Maybe you made New Year’s resolutions. But, did you make foodie resolutions?
Those are the only ones I made this year. They’re all about being adventurous and trying new things, carrying on traditions, shopping locally and learning. Each is specific and, more importantly, achievable.
It’s good to have goals. So, in no particular order, here are my food-related ambitions for 2014.
• Build my personal cookbook collection, starting with “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman. My desk at work is lined with recipe books for review and reference. But I need more of my own to consult in my kitchen, which doubles as the Spokesman-Review’s test kitchen.
• Make Babcia’s pierogi. It’s been more than a year since I broke out the antique, hand-cranked meat grinder and made one of my favorite family recipes, just like Grandma used to. It’s typically a two-day process. And it’s always more fun when you invite people over and make it a party.
• Roast a duck. I’ve roasted turkeys, chickens, Cornish game hens. But I’ve never roasted a duck. The plan is to prepare duck the way I had it for the first time in France – with blackcurrants in cassis.
• Restock – raise? – the bar with interesting liqueurs and practice making handcrafted cocktails at home, where they’re cheaper. This likely involves a quick trip to Idaho and lots of practice. Practice makes perfect.
• Make something – anything – from one of Julia Child’s cookbooks. I don’t need to do all 524 from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” à la “Julie and Julia.” Just one. To start. We’ll see where it takes me.
• Take some cooking local classes, like the ones offered at The Kitchen Engine in Spokane’s Flour Mill and the Inland Northwest Culinary Academy After Dark at Spokane Community College or through Mary Lee Abba-Gaston, who teaches bread-making and other baking classes at her Spokane home.
• Shop locally and seasonally at area farms, farmers markets and Northwest Farm Fresh, the Chewelah-based online farmers market which recently expanded delivery service to Spokane.
• Cook with flowers, whether it’s squash blossom, lavender, pansies, violets, nasturtiums, rose petals or – in honor of Spokane, the Lilac City – lilacs.
• Make caramels and caramel sauce. Without burning them. And experiment with flavors. Not just sea salt, but espresso, cinnamon, cayenne, chipotle, orange, cranberry.
• Cook with and learn from readers through the Food section’s forthcoming “In the Kitchen with … ” feature. (See the brief above for more information about the new project.)