In terms of cooking, there are a number of things I'd like to do, most of which revolves around making more things from scratch. For example...
- Ricotta cheese
I've already made my own mayo, following the excellent instructions (and pretty pictures) of Michael Ruhlman, and used it to make lobster rolls with the leftover lobster meat from our New Year's Eve dinner (a post that, sadly, has passed its time, but the results were, after a shaky start trying to humanely end the lives of our lobsters, excellent; what else to expect from wild mushroom linguine with lobster in a saffron cream sauce -- freakin' yum, dude!).
A few days later also used said mayo to make some chicken salad (mayo, apples, golden raisins, cayenne, salt, pepper, lemon juice) sandwiches using the meat leftover from a Sunday Dinner of roasted chicken.
The ricotta is next, I think, hopefully to make some pork & ricotta meatballs.
Also per Mr. Ruhlman, I'd like to do some curing, particularly salmon, which, as he describes it, sounds remarkably easy.
Buy a side of salmon—no, buy a piece of salmon—pack it in an equal mixture of salt and sugar and some citrus zest or fennel, wrap it in foil for 24 hours, rinse it and taste a paper thin slice. A cooking miracle.
There also are specific dishes I'd like to make:
- shrimp with romesco (from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook)
- cochinata pibil (an incredible pork dish I had at a Yucatan restaurant in Los Angeles about 2 years ago!)
- Gnocci (I know, a repeat from above)
And by the end of February I'd like to be composting. We throw away a lot food, most of it food scraps that from what I've read would be perfectly suitable for composting. It would be, IMO, cool, to take a bunch of food scraps, convert them into compost, and use it to fertilize my own garden.
That will be a challenge, though, because I don't want to buy a ready-to-go composting unit, I'd like to make it myself. And, plainly put, I'm not handy in the least. Once a project goes beyond putting some nails or screws in a wall, my involvement can only lead to bad things.
Wish me luck and happy 2009.