Happy New Year! The new calendar means it's time for us to make our annual list of Culinary Resolutions -- and check in on how we did with our resolutions from last year.
As you may remember, this entire blog is the result of a New Year's resolution to cook more recipes from the food magazines we received each month. So now our Culinary Resolutions give us a chance to explore even more new things in the kitchen.
So, what are we planning for the upcoming year? Well, first, let's see how we did with our 2010 Resolutions:
- Get rid of old spices -- We were really good this last year about keeping our pantries cleaned out and purging items whose time had passed. This was especially true with our spice rack. For the past six months, it's remained organized and many of the spices that were past their prime have, indeed, left the apartment.
- Write more recipes -- We featured more than a dozen recipes of our own creation on the blog over the past year. You can explore them all in the Our Own Recipes category. We're especially proud of the Indian Spiced Meatloaf with Spicy Indian Ketchup, Grilled Panzanella Salad, and Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Sriracha and Cashews.
- Make more jams, preserves and canned goods -- In 2010, we made Meyer Lemon Ginger Marmalade and we canned tomatoes once again. Both were big undertakings and we were pleased with the results.
- Experiment more with cocktails -- We don't make a lot of cocktails at home, but when we did this year, we experimented more with muddling ingredients and also with using bitters.
- Learn a little something about wine -- We're counting this as a success based solely on the phrase "a little something." We did visit some vineyards in Mendoza (a post on that trip is coming soon) and we've been reading Matt Skinner's Heard It Through the Grapevine: The Things You Should Know In Order to Enjoy Wine. So we're by no means wine experts, but we did learn a little something.
The Failures (so far)!
- Make an aspic, a salt-crusted beef tenderloin, and Yorkshire puddings -- All three of these weren't accomplished by year's end. We considered throwing a Resolutions Dinner and just knocking all three out, but other stuff got in the way. Maybe this month!
- Eat at a Thomas Keller restaurant -- This one didn't happen, either, but we're not torn up about it. We didn't make it to California in 2010, and when we were in New York, we chose to eat at Momofuku Ko, which we had wanted to visit for a very long time. We'll get to a Keller restaurant at some point....
So that's 2010. We think we did pretty well!
So what about Culinary Resolutions for this year?
Here's our list for 2011:
- Visit a food magazine test kitchen -- In 2010 we had to opportunity to meet Christopher Kimball, the editor of Cook's Illustrated. Though we've often traded emails with individuals who work for the magazines that we cover, it was the first time we had ever met any of them in person. In 2011, we'd like to actually visit the test kitchen of a food magazine.
- Less meat on the plate -- We initially discussed going meatless in January. That notion was planted in our heads by Andrew Knowlton, who writes for Bon Appétit. He mentioned in his latest column that he does a meatless January each year. But then we remembered that we're visiting Los Angeles later this month (recommendations, please!) and, well, we really want to eat meat there! Rather than making a declaration for meatless meals, weeks or months, we're instead resolving that we'll make meat less of a focus of the meals we make at home. The idea is simple: less meat on the plate, more veggies and grains. We're inspired by Mark Bittman, who's written a lot about his "vegan until six p.m." diet, which also de-emphasizes meat overall. We're not ready for the vegan plunge, but we do really like the idea of moving a meal's focus away from meat.
- Give gardening another go -- We shared some of our adventures (and misadventures) in our first summer of gardening. We've decided to give it another go this year and get our grow on. More on that once spring arrives.
- Strive to buy higher quality meat -- If we had unlimited funds, we would buy all of our meat at the farmers market. But in all honesty, we buy the majority of our meat from the supermarket in our neighborhood. We'd like to buy more high quality, non-factory farmed meat this year. Perhaps eating less of it will make the extra cost easier to bear.
- Familiarize ourselves with our cookbook collection (or purge them!) -- We have shelves full of cookbooks that we haven't opened in years (and some that it's quite possible we've never opened at all). We plan to crack open the books this year and get better acquainted with what's in them.
- Flex our canning muscles again -- We'd like to undertake at least one canning project this year. We'd love to make spicy pickled beans and squash pickles. Who knows, maybe we'll even can something from our own garden -- if, you know, we don't kill everything we try to grow.
What about you? Are you a resolution person? Let us know what you're resolving!