Happy New Year! Hopefully everyone had a safe and exciting night, and is now well on the way to recovering now that it is Sunday and almost back to the work week, sadly. :(
Now is about that time when everyone is mulling over their goals for the year. As for me? I’ve already put a few requisite and cliché things on my list — those are, lose weight and get back to the gym — as well as some not-so-cliché things — finish up my MBA (6 credits this Spring!), learn German and/or French (Duolingo has been simply the best; I’ve picked up quite a few things already, and also have used it to keep my Spanish fresh), and try to take a nice vacation.
And then there are my foodie reservations, which I was really proud of myself for starting and not totally failing in 2015. It was a fun exercise in learning how to do new things in the kitchen that I think I’ll be making a tradition in some capacity each year. Here’s the final recap on how I did with my foodie reservations in 2015, and a look at what’s ahead for 2016.
The Verdict for 2015
Make homemade bitters and/or cordials – Done! I made three varieties earlier last month — lavender, coffee, and lemon — using the general guidelines / recipes from The Kitchn. They have been sitting for a few weeks now, so they should be good and ready to start using soon in cocktails. I also made homemade Irish cream and a few different varieties of shrubs in December, so as far as cocktails and this goal is concerned, I’m chalking this one up to a big success.
Make homemade ravioli – Failed! Just didn’t get around to doing anything for this one.
Read at least two food-related non-fiction books – Failed! Already discussed how I failed this one a few months ago, and the extra time didn’t make a difference, between transitioning jobs and the general craziness of the holiday season. I’m not sure if I’d have the interest to turn this one around in 2016, so I’m going to drop it for now.
Make at least five pantry raid meals and document each recipe – Failed! Had all good intentions, and certainly did a lot of cooking and freezing meals in advance, but documenting it all didn’t happen.
Make all 10 drinks on Liquor.com’s list of 10 Bourbon Drinks to Try Now – Partially Completed! I give myself credit for getting through a few of this early into the year and blogging about it, too. After that, I can say that I made quite a few rye-, whiskey-, and bourbon-based cocktails as the year went on, so that must count for something… ;)
Make homemade mustard – Big Success! And, in fact, I made a few different kinds of mustard this year: spicy honey mustard, cranberry mustard (my favorite of all of them that I made), and Oktoberfest beer mustard.
What’s Ahead in 2016
I’ll be adding a few more to round out my list to 5-6 goals, just like I had last year.
Make homemade ravioli or pasta — I’m carrying over and slightly modifying this goal for this year. Steve has a pasta roller that I’m convinced will help make the job easy, and I also want to try using different types of flour to see how the noodles might turn out (e.g., buckwheat flour, which is what soba noodles are made out of.)
Pressure can something — Steve and I got a pressure canner as a gift over the summer and have yet to use it, partially because it may need a new gasket for the inside of the lid and partially out of some apprehension. The world of low acid canned foods is scary, since it seems like a lot more can go wrong, but this is going to be the year to take the plunge. I think we can safely start out with something simple-ish from The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, like vegetable broth, and graduate to canned vegetables once the nicer months roll around and we start going to the farmers market again.
Make aioli or mayonnaise — like mustard was for me last year, this is embarrassingly another thing that I’ve never tried to make. I understand it is ridiculously easy to do with a food processor (or by hand with a whisk, if you have the stamina or, better yet, the “guns” to do it) aside from the little quirk of not adding the oil too fast so the emulsion doesn’t break. I don’t have any recipes in mind right now, but garlic is a classic flavor. Of course, if I’m going to make aioli, I’ll have to have a fry session at the same time. Hello, Belgian frites.
Make wine — I have made beer quite a few times now with Steve, but we have never tried making wine. While looking around the homebrew store today for some things to make hard cider and milk stout, I lingered near the wine kits and additives and thought this would definitely be another one to add to the list.
What are your goals — food-related or otherwise — for this year?