goals

2019 - Feeding Body & Soul

One of my goals this year is to keep on cooking. Surprised? Of course not- anyone who knows me is aware that it’s part of my chemical makeup to work and play in the kitchen. In the Butterfield Gourmet shop we were cooking for the holidays right up through the Friday before Christmas. After we hung the “Closed for the Holidays” sign on December 21, the cooking didn’t stop, though the venue changed. Here’s a look at some of the culinary endeavors that occurred when we were NOT at Butterfield Gourmet.

December 21 - Chicken Vegetable Soup

December 22 - Korean Cooking Class*

December 23 - Grilled Lamb Chops, Double-Baked Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, Salad, Tiramisu*

December 25 - Cinnamon Rolls for Breakfast; Roasted Prime Rib Roast with Bourbon Sauce and Horseradish Cream, Butter Poached Lobster Tails, Potato Pavé, Creamed Spinach, Winter Citrus Salad, Homemade Butter Rolls and Chocolate-Espresso Buche de Noel for dessert

December 29 - Beef Stroganoff (leftover rib roast!), Roasted Broccoli, Homemade Butter Rolls

December 30 - Baked Potato Soup, Green Salad

January 1 - New Cinnamon sweet roll recipe - fabulous; Glazed ham, Au Gratin Potatoes, Roasted Vegetables

January 2 - Italian Feast: Sausage, Rosemary & Pesto Pasta, Meatballs on Polenta Crostini, Caesar Salad, Garlic Spinach*

January 3 - Butterfield Beef Pot Pies for my daughter’s freezer

January 4 - Smoked Beef Brisket experiment in the Green Egg, Creamed Corn*

January 5 - Asian Feast: Pot Stickers, Spicy Chicken Wings, Pork Fried Rice, Sesame Chicken with Broccoli*

January 6 - Grilled Salmon and Asparagus, Roasted Red Potatoes*

January 7 - Nashville Hot Chicken, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Most of the meals/menus listed above were cooked/baked by me alone. Sometimes I feel like I can’t escape the kitchen; when I’m at work, I’m at the stove making soup or rolling out pie crust. While at home, I’m “fixing dinner” while my husband and son are catching a game on TV. But the best experiences from the above list are marked with an * and signify the meals that I worked with one of my family members to create.

So what I really want to do differently in 2019 is I want to cook fewer dishes alone and more meals with my loved ones. There was a time when my experience at the stove was at a medium level and working solo was the best way to successfully complete a meal. In those early days, if anyone—kids, dinner guests, parents—tried to help, they were often delegated to make the salad because a) you can’t mess up a salad and b) it ensured the helpers stayed clear of my prep zone. Nowadays, I direct my staff in helping me create the menu items that grace many familys’ tables on an everyday basis. I have become accustomed to cooking alongside employees, friends, and family.

One especially fun experience from the holidays was the Saturday that my son and I attended a Korean Cooking Class in a couple’s home. The session was a birthday gift from James to me—so thoughtful because 1) he knows I love to try new things and 2) I love spending time with him! We spent three hours learning a few new techniques, but mostly eating some diverse items. But it was a great way to spend an afternoon, chatting, cooking, and absorbing with my son.

Two things came out of that experience that I hope to bring to fruition in the new year. First, as I already mentioned above, I am making it a goal to be in the kitchen with at least one family member on the regular. Rather than be in separate rooms of the house, I will include my DH or any of my children in the preparation of meals. Second, I’d like to begin to share what I’ve learned from my time in the kitchen over the years—not only through Butterfield Gourmet meals—but also with instruction. I’d like to help YOU, my customer, reader, follower, take on the challenge of stepping out of YOUR comfort zone to

  • create an organized, workable kitchen space in your home,

  • develop weekly menus that fit with your busy lifestyle and/or,

  • learn new cooking and baking techniques to bolster your confidence in the kitchen.

This second goal/plan/resolve will take my love of all things culinary to a new level in assisting others, thereby bringing more satisfaction and joy surrounding food. I want to feel full in Body & Soul! I’ll keep you posted on how this goal is shaping up in the next few months but feel free to reach out with questions!

Cheers to a delicious 2019!

review of a 2018 resolution-win or lose?

A year ago, in the early ambitious hours of January 2018, I challenged myself with a commitment to cook every recipe in Fine Cooking magazine. Twelve months later, let me update you on how that resolution turned out….well, it wasn’t a Super Bowl season but I definitely batted a better than .500 average. (mixed sports metaphors ‘cause that’s just me)

By the numbers, I feel like a failure. I completed only 124 new recipes out of 215. Remember that I was trying to complete EVERY recipe, which mean I was 91 short. The individual issue stats were as follows:

  • Dec 2017/Jan 2018: 81%

  • Feb/Mar 2018: 68%

  • Apr/May 2018: 65%

  • June/July 2018: 56%

  • Aug/Sept 2018: 51%

  • Oct/Nov 2018: 21% - ouch!

As with many resolutions, one’s adherence to a goal drops off over time. I grew tired of trying to incorporate new recipes with difficult-to-find ingredients into my weekly menus. Publishing and executing a new menu almost every week of the year is challenging enough without including recipes that I’ve never attempted. In summary, I DID NOT COMPLETE THIS GOAL.

But on the flip side, I

  • learned a fool-proof technique for making frites (french fries) on the stove without a deep-fryer, thermometer, or any other fancy double-fry method

  • incorporated Indian-inspired dishes onto the BG menu, having never dared before

  • tried (and failed miserably) making three different “inside-out” roasts where the stuffing was rolled on the outside of the beef, pork and lamb cuts—a costly experiment to be sure but fun, nonetheless

  • made Chashu Ramen from scratch and discovered the multiple days required with many different steps really wasn’t worth the end result (we’ll be eating ramen at a noodle house for the foreseeable future, thank you)

  • fell in love with homemade gnocchi

  • experimented with four new takes on pot pie, one of which has been permanently added to the BG rotation

  • ordered lobster from Maine to bring authentic lobster rolls to my menu

  • tested several cream pie recipes, much to the delight of my DH, whom I love to please with culinary treats

So was the resolution a bust? I don’t think so. The positives I gleaned from the process far outweigh the actual numbers. And who’s to say I cannot continue the endeavor? Why can’t I keep cooking my way through the magazines until I’ve made each and every recipe? I won’t put it at the top of my goals list for 2019 but it can still be a goal, right?

I’m including my favorite recipe from the year, Cold-fry Frites, in case you want to give it a whirl. Always be trying something new—it’s an opportunity for growth, change and fun!

Yield: 6-8

cold-fry frites

prep time: 20 minscook time: 30 minstotal time: 50 mins

Fries with a moist, creamy interior, an intense potato flavor, and a perfectly crisp, golden non oily exterior.

ingredients:

  • 3 lb. russet potatoes
  • 3 quarts sunflower, vegetable or canola oil
  • kosher salt
  • 3 quarts sunflower, vegetable or canola oil
  • kosher salt

instructions:

Rinse the potatoes, peel, and rinse again. Cut each potato lengthwise into disks about 3/8-inch-thick, then cut these disks lengthwise into sticks about 3/8-inch-thick. (Precision is not essential here: I love the tiny, crunchy, almost-burned bits that emerge from the fryer.)

Soak the potatoes in a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes, changing the water when it becomes cloudy, until the water remains clear (at least three times). Drain the potatoes and put them in a single layer on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and pat dry with additional paper towels.

Transfer the potatoes to a 7 qt. Dutch oven and set it on the stove. Pour the oil over the potatoes. Do not cover the pot. Set the heat to high, and stirring the potatoes gently with a metal spoon to distribute and prevent sticking, bring the oil to a boil. (The oil should move from a peppy simmer to a boil in 7 to 9 minutes.) When the oil starts to boil, set a timer for 17 minutes. Stir the potatoes very gently every 3 to 4 minutes and lower the heat to medium, if necessary to keep the oil from boiling over the pot.

After 17 minutes, the potatoes should be slightly golden. Continue to cook for 4 minutes, stirring gently. Resist the urge to remove them from the oil too soon. When the fries are a deep golden brown, taste one to make sure they are crisp and firm on the outside with a creamy interior. Transfer the fries with the wire skimmer or slotted spoon to a paper towel–lined tray to drain. Season with salt and serve immediately.
Created using The Recipes Generator