Thursday, August 4, 2011

New Year's (Food) Resolutions - update

Back in January I prepared a New Year's (Food) resolutions list. I meant to update it in June/July, halfway through the year, but I forgot. I did do an update back in March but I haven't revisited this list in a while. I have a few things I wanted to add to the list time like the present!

1. A recipe that requires a mandoline (the cutting kind, not the musical instrument kind, which is a mandolin). Like Pommes Anna. Or this Turnip-Parsnip Gratin that I wanted to make at Thanksgiving, but was without a mandoline so made Parsnip Crumble instead. Luckily I gave myself a mandoline for Christmas. Done

2. Chinese Food. I love Chinese food, and we have a perfectly wonderful go-to takeout place (Lotus Gardens) that we frequent, but I have always wanted to try making Chinese dishes at home. So this year on Chinese New Year I'm going to try and make a Chinese menu, including Pork-Fried Rice with Pineapple that is in my new Best Simple Recipes cookbook. Done

3. Seafood. D. and I both like seafood but I don't make a lot of it at home, so the boys aren't exposed to it all that often. Except when I make tuna or salmon salad sandwiches, and then they complain bitterly about the fishy smell. So baby steps are likely warranted. I'd love to do something like bacon-wrapped scallops, but will probably opt for homemade fish fingers.

Sigh. I struggle with seafood. I have some frozen shrimp and salmon in my freezer, bought with the intention of doing something semi-fabulous for this resolution. This recipe for Salmon Caesar Salad sounds like it would do the trick. And the shrimp would be great with some pasta.

4. Avocado. Don't know why, but I've moved on from ginger and now become sort of obsessed with avocado. Not sure what I'm going to do with it. Just had to put that out there. Done

5. Pudding Chomeur. I am a wee bit embarrassed that the first time I had this quintessential Quebecois dessert was at a St. Hubert's in Quebec City. It is a divine way to consume maple syrup so when the season hits, I want to capitalize on the wonderful local syrup that will be available at our local sugar bush/market. Done

6. Mediterranean Olive Bread. Our local fresh food market makes artisinal style olive ciabatta buns that are a mainstay at our Sunday dinner table. I happened on an olive quick bread recipe over at and want to see how it compares. Strangely enough, no one in my family 'likes' olives but me, so this will have to be served under an assumed name, to be determined.

Haven't made good on this resolution yet. Maybe because it's so darn easy to buy my olive bread fix. 

7. Cheddar Soup. I have been meaning to make this recipe ever since I bought a Walt Disney World cookbook on one our trips a year or so ago. This cheddar soup is served at Le Cellier, the restaurant in the Canadian Pavilion at Epcot. If I'm feeling inspired I may serve this soup with some homemade bread or buns. Which brings me to another resolution: Done

8. Try making more yeast breads, which tend to intimidate me. These Oatmeal-Molasses Rolls sound awfully good, so may be a perfect candidate.

I am counting this as done, thanks to my Hot Cross Buns period back in April. In fact, call me an overachiever because I recently whipped out the yeast again to make Doughnut Holes.

9. Summer Berry Pie. I have a long history of not enjoying the pie making process. It's mostly the pastry that gets me down. But Cook's Illustrated has a Summer Berry Pie that is made with a graham cracker crust and filled with fresh blackberries, blueberries and raspberries that tempts me every Summer. With an excellent berry farm near by, I plan to finally give in and make this pie come 2011.

I may have missed my window on this one. Fresh berries are sadly all but disappeared from my little corner of the world. And Summer Berry Pie strikes me as something you want to use fresh berries to make to really get the full effect. Maybe next year? If I roll this one over I might decide to make this Quick Classic Berry Tart from Ezra Pound Cake instead.

10. Cheesecake. No one in my immediate family likes cheesecake, so I never make it. Now that my SIL has suggested she would partake of a piece, were it to be on offer, I figure the next dinner involving extended family, I'm bringing a cheesecake. Not sure what flavour - oh, the possibilities! A search for 'cheesecake recipes' on Google would take me days to go through, and I haven't even started browsing through my cookbook collection or searching my most reliable online recipe sources.

I always assumed I would make this in the Fall so I feel okay that this is still outstanding.

So with half of the year (or so) left to go I've completed 6 out of 10 items on my list. Not too shabby! For extra credit (remember - overachiever) I think I'll add a few more items to the list.

1. Ice Cream. I bought an ice cream maker I found on sale back in May thinking it would be fun to make ice cream with the boys this Summer.

2.  Green Goddess Dressing. I keep seeing references to this dressing/dip in my cookbooks, on food blogs and in magazines. Must do it.

3. I recently had Neapolitan Semifreddo at The Only

4. Tangerine-Glazed Ham. I found this recipe when I borrowed Eat This Book from the library recently. Might have to wait until 2012 since it sounds like the perfect Easter dish. 

5. Pizza dough. Now that I've had two successes with yeast I'm ready to branch out. Also spotted in the above cookbook, an easy pizza dough recipe.

6. Something, anything from Baking: From My Home to Yours. The name Dorie Greenspan pops up all the time on the food blogs I follow. I finally laid my hands on this book and where do I start? Coffee break muffins? Maple Cornmeal Drop Biscuits? Cappuccino Marshmallows? Borrowed this particular tome but have a feeling I will have to buy it.

7. Club Sandwich Roll. I've only ever made dessert recipes from Anna Olsen. This Club Sandwich Roll is a bit outside my comfort zone (yeast again) but I love the concept: instead of making bread and then making a sandwich, you make bread that is a sandwich.

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