Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Making Plans


Well, it's 2011 and -- as I'm typing this, at least -- I've got one whole blog post ready to go. Hmmm .... In the past few weeks, I'd done so much cooking and baking that it was easy to keep the ol' blog fed and fat and festive. But now what ...?

Tom had the flu this past week, so I just made simple things to eat by myself; the thought of food might nearly have put my poor sweetie into a coma if he hadn't already been napping. I used up leftovers from Christmas weekend, but didn't want to do much cooking; not only would that likely have only left me with more leftovers, just variations on the original theme, but the aromas might have seemed more like a stench to someone whose stomach was in revolt.

I took no pictures and I took no notes; there's nothing particularly thrilling or photogenic about a roast beast sandwich after all, or about a clementine. I had a spinach salad, too -- it was colorful. I like to offer a bit more than that to my beloved readers!

However, I did take some time to consider what plans I might have for ye olde blog this year. I've talked for a long time about doing a cupcake competition between the 4 primary purveyors in Ann Arbor: Decadent Delight, Cake Nouveau, Cupcake Station and Just Baked. But I need to have Jeremy back to eating carbs, Tom back to eating anything, and time to set up a semi-scientific system for comparisons.

For Christmas, Tom gave me some fabulous and amazing Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar from Michigan-based Fustini's Oils and Vinegars, and I need to play with that beyond just marinating chicken or making a dressing for my very pretty spinach salad. He also gave me some lovely applewood-smoked sea salt, which could make for some significant entertainment if I were to make my own bacon. I think Hiller's Market, another Michigan-based franchise, sells plain strips of pork that could accommodate this little experiment. I could see adding the salt to virtually any pork dish, like goulash (which has been calling me, with its slow cooked pork cubes and sauerkraut -- it's cold here in Michigan!).

I'm planning an "International Week," with representation from Italy (a pasta dish with a surprise ingredient), Cuba, England, Poland (my beloved friend Connie's pickle soup, tweaked slightly), and even Mongolia. The late, great Savvy Traveller bookstore on Michigan Avenue in Chicago (across from the Art Institute) sold any kind of item relating to venturing into the world -- language tutorials, maps, disposable skivvies, travelogues, and even cookbooks. Who knew that there was a Mongolian cookbook??? I hadn't, 'til I found it one day and simply had to bring it home with me. Borders would order anything I ask them to; but how would I ever have known such a thing existed, so that I could place an order, if I hadn't seen it at a real live store??? There is an ache in my heart every time I think of my very favorite bookstore ever ... R.I.P., Savvy Traveller ... :(

I've also planned for ages and ages to make Spaghetti Tacos, after reading about the iCarly phenomenon in The New York Times several months ago. Of course, they sound disgusting in their original incarnation; but, what a novel concept! What a challenge, to see if they can actually be made edible for anyone over the age of 8! I have visions of using spaghetti squash instead of noodles, and tweaking it with some seasoning and fresh salsa and green onions. Oh, man, I'm getting hungry ... that's a significant problem when one happens to write a food blog!

I've got quite the collection of quirky cookbooks -- some that are decades older than I am, some that are mysterious, some that are just laughable (like one "written" by Miss Piggy and other celebrities). I need to stop just collecting them and actually put them to use!

So, those are a few of the notions that have been spinning around in my head. Is there any particular path YOU'D like to see me meander down? Any food challenges or dares? Any recipes you'd like to see if I can re-create (as a friend is hoping I can do with her late grandmother's pea soup which was kosher, and thus contained no salt pork)? Any other ideas of any kind??? Just let me know. 'Cause I've got 263 more Monday-through-Friday posts to write, and I'm open to suggestions!!!

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Jenn said...

I love what you have planned...the international week...the spaghetti tacos (strange but intriguing!)..and I love, love, love your old cookbook collection!! Looks like a fun year ahead..can't wait!

EmptyNester said...

Everything you do is great. But I have recently discovered oils--garlic oil and basil oil and the like--and would love some advice/opinion on oils vs dried herbs?

Aunt Peg said...

Great post! I am excited to see where you take your blog this coming year...I'm sure it will be fantastic!
I absolutely love the vintage cookbooks, I'm an avid cookbook reader! This has inspired me to maybe start a collection of vintage cookbooks (I probably have a couple already-lol). THANKS!

Cranberry Morning said...

Love your cookbook collection. I'm kicking myself for throwing out several old cookbooks a few years ago. Two were hippie cookbooks from an old healthfood store. I should just learn never to throw anything away!

So sorry to hear that Tom is not well, but what thoughtful gifts you received from him! Gifts to aid in your food blog.

I am always interested in recipes that don't include packaged mixes of any kind because I'm so poison sensitive. ;-) So I always enjoy your blog and the great recipes therein! Looking forward to 2011 with you, Mary.

Angela FRS said...

Hmmmmm...spaghetti tacos. Intriguing. I love the cupcake idea, personally. I am also at something of a loss right now, plus I am heading back to work full time so I am hoping my blog doesn't start featuring photos of frozen dinners!

Candace said...

I am excited about the adventures you have planned for us, Mary! You never disappoint in anything that you post on your blog and I'm so thankful that I found you in 2010. I can see the fusion Spaghetti Tacos taking shape now and eagerly await your experiment. I pray that Tom recovers quickly and that you both have a wonderful 2011! Candace

Ms Bibi said...

I have to look for the Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar. It sounds so good.

I love the idea of International week.

Dan said...

My son watches iCarly, so I might give the spaghetti tacos a whirl. I'd prefer soft taco shells (spaghetti burritos?) myself.

My only two obstacles are:
1. my son refuses to put sauce on his pasta (he's seven, gimme a break!)
2. my wife is "allergic" to spaghetti in particular. She'll eat any other type of pasta. I think it's because she has a phobia of snakes, and spaghetti in particular hits a nerve.

Beth Zimmerman said...

Sounds like I picked a great time to venture back into the blogging realm! Those sound like great plans! And I'm impressed by the little Jewish girl making her own bacon! :) Still won't be kosher though ... right? Hope Tom is one the mend and you don't get it!

Leanne said...

Oh, dear dear Mary...you sure WILL be nurturing us all year, won't you??? The vintage cookbooks are so cool...how I wonder what recipes are in there.

I vote for a Jello contest!!!! (I kid not!!!) Do you "do" jello? It's been a staple in my family growing up, and has fallen to the wayside in my adult life, but my sister and I are working at bringing it back (and my mom made a LOVELY lime green jello w/cottage cheese, seriously, for Christmas Eve. It was YUMMM!!!)

Can't wait to see what comes to life here in '11!

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