Tag Archives: cooking

26 before 27

Le Relais Gascon

Another birthday is right around the corner and my heart is all aflutter as I ponder an updated yearly to-do list. (Check out my 25 before 26 list to see last year’s goals!)

The first item on the first draft of this year’s 26 before 27 list was “really, seriously try to master a sewing skill.” Sewing is one of those things I keep thinking I’ll enjoy. I want to sew an elaborate quilt or alter a vintage dress, but the fact is that I can barely sew a straight line–still! And when it comes down to it, I certainly don’t enjoy practicing the skills necessary to be successful at this art form.

I’ve since tossed the first draft and decided to come at my 26 before 27 list from a different angle. What if, this year, I stopped traveling down creative avenues I think I might enjoy eventually and instead, dedicated a whole entire year to something I know I enjoy doing everyday?

Mind. Blown.

If there is one thing in this world I love doing day in and day out, it’s cooking and baking. (I also love shopping equally that much but probably shouldn’t embark on 26-ways-to-end-up-declaring-bankruptcy-before-27!)

I have this strange motivation to master the art of carving a turkey. I’ve penciled my 18th attempt at French macarons into my calendar for next Sunday. I flip over the vibrant colors of fresh vegetables. I feel no stress in the kitchen and often spend an entire weekend in there. I also have a husband that is glad to eat anything and clean up any and all messes I inevitably create in the name of good food. It’s a win-win.

Because I love a good theme, I’ve decided to embark on 26 French recipes. Wes and I spent a couple of days in Paris two years ago, and it was by far my most favorite stop during our belated European honeymoon. Because pastries. And cheese. And wine. And pastries with chocolate. And baguette!

I want to make it all. I’ll start with the following 26:

Baguette

Boeuf Bourguignon

Charlotte

Confit de Canard

Chouquettes

Galette des rois

Coq Au Vin

Crème Brûlée

Croquembouche

Croque Madame

Croque Monsieur

Duck a l’Orange

Éclair

Gratin Dauphinois

Madeleines

Oeufs en Cocotte

Petits Fours

Pot-au-Feu

Quiche Lorraine

Saint Honoré

Soufflé

Soupe a l’Oignon

Tarte aux Fraises

Tarte flambée

Tartelette

*promptly renews gym membership*

…Bon appétit!

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good cook/bad cook

I am a good cook. I really am. At least I think so, and Wes would probably agree. But every now and then I have a recipe flop. And we’re not talking about a little flop. No, no. I flop hard.

Take, for instance, a delicious looking eggplant and zucchini casserole. I promise I followed the directions, but at some point everything in the casserole lost its texture and it turned into a 9×13 full of baby food.

Then there was an attempt at vegan sloppy joes. This was my first time cooking lentils, and I made the mistake of adding more lentils to the pot after the original quantity was about half way through cooking (who DOES that?!). Needless to say we had equal parts lentil mush burgers and crunch burgers. And it pretty much just tasted like paprika.

Next we have my quinoa and orzo pilaf that ended up tasting like ketchup and rice. And it also assumed the shape of any dish you put it in. So it was kind of like a ketchup and rice overcooked risotto soup.

And finally, we have my most recent blunder: a vegan lasagna. I was surprised to find how terrible the first batch turned out, because it was a Food Network recipe! It was just really watery…probably from overly juicy tomatoes from the homemade sauce and not pressing enough water out of the tofu. The second time around, I tried to fix that, but the lasagna still couldn’t stay together. My next attempt will include melty vegan mozzarella throughout the entire dish (absent in the first try, only on top on the second) to try and bind the layers a bit better. Unfortunately, I may have to put that off until next year, because there is still lasagna in our fridge and we are still trying to eat it. And be we I mean Wes. He’s such a trooper.

Anyway, this is all to say that sometimes I just get stuck with a horrible case of the cooking blues! I suppose I should be pleased that for the last two years, the time during which I have begun practicing vegetarianism, I’ve only had four majorly inedible dishes. And the lasagna is edible–It’s just a little floppy and wet.

Meh. Whenever I reattempt a failed dish and fail again, I tend to take a little break from the kitchen. I told Wes to start hitting up the salad bar at the grocery store for lunch. 🙂