1. I’m not sure I followed any of the recipes to their exact specifications. More and more, I’ve been treating recipes as general guidelines rather than strict instructions.
2. I ‘created’ a few of my own — simple ones where I combined new ingredients/seasonings. Example: Avocado oil-roasted potatoes with a favorite Moroccan spice mix, ras-el-hanout.
3. New cooking questions arose in that vast abyss otherwise labeled ‘my brain’, like…if I oil the veggies before seasoning them for roasting, will the oil serve as a barrier to absorption and reduce the flavors? And no, I stillhaven’t looked it up. Sometimes, you just want a mystery to linger.
4. Oh, lord, some of those recipe sites take *forever* to load up all the ads and videos. I know these folks want to make a little money, but I had no problem just closing them up and looking for faster-loading alternatives.
5. Despite the physical separation from my writing tools and settings, I did get some good prewriting and first draft material churning as I cleaned up afterwards.
6. Speaking of clean-up, yep, even with my wife doing her part, dishes and counter mess were the bane of my existence. I even took a couple of days off in mid-challenge just to dodge the scrub-and-soak-rinse-and-repeat detail. Plus, the horrors of dishwater hands…
7. Some utensils, pots, and dishes never really made it back to the cupboards. They were used, washed, air-dried or towel-dried, and put back to work.
8. Based on my ratings below…well, I’m easy to cook for.
9. Even after the challenge, I can’t seem to stop cooking new stuff. Just yesterday, on a whim, I baked a mango pound cake from Pati Jinich and made my version of Mexican street corn grits . Someone! Please stop the madness.
10. There was an added challenge this year…My gastronomically-devoted ‘shoo! chef’, Buddy.
Passing through the work area, my wife would step around our furry child and mutter, “not quite a certified kitchen, I see.”
Here are my first five recipes with a few added comments, a letter grade, and a ‘Yes’ [would repeat this recipe] or ‘No’. Note: The letter grade is just as much a comment on how well I delivered as a cook as it is on whether I liked the recipe itself.
- Bear Batter Bread by way of New Tastes from Texas by Stephan Pyles. B+ — Yes.
- Slow-Cooked Garlicky Greens by way of Bon Appetit. A — -Yes.
- Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
- Added dried cranberries and some almond flour to give them a little structure. In four of them, I added generous dabs of cold-hardened chocolate sauce. Result: Downright ugly, but cooked just right and resembling florentines. A- — Yes.
- Savory cheese pancakes with half almond flour and half all purpose flour and the rest of the traditional pancake ingredients. I liked the nuttiness of the batter and the Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute. B+ — Yes.
- Southern Fried Cabbage B+ — Yes
Links to procrasticooking: