Wow, I have actually stuck with something for a year! I am impressed with myself and I have a renewed vigor to make more recipes this next year than I did this past year. While 365 days may seem like a lot of cooking time it only translated for me into 95 recipes from the book. But they have been an interesting bunch for me. I started this blog with hummus, white rice and peas, to my more impressive dishes of Gumbo, Pan-Roasted Halibut Steaks and Pad Thai. I still won’t classify myself as more than mediocre but I have learned a lot in the process of writing this blog. So what have I learned?
1. Where Food Comes From: I am not some kind of food snob that only eats local or shies away from unsustainable food. But I do appreciate where my food comes from, the process involved in getting it to my table and the content of the food. I try to make better selections from my supermarket and I am really trying to learn the seasons for my vegetables.
2. Nutrition: I don’t believe all fat is bad or that sugar must be avoided. But understanding its effect on my family and its role in our health has become important to me. Sometimes full fat is better than the chemical alternatives… sometimes it’s not.
3. Food Likes/Dislikes: I am absolutely appreciating trying new foods. Things I thought I disliked I find I enjoy and even those I still dislike I am beginning to tolerate.
4. Confidence: I don’t feel as inept in the kitchen as I used to. I figure I still have a long way to go before I can truly begin leaving the recipes behind and creating unique meals on the fly.
I also figured this would be a good time to recap my top five recipes of the past year. These are the recipes that I have created numerous times.
1. Pad Thai: I never liked Pad Thai from a restaurant and never thought much of the dish until my wife asked me to make this. I’m so glad she did because I do love this recipe, with a few modifications of course. In fact the best compliment I have received to date was from my wife when she told me she preferred this to what she used to order in the restaurant. A true moment of pride.
2. Hearty Meat Lasagna: Absolutely the best meat lasagna I have had to date. It is meaty and not greasy and has great structure. The recipe feeds an army so we only cook this when more than us will eat it or I feel like eating it for a week.
3. French Onion Soup: Like it in the restaurant, love it at home. The smell while it cooks, the ability to control the cheese factor and the fact that I can create about 10 bowls of this stuff for the price of a bowl in the restaurant.
4. Buffalo Chicken Wings: I am a huge fan of chicken wings and now that I know how to create them at home just the way I love them is truly astounding! I’ve made several pounds of wings, probably over 20 lbs since I first made this recipe. In fact I bought a deep-fryer just so I could make these even easier.
5. Roast Leg of Lamb: While I have not made it again I was extremely proud of myself for cooking it so well. I absolutely intend to make this again for a special occasion.
I really look forward to tackling more recipes and I hope that I can complete more than 95 during this next year. I would like to finish this project in less than 10 years.
For all those that have been following along, THANKS!
** I have created an index of my progress by chapter which can be viewed in this Index of Progress post.
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