another delicious year! xx

    1. Some of my most favorites too…and what I gave for Christmas gifts. Funny, even before compiling this list, I gave bacon, cranberry liqueur and wood butter for Christmas gifts. I obviously like what readers like!

  18. First of all Happy New Year, I am Raquel from you are right I love what you said about “building relationships both in real life and with friends I have met online” me too I want to pursue that, I want to connect to the people I met. Your recipes are great and would love to read your blog more often. Also, I love the most are the photos. they are amazingly gorgeous.

  19. Well now I’m thirsty *and* hungry! Love the list, and the tart, as well. I wish all of those things for you, Barbara–Happy New Year!

  20. Happy New Year!! I love bacon and caramelized onions so this tart sounds magnificent to me. I hope you have many great strides and accomplishments this year. I had no idea what a trying time you’ve had but it sounds like you’ve made amazing progress all ready and I know that will continue for you in the coming year. Be well!

    1. Same to you Kate…great to get to know and yes, one day, we actually will talk. When the baby is 2?

  21. I had no idea of your personal health struggles and wish you great strides in the new year. Your parade of 2011 posts is a stunner of beautiful photos and dishes.

    1. Thanks Liz…appreciate the kind words. Actually wishing I had a bit of that tart right about now!

    1. Thanks so much Karen…though I’m thinking I need more appetizers and less booze. I love them too!

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