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Top-5 Cooking Goals for 2009

These are my Top-5 things I’d like to master (or get as close to mastering, meaning more improvement) during the next year. I’m probably not as experienced as most here, but these are my modest goals. I already know I will try and improve many other recipes, but these…well they are urgently calling me to do better.

1. I’d like to make really great Kimchi
2. I so want to make a great Baguette it is killing me
3. I want to make caramelized onion bread because I love it
4. Seafood (fish) carpaccio
5. Candy, toffee nut candy, specifically

Do you have goals like this? If so, what are your top five cooking goals for 2009? I’d love to hear them. Thx

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  1. fantastic topic!

    i need some time to think about the rest of my list, but i did mention just yesterday that i'd like to create a good, gluten-free bialy...however, that may turn out to be more of a pipe dream than a realized goal or mastery ;).

    3 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Thanks, I'd love to hear your choices! You are well respected on this board, I know. I'm interested in what you'd pick? I thought I'd limit it to five because that's hard. I can think of 20 things I'd like to master or do better. But what's THE most desired. I hope to hear your Top-5

      1. re: Rocky Road

        ok, so i've given it quite a bit of thought, and i really only have one other food-related goal for 2009 besides my GF bread mission...but it's a rather lofty goal, so i think it counts as several :)

        i'd like to *finally* get the investment capital i need to open a certified GF kitchen so i can make my products available to more people than just my friends, family, and clients!

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          ok, i actually thought of another two:

          - though my basic knife skills are pretty darn good - i can slice, dice, chop & brunoise with the best of 'em - i'd like to learn how to bone & fillet a fish really well

          - improve my butchering skills now that i'm once again a carnivore. after 21 years as a vegetarian, i haven't exactly had much practice working with whole poultry and larger cuts of meat.

    2. Mine are a bit more modest. I'd like to take a stab at bread - the kind with yeast and kneading and all that jazz. I'd like to learn the basics of Indian cooking. I want to try making gnocchi, and find the recipe for the world's most perfect gingerbread.

      10 Replies
      1. re: mordacity

        I took a stab at bread (white bread) in 08. I think I make a good one now. Yours is a worthy goal! Fresh bread is awesome. Two of my five are bread, so I mean what I say. Baking bread is really fun and satisfying. Good luck to you.

        1. re: mordacity

          A good beginner's bread book is "Beard on Bread", by James Beard. There are plenty of thorough, exhaustive bread baking books out there. But I find Beard's to be the least intimidating one I own for the beginner, and after many loaves, it's still often the one I turn to first for advice.

          And after reading an article about the cookbook editor Judith Jones, I was inspired to try "Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking". I tried the lamb with spinach, followed the recipe to the letter, and it tasted just as good as what I've ordered in a restaurant. It sometimes (only sometimes) seems that mastering a foreign cuisine is as much a matter of finding the right ingredients, and I am fortunate to have an Indian foods store a block away from my apartment. But the technique was so simple.

          1. re: weem

            Beard on Bread (I hope it is still in print) is an excellent beginner's bread book because it explains why each ingredient is in the recipe and the recipes in the book are good, but not complicated. After you master that there are many others.
            I want to explore Indian food, an other curries. I really want to learn how to make a good (Thai) yellow curry.

          2. re: mordacity

            You'll love breadmaking! It's a treat for every sense and you get that rush of doing something timeless and fundamental.

            Start with any one of Peter Reinhart's books but "Whole Grain Breads" will give you great results with hearty and healthy whole grains with almost as much ease as Jim Lahey's no-knead method.

            1. re: mordacity

              If you want to master Indian cooking, get a copy of Madhur Jaffrey's "An Invitation to Indian Cooking". It is probably out of print, but available on Ebay, Amazon or other book sites. It is the best. I have been cooking Indian from this one for 30 years or so and it is the best still.

              1. re: mordacity

                Gingerbread -- Haven't tried it, but have wanted to -- There's a delicious-sounding recipe in "The Art of Eating" by MFK Fisher (don't remember which part of the book). If I were to try it, that's where I'd go!

                1. re: juster

                  The Joy of Cooking has the best recipe for gingerbread ever. My mother made it while I was growing up, and I've made it on my own for 40 years -- it's great, especially with the lemon sauce.

                  1. re: pikawicca

                    Pika-

                    I would be interested to know how the Joy version compares to the Gramercy Tavern's gingerbread that is often touted on this board. Have you tried it?

                2. re: mordacity

                  mordacity: The best gingerbread I've ever made/tasted was Claudia Flemming's Oatmeal Stout Gingerbread. It's online somewhere if you search for it. Moist, flavorful, wonderful.

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    I'll have to give that one a try. My best find so far is the Gramercy Tavern recipe with Guinness, though I did punch up the spices from the original recipe.

                3. In no particular order

                  1. Learn how to can, either preserves or pickles
                  2. Make French onion soup. i love this, but for some reason I've never made it
                  3. Make a really good pizza
                  4. Make frozen yogurt this summer
                  5. Plant more herbs in the garden to use in the kitchen.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: northside food

                    I like your list northside....I am going to copy it, with one minor change...

                    1. I will start using my pressure canner. I am already pretty good at canning and pickling...if you want to read about my canning escapades, check them out here:

                    http://motherskitchen.blogspot.com/se...

                    Hope it inspires you as your post inspired me!

                    1. re: northside food

                      Julia Child's recipe for F onion soup is awesome!

                      1. re: northside food

                        I have a very simple recipe for French Onion soup if you are interested in this. =)

                        -Melissa

                      2. 1. Start using the bread machine my grandmother left me. I'm picking it up next week.
                        2. Get more use out of my slow cooker.
                        3. Find out how to make my favorite Vietnamese and Thai foods.
                        4. Resurrect my family's recipes - the ones that my grandparents used to make or grew up on but no one makes anymore. The ones everyone talks about and get misty-eyed. Ashkenazi foods can't be found anywhere but cookbooks and stories (of which both are plentiful) in my family anymore. I inherited too many cookbooks to count from my grandmother but towards the end, she just collected and didn't cook. It makes my grandfather so happy to know that someone is putting them to a good use.
                        5. Start using more local produce - I have to learn how too.

                        In case you couldn't tell, the overall theme is cooking at home and using what is available - economical and educational. I hope my Nanny and Bubbe would be proud.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: TampaAurora

                          It started out intimidating, but I've come to love my weekly trip to the farmers' market. There's always some new vegetable or variety I've never heard of, and the sellers are always brimming with information on what it is, where it came from and what to do with it.

                          1. re: mordacity

                            It's very intimidating! But I'm looking forward to it, if only to play in the kitchen and to get some more variety in our diets.

                        2. Love the topic! In no order.

                          1. Make homemade Pho - solid addiction of mine
                          2. Make a "great" kimchi - I can eat it at every meal
                          3. Attempt baked alaska
                          4. Make fresh handmade bread at least once every week of the year - already going for 6 months.
                          5. Learn how to preserve and can vegetables.

                          I have a few others, but those are probably my big desires.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: raidar

                            1. Failed horribly so far. Can't nail a broth with so much depth. More of a long shot goal now.
                            2. Getting there, after 10 or so homemade attempts it's close, but I may need to consult someone.
                            3. Failed. Haven't even tried yet..
                            4. Major success - I'm baking at least 4 times a week, and doing the BBA challenge.
                            5. I've read a bit, but still hoping to have a go in the fall.

                            Still hopeful.

                            1. re: raidar

                              Four times a week!? What do you do with so much bread?

                              1. re: mordacity

                                Ah the gift of bread. I forced myself into bread baking, and discovered an absolute joy. The end result pays off now for family and friends! :)