Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year, New Kitchen

This isn't the big Christmas goodies post (though it's coming!), but more a year-end round up of some of my thoughts on cooking and eating from this year.

I started this blog to try my hand at a little food writing - which I'm finding isn't coming all that naturally. I have a slightly disheveled style to cooking (as I rarely follow recipes, and tend to measure things in handfuls), which translates into non-sensical rambling when I try to write it out.

But, I'm finding that it's helpful to read a ton of other blogs -- I've recently started reading Amateur Gourmet, The Recipe Girl, The Pioneer Woman and A Tiger in the Kitchen, in addition to some great friend blogs.

I also just like to keep a record of this time -- stumbling through recipes and new techniques, building up my repetoire, and of course, stocking my first "real" kitchen.

So, here's a quick list of things that stick out in my mind from cooking in 2009:
* pâte-à-choux became a game changer for me. The New York Times did a major post on how easy it is to make in summer 2008, but it took me until last year to really start using it. I started easy, with some cream puffs last winter, and ended the year with some beautiful cheese gougeres.

* Soups and stews
were new territory, when I branched out beyond the world of chili. I came up with a great chicken tortilla soup (after moving from Washington and missing Eddington's for lunch!), tried seafood stew to go over quinoa, and am really excited to try this Potato Leek soup in 2010. I'm debating whether or not an immersion blender is a worthwhile purchase.

* Pitas (and bread in general) became almost a hobby during the stay in Washington. From my grandmother's Irish Soda Bread, to my old standby (half-wheat artisan loaf) to green onion flatbread, Thanksgiving rolls, and of course, pitas. I'm still amazed at how easy it is to make bread from scratch -- even if you don't have a stand-mixer with a dough hook, or even a loaf pan.

* Ethnic grocery stores really changed the way I shop and cook -- for the better. Rather than relying on pasta (because it's 10 for $10), I was able to get a lot more creative with fresh meat and produce, since I wasn't over-paying for it at the "traditional" market. I'm excited to be even closer to an H-Mart in our new apartment!

Dreaming? of a great year for cooking - 2010. A new kitchen, a knife technique class (amazing xmas gift!) and I'm also taking part in a 10-week shape up hosted by The Recipe Girl.

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