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Culinary goals for 2014


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#31 Smithy

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 12:30 AM

Get a good grip on making fresh pasta, including the filled kind, in less than 5 hours, and make it pretty enough for company.

 

Get a really good sourdough starter established, and keep it fed, and use it.

 

Learn how to make an olive oil/rosemary bread at least as good as the San Luis Bakery Sourdough Olive Oil and Rosemary bread that I can get from, of all places, the Save-Mart stores in Visalia.  It sounds like heresy, but I think that bread is better than the La Brea Bakery version we get here in Duluth.  Surely I can do as well?


Edited by Smithy, 12 January 2014 - 12:30 AM.

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#32 BDSkelly

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 07:48 AM

I received a nice grinder and vertical sausage squisher as Christmas gifts this year.  I have zero experience about making sausage. So, I'm looking forward to all the wonderful things I am going to learn this year.  

Brian


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#33 Smithy

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 08:02 AM

I received a nice grinder and vertical sausage squisher as Christmas gifts this year.  I have zero experience about making sausage. So, I'm looking forward to all the wonderful things I am going to learn this year.  

Brian

 

Good for you!  It's a lot of fun.  When you get to it, you'll be able to get a lot of advice here in eGullet, if you want it.


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#34 BDSkelly

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 09:32 AM

 

I received a nice grinder and vertical sausage squisher as Christmas gifts this year.  I have zero experience about making sausage. So, I'm looking forward to all the wonderful things I am going to learn this year.  

Brian

 

Good for you!  It's a lot of fun.  When you get to it, you'll be able to get a lot of advice here in eGullet, if you want it.

 

I want it AND Need it! Thank you Nancy

Brian 


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#35 MelissaH

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 08:51 AM

I'd like to make better use of my freezers, both to hold things for later and then use them when it gets to be later.


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#36 Meredith380

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 01:50 AM

Knife skills. Every time I use one, I cut myself badly. I have a brand new Henkel set that I should not be avoiding.
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#37 Smithy

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 05:43 AM

Knife skills. Every time I use one, I cut myself badly. I have a brand new Henkel set that I should not be avoiding.

 
You're absolutely right!  In case you don't know about it, there's a short course on knife skills in the eGullet Culinary Institute that you may find useful.
 
http://forums.egulle...c-knife-skills/

eta: there's also a good discussion about differing techniques in the Q&A section that follows the course.

Edited by Smithy, 14 January 2014 - 06:02 AM.

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#38 Meredith380

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 05:49 AM

Knife skills. Every time I use one, I cut myself badly. I have a brand new Henkel set that I should not be avoiding.

 
You're absolutely right!  In case you don't know about it, there's a short course on knife skills in the eGullet Culinary Institute that you may find useful.
 
http://forums.egulle...c-knife-skills/

Thanks! I know, logistically how to use knives.,it seems unnatural to me. Plus I tend to shake when I shouldn't likely due to anemia.

#39 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 04:57 PM

Reviewing my list from last year...

 

Last year [2012] my goals were to learn to make cupcakes for my daughter (check), macarons (check), pulled pork (check) and a few others things that I now need to move to my 2013 list: sourdough bread, confitures, caramels, and vinegar.
I am adding to my list that I would like to make more tiki drinks and continue my experimentation with cocktails in general.

 

I think I've achieved my goal regarding cocktail experimentation and tiki drinks (cf. the Spirits & Cocktails forum).

 

I've made bread regularly, including fougasse, Italian semolina bread, and a bunch of others, but haven't made sourdough yet. I got distracted and did not make confitures, caramels, or vinegar in 2013. I hope to do that this year.

 

Adding to the list: make falernum, perfect my ravioli technique, and learn more fabulous chocolate tricks thanks to the eG workshop.

 

Also I really want to make duck confit and this may be an excuse to buy an Anova... we shall see.



#40 Porthos

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 05:02 PM

Thanks! I know, logistically how to use knives.,it seems unnatural to me. Plus I tend to shake when I shouldn't likely due to anemia.

If you can learn to use a pinch grip (thumb and forefinger "pinch" the blade at the bolster end of the blade and the other 3 fingers go around the handle) and keep you other hand's fingers curled under it will become difficult to cut yourself.


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#41 scubadoo97

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 05:57 PM

Difficult but not impossible. I nick myself here and there. With the fingers curled it's still possible to shave the knuckle

My goal is to turn water into wine. More seriously I'd like to experiment with more cultural foods I have little experience with. Would love to make breads and pizza/flatbread better than I do now. Want to expand my SV cooking to see where it really shines for me. Right now it's more about inattentive cooking. The ability to cook while I'm busy doing other things

I'm sure there are many more goals to attain that I haven't thought of currently. But the year is still young

#42 annabelle

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 06:12 PM

Another of my goals is to sweet-talk hubs into buying me a convection oven.


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#43 gfweb

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 07:02 PM

Another of my goals is to sweet-talk hubs into buying me a convection oven.

http://www.amazon.co...&keywords=cadco



#44 annabelle

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 07:10 PM

Nice!  And here I was just going to have my wall unit oven suffer a tragic accident, such that it would require replacement.

 

I like your idea better, though!


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#45 Rico

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 07:49 PM

To understand the principles of pastry, I think, is my goal for 2014. Chocolate tempering and shaping, laminated doughs, yeasted bread; all of it. I'd like to look at anything the best pastry chefs make and say - if not "I can make that" - at least "I understand how he or she made that."



#46 Porthos

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 02:24 AM

My first go at roasted zucchini was so-so. I will try trimming them differently and draining them longer next time.

 

I roasted asparagus this week and was pleased with it. My daughter, her husband and I couldn't get enough. My wife didn't care for them, thinking them to be a bit bitter. We gladly finished them for her.


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#47 weinoo

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 07:12 AM

My goal is to recover from shoulder surgery so I can start cooking normally again - one-armed cooking is a pain in the ass, as is the inability to take a pot or pan off of a shelf without significant problems.  Our new Cuisinart Combo-Steam Convection Oven has come in handy for sure.

 

Porthos - I think you're in California...how about roasting artichokes, sunchokes, all sorts of colors of carrots...


Edited by weinoo, 31 January 2014 - 07:13 AM.

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#48 OliverB

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 02:29 PM

just to add one more, eat what's in my freezer and pantry! A couple years ago we had a no shopping for a week or something like that thread, I went several weeks w/o having to buy anything but fresh things. I'm gonna do that again, don't even have a clue whats in the bottom of my chest freezer, the downside of these cheaper units. Also setting up a spreadsheet or whiteboard next to it, with notes what's in it and since when. I bought it when I got into ordering meat direct from the farm, but in the end that approach is no good for me, since I end up with portions either too small or too large to feed us four. Need to empty the whole thing out, defrost it, toss what's too old, eat what's good.

And cook even more with veggies. Scaled down our meat consumption, we still eat meat several times a week, but I can't remember the last time I ate an entire steak by myself, we usually share one or two. I'm gonna cook from the three wonderful books by Yotam Ottolenghi, the veg dishes looks and sound fantastic.

And bake from it, wondering if I maybe should jump over my 'no sweet tooth' shadow and learn to bake a couple things. Especially since the first fresh strawberries from down the road (Watsonville, CA) already showed up at the market.

ETA: I've come to the conclusion that zucchini won't ever budge to roasting or grilling for my taste. Reverted to make them my Italian uncle makes them, cooked low and slow with onion, garlic, s&p until all soft and loosing shape. They develop a nutty flavor I can't get any other way.


Edited by OliverB, 31 January 2014 - 02:32 PM.

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#49 SavinHillBill

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 03:21 PM

Dinner for four once a month. This month featured Rissotto with sausage and Manchego stuffed dates wrapped in Serrano ham among other tasty stuff.

 

Rock on


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#50 Darienne

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 11:33 AM

Two goals:

First one to get back to having folks over for lunch, with or without dogs.  Family health problems have put us behind in our usual lunching custom.

 

Second one and more interesting perhaps is to make all the recipes in my latest purchase: Power Hungry: The Ultimate Energy Bar Cookbook.  Camilla V. Saulsbury. To date, I've made about 6 or 7 with delicious results.  I've also begun an eG topic," Power Hungry": making the bars from recipe #1.  So far, it's been fun.  Just finished making: Citrus-Seed-Fruit Bars.  They just might be the best one yet.

 
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#51 liuzhou

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 12:24 AM

I"ve never been a baker. Cakes do not interest me,at all. And the breadmaker machine does its job.

 

However, I'm hoping to crack pastry. Shortcrust and flaky/puff pastry. For savoury applications -pies especially.

 

Steak and Kidney Pie! I haven't had S+K Pie for decades!


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#52 David Hensley

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 05:37 PM

Sadly, I'm afraid that I must re-evaluate my financial and equipment resources, and abandon my charcuterie goals for the upcoming year.

 

I will instead substitute the goal of gaining some depth of knowledge regarding pasta; plain, filled, egg, water, Italian, Asian, or American...

 

Although this makes me quite sad, I will switch goals nonetheless, and hope that I can accomplish something...


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#53 annabelle

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 05:42 PM

Just think of it as a recalibration, Dave.  You can get started on charcuterie this fall.


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#54 heidih

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 05:44 PM

David - that is still a pretty huge goal with enormous depths to plunge. Hope to see reports of your progress. A helpful approach can be to taste as much great stuff as you can so that you have comparison baselines. 


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#55 mkayahara

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 09:08 PM

I'm curious, David: what made you reconsider? There's a lot of charcuterie that can be explored with relatively minimal equipment. (Though, of course, I have access to a fair amount of equipment at work...)

 

As far as pasta goes, you could do a lot worse than read the relevant chapter of Paul Bertolli's Cooking By Hand.


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#56 BeeZee

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 06:40 PM

Bagels. I've never made bread, but bagels seem a bit more approachable. Heck, the ingredients are cheap and I'm paying $1 a bagel, so if one batch turns out edible I'm ahead. And I've seen some gorgeous homemade ones posted recently by Ann_T, which rekindled my resolve.


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#57 David Hensley

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 09:19 PM

I'm curious, David: what made you reconsider? There's a lot of charcuterie that can be explored with relatively minimal equipment. (Though, of course, I have access to a fair amount of equipment at work...)

 

As far as pasta goes, you could do a lot worse than read the relevant chapter of Paul Bertolli's Cooking By Hand.

 

Honestly, I just failed miserably to account for the requirements of the subject (charcuterie). I don't have the space or the facility to do this at home, I'm afraid.

I'll still play with it at home, curing and brining things of course, but my larger ideas will have to go unexplored, for now.

 

Pasta is still quite do-able though, and tomorrow afternoon, I'm doing a bit of pasta work with a local food columnist, I hope things get interesting...


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I'm a lifelong professional chef. If that doesn't explain some of my mental and emotional quirks, maybe you should see a doctor, and have some of yours examined...


#58 Porthos

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:17 AM

I'm very happy with my roasted asparagus and roasted Brussels sprouts. My two attempts at zucchini have left me wondering what else to try. I LOVE zucchini but both times the roasted zucchini has picked up a distinct bitter note, more so the second time. The second time was quartered lengthwise, most of the seed section trimmed off, drained on paper towels to draw out excess moisture, then olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano then into a 450 degree convection oven until they showed some color.

 

Fresh Brussels sprouts are easy.  Frozen are more work - a 1 lb bag's worth into the microwave for 2 minutes to get the thawing started and then spread out on a baking sheet in a 170 degree oven until they have dried sufficiently.  If I don't do this they kind of steam in the oven instead of a doing good dry roast that brings out the color.


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#59 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 02:42 AM

I've ticked off my goal for 2014: shucking oysters. Managed to get through a batch today without ruining any. A couple weren't as brilliant as I'd have liked but all of them ended up presentable. Much better than my first attempt, during which some of them ending up so riddled with bits of shell grit that I had to dump them. Shame the serving method--my first attempt or taste of grilled oysters--wasn't as nice as a squeeze of lemon juice and drop of Tabasco would've been.

 

Now I need to find something else to do. 


Edited by ChrisTaylor, 01 March 2014 - 02:43 AM.

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#60 nakji

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 08:04 PM

The year's almost half over! I wonder how everyone's getting on with their goals. I didn't make any goals at the beginning of the year, as I was knee-deep in school work, but the summer holidays always act as a "reset" button for me, and now I'm facing down a summer with access to good flour and an oven. I'd like to learn to start making a reasonable loaf of bread. I'll be following the "Bread" topic to get my feet wet.