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Culinary goals for 2014


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#1 David Hensley

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 12:21 PM

Host Note: This post was split off from the Happy New Year Chefs topic to create this new topic
 

No, rotuts, not you. JK
 
Dcarch, I agree that the new year will bring many new projects. Personally, I've decided that this year will be my "Year of Meat", in which I try to focus on charcuterie techniques from around the world.
 
What are everybody elses culinary goals for the new year?


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#2 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 12:36 PM

Mine is to be more daring with flavour combinations, particularly in sweets.


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#3 kayb

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 01:01 PM

To find something I can make and take with me to keep me from eating junk food when I'm on the road.


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#4 mkayahara

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 05:38 PM

David, I share your goal of learning charcuterie techniques. I'd also like to learn at least one new station (and preferably two!) at work.


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#5 annabelle

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 06:38 PM

I'm going to start baking our bread again.  No more store bought bread in the house is my goal.


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#6 DiggingDogFarm

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 07:08 PM

I hope to formulate a low-sugar/low-starch sandwich bread that doesn't totally suck!


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#7 Shel_B

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 10:31 PM

This year I am going to learn a bit about baking, and will start by making popovers and an English muffin loaf, and I want to perfect a bran muffin recipe I started playing with a few years ago and let languish.  Not much, but it'll make me happy.  In addition, I'd like to develop some more vegetarian recipes, and work on creating low fat versions of some of my favorites.


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.... Shel


#8 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 03:58 PM

Break out of my rut, a bit. Try new things! Especially cocktails!
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#9 Plantes Vertes

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 04:54 PM

Break out of my rut, a bit. Try new things! Especially cocktails!

 

 

Sylia, do join us in Spirits and Cocktails!


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#10 Plantes Vertes

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 05:06 PM

My goal is to put in more effort. I love cooking but I allow other pursuits and obligations to take over the time.

 

I will also try (again) to express my values more explicitly through my food shopping.

 

I hope to invite people more often, too.


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#11 Porthos

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 05:19 PM

A modest goal for 2014 but a goal nonetheless: Learn to roast vegetables. I don't mean carrots and potatoes tossed into a beef roast but honest-to-goodness roasted veggies as a side dish. This past fall I was given some Brussels Sprouts to cook for my ren faire guild. Not wanting to boil or steam them I decided to half them and oven roast them. This dedicated Brussels sprouts nay-sayer was instantly converted.

 

Tonight will be the first attempt at roasted zucchini in length-wise quarters. They will be lightly coated with EVOO, salt and pepper then put into a 425 F oven (My low-end Oster convection toaster oven) until the color looks right. Later attempts will have more seasonings added but I want to start with the basics.  As an aside I tried grilling some zucchini last spring on my big 8-burner event grill and it was just short of a disaster. It was too wet for how I tried to do it.

 

Overall goal is to find 3 new veggies to roast this year. I figure asparagus will be another one to try. Modest, as I said, but that is the goal. Wondering out loud: Could I find a way to grill sweet potatoes that I would find edible since I majorly don't care for sweet potatoes any way I have had them.

 

p.s. Since I am unemployed nothing that would require much moola would be in the running. I can afford veggies and I like them.


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#12 annabelle

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 05:32 PM

Porthos,  get Barbara Kafka's "Roasting".  It is the best:  lovely pictures and wonderful recipes.  It covers a lot of mains, but has a big section on vegetables, as well.



#13 Anna N

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 05:36 PM

A modest goal for 2014 but a goal nonetheless: Learn to roast vegetables. I don't mean carrots and potatoes tossed into a beef roast but honest-to-goodness roasted veggies as a side dish. This past fall I was given some Brussels Sprouts to cook for my ren faire guild. Not wanting to boil or steam them I decided to half them and oven roast them. This dedicated Brussels sprouts nay-sayer was instantly converted.
 
Tonight will be the first attempt at roasted zucchini in length-wise quarters. They will be lightly coated with EVOO, salt and pepper then put into a 425 F oven (My low-end Oster convection toaster oven) until the color looks right. Later attempts will have more seasonings added but I want to start with the basics.  As an aside I tried grilling some zucchini last spring on my big 8-burner event grill and it was just short of a disaster. It was too wet for how I tried to do it.
 
Overall goal is to find 3 new veggies to roast this year. I figure asparagus will be another one to try. Modest, as I said, but that is the goal. Wondering out loud: Could I find a way to grill sweet potatoes that I would find edible since I majorly don't care for sweet potatoes any way I have had them.
 
p.s. Since I am unemployed nothing that would require much moola would be in the running. I can afford veggies and I like them.


I find that zucchini, no matter the preparation, benefits from 15-30 mins in a colander with a light sprinkling of salt to draw out some moisture. Parsnips are awesome roasted and cauliflower becomes a different vegetable if roasted until deep golden brown. Green beans are a revelation if tossed with some oil and salt and roasted until just slightly blistered. I make them for a snack.
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#14 heidih

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 05:43 PM

A modest goal for 2014 but a goal nonetheless: Learn to roast vegetables.

I think this primer on vegetable roasting at Serious Eats is quite helpful http://www.seriousea...vegetables.html
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#15 Plantes Vertes

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 05:46 PM

Last year I did roasted whole onions in their jackets, roasted beetroot and roasted rhubarb for the first time. They're worth a try!


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#16 Porthos

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 06:19 PM

I find that zucchini, no matter the preparation, benefits from 15-30 mins in a colander with a light sprinkling of salt to draw out some moisture.

Quartered, salted and draining. Thank you for the suggestion.


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#17 Tri2Cook

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 06:28 PM

My general goal is to push myself to spend more time in the kitchen outside of work and try to reconnect with the happiness I used to get out of cooking just for the fun of it. A more specific goal is closely related to what Matt and David mentioned. I was given a meat grinder and a sausage stuffer for Christmas. I already have a Bradley smoker that I recently ordered a dual probe PID controller for so I can automate temp ramping, final temp and smoke control. My primary interest right now is in sausages but I'm going to order a temp/humidity controller in the near future and use it to convert a small fridge I'm not using into a curing chamber so I can eventually venture further into the world of charcuterie.


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#18 Franci

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 08:18 PM

Learn to make life easier...it still doesn't sink that I have two young children and time for cooking is limited. I would really like to get creative with the short time I have. Often, at dinner time, I feel like at rush hour in a restaurant kitchen...20 to 30 minutes to cook my meals.
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#19 Katie Meadow

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 12:15 PM

My goal is to simplify and declutter. My cabinets are bursting with too many pots and pans and casserole dishes, too many specialty cooking items. I'll never use an egg poacher insert, since I don't even like poached eggs. I have a very nice pudding steamer but I've used it once and that was 20 years ago. My recipe collection needs weeding. Who am I kidding? I'll never make tempura at home. Or home made doughnuts. My kitchen is big, with lots of great storage space, but it's embarrassing I have so much crap I don't use. As it is every year, my  one vow is to learn how to make  great tamales (hold the lard.) Hope springs eternal.


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#20 Shel_B

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 12:28 PM

My goal is to simplify and declutter. My cabinets are bursting with too many pots and pans and casserole dishes, too many specialty cooking items. I'll never use an egg poacher insert, since I don't even like poached eggs. I have a very nice pudding steamer but I've used it once and that was 20 years ago ... it's embarrassing I have so much crap I don't use.

 

Tell us next year just how much stuff you got rid of.  It'll be interesting to see if you still have the egg poacher, or if it has been replaced with something else, perhaps a watermelon seeder or other such useful gadget.

 

I got rid of lots of things when I moved into my retirement apartment, yet I find myself accumulating more and more things.  It seems that it's human nature to acquire things - or at least this human's nature.  I believe that eGullet is an enabler. 


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.... Shel


#21 Smithy

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 12:36 PM

My goal is to simplify and declutter. My cabinets are bursting with too many pots and pans and casserole dishes, too many specialty cooking items. I'll never use an egg poacher insert, since I don't even like poached eggs. I have a very nice pudding steamer but I've used it once and that was 20 years ago ... it's embarrassing I have so much crap I don't use.

 
Tell us next year just how much stuff you got rid of.  It'll be interesting to see if you still have the egg poacher, or if it has been replaced with something else, perhaps a watermelon seeder or other such useful gadget.
 
I got rid of lots of things when I moved into my retirement apartment, yet I find myself accumulating more and more things.  It seems that it's human nature to acquire things - or at least this human's nature.  I believe that eGullet is an enabler.

Oh, this makes me laugh! Yes, I have a great deal of cookware as a result of eGullet...and I was amazed last fall at the amount of stuff my mother had accumulated after downsizing and moving into an assisted living apartment. She was never on eGullet, but she'd find cool things anyway.
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#22 annabelle

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 01:30 PM

Katie Meadow, I want your pudding steamer.


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#23 Special K

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 03:04 PM

My goal is to simplify and declutter.

 

I just did this yesterday! (I was avoiding a huge pile of filing.) I started with the "junk" drawer and then found myself moving on to the rest, taking everything out, cleaning the crumbs out of the drawers (!), and putting only about half of the stuff back in. Then I moved on to the cabinets. Each object went through the "Have I used this in the last year?" test, and if it failed, out it went. (Now if I could only force myself to do this with my closet!) Then, "Do I really need three of these? Which is the one (or maybe two - I'm only human) that I actually use?" and out went the extras. Some lucky Value Village shopper in Seattle is going to be very happy soon.

 

Do it, Katie. You can always store the culled items in some out of the way place for a while, just in case you suddenly realize you really do want to hang on to that pudding steamer (or save it for Annabelle).

 

Bonus #1: I found several "lost" treasures, hidden under the detritus. (That's why I had three oyster knives!)

 

Bonus #2: I ended up reorganizing - I now have a much more sensible baking station, one place for all of the small appliances, etc. I have a tiny kitchen, but now I feel like I have (just) everything I need, and I can put my hands on whatever I want quickly and easily.

 

Bonus #3: That horrible excuse for a wafflemaker I've been lugging around for 40 years is GONE!

 

My goal for the year is to keep things this neat and simple. At least for a while. :raz:

 

K


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#24 Porthos

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 04:08 PM

Bonus #3: That horrible excuse for a wafflemaker I've been lugging around for 40 years is GONE!

I think it's time for my George Foreman grill to suffer a similar fate. Cooks ok but is a pain in the a$$ to clean. Haven't used it in several years.

 

I have been doing this kind of cleaning/clearing for the past year. This past weekend I pulled down our flower vases because we were running out of room again. I asked my DW to pick 3 I could donate. While pulling them down I was trying to figure out why we had so many again. Then I remembered that it was us who brought home most of the flowers from my mother's funeral in 2010. DW picked out 5. That really helped.


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#25 annabelle

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 05:19 PM

I gave the George Foreman Grill to my son when he moved out.

 

Problem solved!



#26 Jeff K

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 10:16 PM

I have quite a few goals for this year.

 

One that's definitely queued up is to get a flamethrower of a wok burner to go with my spiffy new carbon steel wok. And use it.

 

Another is, for the first time (ever),  to explore baking a bit. I'll probably start with some simple sourdoughs and expand from there. Always been a stove-top kinda guy, but I just got an oven. The absence of an oven may seem a bit unusual, but not here. I live in Bangkok, Thailand.

 

A couple more that I'll do, funds permitting, will be exploring sous vide (I'm keen, but may not have the budget this year) and a Thai cooking course (something more in-depth than the usual tourist courses, possibly studying privately with a restauranteur friend of my wife's, time permitting).

 

It's going to be a fun year.


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#27 Chris Amirault

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 03:28 PM

Learn how to make bread. 


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#28 Katie Meadow

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 06:14 PM

 

My goal is to simplify and declutter.

 

I just did this yesterday! (I was avoiding a huge pile of filing.) I started with the "junk" drawer and then found myself moving on to the rest, taking everything out, cleaning the crumbs out of the drawers (!), and putting only about half of the stuff back in. Then I moved on to the cabinets. Each object went through the "Have I used this in the last year?" test, and if it failed, out it went. (Now if I could only force myself to do this with my closet!) Then, "Do I really need three of these? Which is the one (or maybe two - I'm only human) that I actually use?" and out went the extras. Some lucky Value Village shopper in Seattle is going to be very happy soon.

 

 

K

 

Chuck it if you haven't used it in a year? That's brutal. Unfortunately I have a basement, which is really not a good solution in the long run.



#29 OliverB

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 04:21 PM

actually cook something from the 300 or so cookbooks I have. Not just read and get inspired by, but actually pick a recipe or 10 and cook THAT. And maybe bake some bread in my big green egg.


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#30 pbear

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 11:47 PM

After four years of experimenting, this is the year I've decided to bring low temp - sous vide to earth in my recipe file.  Not of any significance to anyone else, but a major advance for me in my own little world.  And, text-wise, a huge challenge.