Monthly Archives: December 2013

Missy’s 2014 Kitchen Goals

I only hit about half of my kitchen goals for 2013, which is fine. This year, mine are going to be a bit more technique and habit based than specific dish/project based.

*Cook More With What I Have: This is a reminder in general to waste fewer ingredients and cook more economically. I’m pretty good at Clean out the Fridge Cooking when I do it – I just have to make sure I’m actually doing it.

*Master Omelet Technique: “Master” may be ambitious but I’d like to at least try to make mine look a bit more pretty/French-ified. Especially given the fact I practically make eggs daily.

*Find a way to Organize My Spices: Poor John may have to help me with this one, as I think the smart bet is to convert our pantry into more of a cabinet format for this. But it needs to be done.

*Filet a Whole Fish: If my brother-in-law can do it, so can I!

*Get My Knives Sharpened: I have a home sharpener but I think my good knives really need a complete reset before I use it for any more touch-ups. Plus I found out they do it at Union Market, so that’s easy.

Conquer My Fear of the Mandoline: I have to use it at least three times successfully this year.

Order an Animal Again, and Make Something Ambitious With Part of It: I dropped the ball on this last year and don’t want to miss it again.

Conquer my Fear of the Charcoal Grill: John’s pretty much the only one using it right now. Maybe I’ll smoke something!

Finally Make Goat: Third year’s the charm?

Make Fresh Mozzarella: I mean, I already did ricotta.

Take a Cooking Class:  This is sort of a Treat Yo Self one, but I haven’t taken one in a few years, and it’d be nice to stretch myself. Plus I don’t do much in the way of hobbies right now anyway.

Make Homemade Crackers: I have a recipe for this and have always wanted to try it.


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Hash Brown Casserole

Truth be told, I’m not much of a hash brown casserole person. But John and I ended up making Christmas breakfast kind of unexpectedly, and his mom had bought packages of hash browns for such a purpose. I whipped one up based on the package instructions, and it turned out pretty well.

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Clams Casino

This one’s a winner. John’s brother Tom made it for a special dinner we had earlier in the month, and John decided to recreate it for potluck. It’s from a restaurant where Tom used to work.

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Jen’s Bacon Bleu Cheese Dip

Couldn’t stop eating this at potluck.

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Mike’s Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

This was my friend Mike’s delicious contribution to potluck. He adapted it from a Joy of Cooking recipe, adding cauliflower to the mix.

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Eight Years of Holiday Potluck Mains

I was trying to remember all the dishes I made for Holiday Potluck over the years (totally forgot several of them until I researched). Figured out them all! Always an ambitious and fun endeavor. And though I think some years were better than others, we’ve never really had a bomb. Probable favorite: last year’s cassoulet? 

2013: Osso Bucco
2012 Cassoulet
2011 Lasagna with Homemade Noodles (Bolognese and Mushroom)
2010 Beer-Braised Brisket with Honey-Lime Glaze
2009 Mushroom-Stuffed Beef Tenderloin
2008 Coq a Vin (though I prefer Julia’s recipe, which I’ve made since)
2007 Cornish Game Hens
2006 Leg of Lamb (I don’t have the recipe – this predates my blog!)


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My Favorite Recipes of 2013

I actually liked most of the recipes I tried in 2013, so it was hard to narrow the list (and let’s be real; I didn’t narrow it down much). Non surprising trends: I tended to like non-beef burger/meatball recipes and America’s Test Kitchen/Cooking Light/Ina Garten recipes. Editor’s Note: If I end up really liking the chicken scarpariello I’m making tomorrow night for John-Missy-Christmas, I’ll add it to the list. 😉

Labor/time intensive or just fit for company:
Osso Bucco (Ina Garten). Great for entertaining and yet relatively easy.
Chicken Tikka Masala (America’s Test Kitchen) Good to find a solid version of this dish
John’s Turkey Meatloaf (Not sure, but John made it regardless) My favorite from John Cooks May
Scallops Provencal (Ina) Ended up being Easter Dinner and then made it again for my parents, who loved it.
Lamb Guinness Stew (Cooking Light) The main course of our Scotch Night party

Weekday meals:
Buffalo Chicken Burgers (Serious Eats) I love anything buffalo wing flavored and these were nice and juicy
Lighter Chicken Tetrazzini (CL) This is nice because the recipe makes one for now and one to freeze. I made it for a party, brought it to a friend who just had a baby, etc.
Homemade Chicken Nuggets (ATK) Just fun.
Pork Loin with Jon’s Chile Coffee Rub (a John/Jon collaboration). Delicious, and the leftovers last all week. On that note, also loved pork and broccoli rabe sandwiches with said leftovers
Lighter Deep Dish Pizza (Cooking Light) Made this one several times. First time I really enjoyed deep dish much.

Recipes I made up and loved:
Spatchcocked Chicken with Squash, Potatoes and Salsa Verde A weird amalgam of recipes I’d read before that turned out really impressive.
Turkey Meatball Banh Mi Threw these together for an impromptu lunch and loved ’em.
Halibut with Pea Puree and Vegetables Tasted restaurant quality.
Quick-Pickled Korean Carrots Super easy and versatile.
Meat-in-a-Box Inspired Salmon Kabobs A good job adapting a restaurant dish.
Pizzeria Salad Recreating a flavor I missed from childhood.

Best Fish/Vegetarian:
Bibimbap  (CL) (actually, the first time I made this it was with beef, but I’ve since made it several times since using shrimp or just vegetables) My favorite breakfast of the year.
Veggie Burgers with Quinoa and Cheese (Eating Well, Living Thin, found just Googling) First time I’ve been satisfied with a homemade veggie burger.
Shrimp Burgers (ATK) I could eat these every week.
Becky’s Awesome Quinoa (CL, via Becky) Became a versatile side dish in our rotation.
White Pizza (adapted from Mark Bittman) I think I like my homemade white pizza better than my homemade regular pizza.

Whole Wheat, No-Knead Bread (adapted from Jim Lahey/New York Times) I made bread! Several times during the winter, actually.
Homemade Beef Jerky (Jam it, Pickle it, Cure it) At least we used the dehydrator a little?
Drunken Blondies (adapted from Amateur Gourmet) May be a stretch in this category but I don’t have a better one, but I finally made a dessert I liked!
Pretzels Time consuming but not too tough.
Gravlax A fun recipe based on an interview I did for work.

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Osso Bucco

This was the centerpiece dish for our Holiday Potluck, and I really enjoyed making it. It was surprisingly easy but turned out beautifully, and could be made a day in advance. Stay tuned for some other fun potluck dishes from friends.

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Pasta with Tuna, Feta, Olives and Capers

What do you do with leftover tuna and leftover pasta from two different meals? Combine them for lunch. This was a salt lovers’ dream.

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Quinoa with Shrimp and Black Beans

I’m trying to eat salad for one meal a day until Christmas (usually lunch). Hoping that this, combined with a bunch of running, will help me shed a few pounds during the crazy holiday season (I’m also cutting back a bit on meat, cheese and white carbs, though nothing’s off limits). We’ll see if it works. Regardless, I love salad, so this barely feels like a diet, and I’m working grain salads into the mix as well. This was a combination of random leftovers and odds and ends.

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