In years past, I've chosen one or two foods that I had wanted to learn to cook. Two summers ago, it was ice cream, followed by an autumn of pies. Last year, I was tackling bread, until I was distracted by, well, life — and the intense heat of summer. (I'll definitely have to come back to that one, especially since I got the book Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Bread, as recommended by my cousin Deb, bread-baker extraordinaire.)
This year, I'm declaring three different food challenges I'd like to take on:
1. Cheese (mozzarella and paneer).
2. Perfect fried chicken.
3. Almost every recipe in The Cook's Canon 101 Classic Recipes Everyone Should Know. (I say "almost" because I don't eat pork, so Fresh Ham with Star Anise and Jambon Persillé are out. But Pork Vindaloo can easily become Chicken Vindaloo or some such thing.) My idea with this one is not to necessarily follow the recipes to the letter; instead, I'll use my favorite cooking method of gleaning from multiple recipes at once.
I'm hoping these challenges will keep me cooking. As I said on a Facebook meme that's going around: "Despite the fact that I love to cook and write a food blog, my cupboards are fairly bare. I eat at work during the week, and weekends are an exercise in scraping together meals with whatever I can find in the freezer." It's time to spend more quality time in the kitchen!