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at home kitchen vacation ideas

jamesm Feb 9, 2010 11:14 AM

I've got some holidays next week that I have to use up and no real plans, so I thought I'd tackle some kitchen projects. Maybe do some pickling, make some chutneys and mustards, maybe some charcuterie and long braises. That sort of thing. I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions for some interesting projects that I could undertake.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. buttertart RE: jamesm Feb 9, 2010 11:20 AM

    I'm a baker by nature, so I would be leaning to puff pastry/croissants/Danish since I seldom have time to do those.

    1. w
      wattacetti RE: jamesm Feb 9, 2010 11:34 AM

      Youve already mentioned charcuterie, which is one of the things I'd do. Make stock and demi-glace? That's kind of mind-emptying in a zen sort of way, but it does offer great results.

      Teach yourself how to make phyllo from scratch? Improve your butchery skills? (goes hand in hand with charcuterie).

      1 Reply
      1. re: wattacetti
        jamesm RE: wattacetti Feb 9, 2010 11:36 AM

        Demi-glace is a great idea. And although I'm not a baker by nature this would be a great opportunity to stretch those muscles a bit. I like the idea of croissants.

      2. shaogo RE: jamesm Feb 9, 2010 11:35 AM

        Oh, to have a couple of days back-to-back to have a "kitchen vacation!"

        The last time I did this, I popped a turkey in the oven, made a pot of baked beans (maybe the OP wants to make more than one pot -- it looks like they can things and baked beans can very well). The house smelled won-der-ful. I like the OP's idea of long braises. It's all good.

        In-between tasks like making stock, reductions and sauces we like to drink some wine, eat good Italian cold cuts and cheeses, and dunk berries in chocolate.

        If the OP hasn't already done this, perhaps he can spend a half day creating his first Turducken?

        2 Replies
        1. re: shaogo
          greygarious RE: shaogo Feb 11, 2010 09:23 AM

          I will never make turducken, but I watched Prudhomme do it on PBS and was taken with the gravy. Its recipe is on his website - deeply roasting whole eggplant, sweet potato, onion, and garlic, then peeling and mashing. He adds this to drippings, stock, and cream. This week I did the vegetables, pureed them, and froze them in small containers. I think this base will make great gravy for various roasts - for me, first up will be pork loin.

          1. re: greygarious
            jamesm RE: greygarious Feb 11, 2010 12:32 PM

            That sounds awesome.

            If the weather abides I'll possibly break out the smoker as well. I'm really looking forward to this.

        2. a
          appycamper RE: jamesm Feb 9, 2010 11:44 AM

          neat question! start a batch of beer or sauerkraut? from time to time i set myself a goal to perfect something, a dish or a technique. might not be what you want to tackle in a couple of days but you could make a start. perfect pie crust was one of my endeavors and attempts freeze well. perfect steamed rice. french onion soup -- taking all the time you need to caramelize onions is a luxury. homemade beef, venison or bison jerky disappear as if beamed to the enterprise around here.

          1. blue room RE: jamesm Feb 9, 2010 11:47 AM

            Well, if you haven't yet, I would do Mexican tamales, just mastering soft/firm masa will make your day!

            2 Replies
            1. re: blue room
              jamesm RE: blue room Feb 9, 2010 11:50 AM

              Yes, great suggestion. Tamales is something I'd definitely be into spending some time on. Maybe I'll try perfecting a mole. I'm loving the suggestions. Thanks so much and keep them coming. Any excuse to stand around the kitchen drinking wine and listening to music is welcome.

              1. re: blue room
                corneygirl RE: blue room Feb 9, 2010 12:38 PM

                Tamales were my first idea as well. Also mole. Here is a thread from a while back with some other ideas:

                Have a great vacation! (so jealous)

              2. decolady RE: jamesm Feb 9, 2010 09:05 PM

                Mardi Gras is coming up. Bake a King Cake. The traditional ones are made with Danish pastry.

                Make a batch of sauerkraut. Once you taste homemade you will never want the commercial stuff again.

                3 Replies
                1. re: decolady
                  jamesm RE: decolady Feb 11, 2010 09:09 AM

                  Thanks for the suggestions, I think I'm going to do a pancetta, tamales, mole and tackle some croissants as well as some stock but this may change.

                  Any other ideas are welcome.


                  1. re: jamesm
                    decolady RE: jamesm Feb 11, 2010 03:10 PM

                    I think your plans sound great. Tamales & croissants are some things I have never made and would like to try. Let us know how everything turns out. I'll be interested to hear.

                    1. re: jamesm
                      buttertart RE: jamesm Feb 12, 2010 05:38 AM

                      If you do the croissants, suggest you start with a smallish recipe and don't double it like I did with Julia Child's recipe. The rolling out can get quite unwieldy (her croissant recipe is fantastic by the way).

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