blood oranges have arrived!

i’ve been scouring my cookbooks for blood orange recipes that i can use during this limited window of opportunity. the obvious one is the risotto with duck and blood oranges, which is to-die-for delicious. i also tried orange sorbet, which i think would work better as a sherbet with some cream and extra sugar. also, truly, i got a little over-zealous with the lime juice

i tried my sweet potato hash recipe again, this time with the ‘maltese sauce,’ but the sauce was foul and i had to throw away the leftover potatoes after not eating much of it to begin with. another flaw was that i didn’t have smoked turkey meat, just some chicken tenders. ah, well.

mostly i want to use one of the beautifully-photographed citrus desserts from ‘a passion for desserts’ in my new year’s menu, but i can’t decide between one of those and the more basic, more universally pleasing chocolate souffles.

cooking resolutions for 2007

Culinary Highlight: Hard to pick one: my resolution was to try (at least) one new recipe a week so I learned a ton of new things. But braising new potatoes and making tomato tarts in teh summer will are the two things that are definitely in the standard repertoire!
washington post food chat, 19 december 06

so i’ve been thinking hard about my own ‘culinary resolutions’ since reading this tidbit from kim o’donnell’s weekly food chat.
i want to maintain my cooking ‘to-try’ list, but i want to work harder to actually cook the dishes on it. at the same time, i want to build up a sort of repetoire, and work with my more basic recipes instead of just going for the challenge. i have a whole list now of ‘quick and easy’ in my database. on top of that, i want to keep trying new things.

so here’s what i’m thinking:
1 recipe per week from ‘quick and easy’ OR ‘new best recipe’
1 recipe per week from ‘to-try list’

and, for the remainder of the winter, one recipe per week from braises and stews
1. winter market chicken
2. sara’s persian chicken
3. game hens in a pot
4. moroccan lamb
5. veal stew

also, a propos of seasonal cooking, i want to work with the dessert recipes (listed by season) in my passion for desserts. either something straight from the book or combined with another recipe i already have.
1. lemon mousse with citus compote (BLOOD ORANGES!)
2. [chocolate]-banana napoleons
3. bread budding (luscious chocolate desserts)
4. double chocolate hot chocolate
5. hazelnut sandwich cookies
6. honey-cream strawberry parfaits
7. milk chocolate cheesecake
8. ice wine ice cream with strawberry compote
9. strawberry ginger sodas with orange sherbet
10. berry creme fraiche cake
11. bing cherry filo rolls
12. black forest brownies
13. candied ginger shortbread with peach-blackberry compote
14. mascarpone custard wih summer fruits
15. red berry-white chocolate trifles
16. white peach melba
17. autumn summer pudding
18. raspberry-honey cream tartlets
19. french plum tart
20. orange marmalade tart
21. orange pound cake with concord grape compote
22. ricotta cheesecake

i want to make more efficient use of my freezer. i want to try all of the bookmarked brownie recipes from chocolate, chocolate and keep some frozen at all times. same for the odd roll of cookie dough, out of any book that appeals to me at a given time. i want to always keep some pizza dough in there. i want to spend a day, like last year, making dumplings and spring rolls so that i have them frozen.
1. chocolate wafer cookies
2. KA chocolate chip cookies
3. banana split cookies
4. madelines
5. patterned ice box cookies (see KA Cookies or WS cookies)
6. ruby jewel cookies
7. cigarettes russes
8. hazelnut sandiwch cookies
9. mini black-and-whites

i need to use the frozen cherries i’ve been keeping since last summer (chocolate-cherry bread, perhaps?)
and i want to get back into breadmaking. i will develop a list of fancy breads to try and meanwhile keep fresh bread easily at hand. perhaps keep the slices frozen individually or in pairs for easy, non-spoiling access.

what about baking? aside from cookies and brownies, i want to get some scones and muffins into my freezer stash...w

if by some chance i have continued farmers market access come spring, i need to get better at freezing the fruit for later use. ESPECIALLY the strawberries. winter supermarket strawberries don’t even belong in the same journal entry as farmers market berries.

p.s. i have this recurring fantasy of starting a small garden, either in a window box or on my roof. something basic. a few herbs, maybe, or some flowers. eventually, though, i’d like to try growing real things. carrots, or berries, or potatoes. something fun and edible...


holiday cookie fest, courtesy of the washington post

i made SEVEN kinds of cookies this weekend:
chocolate-orange madelines
white chocolate chocolate chip cookies
orange chocolate hearts (pictured)
cranberry white chocolate drop cookies
indulgent butter cookies
cranbery-clementine sandwich cookies
chocolate spice cookies
mini-bronwies with raspberry cream and chocolate ganache

and i learned a lot. most important, that i DON’t LIKE cookies with a ton of butter. this potentially explains my partiality for cut-out cookies such as my chocolate wafers but also my love for my king arthur flour cookies, which combine shortening and butter. i also learned that while some of my best recipes might be for cutout cookies, like the hearts, but the process is enough to make a sane person nuts.

i think that the overall moral of the day was that i am going to cut back on my cookie-making and try to keep a fairly simple repetoire. and also, never again do 7 cookies in a weekend. my real motivation was that i hadn’t made cookies in forever, and i wanted to make some as holiday gifts, and the washington post cookie section came out last week and i couldn’t resist. it helped that i had no specific plans for the weekend and ample opportunity, what with work being lame and all, to shop for provisions. and even more than that, i already had most of the requisite supplies in my ‘pantry.’

p.s. the brownies were actually sort of tasteless, in the gourmet turnip way. i still like the idea, and i bought these very cute mini-muffin pans for them that came out a perfect one-bite size. should i attempt the recipe again, i will use a different brownie recipe as my base.