Shortly before my birthday in November, I decided to constructively address my melancholia by setting some goals for myself. This included a list of 20 foods that I wanted to perfect. They are as followed:
Tomato sauce, meat sauce (Bolognese), sausage (breakfast and Italian, without casings), falafel, cinnamon rolls, potato chips, chocolate and vanilla cake, pot pie, egg rolls, veggie burgers, wontons, whole wheat rolls, re-fried beans, tortillas (corn and flour), ravioli and a proper omelette.
Thus far, I am not progressing very quickly. I have only made tortillas (a lot of tortillas) that sold out at the community kitchen. Other than that I have not accomplished much and I think I need to step it up a notch. Not only because I want to ensure my future success, but because I find that being busier and having purpose makes life easier. Having too much time has made me lazy.
My first step needs to be figuring out how to make vanilla extract as it is impossible to find here in Germany and is absolutely essential to baked goods. I think its lack of availability is why German cakes and cookies just don’t taste “right”. I am planning to use this “recipe” from thekitchn.com: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-homemade-vanilla-extract-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-197785. It seems relatively easy, I just need to find vanilla beans. If anyone has any tips, tricks or recommendations, please share with the group!
The second step is making a game plan. This weekend is going to be very busy, I am going to the garden tomorrow to dig asparagus trenches and hiking on Sunday, which means it is not the weekend to learn how to make wontons or egg rolls. This leaves me with only a few options. I am thinking crock-pot tomato sauce, practice making an omelette (yum protein!) and perhaps Italian sausage because pork is on-sale this week.
The crock-pot is such a wonderful invention. It makes the possible to do two things at once while actually only doing one. It will be my first time making sauce in this manner, so I am not quite sure what I am going to use. I also have questions about how to use the crock-pot. For example, am I supposed to saute the onions first?
I also do not have a recipe for the sausage yet, but am on the prowl for a good one. I wish Gianelli would publish their secret recipe. That would be amazing, but relatively unlikely. As it stands, I am going to use some combination of chili pepper, garlic, wine, anise, fennel, salt, pepper and parsley. However, I am unsure of the exact measurements. If you or someone you know has had success making sausage, please share your wisdom!
Finally, there is the omelette. As Julia Child is sort of my hero (I read My Life in France and became completely enchanted with her) and an authority on this subject, so I am planning on using her advice.
So, that is the game plan. Let’s see how it goes!