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What have you made lately?

In 2009 I learned to...

dmd_kc Dec 20, 2009 05:31 PM

For me, this was the year I finally quit applying heat to extra-virgin olive oil in almost any application. To be honest, I'd always secretly suspected it was absolutely pointless to do something such as sautéing onions in good, fruity oil. After extensive A/B testing with canola or corn oil, I'll never put the good stuff in a frying pan again.

I've also finally really internalized how important it us to preheat the oven for a minimum of 20 minutes, or preferably 45, when baking. I know -- bush-league, but I used to get impatient.

Anyone else have any cooking revelations this year?

  1. f
    Faraway11 Dec 20, 2009 05:34 PM

    Finally stopped being scared of bread baking and pie crust. Wish I would have conquered this YEARS ago.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Faraway11
      Rasam Dec 20, 2009 05:49 PM

      Same here. But not bread yet.

      I am finally beginning to bake cakes and cookies from scratch, including whipping frosting by hand. For most of you here this is small potatoes, but while I'm a decent cook, I've never been disciplined enough to bake.

      Finally getting over my fear of baking, though alas, the diet is going to bust.

    2. v
      Val Dec 20, 2009 05:41 PM

      This year I learned to become comfortable with dried beans...of all kinds! Lentils were never a big deal to me because I never soak them first...just cook them. But I'm loving the black beans, small red, garbanzo....love to soak a pound of them...cook them, then enjoy them all week long or even longer when I freeze them.

      More of a dietary discovery than a cooking discovery: mustard greens!! OH, MY!!! Raw, they give me a nose burn equal to wasabi! YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!! I love that..what a kick!

      1. mbe Dec 20, 2009 05:46 PM

        -make pizza dough at home (it's so easy!!)
        -use the "first knuckle" technique to cook rice (I had no faith)
        -make spatzle (see pizza dough comment)
        -put lemon zest in almost everything, often instead of salt (hopefully this will pass)
        -eat salty licorice
        -not have hot sauce with absolutely everything savory

        1. m
          miki Dec 20, 2009 06:54 PM

          Letting cooked meat rest. It's so important to let the juices drip back into the meat. Deglazing with wine. Making my own stock. Cooking what I want to eat, not just what other people want.

          And, a wave to Julia, wherever she is, not apologizing for what I put on the table. We are lucky to have something to eat. And criticizing our own cooking forces our guests to come up with compliments.

          Also, to enjoy food, and life again. Good eating and another good year to all Chowhounds!

          1. b
            brooklynkoshereater Dec 20, 2009 07:05 PM

            fully utilize dried porcinis
            crush garlic properly
            perfectly roast vidalias

            1. Cherylptw Dec 20, 2009 07:15 PM

              I finally became bold enough to not be afraid to use a pressure cooker, which I love..I also had a real garden this year and learned alot through trial and error...I learned to dehydrate my veggies, to make my own soup & spice mixes from my dried veggies and to can my garden bounty..

              1. f
                fern Dec 20, 2009 07:24 PM

                Use the slow cooker to make chicken stock. No more waiting until I have a day to spend home tending the stove. Love to put it on before bed and wake up to delicious stock that needs only to be strained and chilled. I make chickens and stock often so this has been a major one for me.

                Happy New Year!

                1. j
                  jaykayen Dec 20, 2009 07:49 PM

                  Render lard, confit.
                  Brine, dry brine.
                  Dry aging.
                  How to properly saute mushrooms.
                  Knife skills: paring. citrus supremes. Learned that I prefer knives with little belly. Shaving sharp.

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