Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thoughts for Thursday - Before I'm 30

I have always loved celebrating my birthday (imagine that - me loving a chance to be the center of attention!), but with my 29th coming up, I am starting to wonder how much longer I will still find enjoyment out of prancing around all day in a birthday crown celebrating my age. I have decided to make my last bday that starts with a 2 last all year. So I started thinking, is there something I really want to accomplish before 30?? There's the traditional "get a promotion", and the ever popular "start a family", but knowing that we'll have a pretty big transition on our hands in the midst of my 29th year, I'd like to keep it to something a lighter! So I started thinking about things I don't attempt because I'm too scared to try them, and my thoughts consistently went back to food. Seeing as I am a person who can map out my life by when I tried my first short rib/fois grois/oyster, etc., I decided I would like to take this year to learn to make the dishes that I have either been too lazy to try or too intimidated to try. Here goes:

  1. Chicken Stock - Anytime I read a Martha Stewart recipe that calls for homemade chicken stock, I feel like Martha is taunting me with her superior commitment to producing better food than me. I don't know why I have avoided making my own broth, it seems easy enough to do, but I am constantly wondering - who has time for this, Martha? So i will set aside one Sunday to make a nice chicken broth that I can freeze and use when needed!
  2. Gumbo Ya-Ya, Mr. B's Style - I have always felt that Mr. B's makes the best Gumbo Ya-Ya I have ever tasted . The roux they use is so dark that the gumbo takes on the color of mahogany. I have attempted many times to perfect this dish, even using their recipe, but I always get pooped out from stirring my roux for an hour. It has never turned much darker than caramel and it lacks the deep nutty flavor that theirs has. This year, I will patiently stir my roux until it is Mr. B's perfect. (And I'll use my homemade chicken stock too!).
  3. Gnocchi - I absolutely adore gnocchi. There is this amazing restaurant in Houma, LA called Christiano's that makes their own gnocchi everyday. They change the preparation nightly, so you always get something new and innovative. I have watched this treat being prepared on several cooking shows, and I will admit, it makes me very nervous. It seems like if you add just a little too much of any one thing - done. But I will try!
  4. A Crawfish Boil - Although crawfish boils might be my favorite pastime, I have never actually manned the boil. I think it's something every New Orleanian should know how to do.
  5. A Great Burger - Even though Mark has shown me a trillion times, I still don't think I could use our grill if he wasn't home. If there is one thing I cannot stand it is gender stereotyping, so I refuse to fall into the category of a girl who can't grill. So I would like to figure out how to come up with the perfect home-cooked burger. I mean one that makes you say "Port of Call has nothing on me!"
  6. Bearnaise Sauce - I could dip almost anything in Bearnaise. My favorite dish paired with Bearnaise is the fried eggplant dusted in powdered sugar from Galatoire's. Mmmmm... I find French sauces delicious but so scary to prepare. There are a ton of steps and raw eggs and what if mine separates?? But just imagine that burger topped with Bearnaise!
  7. Pasta - There is a guy who comes to the Habersham farmers market on Fridays who makes his own breads, flavored butters, cheese spreads, and pastas. They are all absolutely delish, but at $11 for two servings of pasta, your wallet starts to cry out for help. Last week he had a roasted tomato linguine with black pepper and sage. Mmmm... I would like to be able to take my favorite combination of flavors and bring them to life in my pasta creations just like he does.
  8. A Three Tiered Cake - I have attempted many times to assemble the perfect birthday cake, but I have always walked away with a big crumbly mess. I never wait long enough for the cake to cool so the cake breaks apart and I spend a half hour trying to glue it together using icing. Not pretty. I want to be able to slice into my cake and see three perfectly even layers of cake separated my a lovely buttercream filling!
  9. Pie Dough - This is another dish that makes me feel less than stellar in the kitchen. I have considered trying to make my own dough many times, but I always opt for the easy substitute - Pillsbury deep dish pie. I convince myself that it's just as good, but really is there anything better than homemade pie dough?
  10. Boeuf Bourguignon - The dish that Julia Child made accessible and Julie Powell made us all want to try. I have Julia Child's cookbook on the bookshelf in our kitchen, and I can tell you that as of today, it might as well be in a library because it has never been used. I have read almost half of it, and I find it more of an encyclopedia than a cookbook with it's laborious preparations. However, if there is one thing that I will make from that book, it will be this dish!

1 comment:

  1. Oo - good list! I haven't attempted any of those. I can't wait to hear all about it - you will def have to blog about how it goes.

    Here's a trick on the pie crust. You add vodka. I can get the specifics from my mom but I think you sub some of the water with vodka and for some reason the alcohol makes it the flakiest crust ever!!!



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