On the first day of a brand, spanking, new year, it's time to look back on my blog goals for 2008 and see how I did. In truth, I don't think I managed to keep very many of the targets I'd set out for myself at the beginning of 2008. It was a rough year, in general, both on a personal and professional level, so I guess I shouldn't be too hard on myself and should just look ahead to 2009.
Here's the results:
1. Eat more whole grains - try to find some great new recipes using these
Not so good on this front, although I did find a recipe from Food & Wine that I enjoyed for farro, which is a grain I first encountered when I lived in Italy. I'm so glad to see that this has crossed the Atlantic and is now more widely available.
2. Snack better and try not to cave into the 3:30 p.m. sugar craving to head for the closest snack machine (it's 4 floors away from where I sit)
I did manage to eat more fruit, instead of candy bars, but when the candy basket in our group is full, I can't resist sneaking a few pieces.
3. Practice portion control - don't let the lunchtime blood sugar slump take over and drive me to heap my cafeteria tray with lots of calorie-laden, starchy food
Once I started exercising more, this seemed to make me focus more on controlling my meal size. Unfortunately, there are those days when I do cave into the fried foods on the buffet.
4. Throw out duplicate recipes - test to find out the definitive version to keep for my files
Here's where I did have some progress this year. I actually did a massive cull of my recipes and did manage to test a few. I do still need to be better about pulling new ones from magazines and just letting them sit there.
5. Keep recipe pulling from magazines under control
6. Start a book of Family Favorites recipes to share with my siblings - test and update them
I did make a start on this. I think I've realized that this is going to be an on-going project.
7. Make a binder of my own favorite "Keeper" recipes, with photos
8. Take cooking courses to improve my skills and knowledge
I've really loved the courses that I've taken at Astor Center. Their instructors are great and enthusiastic practitioners in their fields and the price point for the courses is just in my budget. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for those one-off cooking classes and can't wait to see their additions for 2009.
9. Cook more dishes from the books that I already have
I didn't do so well in this area, but I realized that I love using my cookbooks as reference sources and that I've honed my collection to a reliable few favorites.
10. And, most of all....I will not be jealous of the guy in my office who got Bacon of the Month as a present for Christmas!
Yeah...I am still jealous of him.
So what does 2009 bring? I think that in the spirit of going back to financial basics, which will be the goal for most of us, going back to cooking and eating basics is going to be the overall theme for me for this year:
1. Eat more great food. I live in a wonderful city for foodies and need to take more advantage of that. One example is the gorgeous blood oranges that have just arrived at my local grocery store. How beautiful does this look? (no photo retouching involved here)
2. Visit more great food. I mean, go see my friends who live outside of New York and explore their cities via their respective culinary heritages.
3. Continue with my recipe binder and with testing and revamping the recipes from my mother's card file. One of my 2008 Christmas gifts will help with this, as I got a pan that is the same sized one as that in which many of the dishes I ate growing up was made.
4. Keep on track with resolution #8 from last year. This is something that feeds my tummy, my soul and my intellect. If I could afford to change careers, I would move into the culinary field, but I can't at this point, so this is a way for me to learn while still earning enough to keep a roof over my head.
5. Working on learning the classics: sauces, techniques, dishes, etc. This dovetails with #4 and also with #9 from above. Of course, I still need to tackle making mayonnaise again!
6. Work on my food photography. I tend to be a point & shoot kind of photographer. There's some amazing examples of food picture artistry shown on the web and in magazines. I'd like to be able to do that.
7. Try to really learn food & wine paring. I've taken a couple of courses on this and need to put it more into practice.
8. Learn better knife skills. Every year, for the past several years, I've looked into taking a knife skills course (or series of courses), but I never quite seem to get around to enrolling in any of them. This year, I'm finally going to get around to signing up for one - I swear.
9. In general, eat better, exercise more, and make better food choices. Hard to do, I know, when everything is so stressful at the moment, but having poor health and no energy is worse.
10. Most of all, toast a very happy and shiny new year with some old favorites from my own recipe file: Truffled Potato Galettes (swapping chives for the parsley and thyme) and a Sunrise Mimosa.