Those of us who work for Sur La Table often get asked what we’re cooking these days— it comes with the knowing-about-cool-pots-and-pans territory. Since I love a good chuckle and am, admittedly, more of a diner than a cook, my answer is typically “up trouble.” But this year I’m ready to answer! With words about food! Here, then, are my cooking resolutions for 2016:
- Roast that chicken
If you’ve read this, or this or this or this, then you know that roasting a chicken is my kitchen kryptonite, or, as our fearless blog editor called it in our year-end review of our most popular posts, my “culinary white whale.” That ends in 2016. I’m going to go all Captain Ahab on that chicken. No mercy. I will roast it, and it will be delicious. (He does get the whale in the end, right?)
- Dust off that Pinterest board
How many recipes do I have to pin before I realize I’m never going to make them? Oh, the adobo! The sad, forgotten scampis! The pull-aparts that never came together! I’ve been using Pinterest as a parking lot for far too long and need to start moving some cars. My 2016 strategy: start with one dish a month. Plan ahead. Shop for ingredients early, not when bleary-eyed after work. Baby steps.
- Clean up my lunchtime act
Things were going so well for me in 2015. I’d discovered how easy making fancy and healthy lunches at work could be. I resisted the aromas coming from the test kitchen at Sur La Table headquarters, where the recipes for our cooking classes are perfected. But then I fell deep into a tostado bowl and have been treading ranch ever since. Back to non-drive-thru lunches this year. Hey— maybe some leftover Pinterest scampi!
- Go big
Just because I’m not a natural in the kitchen, or, really, much of anything in there besides “hummus annihilator,” doesn’t mean that I can’t aim high when it comes to cooking. This year, I resolve to make at least one, big, beautiful, ambitious, multi-course meal from scratch. Something special. Something I can be proud of. Something worthy of my best table runner. I know.
- Get special (recipes)
Speaking of special: over the holidays, I had the pleasure of having an embarrassing amount a bowl of my mom’s minestrone. It was so good, and unmistakably hers. I know I’ll never be able to make it quite like she does, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try. Food is such a wonderful reminder of people and places; attempting to re-create memorable meals seems like a great use of time in the kitchen. In other words: if I have a knockout pasta dish or party dip at your place this year, you’ll be hearing from me.
- Raclette it go
This resolution isn’t actually about using a raclette party grill or its better-known, cheese-meltin’ cousin, Fred Fondu. It’s about applying the joy of racletting (which, if you know, then you know) to cooking in general… and also about the fact that I am, apparently, completely unable to resist a good pun. But here’s the thing: because I don’t cook much, I often get a bit stressed when I do (my boyfriend: “Can I grab a spoon?” Me: “I AM TRYING TO PUT THIS VERY IMPORTANT STICK OF BUTTER DOWN RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE STANDING AND NOW EVERYTHING IS RUINED BUT SURE THAT’S FINE GO RIGHT AHEAD ENJOY YOUR SPOON”). That changes this year. I need to remember that cooking doesn’t have to be a test or task. As my pal Joel Gamoran, Senior Resident Chef at our W. 57th & 8th store in NYC says, “it’s just food.” He’s right. Have fun. Enjoy the process of making a meal for people you love. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If some melted cheese spills, it’s ok; dip a tiny pickle* into it and take a bite. Raclette it go.
What are your cooking resolutions for 2016? Let us know by leaving a comment below. Happy New Year, everyone!
*I’m not just being random here- tiny pickles, aka cornichons, are a classic accompaniment to Swiss cheesy dishes.