New Year’s resolutions

Halfway through the year, let’s take a look at where I am with my list. Updates (and true confessions) after each point. Let me know in the comments what you think.

In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I’ve been kicking an idea around about all the dishes I swear I’m going to cook—recipes I’m going to try.

If you’re reading this and thinking I can’t believe she’s intimidated to make (fill in the blank), know we all have culinary roadblocks.

When I was thinking about this, I came across a piece on the Taste website, “Everyone Should Have a Winter Cooking Goal.” The author’s goal is to work on one dish until she masters it and has explored all its variations.

My goals are a little different–some of these I’d like to master, some I’d like to have become a regular part of my cooking repertoire and others are rainy day/all day projects. I’m thinking that maybe there should be one a month, but at the moment, I’m 4 short. Any suggestions?

8 Things I’m Challenging Myself to Cook in 2019:

  1. Crêpes: One of those projects that I thought I could throw equipment at and be okay. This just needs practice and probably patience. For you crêpe makers out there, is it easier to start with regular (flour) ones before moving on to savory (buckwheat) ones? Update: Thanks to my friend Jan, mastered this one. Have done both plain and buckwheat, plain are easier and probably more versatile.
  2. Soupe de poisson: This is one of my favorite soups and a prelude to bouillabaisse. Making this is just a matter of deciding to do it and getting some good fish. Update: Still on my wish list. 
  3. Whole fish: I don’t know why this has always seemed so challenging to me and since they just published this in the NY Times, I’m not the only one. Could it be one of those things like roasting meats that’s super easy but looks like you can cook? Anyone got a favorite recipe to share? Update: In spite of saving simple whole fish recipes and checking out the contenders at Adam’s, I haven’t gotten here yet, but it’s coming.
  4. More fish: Where we are, it’s much easier to get great (farm raised) meat, than good fish, but I’m going to make finding a good source for fish and befriending a fishmonger a priority this year (and it will make #2 & 3 much easier). Update: got off to a good start with this and give myself extra points for doing a lot more salmon to see if I could con Frank into eating it. We loved several of the recipes.
  5. Cream of mushroom soup: (as good as the CIA and/or the late Campfire in GB) Like the soupe de poisson, this is more a matter of going shopping and facing the stove. Update: Like the soupe de poisson, didn’t happen and I’ve got no excuses.
  6. Cauliflower rice: Yes, I can be trendy, and we need to cut carbs/sugar in my house. Update: Since I wrote this I don’t think we’ve had any cauliflower. Hmmm…
  7. Grains: Freekeh, farro, oats, lentils, etc. Time to switch it up from rice and potatoes. And if I would do #8, probably faster cooking than an hour on the stove. Update: More room for improvement and that goes for #8 too. Accidental Locavore Insta-Pot
  8. Use my Insta-Pot: for more than yogurt and use the pressure cooker part of it. Shoot, I guess that means I have to find the instruction book and read it. Update: It still makes great yogurt…

And, I’m going to start using the “good” silver! Update: Polished it and used it the last time we had friends for dinner. Nice to use the good stuff, try it.

What would go on your list?




Accidental Locavore Big Apple Circus

Barely into 2012 and the Accidental Locavore gets to host the Blogging Boomer’s Carnival this week (no cooking required). From knees to necks with a few camels thrown in for good measure: what’s on tap?

SoBabyBoomer writes about keeping Boomers on the job.  As America’s Baby Boomers grow older and creakier, some companies are trying to keep those with hard-to-replace skills fit enough to remain employed.

The Midlife Crisis Queen regularly receives midlife-related products from companies.  These are a few that changed her life for the better!

What’s the most popular post on Arabian Tales and Other Amazing Adventures in 2011 ? Midnight at the Liwa Oasis – Our first UAE In-country Adventure. Memorizing dunes, camels and local heritage demonstrations made this one awesome trip.

Lucie from Midlife Musings talks about New Year’s Resolutions and how sometimes revamping the way you think may be the best resolution to make.

Dan the Early Retired Man is a formal U.S. Post Office employee who predicts the demise of weekend delivery. See the Boomer Chronicles for more. Will you miss him on Saturdays?

Speaking of cost-cutting measures, Tom Sightings is spending the new year trying to figure out The Problem with Our Economy, and to help clarify the issues he turns to the brilliantly acerbic financial writer Michael Lewis.

Over at Contemporary Retirement, Ann asks: Would you rather eat, drink and be merry and die at a younger age?  Or practice restraint and hope to live longer?

And if you’d like to eat, drink and be merry, the Accidental Locavore has a great recipe for Greek shrimp with feta. Added bonus, it fits into my (one) resolution!

What’s your favorite post this week and why? We love your comments!



Cook-Along Recipe for Shrimp With Feta Cheese

by Anne Maxfield on January 6, 2012

Accidental Locavore Shrimp With FetaFor 2012, The Accidental Locavore decided to make eating seafood at least once a week a priority. Part of the reason we don’t eat as much of it as we should is that upstate we’re really limited in our sources for good fish. Because we have such good relations with a couple of local purveyors, it’s easy to revert to meat. To make this resolution stick, the Locavore is going to pick a recipe each week and revisit the Cook-Along, this time with seafood. First up, an old Greek favorite:  shrimp with feta cheese. There are lots of recipes online for them. I started with one from The Olive and the Caper and quickly deviated. It’s really quick and this will serve 2:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1-14 ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted (if you can get really good tomatoes, use about 3 of them instead)
  • 1 tablespoon ouzo, or brandy (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • Pepper, to taste
  • ¾ pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 ounces Greek feta cheese, crumbled in big chunks

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating, heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until just soft, not browned, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and their juice, the brandy, dill and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have started to meld into the sauce. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the shrimp. Put in a gratin pan or shallow casserole (I used two small gratin pans) and top with the feta. Bake (uncovered) for about 6 minutes until the feta has just started to turn golden on the corners (it doesn’t melt, but will soften). Sprinkle some of the dill on top for garnish, serve and enjoy.

My verdict: 3.5 out of 5. I used a can of fire-roasted tomatoes with chiles. The chiles didn’t add anything and while not terribly spicy, it was enough heat to be noticeable (and not welcome). If I were cooking this for more people and/or wanted to stretch it, it would be tempting to braise a little fennel and add that plus some Greek olives and serve it over orzo. The shrimp were lovely and tender, and went nicely with the creaminess of the feta. I didn’t get much taste from the dill, it might just have traveled too far.

Sorry about the fuzzy photo, the Locavore must have been hungry…



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Accidental Locavore Freezer Before

Desperation, coupled with the prospect of a new year and the expectation of resolutions, can be a powerful motivator. With all that in mind, the Accidental Locavore decided to tackle the black-hole of forgotten food, otherwise known as the freezer. The goals were simple, open the door, see what was in there, decide if it was still edible/worth saving and try (desperately) to make order out of frozen chaos.

Because of recent Charcutepalooza challenges requiring the use of large areas in a small freezer, I’ve spent the past few months rearranging the deck chairs, so to speak, but have not tackled the larger issues. The recent addition of a gift of three containers of puff pastry, while welcome, also presented its own set of challenges (note to self: two of them could happily go upstate, where there’s not a holiday big enough to get me to clear out that freezer).

Accidental Locavore Freezer ContentsWhat I found:

  • 3 frozen pizzas
  • 2 Indian dinners
  • Banana leaves
  • 3 containers of pine nuts
  • Duck rilettes
  • Fois gras
  • 3 containers of puff pastry
  • Mushroom risotto hors d’oeuvres
  • 3 kinds of ravioli
  • Gnocchi
  • Cod fillet
  • Part of a small bottle of sake
  • 2 bags Chinese pork dumplings
  • Banana bread
  • Baguette
  • 3 Bagels
  • 3 kinds of bacon
  • Pork skin
  • 2 kinds of Italian sausage
  • 2 batches of pesto
  • Coq au vin (tossed)
  • Corn
  • 2 bags artichoke hearts
  • Rice
  • Ground pork
  • Duck
  • Duck leg confit
  • Pork sausage
  • Duck livers
  • 2 types cooking chocolate
  • Kafir lime leaves
  • The ginger I was looking for yesterday…
  • Thai chiles
  • Hangar steak (tossed)
  • 8 ice packs
  • Bag of chimichurri rice
  • 2 small containers of split pea soup
  • Bag of meatless meatballs

Accidental Locavore Freezer AfterThe verdict: took an hour. Not sure if it looks any better, however I do know what’s in there (lots of duck & pork) and (vaguely) where it is. Have shelves for meat, veggies, pasta, puff pastry, bread etc. Put the small stuff and ice packs in the door, added the pesto to the shelf with the pasta. Took some of the bacon and the ground pork out to thaw to make albondigas for Frank for dinner tonight. Heated the mushroom risotto hors d’oeuvres and brought them to Zhu Zhu’s amazing New Year’s Eve dinner.

What’s in your freezer?