I don’t really do resolutions anymore ~ the really only resolve I have for this year is to be bolder with myself and more generous towards others. Vague, but attainable on both a small and large scale. Concrete goals I reserve for my kitchen only – namely, recipes I want to master. In 2014, I got out of my comfort zone to up my culinary prowess, and with only a little bit of ego, I can say I did pretty damn well. Nikujyaga, miso soup, lamb milanese, Welsh rarebit, pozole de rojo, onigri, and the creamiest macaroni and cheese I ever did eat. Time to push onward, and these are the dishes I want to master in 2015:
Mushroom & Pea Tikka Masala
photo: Yummy O Yummy
I found success cooking Indian food in 2014, but now it is time to really hone in on all of the delicious vegetarian varieties so that my mom will eat it without feeling guilty. She isn’t a vegetarian, but she prefers her evening meals to be thus.
photo: Cathy Arkle
I am growing irritated at my ever increasing love for Chef Ludo Lefebvre, whose YouTube channel I recently subscribed to when I caught the link to his cheese soufflé video on Twitter.
I can make an omelette – in fact, I can make both American and Japanese omelette – but I want to be able to cook up a perfectly pale yellow French omelette. LOOK at how exquisite and sleek that egg is; it kills me. I want to be able to do that.
photo: Soon Koon
I have had only two experiences with chawanmushi: one bad, the other excellent. Both restaurants are a high caliber, so when I initially attempted it, I thought it was just me merely not enjoying the dish. When I tried it again this past summer, though, I wanted to lick the bowl clean. I think the key is what goes into this Japanese eggy custard dish, and I’m of a mind to get really indulgent and go big with some uni and caviar.
photo: Daniel Paras
I attempted poached pears once – with miserable, bitter results. It’s rare I make something everyone unanimously loathes, but this was one of those ill-fated dishes. I adore poached pears, though, and I want to rise above my failure finally and own it.
photo: Muar Chee
It’s no secret I’m currently on the breadline, but I like to fix lunches for my mother and brother to take to work. Mom is healthy eating all the way, so she is already lost to me, but my brother is fair game and has been forewarned about the oncoming storm of edible cuteness heading his way.
One cannot live in a suburb of Philadelphia for nearly six years and walk away without a love for certain foods – chiefly among them, soft pretzels. I know this tripping eyeball deep into the dreaded baking territory, and in all likelihood I will fail spectacularly, but if I get at least one pretzel correct it’ll be worth it. I’ll also make a horribly unhealthy cheese sauce to go with it.
photo: Asian Brasserie
I attempted this way, way back when I had no real business cooking more than a basic bolognese and it showed, trust me. I scarred myself so bad with these lame-o “sushi” rolls that I haven’t mustered the courage to give it another go, despite allegedly being stupidly easy. Well, the time has come for me to finally conquer this once and for all.
photo: Satoshi Kawase
Grill it, boil it, poach it in butter and champagne – any which way you dice it, I am a fan of lobster and I have yet to decide how I plan to prepare it. The point of lobster on this list isn’t in the preparation, but the fact that it is time I am able to look a sea critter in the eye, give it thanks for nobly being part of the food chain, and dispatch it as humanely as possible, with my own hand and knife.
photo: John Sonderman
This is one of those dishes I have little to absolutely no experience with eating, save for the sweeter Western rice porridge, which I love. Now it’s time to venture to flavors of my Eastern brethren and explore the savory side of congee.
photo: Joan Nova
Don’t look at me like that. Half of you are thinking, “Who the hell doesn’t know how to make a salad?” and the other half is going, “STEP AWAY FROM THE GREENS, RACHAEL! WALK BACK TO US SLOWLY!” It’s okay. I will not be giving up my ice cream sundae with a slide of deep fried McDonald’s cheeseburger ways, but I do want to actually be able to make a salad and enjoy it. So far, I’ve had minimal luck with the latter, which is odd considering how many fruits and vegetables I enjoy. I blame shitty house side salads and romaine lettuce (aka the BANE OF MY EXISTENCE) on me hating salad. So this is the year I am going to DO SALAD RIGHT and actually enjoy it! Tips appreciated.
photo: InterContinental Hong Kong
I cannot explain my joy for consommé, other than to say it is something of comfort food for me. When I am truly ailing in the hospital, as in just been admitted or eating for the first time after surgery, I will undoubtedly order low-sodium beef consommé. My favorite dish at my go-to Mexican joint, My Taco, is their house speciality, barbacoa lamb tacos with a side of goat consommé. I cannot even describe the multilayered flavor profile this simple yet utterly unique broth possesses. Finally, the pinnacle, was a chilled seafood consommé at Bottega Louie some years back. They have undoubtedly moved on, but this gorgeous dish has inspired me to tackle my own version of it sometime this year.
photo: Luke Chan
I don’t care how trite and geeky this is, but this ultimate hangover food is going to be conquered. I’m going to make it for my friend Evan and I, we’re going to drink ice cold beer and marathon some goddamn anime like true weebs. It’ll be awesome.
photo: Neal Foley
This has been a goal of mine for years, especially with a lack of decent Irish and British bangers in our area. When my sister-in-law received a meat grinder for her Kitchen Aid, I thought it was only a matter of time before we’d be fixing up our own breakfast sausages and bratwurst. Time and lack of it has kept her away from the kitchen and I think it’s time I step up to the plate and borrow said grinder and have a crack at it myself. I’ll be sure to share with them, of course.
photo: Premshree Pillai
I wanted to tackle this project in 2014, but opportunities kept slipping me by and I never gained the confidence I wouldn’t completely let the octopod go tits up in the grilling process. Octopus, like scallops, are one of those tricky “a second more on the heat source and it’s fucked” kind of foods. I’m solid with the flavors I’ve decided to season with it – citrus and herbs – but the grilling process is going to be something else entirely.
So, there you have it! 15 in 2015, and I think this is actually a pretty tall, but manageable, order. What will you be cooking up in your kitchen in 2015?