I am finally back from a rather long winter vacation in Peru, Omaha, and Albuquerque. Before that I was finishing up the semester. But enough with the excuses - I just am not in the habit of writing a blog post regularly. So, in the spirit of the new year, I come to you with a resolution and some cooking goals.
First and foremost, I resolve to blog regularly, both about Thursday potlucks, and about the other exciting food events in my life.
During my flight home a few days ago, I was reading the latest issue of Saveur, which included 100 food topics submitted by readers. The wide variety of topics covered, along with my experiences with new and different food in Peru (more on that in an upcoming post!), inspired me to tackle 12 culinary tasks that I've either put off trying or been intimidated by.
Here is my list, with each task assigned to a month:
January: Cook a meal drawn entirely from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This was a birthday gift from my wonderful boyfriend, so I'm guessing he will be invited to this meal...
February: Cook a dish including mussels and/or oysters. The whole shell business has always unnerved me, and only recently have I learned to enjoy eating mussels and oysters. Cooking them is the next step!
March: Make a yeast bread. Maybe start with the no-knead type early on in the month and progress to something more intensive.
April: Make my own pasta. This looks fun, but I've never made the time for it. I'd like to try both gnocchi and egg noodles.
May: Bake a "Baked Alaska." Perhaps not as formidable as rolling out pasta, but the thermodynamics of ice cream inside a baked meringue shell is quite intriguing.
June: Eat entirely local for a day. Some people do this on a regular basis, and it shouldn't be too difficult in a food-centric state like Wisconsin. Maybe this will help me start better habits, even if I can't eat entirely local all of the time.
July: Make mulberry ice cream. We have a large mulberry tree in our back yard, which produces more fruit than I know what to do with. I'm also interested in experimenting with methods for making ice cream (or something similar to ice cream) that don't require an ice cream maker, which my small kitchen has no room for.
August: Make ceviche. I hope to include a lot more Peruvian cooking in my repertoire, but I'll admit that this marinated fish dish intimidates me a bit. It may take a resolution and someone's August birthday to get me to try it.
September: Make cherries jubilee. Late summer in Wisconsin is prime time for delicious fresh cherries, and what better way to celebrate Door County cherries than by setting your house on fire? Just kidding - but I would like to try flambeing something.
October: Cook an unusual meat. Our farmers' market routinely has ostrich meat, but I would also consider cooking rabbit or something else I've never tried before.
November: Brine a turkey. As far as I can tell, I'll be staying in Madison for Thanksgiving, which means I will probably host a meal of some kind. And while I've participated in numerous turkey roasts (during which Betty White makes dirty jokes about the turkey... or is that something else?) I've never brined a turkey.
December: Create some awesome homemade food gifts. I wont give away my ideas yet, but I'd like to share some kitchen joy with my dear friends next holiday season. The past two years have included biscotti, but I'd like to push the boundaries to include some non-baked goods.
So goes my plan for the year. I hope to fit this all in with work, school, community choir, and having some sort of social life... but, as I tell my hesitant-to-cook father, "You have to eat anyway, so you might as well have some fun with it!"
Coming up soon - the long awaited ducken-hen post... I know you can hardly wait.