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What new dishes are you going to conquer this year?

  • t

I've never made a pie from scratch, so I'd like to try apple pie this year. And the pictures of the chocolate cakes in Nigella Lawson's Feast are making me want to try my hand at cake making. I'm not much of a baker so I thought this year I'd try to get comfortable with some basics that I can then turn to for those special occasions. I'd love to make an apple pie for Thanksgiving this year. What are you all thinking of learning this year?

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  1. scotch eggs, yeast bread, soup

    1. My brother is staying in Budapest, Hungary and he gave me a couple different packages of hot (csipos) paprika. I'm going to try to do the pepper proud!Maybe something with chicken or seafood....

      1. I intend to tackle cassoulet, finally.

        2 Replies
        1. re: GG Mora

          And I, too, in my earthen oven, no less (see my post up a few lines in this thread).

          I plan on following the full three day recipe as outlined in Bourdain's "Les Halles" cookbook. Do you have another recipe you plan on following?


          1. re: Schmal

            I'll probably line up several recipes and average them out. Saveur Magazine, something from Julia, Anne Willan, Paula Wolfert.

            I participated in the making of cassoulet a few times when I was a sous chef, so I'm not a complete novice. But doing it meself from A to Z will be an accomplishment.

        2. Breadmaking has been something I have wanted to conquer once and for all. I have only dabbled previously but asked for and received several 'bread cookbooks' over the holidays. I also want to figure out how to make the Chicken Vindaloo I get at a local Indian restaurant.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Aimee

            Just noticed a recipe for Chicken Vindaloo at the link I included in my post above. Doesn't look easy!

            Link: http://www.avalon.net/~slainte/favrec...

            1. re: kc girl

              Indeed - looks like this will be a weekend meal effort.


              1. re: kc girl
                culinary nerd

                Vindaloo isn't that hard to make; it just takes time and patience and practice. But of the Indian dishes I have made vindaloo doesn't make me bat an eyelash to do.

                As for cardamom, because I do a lot of Indian cooking, I use it in a lot of savory dishes like keema sookh, kofta kebab with lamb, and palak paneer. I also use it in the Indian rice pudding, kheer.

                But I also use it in baking as is common in the European tradition. I use it in lemon poundcake, in Mexican wedding cookies with almonds, in almond-rasberry bars and in the filling for apple pie.

                1. re: culinary nerd

                  Cardamom also has a prominent appearance in the baked goods of Finland. Long ago made a Finnish yeast cardomom bread that was quite good. I also have a made a version of a mexican wedding cookie, but with instead of almonds, used walnuts and cardamom.

                  Like you, I also do a fair amount of Indian cooking, and cardamom is essential for lots of that.

                  Mmmmmmmm, cardamom.


            2. I am going to try a few new spices.

              One is cardamom.

              I've heard a little about it and bought some to do this. A sample from the container tells me it smells kind of like Vicks vapo rub (an exaggeration).

              Maybe something with lemon verbena and cardamom.

              Any suggestions on what dishes you like that use this spice?

              I will be researching on Google, but enjoy the tried and true Chowhound responses as well as the somewhat dubious.

              Maybe a crepe of some sort?

              Link: http://www.avalon.net/~slainte/cardam...

              10 Replies
              1. re: kc girl

                The cardamom and lemon verbena would make a great tea. I throw cardamom pods in a pot of brewing black tea along with cloves and cinnamon and serve with milk and honey on a cold day.

                1. re: Ellen

                  Oooooh, and its raining all week!

                  I might add sugar (or would honey be better?) to your mix and whip up some of the heavy cream in the freezer. Does it kind of taste like a Chai tea?

                  1. re: kc girl

                    I think that pretty much is chai tea?

                    Cooking Illustrated's carrot cake recipe included a "chai" variation with a tablespoon of cardamom. My husband loved it, I thought it was a little overwhelming but one sure way to tell if you like cardamon!

                2. re: kc girl

                  The Gramercy Taven Guiness cake uses cardamom (I didn't have it in my cabinet the first time I made it so I am very curious to try it again).

                  1. re: kc girl

                    I made cardammom butter squares as my holiday cookies this year. I used the recipe from Gourmet, I think it is on line. Many people loved the cookies. Some people thought they were "interesting." I would definitely make them again--they are the perfect cookie with a cup of tea.

                    1. re: fatcat

                      I made that recipe too, and people loved it. It was often compared to a sugar cookie, with a twist. I didn't make the icing though, because I thought it would be too sweet and overpower the cookie.

                      1. re: jacinthe

                        I did use the icing and it really made the cookies look great. You didn't need a lot of it.

                        Actually, the second time I made them I also dipped the edges of the cookies in cinnamon and sugar before I baked them. This turned my "interesting" responses into "I really like these" comments as they cut some of the spiciness. However, I liked them without the cinnamon and sugar better.

                    2. re: kc girl
                      Caitlin Wheeler

                      Cardamom is one of my favorite spices -- it's very Scandinavian to my taste, and used in a lot of recipes for sweet breads and cookies. It's also good as a flavoring for rice pudding (used a lot in Indian cooking). One of my favorite savory Cardamom recipes is linked below.

                      Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                      1. re: kc girl

                        I love cardamom. I made a nice orange/cardamom/yellow plum jam last summer, and I've always liked it in carrot cake. Next weekend I have a birthday cake to make, and I was thinking of combining the two - orange carrot cake with cardamom?

                        1. re: kc girl

                          The page you've linked to states that cardamom is also called Grains of Paradise. I've never heard it called that. There is a completely different spice which is called Grains of Paradise, which tastes like black pepper with notes of coriander, szechuan peppercorn and some say cardamom. It's not interchangeable with cardamom since it is pungent and spicy hot.

                          Link: http://www.thespicehouse.com/product/...

                        2. I'd really love to conquer pizza dough making. I've really never been excited about the pizza's ive made from scratch.
                          Any thoughts/recipes on great pizza dough?

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: John Scar

                            The thing about good pizza is more the heat than the dough (though the dough counts too). Commercial pizza ovens are blazing hot and your poor little home oven just doesn't come close. A pizza stone helps.

                            1. re: snackish

                              Well, if you want to conquer even MORE than just a pizza dough recipe, why not go for the gusto... make you own oven to cook your pizza in! My wife and I just whipped up an earthen oven in our backyard this past summer/fall, and it cost us all of $150...


                              Find more info about making a cob oven (nothing to do with corn, by the way) with this book (it's the one we used)...


                              It took a lot of work, but was something of an epiphany once finished... and the more I learn about cooking with it, the more I love it. What I like most about it is how elemental it is... man cooking with fire, that sorta thing.


                              1. re: Schmal

                                I'm really excited about that book. I've been wondering about this for a while and could never seem to track down such a helpful resource -- the last time I Googled the subject, it was all squillion-dollar custom-built rigs or Agincourt-reenactors trying to cook bannock in like a mud-lined grocery sack or something.

                                ANYHOO, I've linked to your post from a new thread. Let's hope to see some more information about building and using these.

                                And, congratulations, and be sure to brag here about your successes!

                                Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                            2. re: John Scar

                              I also want to get pizza dough right this year, it is one thing I have never had success with. But I think it is more the technique than the recipe.

                              I was just at DiFara's, and watching Dom stretch the dough, no show-offy tossing, just slow, deliberate movements until he got it just right, made me really want to be able to do this. Of course I will never achieve anywhere near his level of perfection, but a decent pizza would make me happy.

                            3. I think baking for me, too. It's so much like chemistry. The first item may just be this weekend--that controversial birthday cake from the January 2004 Gourmet cover, which, however, looks very complicated.

                              Also, I would like to learn how to make sushi.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Sallie

                                Did you notice in the latest Gourmet there is an add that cleverly references this cake? (I think for Grand Marnier)

                              2. Relearn how to make pie crust from scratch, now that there is nontransfat Crisco. I think I will wait until summer for that.

                                As for now, I've been consumed with dumplings of the Chinese variety... all started because of a trip to Five A's and just a taste of their lamb dumplings... weird...that place seems to have that effect on people... obsession... Right now I am playing with different types of fillings and shapes [pondering which ones have the optimal fill to skin ratio].

                                And very generally, I think I will attempt to do more Chinese this year.

                                While digging through one of my old school Chinese cookbooks [a bilingual one with step-by-step pictures], I figured out why I feel so inadequate with my Chinese cooking...

                                "In Chinese cuisine, cooking is a very subjective art; there are no definite quantities of any ingredient, nor any exact time limit for cooking any recipe. We encourage you to develop all of this personally, through trial and error..."

                                1. Baking isn't so much the challenge for me, in fact, I'm currently working on updating a bunch of baking recipes in a spiral cookbook that my grandmother had circa 1930.

                                  This year I'm going to perfect getting the masa right for tamales and practice making mole negro from scratch.

                                  1. I'm determined to make a decent profiterole or three. I learned from this board that my mistake the first time was using an insulated cookie sheet. So the next time I try I'll use a plain sheet pan and hope they puff nicely.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Liz

                                      Believe it or not, the best recipe/technique I've ever found for these is in Joy of Cooking. Follow it to the T and you won't be disappointed.

                                    2. c

                                      Every year my boyfriend and I do a big party when his best buddy from college comes into town in July. There's always a theme. This year, we're thinking Mexican, which will give me an excuse to work my way through Diana Kennedy's book (not sure which one - one of the big basic ones), which has been sitting on my shelf untouched for just about ever. I know nothing about Mexican cooking, so it should be fun.

                                      Twinmommy, I highly recommend the Little Pie Company of the Big Apple's book for the best primer on pies. It's a small inexpensive paperback and very good.

                                      1. j

                                        What a great topic to introduced-- I'm so inspired by everyone. My goal isn't so much to tackle new recipes but to cook more often. As a New Yorker, it's so tempting and convenient to just eat out or order in all the time. I want to try to cook at least twice a week.

                                        I also want to get back into bread baking.

                                        1. I got Nigella's "Feast" cookbook for Christmas and made the "Guiness Chocolate Cake" for New Year's Day. It was a hit and the whole cake was gone in a matter of minutes! Great texture, intense dark chocolate flavor and not super sweet. Yum! I can't wait to try the next one...

                                          1. Got both and ice cream maker and KitchenAid sausage attachment for the holidays - so these are the two biggies I hope to conquer in 2005 (AFTER I loose that 20 lbs...)

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Shmingrid

                                              Oh yes, the sausages. I got one of those sausage grinder/attachments for the Kitchenaid and am very excited to use it!