The year was 2009. It was a blank slate. A fresh start from so many bad memories. And somehow, it ended up being my year in the kitchen.
I didn’t intend to flex my cooking muscles. It wasn’t even a resolution.
It happened organically. Hosting a party here, cooking a meal there, starting a fire and a tradition that will forever be known as Fire & Wine night.
And suddenly I had a new forum to try all these new recipes, and people who were as excited about eating as I was cooking. Not to mention a blog audience who was pretty pleased to read about my kitchen exploits!
And so, I present to you: Highlights from my kitchen 2009: A Q&A interview with myself. (Because no one called for the exclusive.)
Q: What surprised you the most in your kitchen this year?
A: Probably the amount of time I spent in there and how happy it made me. I always knew I liked to cook, but I didn’t know it could become such a powerful hobby. Also, getting a kitchen with a gas stove when we moved in September was a pleasant surprise.
Q: What 3 ingredients in 2009 became your favorites to work with?
1. Crushed red tomatoes – I have absolutely fallen head over heals for crushed red tomatoes. And the funny part is, I think I maybe used them once or twice before this year. Now, I don’t know how I’ve been using jarred pasta sauce all these years when crushed red tomatoes were just an aisle away. Also, I’ve found so many new ways to use them – enchilada sauces, soups, enhancing veggies.
2. Pork – I don’t eat beef, and I get so sick of chicken. There are so many cuts of pork that I haven’t used yet, but every pork recipe I made in 2009 was delicious. Plus come on, bacon? I re-romanced myself to bacon this year. Back in my pseudo vegetarian days (pseudo b/c I ate fish) I thought bacon was something I didn’t like. Look, we all make mistakes in our younger years. Mine just happened to be thinking I didn’t like bacon.
3. Mushrooms – I have always loved mushrooms, but this year, they made their way into more dishes than I could ever have imagined. If I weren’t marrying the fiance, I’d probably marry a mushroom. Because I love them that much. Oh, and I’m cheating here, but how good are mushrooms with thyme and heavy cream? Those two ingredients just need mushrooms. Kind of like me.
Q: What was your greatest culinary achievement?
Hands down: the turkey. It was just so big and ominous. Plus, I felt so much pressure to wow my future in-laws. Not to mention the 5 gallons of broth I made for the brine. That was pretty outstanding.
Q: What intimidated you the most before you tried it?
Risotto. I don’t know why, because it’s so easy now. But something about the process of it, seemed unattainable to me. Honestly, we have it at least once a week now. I’m in love.
Q:What cooks inspired you this year?
Well, attending Blogher Food was probably the best thing I could have done for my kitchen mojo. But there were a few chefs and bloggers who had I not discovered in 2009, I would not be the cook I am today:
Simply Recipes, Steamy Kitchen, Macheesmo and Blog Well Done. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention The Pioneer Woman. That said, I am thrilled that in 2009 I got to meet all but one of these amazing cooks and bloggers in real life. (Macheesmo – I’m gunning to meet you someday!)
Q: What was your biggest failure in the kitchen?
Do I really have to answer this question? (Yes, Stephanie. You asked it.) Oh yeah. Ok, well the Chile Rellenos. I was a mess after those.
Q: What new dishes would you like to tackle in 2010?
Cornish hens, tasty tofu, a Spanish omelet, a savory tart, pesto & salsa (new food processor!), bread, homemade pasta, pie crust…probably a million other things that I can’t think of now.
Q: What 1 event was your culinary turning point in 2009?
Probably catching that first oven fire during Fire & Wine night. Because DD Girl and I were already starting to get together for me to cook once a week, but suddenly it gave our night a name and then I came up with the idea that I had to cook something new each week. That really rocked my world. (And as Roomie claims, all of our waistlines.:))
Q: What was your go-to kitchen tool/cookware/gadget in 2009?
Probably my cast iron skillet. Not only did it keep any wild animals out of the turkey brine, it also is my only stove-to-oven safe cookware.
So, those are my answers to this self-imposed interview.
Now is the fun part: you answer the Highlights from your Kitchen 2009 questions on your blog (if you have one) or on your Facebook page if you don’t. Even if you aren’t a mad crazy foodie, you should still play along. Because it’s fun. And I’m bossy. So do it.
Leave me a note in the comments to let me know if you posted!