Sunday, January 4, 2015

Kitchen goals old and new

Kitchen goals for 2014

I didn't seem to focus much at all on cooking last year, don't know why. We ate OK, but I seemed to spend way too much time making my weekly plan and didn't do too much in the way of imaginative or challenging cooking. So how did I measure up to last year's goals?
  • Cookbooks/IHCC  — IHCC came up with Nigel Slater as guest chef, so I changed to that for 6 months. Did reasonably well on this goal, missing only 7 weeks, not counting a week of vacation. Being uninspired with writing, I didn't make a separate post for all of my Slater dishes, though. Also, the goal was unclear with whether or not the Foods of the World books counted in this goal, so I was probably inconsistent in my counting. (They are clearly in the "unused" category, but have their own goal.)
  • Veg/Fish — We averaged about 3.25 vegetarian or fish meals per week, slightly down from last year. 
  • Pasta — I did reasonably well on this, missing only two months, but still haven't made a filled pasta.
  • FotW — When I made the goal, I thought I might skip December. In fact, it was August that got skipped, and I've planned that into next year's schedule also. I've done fairly well reading and cooking from the planned books, and have gone back to make further recipes from books that have passed. This has been rather fun and I look forward to continuing with it. 
  • Bread — I've made real bread (non-ABM) only twice this year. Too bad for me. 
Overall, not too bad, except for bread making. Again.

Kitchen goals for 2015

Continue with goals, yes or no? I think so. It seems to help me keep focused on some things I want to do. Could be a problem to keep from attempting to do to much. And how can I manage to make myself time to do some bread making? Keep trying

There's one thing I want to work on, not strictly a cooking goal, but related, so I'll include it here. I'd really like to clear my backlog of recipe clippings waiting to be made. I have three big binders and many many stacks in various states of organization around the house. I cook no more than seven meals a week, but must collect 15-20 recipes a week. By the end of the year, I'd like to have severely reduce my backlog and get (and keep) what's left better organized for use. (Informally, I've started saving the recipes I collect in the kitchen from magazines and going through them periodically to toss ones that aren't still appealing before I move them into my standard piles. Maybe I can regularize and extend this.) I've already started with first baby steps here, just need to continue. For the start, I'll just spend at least an each week sorting and tossing and figure out what to do/measure when that part is done.

I won't join any web cooking groups this year, but will focus on using unused cookbooks. I'm hoping this will eventually help me clear out cookbooks I don't need. So I have space for more. :-) 

Also wanting to focus more on cooking whole grains, especially having read recently how healthy they are.  

I'm going to keep counting vegetarian and fish meals, just to be sure I don't go off track. Not likely, but to be sure. 

Three monthly goals, making pasta (the filled kind one day, maybe), making break, and cooking from the Foods of the World continue.

Part of my dealing with my recipe clipping backlog right now involves getting my bread clippings organized, and then more visible. I'll make a sheet in my menu plan spreadsheet just for breads and try to plan in break-baking regularly. And I want to re-start the Craftsy artisan bread baking course and follow it through. (Started this last year, then got diverted by something and never got back to it.)

So we've got four weekly goals and three monthly ones. Hope this isn't too much.
  • Backlog — Spend at least one hour each week on reducing my recipe clipping backlog and working out how this can be contained. Stacks and notebooks all over the house (living, dining, bedroom, office, anyplace else) should be reduced to a single, maintainable, usable system.
  • Unused cookbooks — Cook at least once a week from a rarely used cookbook (i.e., one I've cooked from two or fewer times). And Foods of the World don't count.
  • Veg/fish meals — Cook at least three vegetarian or fish meals per week. Should be easy. I only miss this in odd times where we're eating out a lot or have company.
  • Grains — Serve a meal using a whole grain at least once per week.
  • Pasta — Continue making pasta at least once a month. 
  • Bread — Make read bread (non-ABM) once a month. (It really would be nice to do this weekly or twice a month, but let's be real.)
  • Foods of the World — Continue following my Foods of the World schedule, making at least one dish a month. The period for each book extends for six weeks, so I need to be sure to count in the proper month.

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