As you know, I’m sucked into anything and everything Michael Pollan right now.
Among that is Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.
This rule stuck out to me. So did a lot of others. But I really wonder what it would take for me to cook more. Is it a matter of not having enough time? Throwing together my chili for dinner tonight probably took all of five minutes (chopping, opening cans, and turning it on really is not hard). I had most of the canned ingredients and I was buying the veggies anyways, so really, where is the block? Why is it that I’ll run to Remark (which takes 30 minutes at least) to buy a pre-cooked piece of salmon and use that when I have a pack of fresh salmon that I meant to cook but froze instead waiting for me in my freezer? Why do I buy so many prepared foods that I could easily make myself?
For 2012, I am going to set a resolution to make one new thing that I eat a lot of in a prepared form homemade every month instead of buying it. I’ve been brainstorming and I think I have my list to choose from:
- bread: I’ve made bread before…but it came out a little too dense and I really didn’t bother trying to perfect it or correct my mistakes. Recipes for bread are astoundingly simple. I think buying bread from a bakery instead of in bags that last weeks in the grocery store is smart, but I’m not doing it right now…?
- mayonnaise: I remember when we made this in foods lab how surprised I was about how easy it came out. I’m used to buying low fat mayonnaise (which is a little bit weird, don’t you think?) so I thin part of me shies away from this since it will be REAL mayonnaise. But since when was REAL food the thing to be scared of and low fat/fat free (fake) the stuff to feel used to/safe with?
- granola bars: If anyone knows a recipe for a crunchy bar, I’d LOVE to see it. I know how to make some good softer bars but I crave the crunchy ones, not the chewy kind!
- croutons: My grandma makes amazing croutons, but she always keeps them cold and they’re a little bit on the soft side for me. I’ll make hers but I also would like to come up with (or find) a recipe that I can use to make crunchy, crispy ones. Maybe baking the bread twice? Using toast? Stale bread? The amount of croutons that I eat makes this one a big one–if I could start making my own I’d save money, have a way to use up my bread (because you can only eat so many sandwiches), and feel better about eating handfuls of the things. 🙂
- broth-based soup: From scratch, legit scratch…if I could roast a chicken, eat the meat, and then use the bones to make soup stock, that would be the ultimate. If not I’ll settle for a veggie base and use a recipe to figure it out.
- ceasar salad dressing: Again, since I eat a lot of this and am not particularly proud of buying the low fat version (out of habit and maybe a little out of fear), I would like to prove that I CAN make the stuff and eat it. It’s not that hard (again, made it in foods lab), and I love the way it tastes. I have a few friends’ recipes in mind that I could use, but I’ll also consider the richer versions I’ve had at restaurants…there’s lots of salads in my future.
- pasta: When I was growing up, I’d always bug my mom to make pasta. We make the noodles for potpie soup, so why couldn’t we make pasta? I know some friends that do it, so that means they’ve got the tools and the know how! Bring it on. Fresh pasta tastes so much better! If it goes well..bring on the ravioli. 🙂
- meatballs: Yeah, this one’s easy and I’m a little embarrassed to admit I’ve never made my own. Those microwaveable ones are so darn easy but I’d like to make my own knowing where everything is coming from!
- veggie burgers: Or black bean burgers, or something along those lines.
- peanut butter: Or almond butter, etc. I’ve got my own food processor.
- creamy soup: I love butternut squash soup and tomato soup and all those yummy pureed kinds of meals, but I’ve never made one. Again, I’ve got the food processor, I might as well do it!
- tzatziki sauce: I love this stuff and I feel like I usually have the ingredients around. Might as well mix them up.
- salsa or canned tomatoes: or both! Preferably with tomatoes I grow myself (or get from the farmer’s market?). My mom used to can the tomatoes from our garden every year and we would use them all winter!
- hummus: How hard can it be? I think Kate made pumpkin hummus a few weeks ago so I can probably count on her for some guidance if I have a hummus disaster.
- chocolate covered pretzels: I realized there was something missing from my list: sweets! This is one that I definitely enjoy and that I think will be reasonably easy to make.
Now that I’m starving, I might actually get to the books I brought to read.
What would you like to make from scratch?
Have you ever made any of these things?