Last year, one of my goals was to learn how to bake with sourdough. I think I did a pretty good job with that, considering I now use sourdough several times a week, sometimes more, between bread, crackers, pancakes or waffles, bagels, noodles, english muffins, pizza, pitas, cookies, cakes. And it helps me plan ahead a little, too, because it requires me to start it the night before, usually.
So this year, what do I want to accomplish?
1. Do more cooking with eggs. For Christmas, I got a small cookbook with the basics (not just on eggs, but on all sorts of cooking tidbits) by Julia Child. I even made one of the recipes tonight, it was a corn timbale... basically a savory custard with corn in it. It was so good (even though I forgot the bread crumbs), that even Jeff was saying, "Hey this is so good, you could showcase this when people come over." He also said that about a souffle I made, also a great dish!! Not only are eggs just plain tasty, eggs from hens that are fed a good diet are fabulously good for you. And that ties in with number 2....
2. Learn more about chickens. And I mean from start (ordering and raising) to finish (butchering), and everything in between (feeding and growing). We plan to be doing more with chickens this year, hoping to raise some more broilers, hopefully for resale. And if we have enough extra eggs from our up-and-coming laying hens, then maybe we can sell some, too. We will be having a lot of extra eggs, so I'll be able to more easily do nutrient-dense dishes with eggs. We've (and by we, I really mean Jeff) already been giving special feed to the chickens that Jeff has formulated and mixed himself. The goal is to not give them any soy. Even the basic laying mash that you buy from the co-op usually has soy in it. (Remember, I have a soy sensitivity?) So even if you see people selling "farm fresh eggs", that doesn't necessarily speak to the quality of the eggs. They're just maybe fresher than the ones you buy in the store. We prefer to pasture our hens, but it's sort of hard when it's -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Did you know chickens are omnivores? They go crazy for meat, it's so funny to watch them.
3. Do more home-cured meat. I started with this a little already by doing my home-cured corned beef, which I have yet to post about. I can't wait to try more experiments.
4. Do more advance planning for a garden. Last year we were late getting up here and had limited resources, but thanks to being able to garden at Jeff's grandma's we were able to still have quite a garden haul. I don't know how much advance planning I'll be able to do, because, as you may remember, we are renting this place, and therefore we are also hoping to find a more permanent locale, so this goal may or may not be fulfilled. But we'll have a garden somewhere.
5. Do more with "wild" food. Have you ever heard of Nettles? Stinging nettles? You know those annoying plants that grow everywhere and hurt like the dickens if you touch them? Did you know they are really good for you, vitamins, minerals and such?! I have some recipes for things such as nettle soup and nettle tea. If I get really brave I may even try a mushroom or two, but I need to find someone who can show me how to find the right ones. There are also weeds everywhere that can be used for food, you just have to know what you're looking for.
6. Learn about homeschooling. I would love to homeschool Judah, but I haven't buckled down and done the research yet. And I'd like to start doing something this fall when Judah turns 4. We'll see if I'm made of the right stuff!
So those are my big personal goals for the year. There, I'm glad I got that off my chest. :-)