Once that ball drops on New Years Eve, the champagne bottle is empty, the black eyed peas are eaten...that's when it's time for New Year Resolutions....which I never make...cuz I never keep them. Oh there is the yearly "I'll exercise, I'll eat better, I'll read more, I won't buy so many cookbooks" talk, but I rarely put anything down on paper. Last year was a bit different. I made one big resolution for 2007. Cook More. Simple. And for the first time in many years I kept that resolution. I experimented with different foods, went to cooking school, tried more new restaurants and attempted more new recipes than I have in probably the last several years combined. I think this blog was a great motivator in just getting my cooking mojo going. But I actually did write down some cooking resolutions for this past year to go with my "cook more" thinking. How did I do? Maybe I should just give resolutions a rest. Here is what I hoped to accomplish this past year:
Mrs. L's Top 10 Cooking Resolutions for 2007
1) Cook with Phyllo dough.
Pretty simple. Especially when the stuff comes pre-made in packages at most grocery stores. Visions of cute little hors D'oeuvres served in phyllo cups, baklava or even baked Brie filled my head. But no, I didn't make a single thing with phyllo...it goes on the 2008 list.
2) Make six of the cookie recipes in the Martha Stewart special Christmas Cookie magazine.
This has been something I've been meaning to do since I picked up the magazine back in November of '05. I even went so far as to type each recipe title on a piece of paper, put them in a small box and had planned on just periodically pulling out one and cooking whatever cookie name that came up. My goal is to eventually make all of them and then decide which ones to make during the Christmas holidays as gifts. Yes, I looked at that box with the cookie names in them many, many times but alas, I never made one batch of cookies the entire year. Yeah, this too goes on the new list.
3) Make a Rachel Ray 30 minute meal.
Okay, how hard could this be? I have three of her damn books. It's only 30 minutes. Nope, didn't do this one either.
4) Beer Can Chicken Baby!
This has got to be the simplest thing to do. But I read that it really only works with charcoal BBQ's and ours is gas. Yeah, pitiful excuse. Stays on the list.
5) Start the Food Blog
Well hallelujah! Finally a resolution that I completed. I didn't start until May but I think using the excuse that I got married in April helps. It's been motivating, rewarding and quite fun. It has kind of made my life revolve around food (which doesn't help if you are trying to not have such a big waist) but one can't live without food so I don't feel guilty about that at all.
6) Have a couple over for dinner...appetizers/veggies/main dish/dessert...don't panic.
I put a full meal here because I wanted a complete dinner made from scratch. No store bought dessert, or something simple as an appetizer like salami and cheese. Alas, this is another one that I didn't complete. In my defense, we don't have a dining room table that would comfortably seat four. I did cook for a few friends and my mom, but I think doing a sit down dinner will have to wait until there is room. That being said, it doesn't mean I can't make a meal for four that we eat standing up right?
7) Visit local farmers markets several times this spring and summer.
I'll give myself points for this one. I found a small farmers market that is open on Sundays and I went quite a few times. I also went to the farmers market up in St. Helena so that should count for extra points. I'd love to go more often this year (it means actually being home on Sundays) and even make it to the farmers market in San Francisco at some point.
8) Decorate a cake
Sigh. I have many friends who are awesome cake decorators. And another friend who even took a decorating class this year (which I wish I could have taken too). But didn't bake one cake last year so didn't get to decorate one. Considering I watched many episodes of the PBS series "Cake, Bake, Decorate", you'd think I'd have had time? Yep, on the list to do for this year.
9) Cook something with rhubarb.
I still dream about my Grandmas Strawberry Rhubarb pie she made for me many years ago. I totally missed rhubarb season because of the wedding and really want to try this with fresh locally grown strawberries and rhubarb (another reason to frequent those farmers markets).
10) Make at least one food item as a Christmas present.
I had so planned on doing this. I had even saved a Food Channel show from December of 06 that had some recipes I'd planned on using. But Christmas came and went and we received several homemade gifts but didn't give out any of our own. Yes, I know, add it to this years list.
So how did I do in 2007? I sucked! Seriously, 2 out of 9. Pitiful. But I still think starting this blog was a huge undertaking. Last year I cooked from many of my
hundreds lot of cookbooks which was the main goal. And I've had fun. So now I have 8 new cooking goals for 2008: Phyllo, Cookies, Rachel Ray, Beer Can, Complete Dinner, Decorate A Cake, Rhubarb and Food Gift. Doesn't sound to hard now does it? Simple? Doable? Last year when I made my goals I admit to thinking "wow" that's a lot, but I also thought I could do it. This year? I'm confident that most if not all of these will be crossed off in twelve months. Check back in 2009 and we'll see how I've done!