Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Things to do in 2010: Part 1

I am just starting to put some thought into what my New Year's resolutions should be, and already I've decided to have a list of things I want to accomplish in 2010 instead of general resolutions that I can't cross off a list.

First up on my list is to expand the number and variety of things that I cook at home. I came up with a list of 10 things that I want to make an effort to include in my regular meal plan, or at least try once to see if I hate it. I'm a bit embarassed to admit that I've never tried things like beets, parsnips or rutabagas!

1. Parsnips. I see these and other root vegetables listed over and over in recipes, but for some reason these things never make it into my cart at the grocery store. I saw this recipe for roasted parsnips in the latest issue of Sunset magazine, and I decided there's no time like the present to start trying them.

Their other suggestions included mashing them with butter and milk like potatoes, mashing for a soup with crumbled bacon and thyme, shredding raw parsnips with apples and using in a creamy slaw with green onions and grapes, and frying thin slices in hot oil for parsnip chips. Sounds pretty good, huh?

2. Turnips. See #1 above. They just doesn't ever see the inside of my shopping cart. But this recipe for glazed baby turnips and carrots sounds easy enough that I'm willing to give them a go.

3. Rutabagas. Am I starting to sound like a broken record? Are you starting to wonder how I've managed to spend so much of my life living under a rock? But smashed rutabagas with ginger roasted-pears? Are you kidding me? Sign me up!

4. Beets. For some reason, beets have always made me feel slightly uneasy. But this year I'll try 'em. At least once. We'll start with some beets and caramelized onions with feta.

5. Chinese cabbage. Just recently I bought regular cabbage and made two varieties of slaw. I can't remember the last time I bought cabbage before that. I'd like to expand into some of the other cabbages out there, and the Chinese cabbage looked like a good place to start. So I think I'll order some seeds for tenderheart Chinese cabbage and see how it goes.

6. Quinoa. I've heard so much about how good and healthy quinoa is, but have yet to try it. This recipe from Gourmet for quinoa with mango and curried yogurt sounds good.

7. Bison. I've had a bite or two of the husband's bison steak or meatloaf when we've been out to eat, but I haven't really tried making a meal out of it yet. I love beef, but I fear what it is doing to my cholesterol level. So I'm hoping I can get past the mental image and learn to like bison. Did you know that bison has just 1.8 g of fat and cholestrol verus beef's 18g? I'm ready to dig right into this NY strip steak from High Plains Bison!

8. Risotto. I tried making this once several years ago, and I really liked it. I'm going to make an effort this year to make it more often and try some of the bazillion variations out there. I absolutely love cornish game hens, sweet potatoes, and cranberries, so this recipe for cornish game hens with sweet potato risotto and cranberry sauce sounds perfect.

9. Fish (not salmon!). I try to cook salmon fairly often, but I generally avoid all circumstances that involve any other kind of fish. I'm too intimidated by the thought of preparing them (and the thought of eating most fish sort of makes me want to gag). But the husband really likes fish, and we have a lot of good fishing holes pretty close to us where we can get some darn nice trout.

The cookbook I got on our trip to Boulder, Utah, With a Measure of Grace, has a great-sounding recipe for cowboy skillet trout, which involves a molasses marinade and a cornmeal-pecan breading. Yeah, I think I'm gonna like having trout.

10. Bread (and biscuits and pastries). I love carbohydrates but I need to come up with a good way to control my intake of them. Allowing myself to eat only those carbs that I make seems like an easy way to do it. I want not only to learn how to make good bread, biscuits, and pastries, but also develop the patience to actually make them. My previous experience years ago with a bread making machine doesn't count. I'm talking about old-school style, kneading and rolling dough. I might start with the blue-ribbon black-powder buttermilk biscuits from With a Measure of Grace. We had them at the restaurant and they are a-mazing. And with pictures and recipes like this one for spinach feta bread, I'll probably spend a lot of time on The Knead for Bread.

What about you? Do you have any new foods that you want to try? Better yet, do you have any recipe suggestions for any of the foods on my list?


  1. Mmm that food looks great! When it gets this cold out I love to make turkey chili! Also shepherds pie! Yum!

  2. How funny - I am right there with on the food thing. I am so tired of the standards that I've gotten into a rut of cooking since my son likes them and will eat them. Today I bought rutabegas! I'm going to put them in a beef stew.


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