Monday, January 4, 2016

Culinary Goals for 2016

I'm a sucker for goals and to-do lists. I love the process of recording down hopes and goals and going back to look over those lists and seeing what was accomplished, what remains and what no longer captures my fancy.


I'm also a sucker for food. I love cooking. Even with a restaurant to manage on a daily basis, I look forward to nothing more than finding the perfect pockets of time to cook at home. Whether that's frequent meals at home on a Tuesday night or the ever lovely Sunday Brunch prior to work at The Burlington Place; I love plotting out new menu items, relying on old favorites, or improving on a concept that I simply enjoy.


As the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year began, I was able to put into place a few food routines: menu planning, Tuesday lunches, Tuesday dinner, Sunday Brunch and a weekly crock-pot meal that will feed us in between all of the pizza and beer.


So, having conquered a few things to make Abode 212 Kitchen feel a little more reflective of 519 Kitchen, I began plotting some Culinary Goals for 2016. These can be broken down into a few sections:


Things I've Never Made, but Want to...

Ever have those moments where you realize you've never made this or that, but you have no good excuse. It's not something intimidating, others have conquered the item numerous times, you yourself just haven't gotten around to it...yeah, I have that moment a lot and sometimes it's embarassing. These are the things I'm looking forward to making for, surprisingly, the first time in my culinary career:


  • Meatballs
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Stuffed Shells
  • Prime Rib
  • Leg of Lamb
  • Popovers
  • Skillet Cookie
  • Lattice/Decorative Pie Crusts
  • Bagels


Recurring "challenges" to Hone my Skills and Bring me Joy...


I like the idea of throwing in some new ingredients to my regular cooking routine, a la Chopped. There are also some items that I know can be done numerous ways and I simply want to master the basics and then go crazy playing around with flavor variations. In particular, I'm hoping to attempt:


  • A monthly brûlée, in part, I just want to own a torch. But, I also think Creme Brûlée is 100% decadent and has so many variations that make me swoon, so I think I'm going to focus some energy in that direction
  • Grocery Aisle Challenge. Every grocery trip will be much more exciting if I challenge myself to grab one new item each visit. I'll choose from a different aisle every time and let my imagination or hearts desires lead me to the next greatest meal.
  • Montly Recipe/Menu Planning Check List: One recipe per month will be from the following; a magazine, a cook book, Pinterest and my recipe box


Embrace Being "Green" and Retro...


A few kitchen goals are among those things which I've wanted to do for a long time and I'm feeling like this just might be the year to do them, they all seem a bit reflective of "green" trends and the things grandparents did, so green and retro, here we go!:


  • Compost! I really, REALLY want to beg my husband to build a composter or buy one, it's just time to get something of the sort going
  • Grow/Maintain more herbs and greens for regular use in recipes; things that can be grown inside all year as well as a few good garden concepts
  • Conquer some new preserves --- specifically Wine Jelly. Also, consider submitting something (such as preserves) into the county fair, because that is clearly retro!


Research and Development...


  • The research (and purchase) of a grill is on the list of priorities so that as spring rolls around and summer sets in we can eat the best foods outside, perfectly cooked and easily shared. We have a dreamy backyard space and a decent stock pile of beef, two reasons we need to hone in our grilling skills.
  • I very distinctly remember eating a Chocolate Cake in Daejeon, South Korea that was consistenly perfect, left me on the verge of tears and never disappointed. I need to have a comparable go-to in my repertoire, because if food is so good it brings you near tears, that's a sign of a life being well lived.
  • In leiu of discovering the perfect Chcoolate Cake, I want to organize a list/recipe collection of my "go-to" items. A couple Thanksgivings ago I mastered a Rumchata Cheesecake that's delectable! It's a go-to holiday dessert, but I'd love to have a few other go-to items for those potluck situations that don't have me eager to try something new, sometimes, I just want the tried-and-true stand-by (but in my world of hyper-food-creativitiy, that's a bit tricky).



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