Culinary Challenges for 2006

Monday, January 16, 2006

Anne nudged me with a good idea for this coming year…

What do you dare yourself to make/do in the kitchen for 2006?

I started off my year conquering one goal (to make marshmallows!) , and was greated with the sweet fluffy taste of success. Not only was it a cool rediscovery of a food item corporate manufacturing has taken away from home kitchens- funky flavored marshmallows make great perplexing gifts!

tofu sketchWhat are culinary dreams doing lurking in those dark recesses of the brain? Do we keep them there for fear of failure? Lack of equipment, or time? No money?

Culinary Challenges for 2006
1. Make tofu from scratch.
2. Make my own Eugene-air based sourdough starter.
3. Make sausages!
4. Master the art of homemade ramen (thank you Tampopo!).
5. Make homemade ricotta (like Sam did…).
6. Get some great African recipes under my belt.
7. Really go through and dig in to some of my many cookbooks (gee, you mean put them to use?).


posted January 16th, 2006 at 11:01 am

Hey Good Girl,

I’m the bad girl from culiblog, but last year I succeeded in fulfilling all of my New Year’s resolutions (be more ladylike and improve handwriting) and I know how good this feels. Tofu making from scratch is also on MY list this year! Maybe we can coordinate? Amsterdam has great fresh tofu from a family company just across the water from my house, but I’ve haven’t checked them out thoroughly (even though I eat tons of the stuff) and don’t know where they get their soybeans – i.e., are they GM or not. Also, I’m growing soybeans on my allotment down in the Languedoc as a cover crop, but won’t know how well the crop is growing until I get back down there in March. It would be fun to do the entire kit and kaboodle.

There’s a wonderful documentary about a woman making miso – in the last Japanese prefecture (on the Northernmost island) to get electricity. Taimagura Grandma, is the title. Said Grams was a real kvetch in the film, although the documentary maker romanticised her something fierce, but there she was, way up in the mountains, stamping on her steamy soybeans, pounding the mash into beautifully shaped cones, braiding rope and hanging the lot up to dry slash ferment. She was complaining about her arthritis, but I’m a young whippersnapper, and I think this soybean stuff sounds like good fun.

Anywhozelbies, if you want to make tofu sometime, let me know. I’m your man. I mean, bad girl.

Nice blog you have there btw!

  • thanks bad girl!

    I’m totally ready to take this challenge :)

    I have Chinese coworkers who make their own tofu. They’ve given me a standing invite to see how they make it, which I’m looking forward to. They had a potluck at their house and introduced me to a dish called Buddah’s feast of mushrooms, and the skin off of homemade tofu which was so amazingly good. This food memory has stuck to my ribs and is what eggs me on.


- Debra
posted January 16th, 2006 at 12:27 pm

I want to join Debra in egging you on to make tofu from scratch. This seems like the task for which food blogging was invented.

I highly recommend the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion chapter on sourdough. It explains many things well. I have a dormant Milwaukee-air starter that I keep thinking about reviving. But baking bread has a way of taking over my life, so I really shouldn’t.

Loved the Japanese psych-out fast food sweets, btw.

  • Oh dear. The baker types I know do warn me about the obsession aspect of bread making. I spose I should ask my other obsessions first if they would be ok sharing me with baking :)

    My neighborhood bakery makes chocolate cherry sourdough that is quite motivating!


- mzn
posted January 16th, 2006 at 5:44 pm

I’m definitely with you on #7 … that’s why I started my Rediscovering My Library weekly challenge. Figured that would FORCE me to use my resources more often. Here’s to both of us keeping our resolutions!

posted January 17th, 2006 at 6:17 am

Good for you! Please keep us posted on how do you do :)
Today I have scheduled a trip to the dairy farm to get some fresh raw milk. If everything goes as planned, I’ll be preparing “requeson”, which is fresh white cheese, panamanian style—I’ll keep you posted. Hugs,

  • Excellent! Oh, and with raw milk too. I wonder how much the flavor will change with the seasons? I look forward to reading your write up.

    – McAuliflower

posted January 17th, 2006 at 9:55 am

what good resolutions – this year i will make homemade miso.

i’m interested to see how your tofu turns out…i’ve made it probably about five or six times but the result has never pleased me – i just can’t seem to get that wonderful, creamy, curdy texture of my fav. tofu shop, san jose tofu.

good luck!

  • Ohhh Miso! Excellent goal! I’ve wanted to explore what the difference between the different colors available is.

    ps- Mustard! Another excellent culinary goal :)


- rae
posted January 17th, 2006 at 12:29 pm

Our resolution is to start making more of our own cheese. We made our first batch of mozzarella and ricotta from the whey over the holiday weekend. Next we plan to find a good local source for goat milk.

I’d like to join the encouragement for making tofu from scratch — once we got the hang of it, we haven’t gone back!

  • Mmm, kind of like what we’ve done with refried beans :)

    I look forward to keeping everyone updated on the journey!


posted January 17th, 2006 at 7:32 pm

I’m there on the cheese-making. For being in what used to be dairy country, it’s *tough* to find local milk. Add in the recent e.coli from just up the road and raw milk is as underground as a commodity gets.

One of my sourdough starters died recently and the other just isn’t that great so new starter is on my list. We’ll have to swap and compare.

  • I’ve enjoyed reading your past cheesemaking entries on your blog- in fact it was the first I had heard of DIY cheese. My understanding is that a ricotta project shouldn’t be too advanced… am I right?

    Regarding bread, I have Nancy Silvertons bread book and am interested in trying up a starter when it gets warmer here. I like how developing starter reads like a lab set up :)


posted January 18th, 2006 at 10:16 am

Great culinary resultions! I’m trying to make cheese too but am having a hard time finding ‘real’ rennet in my area. I’m with you on Tampopo. Mmmmm….ramen noodles. Makes me want to sing that song from the Sapporo Ichiban commercial.

- Jenny
posted March 21st, 2006 at 3:22 am

Oh, please let me know when you make your own tofu. I’m there with you.

posted June 8th, 2006 at 11:37 am

Ahh Tampopo!! The joys of a bowl of noodles. I applaud you on your goal to make broth and noodles from scratch. Similar to the protagonist of the film, I am also on a quest to make superb noodles and broth – my failures are getting quite tasty but are nowhere near the level of the best I’ve had when staying in Japan. Good Luck – I hope to share in the delicious results of your success.

  • What a wonderful blessing- thanks Steven. I’ve made no head way in this particular pursuit… well, that’s not entirely true: we’ve become quite the regulars at our local ramen bar :)

    I have a trip to Japan happening this summer. I shall think of ways to solicit ramen advice!


- Steven
posted January 23rd, 2008 at 3:16 am

preeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet !!!!!!!!

- deano

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