Tips & Techniques

Our 2017 Cooking Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions are the worst. Really, they are! As my colleague, Sarah Jampel, pointed out “45% of Americans usually make New Year's Resolutions, but only 8% succeed.” Ugh, I know. It seems we’re doomed for failure.

There are some resolutions, however, that are easier to keep than others: cooking resolutions. You don’t have to go to the gym (“I’m going to exercise every day”) or hyper-organize your life (“I’d like to color coordinate my closet”), but eating is essential. And cooking’s just about more fun than most any other resolution out there.

Here’s what a few of us at Food52 resolve to do in 2017:

  • Sarah: I'd love to tackle some of my dry goods—kamut, Indian butter beans, matcha powder, glutinous rice flour—that have been hanging out in my pantry for quite some time now. The goal is to stop hoarding and start using.

  • Nina: I want to master all the ways you can cut an onion! 

  • Lily: I resolve to actually use the food I buy, and get better at finding ways to make it last through the week. If I buy three lettuces at the farmer’s market on Saturday, I cannot throw two out on Friday, soggy and sad. 

  • Hannah: Cook one new recipe a week out of a cookbook. I tend to make the same things over and over again and am convinced the reason my mother is such a good cook is because she is always trying new recipes from her huge cookbook collection! I have so many cookbooks, but never cook out of them and this is a great way to start. One a week isn't that daunting (fingers crossed...). 

  • Olivia: 1. Stop eating popcorn for dinner. 2. Host more dinner parties where I let the perfectionism go and embrace an easier route—so I'm not stooped over the stove the entire time. (Repeating to myself: More complicated is not always better!)

  • Lindsay-Jean: I want to make more recipes out of my cookbooks. I just got some for my birthday (and I have a feeling I'll be getting more for Christmas) and want to be better about cracking open a book in the kitchen instead of my laptop.

  • Natalia: Host more dinner parties!

  • Merrill: In no particular order: Cook more with Clara (my nearly-five-year-old). Cook more dishes outside of the European/Mediterranean realm so my kids start to become accustomed to a wider variety of flavors and ingredients. Too often I default to what's familiar. Bake more. Do a major cookbook purge, Marie Kondo-style! 

  • Emily: I want to live A New Way to Dinner! The plan is to outsource to my husband because he loves Sunday meal prep.

  • Amanda Hesser: I want to get better at cooking rice, so that I can move beyond the soggy lump I often end up with. I used to blame by pan, but that's no longer a worthy excuse. 

  • Kenzi: I still haven't taught myself how to make a classic omelet. I'm telling myself it's because my preferred egg incarnation is an egg and cheese, but it's likely because the fold intimidates me. I'd like to learn this year. 

Now, tell us, what is your New Year’s cooking resolution?

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18 Comments

Roxanne C. January 15, 2017
Each of us (family of 4) is picking 3 dishes that are their favorites and I'm learning to make them and then I'll design a meal around them that lets those dishes shine. These include popovers like they make a Jordan Pond Restaurant in Acadia, a spicy shrimp and fettuccine Alfredo, pecan pie, a tangy wild rice and quinoa salad, a coffee custard that tastes as good as freshly ground coffee smells, caesar salad, buffalo chicken wings, hot fudge cake, brownie sundae (2 family members want different versions of very similar desserts) -- still waiting on the remaining 3 picks! I've made the first five already and am in the process of tweaking the recipes to the taste of the person who put them on my list. Once I master the dish to their taste, it will be time to find the perfect compliments. The nice thing is not only am I making things at least one person in the family really wants to eat, I'm building a meal that will work and can become part of our regular rotation.
 
sydney January 4, 2017
I resolve to win the lottery in 2017 and never have to cook when I don't feel like it again. I'm SOOO OVER dried beans, lentils, prepping nutrient-dense vegetables, and stretching a food budget to feed a family healthy, nutrient-dense meals every #%&*ing day.
 
frecklywench January 3, 2017
@Kenzi: I believe in your omelet goals! I learned this past year with some very nice illustrated instructions in one of the America's Test Kitchen books and found that I actually liked omelets more than I thought I did— *almost* as much as egg & cheese!
 
Incognito January 3, 2017
This response is for Amanda: Try Meera Sodha's recipe for "Perfect Basmati Rice" from her cookbook Made in India. (You will remember this book from the final round of Piglet 2016.) It's a delicious and foolproof recipe which I make in an old Le Creuset buffet casserole with a tempered glass lid. Basmati rice varies widely in taste and quality. Jyoti Natural Foods Basmati Supreme Rice is my favorite brand and it can be ordered easily online (but do not use the recipe in the package!) I no longer cook any other kind of rice unless I need to make a large quantity for a party. (For that I have another recipe I learned many years ago at cooking school in Paris.) Enjoy it and check rice off your list! Happy New Year 2017!
 
Ali W. January 3, 2017
I'll join the "cook more from cookbooks" squad; also, I'd like to master the roast chicken and maybe start making my own stock.
 
nycnomad January 3, 2017
Resolutions: Get proper cookware, I have been using borrowed pots and pans since I moved into my place and my knives are pathetic. 2) Experiment with scandinavian cooking (already started). 3) Take time to enjoy my meals. 4)Master more gluten free/dairy free baking recipes, I have gotten quite good at it but there is always room for more :D
 
sydney January 2, 2017
Amanda, I make perfect rice from start to finish in under an hour. I make brown organic but you could use anything. Rough 2-1 water-to-rice ratio in a glass oven dish. (I have kids so I bump up to 3 water-to-2 rice.) Around 45 minutes at 400 degrees. When the water has just evaporated the rice is done. I let sit for 10-ish minutes without heat, then fluff. Make it almost every day. That's my ten cents on rice. Good luck! :-)
 
Jspencervt January 2, 2017
My resolution is to start a sourdough starter from scratch and keep it alive all year baking a loaf at least once a week.
 
Erica January 2, 2017
Amanda, I feel your rice pain. I recently discovered this rice technique http://www.saveur.com/perfect-brown-rice-recipe and it is a GAME. CHANGER. My new go-to, foolproof brown rice recipe. Not soggy or crunchy!
 
Marcy January 2, 2017
I also get in ruts of cooking the same things over and over, so I'd like to add new dishes to what I make.
 
LC's K. January 2, 2017
I also want to use what I have in my pantry---dried beans, rices, etc, but also I want to use all the spices, salts and other small condiments I have collected in my travels and not let them sit in the cupboard for another year!
 
Alicia O. January 2, 2017
I just received three new cookbooks for Christmas and can't wait to get started preparing a beautiful group dinner for friends and family at least once a month. Date set for the first dinner at the end of the month. Happy 2017 to all.
 
Posie (. January 2, 2017
Lindsay-Jean, I'm so with you on your resolution! I've treated myself to some really beautiful cookbooks lately and would love to put them to use. I love all the cookbook clubs people do (like this one: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/dining/marthas-vineyard-cookbook-club.html) -- what do you think about trying a virtual/digital one somehow??
 
Lindsay-Jean H. January 2, 2017
Yes! We had a short-lived one last year that we're planning on reviving. Any suggestions for the first cookbook?!
 
aargersi January 3, 2017
Deep Run Roots! (Because I just bought it :-) and I will play too!!
 
Posie (. January 3, 2017
Oh fun! Let's do this! A few I'm excited about: Simple (Diana Henry), Cooking For Jeffrey, Molly on the Range, How to Celebrate Everything, A New Way to Dinner, or maybe Zahav?
 
Lindsay-Jean H. January 4, 2017
Thank you both! I'll keep you (and everyone else!) posted!
 
Lindsay-Jean H. February 1, 2017
Psst, Posie: aargersi's in, are you?! https://food52.com/blog/18922-join-our-inaugural-community-cookbook-club