Posts Tagged new years resolutions

Weekly Roundup: “Are We Really Going To Call it ‘The Teens?'” Edition.

New Years - Raise a Glass

Seriously - I'm so fickin' happy we're in a new decade. Can't it have a better name?

Thirteen. Fifteen. Eighteen. What do these numbers remind you of? For me, it’s really awkward clothing choices (leggings, over-sized sweatshirts and Doc Martens), an insufficient acne-fighting skincare regime, and rereading “The Bell Jar” more times than I care to admit. In other words, any phrase that reminds me of being a teenager does not inspire confidence. So are we really going to call this decade “the teens?” Couldn’t we find a better name for this decade? I’d even settle for “the not-aughts.”

Anyway, this week the Internets were buzzing with New Years resolutions, trend predictions for the new decade, restaurant week news, and roundups of our fabulous Food Blogger Potluck. Not a bad week for the first full week of 2010.

Recipes I want to try, as found during my obsessive Internet reading:

And in other news:

  • It’s New Years resolution time. The Arugula Files has a list of food-related resolutions – a whopping 25 of them. And Lemmonex is making a New Years resolution to indulge in some self-care (and, like me, wants all those New Years resolution people to get out of her gym).
  • Missed the Food Blogger Potluck? Dining in DC, Capital Cooking, The Arugula Files and Bisnow have roundups.
  • Derek Brown (who founded The Gibson and co-owns The Passenger, both known for their craft cocktails) has a piece in The Atlantic on cocktail trends for the next decade. He predicts food and cocktail pairings, monk-made liqueurs like Benedictine (get it?), vermouth, orange flavored liqueurs, and different varieties of ice will be big in the teens.
  • Best Bites lists foodie “ins and outs” for the new year. In: spaghetti and meatballs, bahn mi, and crushes on White House chef Sam Kass. Out: bacon, dirty martinis, and duck-fat frying. Some of the stuff I agree with – but can chocolate and peanut butter ever truly be “out?” I don’t think so.
  • We Love DC reports that chocolate shop ACKC just opened a wine bar. Chocolate . . . wine . . . did they open it specifically for me?
  • Gradually Greener totally reminded me that Hanks Oyster Bar has a great winter happy hour – oysters are only $1 each from 5:30-6:30. Damn my New Years resolution to go to the gym more. All I want to do it go out now.
  • Tim Carman chronicles his attempt to make pizza from scratch on Young and Hungry, using a recipe from master baker Mark Furstenberg. And decides that, next time, he’s getting take-out. I want to take this opportunity to give a shout-out to the Rose Levy Beranbaum pizza recipe. It’s so easy, so quick, and so good (and so much cheaper than takeout).

Comments (4)

New Years – A Tough Time For Baking

Wheat Bread 1

But you can still bake this. Although my online timer didn't work so well, so I overbaked this loaf - yours should rise higher.

Before I launch into my wheat bread musings, I want to thank everyone who attended the Food Blogger Potluck last night. This is such a lovely group of people, and the caliber of the food and conversation was excellent. I want to give a special shout-out to DC Thrifty Cook, whose Thai soup was a highlight of the evening. I can’t wait for the happy hour next month. And many thanks to the rest of the planning committee, The Arugula Files, Gradually Greener, Capital Cooking, Dining in DC, We Love DC, Capital Spice, and the Beerspotter.

So, let’s get right to the obvious – the new year is a tough time for baking. I’m fully expecting that the gym will be packed tonight with grumbling exercisers who are reluctantly getting started on fulfilling their New Years resolutions. It’s a time when we put excess aside, vow to change our habits, and turn away from the excess of the holiday season. Cookies and cakes are out. Vegetable soup and steamed fish are in.

However, it’s also incredibly cold in DC, and it’s really a lovely time to have your oven on. So this weekend, in an attempt to start my new year out right, I decided to make some wheat bread. After all, baking doesn’t have to be excessive – it can just be a way to put healthy, basic food on the table.

I used a recipe from Baking with Julia, the excellent cookbook based on Julia Child’s “Master Chef” series, written by expert baker Dorie Greenspan. The recipe is remarkably unfussy, and requires only two relatively short rises, one of which is done in the actual loaf pan. The bread uses a mix of white bread flour and whole wheat flour, which may trouble some health purists, but it results in a loaf that has the hearty taste of wheat, but the softer texture and crisp crust of a white loaf. It uses honey as a sweetener, which I love in bread – it adds a mellow sweetness to the dough, and a honey color to the crumb. Finally, the recipe called for malt extract, which I didn’t have, so I substituted some maple syrup instead.

This is an excellent loaf to start out the year with – it’s simple, tasty, and relatively quick. And it can even help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions. Substitute it for white bread and voilà – you’re already eating healthier, less-processed food. Use it to make sandwiches for lunch and cut down on your spending. And if one of your resolutions is to learn to bake, then this is an excellent recipe to cut your teeth on.

Wheat Bread 2

Yes, I fully appreciate the irony of putting a pat of butter on "healthy" bread. The delicious, delicious irony.

Recipe: Basic Wheat Bread

Comments (2)

What Are Your 2010 Culinary Resolutions?

I want to make this cake so badly - in fact, it's a New Year's Resolution.

I’ve been waiting for months to write this post. I realized pretty early on last year that 2009 wasn’t for me, and I’ve been hanging my hopes on 2010 ever since then. I even wrote down a long list of reasons about why 2009 is now tied with 1995 (7th grade) and 2005 (the year after I graduated college) as one of my worst years. But then I scrapped it. After all, I’m not here to tell you why 2009 was hard. I’m here to tell you that 2010 has arrived, and it’s going to be awesome.

I’m already compiling a list of new years resolutions, which include the usual things, like going to the gym regularly, laying off “white” food (bread, potatoes, white rice), and upping my consumption of vegetables. And in case anyone was tracking my list of 2009 domestic resolutions, I still don’t have a headboard, nor have I established a personal filing system. So I guess they’re on the list too.

But rather than share my long list of dull personal resolutions, I’ll just stick to the pasty-related ones. Because, seriously, that’s one of the main reasons why 2010 is going to be awesome – I really want to up my pastry game. Here, in no particular order, are the kitchen projects I want to tackle this year:

  • Homemade marshmallows.
  • Try my hand at candy making.
  • Macarons (not to be confused with Macaroons).
  • Actually make a classic french buttercream frosting (yes, the one with the sugar syrup) that doesn’t dissolve into a puddle.
  • Try various laminated doughs: puff pastry, strudel, and croissants (my last attempt, while tasty, wasn’t quite perfect).
  • Génoise.
  • Take a cake decorating class – so I can finally figure out how to make the sides of my frosted cakes perfectly smooth.
  • Get used to making bread and cakes using a kitchen scale (one of my Christmas presents to myself).
  • Make the cake on the cover of “Rose’s Heavenly Cakes” (another Christmas present).
  • Either take a class or regularly practice piping, since my piping skills are woefully underdeveloped.
  • Buy cake strips (little strips of silicone to put around your cake pans that keep the heat from penetrating the side of the pan too quickly, resulting in flatter, more uniform cake layers).
  • Practice decorating cakes/cupcakes with fondant.
  • Finally buy gel paste (a much more color-intensive way of tinting frosting than food coloring).
  • Finally go to Baked and Wired. (Still have not been!)

And, in blog related projects, I’d like to switch this baby to a custom template. Not that I don’t love this layout – I think it’s just time for a change. I’ve also been working on a new logo with a friend from choir, and I’d like to actually get it on the site, as she’s done some really lovely work.

As for you? Anyone have some crazy thing that you want to cook this year? Anyone planning on making some head cheese? Sausage? Tripe?

Comments (16)

Can Mark Bittman Clean Out My Cabinets?

12-07 pantry 3

Photo Courtesy of la fatina on flickr, under the Creative Commons license.

As I said on Monday, one of my Domestic Resolutions for 2009 is to clean out and organize our unruly kitchen cabinets. So imagine my fortune to see that Mark Bittman wrote a whole article on this very subject yesterday!

Bittman has a number of suggestions for cleaning out your cabinets. But how realistic are they for a time-strapped blogger? Let’s see, shall we?

Suggestion: Throw out Packaged bread crumbs or croutons and make your own.

I really don’t use breadcrumbs regularly, so I don’t see the point of making my own. I will make my own fresh bread crumbs, but I make those on an as-needed basis.

Suggestion: Throw out your canned stock and bouillon cubes, and make your own stock instead.

Um, so I’ve tried to do the whole “make your own stock and freeze it” thing, and I’ve done it once or twice. But when I make stock it means I can’t leave the house all day because I don’t want to leave the stove on unattended, and it takes forever (forever!) to defrost the stock when Ineed it. A nice suggestion, but I think I’ll still use boxes of stock from the grocery store (Kitchen Basics is my preferred brand).

Suggestion: Throw out your spray oil. Use regular olive oil instead.

I don’t have spray oil.

Bottled Vinegar, Canned Peas, and More

Comments (11)

My 2009 Domestic Resolutions

New Years Resolutions

What's On Your Domestic To-Do List?

Welcome back ModernDomestic readers! I have to say, I missed you on my holiday break, even though I had a really lovely time baking, crafting, and doing some much-needed sitting around.

I thought of this blog as I was sitting at Wonktheplank’s mother’s house on New Year’s Eve. As I watched the ball drop on TV, I started thinking about my to-do list. Not my work to-do list, or my personal to-do list, but a to-do list that fills me with extreme guilt and anxiety: my domestic to-do list.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to motivate myself to tackle more items on this domestic to-do list. And yet, while I had an excellent time sharing my baking projects, crafting projects, and Top Design and Top Chef recaps, nary a dent has been made in that daunting list of domestic projects. Despite my best intentions, there is still nothing hung on my bedroom walls (which, supposedly, was the Great Task of 2008).

But now that it’s the new year and I no longer have the giant attention suck that is the holidays (although don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, they just take up a lot of time), I’m feeling ready to tackle this to-do list. So I’ve decided to share it with you, in the hope that you’ll also get revved up to tackle your domestic tasks.  And perhaps you’ll share your 2009 domestic resolutions with me.

Here, in no particular order, are my domestic resolutions for 2009:

  • Finally make or buy a headboard for the bed.
  • Take a cake or cupcake-decorating class.
  • Begin tracking and recording all my personal expenses (after a rather long hiatus).
  • Hang things on the walls in the bedroom.
  • Try a new cake recipe from the BakeWise cookbook that my sister got me for Christmas (so excited).
  • Finish the two collages that I need to get done before hanging anything on the walls of the bedroom (one involves fish, the other hasn’t been started yet).
  • Reorganize the kitchen cabinets, which currently look like an ingredient war zone (I got a bit of a start on this today).
  • Try out the recipes from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris, which my mother got me for Christmas.
  • Figure out how to either take the wheels off the bed or get something to stop it from migrating around the bedroom.
  • Try out the brand-new pastry tips that WonkthePlank’s mother got me for Christmas.
  • Reorganize the open bookshelf in the bedroom.
  • Establish and maintain a personal filing system.
  • Try to convince Wonktheplank to replace our hulking futon.
  • Learn more about each of the wines in the case of Wall Street Journal Wines that WonkthePlank got me for Christmas! He is the best!

And, finally (and perhaps most importantly), try to talk more about the blog with the greater world. To that end, Wonktheplank got me the best Christmas present ever—ModernDomestic business cards. He even designed them himself (with a little help from a template). 

Business Card

I'm official!

Now let’s hope I can get up the nerve to hand them out in the new year.

Comments (4)