For the third year running, I wanted to share a few food resolutions. (Here are last year’s, and here are 2012′s.) I try not to take general new year’s resolving too seriously, mainly because I’m too contrary to do what I tell myself to do, but there are things to look forward to in the kitchen that are just practical enough that I’ll actually do them without rebellion. Read on for what I’m going to change in my small kitchen in 2014.
As ever, I’ll be sharing my cooking adventures with you, and, if you’re in the New York City area, teaching you to cook at home. If you’re making any changes to your cooking, diet, or food life, I’d love to hear!
**Food Resolutions to Make in 2014**
1. Cook for the week. I’ve made this resolution before. But since I’ve always hated the idea of eating the same food for a week straight, (“Beef stew, again?!?!“) I’ve never kept it. I love leftovers, I just want them to be a bit varied. But there were a couple busy nights this fall when having a finished dish in the fridge preserved our good eating habits without dirtying dishes on nights we were too tired to clean up after dinner. So, I want to experiment with good stews and casseroles that keep well and satisfy me on weeknights. (These 14 dishes are a good starting point.)
2. Beat breakfast. Breakfast has long been my favorite meal of the day, with lunch lagging behind by miles. In 2013, I tried to win at lunch by cutting down on carbs, ramping up slaw with quinoa, and filling little lunchtime burritos with Brussels sprouts. Yet somehow, as I gained lunch mojo, I lost my way with breakfast and fell into a rut. It’s sad. So, in the year ahead, I’ll see what I can do to make what was formerly known as the best meal ever exciting again.
3. Explore a cuisine. As you know by now, I delved into the food of the Middle East , researching and cooking general favorites and regional delicacies. I’ve always loved reading cookbooks over dinner (see above), and so I got really into this project. Now, I’m thinking of taking on another cuisine this year. Indian? Thai? Regional American? Greek? If you want to weigh in on which one, you can vote here.
4. Make curry paste. OK, this is a little more specific than the others, but I think it’s a good one. Both Thai and Indian curries make for incredible at-home dinners, even if they’re more improvised than authentic. What stands between me and making Green Curry Chicken every night is not having a reliable curry paste to keep around. With a bit of research and the purchase of some lemongrass and chilies, I bet I can make a decent curry paste at home, one without any preservatives or weird ingredients that I can mix up with some coconut milk and veggies and serve over rice for really good takeout-at-home style meals.
5. Straighten up the fridge and pantry. Four years into canning tomatoes with my mom each September, I’ve got a lot of empty glass jars. Recently, I started storing my edible miscellany (a million kinds of nuts, a million kinds of chocolate chips, a million kinds of beans) in the jars, and the shelves look a lot nicer than they did with plastic sacs splaying every which way. So I’m going to try to keep things tidier in the fridge. And the pantry. And the cabinet above the fridge. The kitchen is a more inspiring place to be when it’s not host to utter chaos.