I am beginning this post with the knowledge that it will be an ever changing and hopefully expanding post. I have recently started ruminating on my impending 30th birthday and where I will be in life 8 months from now. I have a fantastic husband, adorable dog, great job and I own a home, a car and tons of student loans… I like to think that I’m a pretty successful almost 30-year old in the traditional sense. However, I decided that I wanted to take the next few months challenging myself to do things that I would like to do but may not otherwise venture without a challenge. Due to personal interests and my recent blogging endeavor, I decided to embark on a food-related “30 by 30.”
After initial brainstorming sessions with friends, family and myself (and after coming up with the necessary cute name–hence 30 by 30) I decided to make it more of a fluid process. I have a few challenges that I immediately put on the list, but am open to new challenges and territory–I will entertain any and all ideas!
Here’s what I have so far…
1. Make pie dough– I have never been a baker. My reasons have been sufficiently discussed in earlier posts. However, I have always wanted to add a successful pie dough to my repertoire. It’s the kind of thing a 30-year old should be able to do, right? Besides, I like a good quiche. Pie doughs need not be used for solely sweet food items.
2. Bake bread– Quick bread and sweet bread doesn’t count. I make a mean zucchini bread but have never made a proper loaf of plain old bread. My father jumped on Mark Bittman’s “No Knead Bread” bandwagon a few years back and has been making phenomenal bread ever since, so there’s never been much of a reason for me to make my own. I would like to change that.
3. Cook Seven Fishes dinner for Christmas Eve– Remember my affinity for all things Italian? Here’s a reminder just in case it slipped your mind. One of the traditions that ms husband and his family followed for years, only recently abandoning due to the immense amount of work involved, is the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. As I slowly soak in more and more Italian culture, this is something that I would like to attempt.
4. Catch and cook a fish or crab– While others might be interested in slaughtering and cooking a chicken (and I would love to say that it’s something I would/could do) I must admit that I’m just not there yet–the whole former vegetarian thing still lingers. Somehow I feel as if a fish or crab (particularly crab) would be a happy medium for a venture of this sort.
5. Make gnocchi– See #3 for information on all things Italian.
6. Make something-cello– A friend suggested duriancello–read about durian here–but I’d like to start with something else. Limoncello is so vanilla, so I was thinking either blood orange or grapefruitcello. Besides, if I made grapefruitcello it would be called pomelmocello in Italian and that sounds adorable. So, #6 on my 30 by 30 is pomelmocello!
7. Have Dim Sum with a Chinese person– My husband and I had Dim Sum in San Francisco’s massive Chinatown when we were there for our honeymoon. We had an interesting experience, to say the least. I would like to have Dim Sum with someone who knows the food and could, potentially, talk to the waitstaff in Chinese.
8. Make as many types of dumpling as possible– Every country or culture has a food item that is surround by dough. The Italians have ravioli, Polish have Pierogies (which, apparently, does not come up in spell check) and the Chinese have Won Tons along with a host of other dumplings. I would like to explore the culture of dumpling and attempt as many different kinds as possible.
9. Learn how to can– This doesn’t require much explanation. It’s just something I want to do. If so, I can jar my sauce, pickles and lots, lots more. Also, I can learn how to make jams and jellies. The opportunities are endless!
10. Take a cake decorating class and make a cook look pretty– I’ve always wanted to play with fondant and other types of icing and decoration. I’ve seen reasonably priced classes at Fante’s on 9th Street.
11. Recreate my great-aunt’s apple cake– This is one of the most moist cakes I’ve ever eaten. My great-aunt is one of the best bakers I’ve ever met and if you love Jewish pastries then you would love her.
12. Eat at Talula’s Table– Talula’s table is owned by the former Django owners who had to move out to Kennett Square to abide by a “no compete” contract. They originally opened the space as a gourmet market but have added nightly meals of only one table (plus an occasional chef’s table in the kitchen.) Dinners can be reserved up to a year in advance and they are usually booked by 7:01am (the store opens at 7am.)
13. Have the grand tasting with wine pairing at Vetri– I have been to Osteria and Amis, but have yet to make it to Vetri’s flagship namesake. This would be my dream meal (locally) and I told my husband that I would like to celebrate my 30th here.
That’s all I’ve got so far. I’m entertaining other recommendations including: trying different types of meat; making the perfect creme brulee; “baking” a cake on the grill…among other things. I will continue to brainstorm but am extremely open to suggestions. What would YOU do?
The clock is ticking….