Saturday, January 7, 2012

Eats & Smiles: Plans for 2012

Happy new year! Well... happy new year and how was your first week of 2012??

My year has started off with a bang. We enjoyed great holiday time with our families and friends in each city. There is never enough time in that regard! New hours at work are getting my butt out of bed much earlier but also out of the office at a staggeringly wonderful 4pm. I've been diligent about packing lunches and snacks and we've been eating in more than eating out. The dog is getting at least two solid walks each day and has is getting one step closer to being a "big boy puppy" with no more lunch time bathroom breaks. We've also dedicated time to doing a big hike or walk each weekend... though the first attempt at 6km ended up at roughly 20km and finding ourselves on the opposite side of a ridge than our car. There aren't words for the gratitude that we have for the family who let the two of us and the puppy into their van and drove us the 20+ minutes (by highway!) to our car. That said, we made it home... I enjoyed a long hot bath with my homemade bath salts and we lived to hike another day. We also are looking forward to many adventures in 2012... my sister's wedding, several weddings near and far, a trip to Buenos Aires (only one month away!) and a trip to the cottage in Ontario! And that is just what is planned right now... woo hoo!

Charlie really liked the hike... all 20 km of it.

So, I am thinking about kick starting this blogging year with the Bon Appetit Food Lover's Cleanse. It seems like a wonderfully tasty way to spend two weeks and get rid of any holiday meh in time for travel holiday woo!

In addition to using that as a starting point for my foodie journeys for 2012, I have been thinking about what things I would like to cook or bake or slurp or chomp this year... in no particular order.

[ 1 ] Mastering the creme brulee... this has been an absolute favourite dessert of mine for years. I love the hard sugar surface and the ever-enjoyable cracking and shattering that follows to reveal a creamy dreamy custard. Plus, I really want a kitchen blow torch. Yep, I said it.

One Ordinary Day - Creme Brulee (source)

[ 2 ] Bread bread and cheese! I've started making my own bread, though not as often as I would like. While I tried to challenge myself to make all of the bread for our home, it didn't quite work out that way. That's alright though. I can still make a mean bit of dough and just need to do that more often. So, I'd like to make a bit more bread this year but also expand into the wonderful world of cheese. My sister Susie has ventured in and produced some beauties, including some amazing mozzarella. I want to add this to my repetoire.

[ 3 ] More brunch with friends... Our aim is to have brunch with friends each month, saving December when things seem too frantic with Christmas and parties and open houses and such. That said... maybe it becomes a Brunch with Friends Open House. hmmm... food, or rather brunch, for thought.

[ 4 ] Curing and preserving. Our first impromptu preserving escapade this year turned out to be a raging success. I cannot wait until for the spring and trying to grow some of our own produce, while buying more and other great wares at our local farmers markets. In addition to rolling up our preserving sleeves again, I would love to try curing meats and such. I treated myself to a beautiful book on curing that makes it seem possible for a gal like me. We shall see...

[ 5 ] More Mexican! After yet another trip to the country to the south, I have again affirmed how much I enjoy some really rustic and authentic Mexican cuisine. Couple that with being completely awestruck by Rick Bayless on reruns of Top Chef: Masters (here is a great article about him from another food crush of mine, Jay Rayner), I really need to wander through this world beyond the taco. Oaxacan black mole, anyone?

[ 6 ] More Soul... I missed out on Soul Food on New Year's Day this year (just one of those things that happen when you are celebrating the holiday season in two different cities... you can't be everywhere at once). That said, I need to get in gear for next year. Black eyed peas (as suggested by Mon), collard greens, corn bread, chicken and ham... time to grab that Black Pot Cookbook that I received as a graduation present and start practising!

[ 7 ] Ice cream!!! This one deserves three exclamation marks. For Christmas this year, I was spoiled nicely and received the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid mixer. Doug has already made a beautiful berry sorbet... I just can't decide what will be my first attempt.

[ 8 ] French cooking... unless something else ends up catching my eye. A birthday present has been burning a whole in my indecisive pocket for months now - a gift certificate for a cooking class at the Cookbook Company! I always seem to lean towards Italian in terms of my cooking but I thought French country cooking would be an amazing way to expand my culinary horizons. Though that tagine one looks intriguing too... hmmm.

[ 9 ] Infusing. I need to start thinking about this now, so that the liquors are ready for cocktail season this summer (not that infused liquors are limited to the summer, it just seems that is the time of year that I enjoy them the most).

[ 10 ] Donuts or doughnuts or however you feel it should be spelled. I got a faux-nuts baking tray and a donuts cookbook at Christmas too. Not in line with Year of Health but definitely in line with Year of Yummy.

What else should be on this list?
What is on your foodie hit list?

3 thought(s):

Anonymous said...

Hey Christine,

In light of item # 8 in your post, how would you feel about a copy of
"The French Chef Cookbook", circa 1968 by Julia Child?

Auntie Diana

wannafoodie said...

OOOOO! I would feel pretty intrigued by that! Oh Julia... what a gem.

Anonymous said...

Come visit me next time you are in town and we will have tea and go through it. I might make "poulet poche aux aromates" for dinner Sunday. Or maybe I'll just make your version of chicken thighs. Most of Julia's recipes require more skill than I possess. It is a little daunting for me. There are some simpler ones in the book I may attempt.

Ciao for now.
Auntie Diana

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