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JANUARY '09 DISCUSSION: Food/Cooking Resolutions
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clotilde
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Joined: 24 Sep 2004
Posts: 443
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 4:26 pm    Post subject: JANUARY '09 DISCUSSION: Food/Cooking Resolutions Reply with quote

First of all, let me wish you all a Happy and Delicious New Year!

As we ease into 2009, I'd like to ask you about the food or cooking resolutions you may have formulated for the new year. Do you have specific goals to reach, things you'd like to achieve, change, or overcome? Any interests you'd like to pursue, techniques you'd like to master?

I have two. Number 1 is to throw dinner parties more regularly: Maxence and I really enjoy having friends over for dinner, but because we've been particularly busy lately, we've let the weeks fly by and haven't been as zealous as we'd like with our invitations.

Number 2 is to keep exploring Japanese cuisine: I've long been drawn to it and have played around with a few recipes in the past, but thanks to a few helpful books and blogs, I've recently started learning about it more seriously. (I hope to be able to share the result of those forays on C&Z sometime soon!)

What about you? Please chime in!


Last edited by clotilde on Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm pledging to be ever more vigilant about using local products. I've recently discovered that indeed the beef grown 8 kms from home tastes infinitely better than that grown a thousand kms away. And I add to my local economy and build community as well. Admittedly I'm not going to be overly vigilant in the winter months or I'd be reduced to root vegies (not all that bad a thing but hey, I deserve some variety!!) But there is no reason I cannot assuage my needs for meat, dairy, confiture etc. without going out of my local area---and in these times more than in the recent past it is incumbent upon us to shore up our local commercial enterprises. Without the family farm we will be reduced to BEING the sheep, not just eating them.
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msue



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a great question, and I've been thinking about my response since it was first posted.

I know that I want to be more thoughtful about menu planning. I love to cook things on the spur of the moment, but better menu planning will ease the stress on those days work has exhausted me beyond the point of creativity.

I want to create a group of recipes - actual recipes - that work well and are clear enough to be shared. I'm interested in the discipline required to think through a recipe and communicate it clearly. Clotilde does it so beautifully here, and I would like to hone that skill.

I want to try new recipes, mostly to expand my repertoire of meals. One of my Christmas gifts was a Jamie Oliver cookbook, which already inspired a wonderful New Year's Day dinner. Clotilde's exploration of Japanese cuisine will be fun! My sushi class was a real treat, but I've never felt secure enough to make it at home.

I love photography, and I'd like to take food photos that make the food look as good as it tastes. I've played around with this in the past, but I'd like to be more deliberate about it this year.

Golly, there are so many more food resolutions that I'd love to make - like learning how to flip a pancake in one motion, throw a dinner party for 8 at the drop of a hat, or have perfectly sharp knives all the time - but there's always next year! Very Happy
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Squirrel



Joined: 02 Jan 2009
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 3:44 pm    Post subject: New year resolution Reply with quote

After reading up about egg production, I am determined to check whenever I buy and never to buy battery eggs again.
For info:
French eggs are stamped with a code indicative of the hens rearing method.
    0FR = free-range and organic (poules élevées en plein air et bio)
    1FR = free-range (poules élevées en plein air)
    2FR = indoors with access to the ground, no cages (au sol, à l'intérieur, sans cages)
    3FR = battery hens kept in cages (en cages, sans accès au sol ou à l'extérieur)


Most eggs sold loose (en vrac) in shops, supermarkets or markets are issues from battery hens and are coded 3FR.

It's about shopping with knowledge.
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jonquil



Joined: 01 Nov 2008
Posts: 7
Location: hamden,ct.usa

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:09 pm    Post subject: new year's resolution Reply with quote

my resolutions deal with discipline in the kitchen: 1) portion control: (ex.)when the recipe calls for rounded teaspoons for the cookie batter, that is what i will use--even when it looks laughably small! 2) learn actual techniques. instead of merely following the directions, understanding the technique behind the directions first! think i will start with martha stewart's latest: martha stewart's cooking school.
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Paddy



Joined: 02 Jan 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Dublin,Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love the idea of more dinner parties.I'd really appreciate suggestions for dishes that will hold well and don't require last minute attention .All suggestions welcome.
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whenpigscanfly



Joined: 02 Jan 2009
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:05 pm    Post subject: Two food-related resolutions Reply with quote

I have two food-related resolutions:

The first is to make my baby's food at home from our organic fruit and vegetable bin service, which I love. He's tried avocado, banana, sweet potatoes already and enjoyed them.

The second is to really focus on the portions of food we serve. We spent last Christmas and New Year in Paris and enjoyed many lovely meals without gaining a single ounce. In fact, we were much more trim when we came home. We purchased smaller dishes for everyday service at home and really marvelled at how enormous North American servings are in comparison to French servings. Not sure if you have posted about this issue before Clothilde but would love to hear your thoughts on what an appropriate serving size should be and how to make sure you don't exceed it.
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whenpigscanfly



Joined: 02 Jan 2009
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

msue wrote:
T
I want to try new recipes, mostly to expand my repertoire of meals. One of my Christmas gifts was a Jamie Oliver cookbook, which already inspired a wonderful New Year's Day dinner. Clotilde's exploration of Japanese cuisine will be fun! My sushi class was a real treat, but I've never felt secure enough to make it at home.



To celebrate Penguin Books 70 years in publishing, Jamie Oliver produced a little paperbook book a few years ago called "Something for the Weekend". We really enjoy it, particularly the "Lovely lemon curdy pud", which as he describes it is "a sort of lemony curdy custard at the bottom and a spongey meringuey top".
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SamanthaXol



Joined: 02 Jan 2009
Posts: 1
Location: Phoenix, AZ

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of my resolutions this year is to eat better quality food that I make myself. I don't really eat out that often, but I do tend to eat junk sometimes and I'd really like to stop that and eat more fresh, local food as well as healthier food in general. Also to stop drinking soda and drink more water and those funky protein juices haha.

I'd also really like to delve into cooking and experiment with it a little more. Desserts are my passion so I would like to dabble into finding ways to make desserts a bit more healthy without them tasting terrible (what's the point in eating it if it tastes like crap?). So those are my food resolutions Smile I really like everybody's, especially the thing about the eggs, that's pretty interesting.

Oh! And also to come on this website more often because there are always such good recipes and ideas!
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harpospeaking



Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 194
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have one food related resolution and it's a shame I've waited this long to do it:

Try and learn to cook Chinese food.

And by Chinese food, I mean the steaming hot stir fry and hot pot dishes with nondescript names like "Buddah jumping over the wall" and the garlicy and gingery crab you can only find in Hong Kong style restaurants. I'm half Chinese but with a Japanese mom, it's impossible to learn to cook decent Chinese food. Cooking Chinese food requires learning to maneuver a giant cleaver as your one knife, understanding the rapid fire cooking nature of a carbon steel wok, and acquiring a vocabulary for sauces and fermented products that can be identified only by their Chinese characters (thanks goodness for those 2 years of Mandarin Chinese in college).

My only advantages in this undertaking are:

A ridiculous preoccupation with food and eating (which according to the article cited below, makes me very Chinese)

A good source for a sturdy, carbon steel wok and related tools

http://www.wokshop.com/

A Chinese palate trained from infancy that intuitively knows what traditional Cantonese dishes are supposed to taste like.

http://www.flavorandfortune.com/dataaccess/article.php?ID=30

And of course, inspiration via Ang Lee's Eat Drink Man Woman. I dream about those dishes every time I see that movie.


By the way, for anyone interested in joining Clotilde in exploring Japanese cooking, Japanese Homestyle Cooking by Tokiko Suzuki is an excellent reference. It explains the tools, ingredients and homestyle recipes arranged by cooking technique and season all in full color and with a ton of pictures. It also shows you how to arrange your food, which is really important in formal Japanese dining.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cut back on the salt and butter. I have been a little too generous with these ingredients lately and I need to curb this habit quickly.

As far as eating locally etc., it is incredibly easy to do that where I live and I get a wonderful feeling walking to and from the market knowing that I literally just went the extra mile. However, I am moving in six months (still don't know where), and I am not so sure this will be such an easy thing to continue. I think then it will actually take some sort of effort. Wish me luck.
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ezrinjaz



Joined: 03 Jan 2009
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, this topic inspired me to join the forum! I've been thinking about this the past few weeks and my husband and I have decided to focus on reducing the refined carbs and sugars in our diet. Personally I want to focus more on self-sufficient living, growing my own produce, raising chickens and goats, canning more, and getting over my fear of making bread.
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Amy Jemima



Joined: 03 Jan 2009
Posts: 5
Location: Sarasota, FL

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My 2009 food resolutions include:
* To learn how to make Celeriac Remoulade
* To learn how to make macarons (am completely intimidated though, which is why I'd like to try.)
* To eat more artichokes!!!
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madameshawshank



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Penrith (where jacarandas remind me of change), New South Wales, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well now, what a lovely collection of newcomers...a big warm welcome to you all! Chocolate & Zucchini is simply a lovely place to visit...thanks to Clotilde!

ok..to the question:

* to lose my fear of cooking with yeast ~ I'm going to be The Sticky Bun Queen
* during our coming Winter months to more than dabble in Russian recipes
* 'n open the door more often to party party party...
* make various sausages from scratch...
* to bake a different cake recipe each week...however I'll continue to make Clotilde's wondrous chocolate cake if chocolate is the must-have ingredient according to the birthday person Wink

am enjoying all the replies...

'n once again, welcome to the new posters
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happy New Year Clotilde and forum members.

I'm going to try to waste less food. Having spent the last 12 months in a warmer climate I've wasted a lot of fruit and vegies. I've learn't the hard way I can't have a bowl of peppers on the bench looking pretty. In this heat they go bad after a few days. At this time of the year I even have to keep my tomatoes in the fridge. I like to buy them at the weekly Farmers Market but have discovered they don't last the week on the bench.

You'd be staggered to know Australians waste $6 billion of food per year. Imagine adding the rest of the world to that figure.
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