The new year is only a few days old, but are you sick of talking about resolutions yet? I hope not, because some of my favorite goals last year involved food and I have some more on my mind for 2011.
Last year I resolved to cook more from scratch, and to learn to make some basic things that I take for granted but didn't really understand how to cook. The big win was chicken soup, an incredibly labor-intensive process from the stock to the bowl, but very rewarding when it was done.
I used some of the stock to make the Barefoot Contessa's Mexican Chicken Soup recipe, and it was really good.
I made a turkey for Easter and a cake without a mix for the first time that was actually a success. I am not a naturally talented baker, but my family enjoyed the Bailey's Irish Cream cake anyway.
I can't tell you how rewarding this was, and even though I wish I'd done more, I'm still glad I did anything, frankly. It's a lot of fun to take basic recipes and put your own spin on them, with the caveat that sometimes things will just not work. My holiday attempts at fudge and lemon bars, for instance? Fail.
I have some other plans for 2011. This is what's on my list for this year, so far:
1. Keep cooking.I want to brush up on some basic skills that I lack -- knife skills, and fundamentals like sauces that I think I could learn pretty quickly but have never tried. There are some cooking schools in my area -- L'Academie de Cuisine, for instance -- that offer recreational classes as well as professional training programs. I think I'll have to check that out.
And even without the classes, I love poking around the internet for recipes and new food ideas.
2. Work on my food photography. I am the dork constantly taking photos of her dinner, but I can't help it -- I love it. I'd like to work on this more. If I had hours in the day for as many projects as I'd like to do, I'd be in great shape, but this one keeps popping into my head so I should probably make it happen.
3. Eat out better, if not more -- I rely on my standby restaurants in my city for the most part, and branch out mostly when I travel. I know this means that I've missed lots of restaurants in D.C. and Maryland, and I'd like to catch up. Local food blogs like DCFoodies and Metrocurean can help me out, I'm sure.
4. Buy and eat local -- I am always happy when I go to the farmer's market and I always end up lazy on Sundays and sorry later that I didn't go. I really want to make this happen this year.
5. Cook -- and eat -- with friends. I'm single and mostly keep my own cooking and eating schedule. I have no problem cooking for myself, but it's always more fun to share dining experiences with friends. I'm looking forward to sharing restaurants I love with friends on trips to New Orleans and San Diego, and closer to home I'd like to try to put together some meals at my place.
I guess instead of always grabbing and going, I want to try to slow down more this year and enjoy every bite.
What are your food-related wishes this year, Food Lush friends?