Actually, there are so many aspects of cooking that I can improve in, it should be the 1000 Food Challenges for the Next Decade, but I guess that would get a little overwhelming! So here are some things I see in my more immediate future that will stretch my cooking (and other) muscles, hopefully not to the breaking point!
- TEACHING: As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been invited to teach a class called "Mardi Gras!" for my local food coop. They have fabulous cooking classes, which I've happily attended in the past. I've never cooked for pay in my life, never mind cooking while talking while helping learners learn! But it's something I've always wanted to do, and besides I want to spread the Gumbo Gospel. It's such a gorgeous meal. Note to self: blog gumbo! So, anyway, as it turns out there's enough interest to fill two sessions, one of them this Friday ... gotta get on the stick figuring out how this whole thing is going to work! And while talking with the teaching coordinator yesterday, she's invited me to teach a class on classy brunches this spring. So I will hopefully be expanding my cooking horizons in the direction of teaching this year. It's all very exciting!
- JAMBALAYA: Even though I love jambalaya, too, I haven't come across a recipe that I'm happy with. And since I've mastered gumbo (imho), if I can figure out how to make great jambalaya, I'll have mastered the Grand Duo of Creole cooking. Not to mention made my Huz very, very happy. So if you know the secret to killer jambalaya, I hope you'll consider sharing it with me!
- COOKING FOR A CROWD: About the largest group I've ever cooked for was 30. It was a not-insignificant accomplishment, though, because the kitchen was small and the crowd barely fit around the tables! This spring, a good friend who operates a great non-profit organization, W8NG, has asked me to plan and execute a dinner for a much larger crowd, perhaps in the neighborhood of 100. And I said yes! What am I, CRAZY? But it will be done in a good-sized commercial kitchen, and I'll have lots of help. In fact, if I can work my way into the dramatic entertainment being planned for the night, I'll do most of the prep work ahead of time, get everyone all set for the dinner, and then go Do Drama instead! Does that sound a tad optimistic to you? Um .. me too. We'll see. Meantime, do you know a great dessert to serve after a chicken putanesca meal? One that scales well, can be made ahead of time, and delivered to tables by teenagers? Haaaeeelp!
- FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY: Errr, ah, take a look at my food photos. Not disgusting, but nothing like beautiful, either. Nuff said.
- YEAST BREAD: I would love to get comfortable with, and proficient at, baking yeast breads. I've tried a few recipes in the past and have been none too proud of the outcomes. Would love to take a class at King Arthur Flour's headquarters, which is not so very far from me ... but they do cost a lot! Maybe I'll ask for that as a Christmas present. From multiple gifters. In which case, learning will happen in 2006, actual doing in 2007. Does that get me kicked off the 2006 Challenge boat?
- do it!
If you decide to take up the challenge, please let me know, please, please, so I can read yours! And I'd love to add a link to your blog if you'd like.
Happy memeing, all!