Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cooking Resolutions 2011

Most new years resolutions are rubbish, but really a resolution is just a goal. There are a few goals I'd like to meet in my cooking experiments, and I've tried to make them as specific as possible.

1. Make homemade pasta
I have had a pasta maker for, oh, 8 years or so. I've never used it. It would be nice to commit to making ravioli, but I don't want to overwhelm myself completely. Let's really make it specific and say I'll make a homemade pasta with a homemade sauce, at least once in 2011.

2. Make seitan from scratch
Since I can't buy it at my local grocery store, and using seitan really mixes up the vegetarian meal options, I want to try making it from scratch. I have vital wheat gluten IN MY PANTRY and several recipes bookmarked, I just haven't done it. 2011 is the year!

3. Use the dehydrator
Funny how two of my resolutions are appliance related. I have a dehydrator that has never been used. I want to remedy that this year. My in-laws make these amazing sesame kale chips, or I could simply dry some fruit. Whatever, I need to get comfortable with it.

4,. Conquer eggplant
To be honest, neither Nathaniel or I are sure we actually like the stuff. The first cruise we went to feautured unripe eggplant and I'm not sure we ever recovered. I have a baked eggplant parmesan recipe that I found in a Weight Watchers cookbook that is pretty good (since it is baked it isn't as greasy), and I've definitely had pasta sauces and Thai dishes that include eggplant that I have liked. I even used to make a stuffed eggplant recipe on a fairly regular basis. I'm not sure how to make this one more specific, because I don't have any recipes in mind. If you have eggplant recipes you love, please pass them on!

5. Make cheese from scratch
I'll consider this accomplished if all I do is make homemade ricotta, which would go fairly well with #1, eh? I have made mascarpone from scratch, which worked great and is a good alternative to buying it, since it is often unavailable certain seasons plus it is freaking expensive. I would like to try making other cheese from scratch. Since we have such a good dairy locally, with organic milk (Happy Cow Creamery), I'd like to make a good whole-milk mozzarella from scratch too. I know it can be done!

Thanks for reading. I'll also be posting baking resolutions and gardening resolutions for 2011.


  1. Ooh, the dehydrator. Think: zucchini chips, pre-herbed. Or think: zucchini chips, not herbed at all, but which can be sliced (using kitchen shears) into strips, rehydrated in a syrup, and used to make zucchini bread! Or think: cherry tomatoes, sliced down the middle, placed cut-side up in the dehydrator, to be used on a fresh salad.

    Seitan ... is just awesome. The baked recipes are fab, but so is the slow-cooker recipe floating around out there.

    This looks to be a fun year!

  2. Zucchini chips!? My inlaws have made amazing sesame kale chips that I also want to try, but I will add your idea to the list!

  3. Jenny,
    I've made homemade paneer cheese and feta a few times now and it is super easy. All you really need is full fat milk, lemon juice, and some cheese cloth. I did it for a sustainable foods class I teach and the students were amazed that cheese was so simple. This year I plan to get my hands on some rennet and move up to an 'aged' cheese.

    Now as for mock duck, I may just stick to stocking up when we visit Minneapolis...

    Heather (ibsen)

  4. The hardest thing to find around here is cheesecloth... I had to go to a hobby store!