Sunday, January 5, 2014

Kitchen goals old and new

Kitchen goals for 2013

This was the year when the hardest of the kitchen renovation happened, so the kitchen was a bit of a mess during that time and cooking focused on getting food on the table rather than doing anything interesting. So how did I do?
  • IHCC/Cookbooks — During the year, IHCC moved from Madhur Jaffrey on to Ottolenghi and now to Donna Hay. Ottolenghi was pretty good. I don't know Donna Hay at all and have been a bit bored with writing posts like that every week, so I'm not participating this time around. I've also participated a bit in Cook Your Books, but not very consistently. I've done fairly well with this goal, 41 of 52 weeks, not great, not bad.
  • Veg/Fish — We averaged about 3.5 vegetarian or fish meals each week. 
  • Pasta — Missed two months this year and still haven't made a filled pasta. But I did made spinach pasta for the first time.
  • Bread — Got a book, got some gear, but still not doing well with this one. I managed to make bread only 6 of 12 months. Sigh.
Overall, not as bad as I thought I'd done. Getting going with baking bread is really a problem area.

Kitchen goals for 2014

Again, and every year it's a good idea to consider this, do I want to continue the game with goals? It does seem to keep me focused a bit, so I'll blunder on. The trick will be to not overreach.
  • Focusing on unused cookbooks is nice. I might find a new cooking friend, or I might find a book I can pass on (making more room for other books). 
  • If IHCC were to come up with a new challenge, someone I really want to cook with, then I might participate. That would start in April or October. (Nigel Slater is the only chef I think I'd do this for.)
  • I want to start cooking my way through the Time-Life Foods of the World series.  I thought this would be a fun thing to do with a group; to this end I've started a little Facebook group for interested people. There are about 20 people signed up right now, but I'd be surprised if there were more than ten who will be active. We'll have overlapping six week periods, starting on the first of each month, to read a book and cook a meal. I've already started reading the first book. This is a project that will stretch out well over two years. 
  • I want to continue counting the veg/fish meals, because it's nice to be sure I'm still on track with meal planning.
  • I want to continue with the monthly pasta making, just counting it off makes it more certain this doesn't fall to the wayside. And, yes, I'll aim yet again for making a filled pasta. 
  • I've enrolled in Peter Reinhardt's bread baking course at Craftsy. I will follow that, and hope that will be an inspiration to continue with baking. I'll still aim for baking once a month, but I think it might be an idea to count how many times per month I bake bread, just on the off chance that I might bake several times. 
  • We eat the most repetitive lunches in the world, ham sandwich anyone? Could I make a goal to have something else for lunch at least once a week?
  • Another thing I need to do is to clear out my stash of recipes to make. There are two big binders and stacks all over the house. This really needs to be reduced. Hard to think of a measure for this.
These are too many goals, so I need to narrow down a bit.
  • Unused and little used cookbooks, yes, posting for Cook Your Books if I feel like it. If IHCC should come up with a can't-refuse chef, that will take over this place.
  • Foods of the World, already underway.
  • Counting veg/fish meal. Just a count, not much action
  • Pasta once a month, and filled pasta. 
  • Bread. Think I'll give this another year and give it up next year, if I don't make some kind of improvement here.
  • Lunches? Maybe next year.
  • Stack clearing? How to measure. Maybe next year.
So, we're left with five goals, one more than last year. Will give this a try.

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