1. learn to (really) make a pie crust. my mom makes an incredibly flaky, buttery pie crust. i've had her teach me so many times but i never get it right. i mess it up without fail 100% of the time. this year that will change - i will bake pies until the cows come home and i have the light, salty sweet crust of my dreams. when people say that buying a store bought crust tastes just as good a piece of my soul dies and i feel sad for them that they've never had laurel's pie crust.
2. make eclairs. i love eclairs and my cousin (who is a pastry chef) made them for christmas this year which got me thinking i could maybe give them a shot. they seem to be slightly difficult but not as hard as i imagine which could be a good foray into more complicated baking for me.
3. cook polenta. i don't even think this is hard but it's just something i've never tried or thought about making myself and i want to. i've started looking into recipes and i feel like this goal would combine perfectly with my next goal...
5. learn how to properly cook beef and sear tuna. with my newfound love for tuna, this isn't that surprising a goal to have. i also have realized that i don't cook a lot of beef and this stems mostly from being nervous about overcooking it. nothing is worse to me than an overcooked piece of beef. i will deem this the year of the meat because i want to overall become more comfortable cooking various meats. i stick with a lot of cut up chicken because it's quick and easy but i want to get to the point where i can touch a piece of steak with my tongs and know it's cooked perfectly. anyone else find this skill incredibly impressive?
6. take a knife skills class. self explanatory - my knife skills are crap. i want to learn how to make them less crap. i would also like an expensive set of knives - anyone want to hook me up? i have perfectly serviceable ones and a knife sharpener so that will do for now, but someday i dream of having a great set of knives that inspire fear when they are unsheathed from their slot in the knife block.
8. make tamales. my mom and i have had this on our bucket list for a while now (since they moved to arizona) and this is the year it shall be done. i'll be in arizona for spring break so i think we're going to try to make it happen then. tamales are probably some of my favorite latin food fare. if you live in chicago (or have ever been) and have hung out in the wicker park area perhaps you know the tamale man? he comes around to bars selling ziploc baggies of tamales filled with either pork, queso or chicken out of a small rubbermaid cooler. this man is the man of my dreams. there is nothing better after an...intense...happy hour than having the tamale man walk into your bar and being able to procure a baggie of tamales for $5. this sounds sketchier than it is, i swear - please say there are some chicagoans out there who can vouch for the tamale man?
those are my goals - i'm sure i'll add to them, but these are the non-negotiables. time to get brave and stop making the same old cookies over and over again...no matter how good they are.