1. Cook a Filipino meal at least once a month.
My son just turned a year old, and I want to start introducing him to a key part of his heritage. But let’s be honest–this resolution is mostly for me. I miss Filipino food! I recently realized that I now only eat Filipino dishes at parties or restaurants. I rarely cook Filipino cuisine at home. I want Filipino food to be part of my family’s life every day. But I know I have to start slowly. My initial goal is once a month so that this resolution can be a successful one.
2. Inventory the contents of my freezer…
My husband makes a delicious cranberry sauce that friends and family frequently request for their Thanksgiving meals. So he made a big batch, gave a bunch away and froze the leftovers, which have been hanging out in our freezer–for two years.
3. …And figure out what’s in my cupboards.
Cleaning out the cupboard is akin to going through your closet. You rediscover old treasures (a pencil skirt/green lentils), find things you didn’t realize you had (cashmere gloves/Cincinatti chili mix) and re-live some mistakes (leopard print leggings/Manwich).
With the economy being what it is, food prices aren’t going down any time soon, and it’s time to make the most of what you have. But first you have to know what you have and where it is!
4. Use kitchen gadgets or give them away.
My husband and I put a mandoline on our wedding registry with ambitions of making our own potato chips, gratins and other dishes that required cutting foods ridiculously thin. How many times have we used the mandoline since we got it almost three years ago? Exactly once. And it’s still in its original box.
5. Learn how to cut a whole chicken into pieces.
It’s cheaper to buy a whole chicken and cut it up yourself. This task usually falls to my husband, but I am determined this year to learn what I consider a very basic kitchen skill.
6. Learn how to clean and cook a whole fish.
When I was a kid, my parents cooked fish at least once a week, and most of the time, the fish would be whole with the head and tail intact. Yum! I love eating fish, but I’ve never prepared any that wasn’t filleted. I’m not exactly excited about gutting or scaling a fish, but again, I think this is a skill that all (fish-eating) cooks should have.
7. Get my knives sharpened.
If I’m going to accomplish resolutions #5 and #6, my knives need to be in peak condition!
8. Rely less on recipes.
I yearn to be a more intuitive cook. I want to be able to whip up a great meal with whatever is in my fridge at the moment. I want to just know how to make a great lasagna.
Recipes are a good place to start and get inspiration, and I want to be able to have the confidence to cook on my own.
9. Make ice cream more often.
This year’s Christmas dinner was punctuated by delectable cinnamon ice cream made by my sister-in-law, Yvette. Making ice cream is relatively easy, and it’s something that always impresses people. When you serve homemade ice cream, someone will undoubtedly say, “You made this?” with a mix of wonder and gratitude. And homemade ice cream makes a unique and fabulous gift.
I’ll keep you updated on my food resolutions throughout the year. Here’s to a tasty 2009!