What Do You Want to Eat This Year?

New Year's goals and determinations are on the tips of tongues this week, and the Mighty Appetite household is no exception. In addition to more exercise and a commitment to a daily regimen of vitamins and probiotics, I've got several objectives in mind to bring me closer to my broader goal of improved wellness. Here's a handful I hope to tackle:

* Drink more anti-oxidant-rich tea, drink less alcohol which makes waistline expand magically before my very eyes.

* Invest in a good juicer and re-introduce freshly squeezed juices into my morning routine, as I know how energized it makes me feel.

* Put more green on my plate, more often. Bring on the whole grains too -- and diversify, play more with farro and millet, red rice and buckwheat.

* Eat less gluten. Although not intolerant to wheat, rye and barley, I prefer how I feel when I keep gluten-rich foods to a minimum.

* Continue to explore cuisines that interest me -- Indian, Vietnamese and Mexican - and dig deeper into regions, histories and traditions, perhaps taking a class or two.

* Make ravioli all by myself, without hand holding from my tutor, and pursue French onion soup, kimchi and corn tortillas. Resume canning and preserving this summer.

* Slow down and allow more time for hot pots of stew and curry, making it more a rule than an exception.

* Sup at home more often than in a restaurant.

* Chew more slowly and mindfully, and without newspapers, televisions or other distractions.

* Graciously accept help in the kitchen and let go of the culinary controls, even if a dish turns out differently than how I envision or imagine.

So, what do you want out of your kitchen life in 2008? Share your culinary determinations in the comments area below.

By Kim ODonnel |  January 2, 2008; 9:54 AM ET Wellness
Previous: Peas and Rice Make the New Year Nice | Next: Food Mag Roundup: A New Year, A New Batch


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I have all these lovely cookbooks and oh how I love reading my cookbooks! And I have a ton. I'm sending the 8 I don't like to read anymore to Good Will this weekend.

But I don't cook anything from them! From "ooh, I don't think I like shallots" to "and where would I find that?!" I can come up with every excuse to make the old & boring stand-bys. I've even got a new guy who loves my cooking, is willing to help in the kitchen and is pretty good about trying anything once.

My New Year's Resolution: Every week, cook or bake one thing from one of my cookbooks. Make the recipe just how it says (ok, I'll probably go a few steps past "Singe the feathers" in my 1914 cookbook...). If I like it or think it would taste better with brown rice instead of white, try it again, and this time, experiment!

1 new item a week! I can do this!

Posted by: ncc | January 2, 2008 11:05 AM

I want to learn how to make a good curry at home and try Kim's beef patty recipe. I need to get more fruits and vegetables in my diet. My DH and I are talking about joining a CSA. Maybe this is the year we can cut our red meat intake in half.

Posted by: LisaLuvs2Cook | January 2, 2008 12:21 PM

i want to master baking breads and cakes with the help of my new kitchenaid stand mixer, since i've only baked 3 breads in my lifetime including 2 since receiving the mixer for christmas. so i've got the mixer and i just bought the cake bible. now if i could just make the time...

Posted by: olivia | January 2, 2008 12:26 PM

olivia - Buy Rose's Bread Bible too and go to her site, realbakingwithrose.

kim - If you're not allergic or sensitive to glutin, what is causing your problem with it? For those who don't have a problem, there seems to be no reason for cutting it out, though every reason if you do have a problem.

Posted by: Fran | January 2, 2008 12:37 PM

I want to learn how to make (vegetarian) soups that taste good, fill me up, and keep my interest for 2 to 3 meals. A corollary is to keep the volume of junk in my freezer to a minimum so that I have room for freezing the leftovers, and once that's done to be motivated to actually eat said leftovers.

Posted by: Reine de Saba | January 2, 2008 12:52 PM

I want to continue cooking more at home and not using processed foods. I too have a lot of cookbooks that need to be dusted off.
I used to plan 5 meals at home during the week and grocery shop to that plan. I stopped doing that when I went back to work full-time. The irony is that it took less time to do the planning once a week than it does to try to figure out what I'm cooking each night! I found that only planning 5 meals works best for my family of four because one night is always leftovers and another night a grilled cheese or some scrambled eggs is enough to keep everyone happy.

Happy new year of cooking everyone!

Posted by: rmh | January 2, 2008 1:01 PM

I want to eat more locally and utilize farmer's markets more. Kim got me started on this, and I definetly prefer the produce I get there. It's just a matter of making runs to the farmer's market as regular as runs to the grocery store. On another "green" note - I bought reusable bags. I *usually* remember to take them to the store. I want to make that an *always*.

My husband works shifts, and is currently waiting for a permanent assignment. If he is permanently assigned to evenings, I want to explore more cuisines and learn how to cook for one. He's been assigned to evenings for the past few weeks and I find myself at a bit of a loss for dinner sometimes.

Posted by: DC Cubefarm | January 2, 2008 1:46 PM

1) continue figuring out the world of wheat-and-egg-free baking so that I can enjoy baking as much as I did pre-kid (daughter is allergic) so far I've had great success with muffins and pancakes. Next- yeast breads and pizza crust.
2) join a CSA!
3) this summer, make a weekly trip to the farmers market.
4) replace all my nonstick cookware. I feel funny cooking on it, and it's wearing out anyway after only 5 years.

Posted by: reston, va | January 2, 2008 2:03 PM

ncc, just a note to you concerning your resolution. i made the same resolution a couple of years ago. i don't know what your situation is but i think it would be better to try a new recipe every other week. once a week was stressful. it really stopped being fun. every other week makes it a little more fun.

Posted by: quark | January 2, 2008 4:08 PM

I want to bake a really good pie, probably apple. I have really enjoyed all the baking I've been doing, and pie is the next challenge I want to tackle. I'm determined not to give up, even if I bake a few bricks!

Also, this summer I want to get really creative and prolific with grilling. It will be our first summer with a grill and a backyard, and we dabbled in it last year, but I know there's lots more we could do out there!

Posted by: Jackie | January 2, 2008 4:38 PM

Happy New Year, Everyone!

My hopes for 2008 (with two kids and one on the way) are simple:

1) to put more greens on our plates and into our bodies
2) get back to planning meals that stretch our dollars and our palates efficiently (including going to the farmer's market)
3) plan for slow pots of stews, soups and curries and clean out the freezer for leftovers
4) rid the pantry of unwanted/unneeded/unutilized ingredients

I hope that these steps will improve our diets and will introduce the kids to new and interesting tastes that they'll like (but, there is always ketchup if the meal's experiment fails).

oh! and 5) read Kim's blog and participate in her chat when able! Our home LOVES Kim!

Posted by: Centre of Nowhere | January 2, 2008 5:06 PM

I think I'll take my favorite cookbook and make EVERY recipe. Oh wait, that's been done (and very funny by the way--I'm referring to the Julie/Julia project).

Here's mine. Stop wasting food. Far too often, I've seen an interesting ingredient and buy it with full plans to make something from it. For example, I saw chestnuts at a park (it was actually some kind of funky acorn I think) and got excited about chestnuts. I saw some chestnuts at a local grocery store and bought a pound with intentions of making chestnut soup. And they sat.

No more. I'm going to declare war on my good intentions (and sadly spoiled food). I generally cook from scratch at home, but am undisciplined when shopping. We also have some interesting sauces that have sat around for ages. I'd like to clear out the cabinet to make space for something I'm likely to use.

So, my resolution is that I will not permit food to spoil, starting with that 2 1/2 pound bag of spinach I just bought at Costco. Fortunately, I love Moosewood's recipe for spinach-ricotta pie (using chevre as a variant) and Saag Paneer. It should be an interesting year.


Posted by: Fairlington Blade | January 2, 2008 7:51 PM

This year, I'm going to learn how to make lamb. My husband, whose family originally hails from the Republic of Georgia, plans to learn to cook Georgian food so I think we'll be spending a lot of time in his aunt's kitchen. Yum!

Posted by: Fan in Isael | January 3, 2008 2:40 AM

(1) More frequent use of cloth bags for shopping of all sorts (not just groceries).

(2) Continued progress in meal planning for budget, diet diversity, and health. Includes more frequent fish dishes and more soups. Perhaps I'll check out the Cooking Light soup recipes Kim profiled.

(3) More creative use of the crockpot- might not be haute cuisine, but I think it can be used creatively to provide hot, healthy, cost-effective meals a couple times a week while leaving more time for us to spend together outside the kitchen.

(4) Greater creativity with grilling ( come summer).

(5) More packed, healthful lunches, less cafeteria stuff. Since the cafeteria here has gotten both worse and more expensive, I have some help on this one...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 3, 2008 12:19 PM

I, too, must take more care to completely utilize all the fresh veggies I buy (at farmers' markets and from an independent grower of organic produce, "the Veggie Lady", who stops by our office once a week--I tend to over buy because everything looks so good). Better menu planning is necessary.
I'd also like to tackle European breadmaking, achieving that nice, chewy Euro crust my husband likes so much (he's from Germany). I love to make bread, but the crust is too soft for his taste! He tends to toast every piece of bread 'til it's almost carbonized!
Also, I'll continue to coach my daughter in her efforts to learn how to cook, and enjoy doing it. I certainly do! We're creating lots of great memories, as well as good food!

Posted by: Rebecca in VA. | January 3, 2008 2:46 PM

olivia: Hope that you enjoy and get good use out of your mixer. I love mine!

For this year: bake more bread from scratch. Used to do it all the time, but have gotten away from it.

Eat more fruits and vegetables every day.

Posted by: Pila | January 3, 2008 11:56 PM

kim, farro is on my list of to-do's this year as well. the nov/dec eating well has a recipe for farro with pistachios and herbs (page 76) that looks wonderful. they pair it with a slow-cooked provencal beef stew.
i hope you'll have a posting on your adventures with farro! happy cooking to everyone!

Posted by: conniecook | January 4, 2008 5:47 PM

What a great post! It really got my mind a working about what culinary pursuits to pursue! Last year was my year of canning! I canned so many things: pickled okra, peach jam (my favorite), blackberry preserves, cherry jam (my second favorite), strawberry preserves, peach chutney, quince conserve, and apple sauce. When Christmas came around or we were invited to someone's home, I had more than enough to give away, and still have enough to last through winter.

This year I want to
1) Use my stand mixer to become a bread maker. I've got a friend who's a master bread maker so I may just have to ask for some instruction!
2) Entertain at home at least once a month and more impromptu. Forget about the little messes and just have folks in!
3a) Try a new restaurant every month. Another great way to spend time with friends!
3b) Start checking out some of DC's 100 best restaurants, at least according to the Washingtonian's listings, starting during restaurant week (jan 14-20).

Posted by: Sean | January 8, 2008 2:35 PM

And P.S. I love your last resolution, Kim. I too need to relinquish control and welcome assistance in the kitchen. It only encourages my partner to want to help and to (egads!) cook FOR me on occasion!

Posted by: Sean | January 8, 2008 2:37 PM

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