Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Baking + an Attempt at Resolution Keeping

Friday is January, officially done with December, the month of holiday spirit. But before I can pack away my holiday mindset for next year, I needed to do some baking with my new pans. I'm headed up to a cottage tomorrow to usher in the new year so I thought it'd be nice to make some baked goods to take up with me. On my summer venture into Algonquin park I made "rice krispy" squares using Chocolate Lucky Charms. Not having those on hand but having regular, tried and true Lucky Charms, I melted some marshmallows and butter and made some Lucky Charm squares. The marshmallows in the cereal makes it soooo good.

I was fortunate enough to receive not one, not two, but FOUR new baking pans this Christmas. My friends Kristian and Marion bought me a 12-muffin muffin pan - this is very fitting and I got quite excited because in June Marion and I spent a good half day baking cupcakes for her engagement party and we had to use her muffin pans because I only had one that made 6. So now I can make a full dozen in one go! I also got the Oreo Cookie cake pan (love love love) which I plan on making this weekend. I received a mini-bundt cake pan from my Secret Santa in the cousin exchange (Jennieeee!!!) and John's mom got me another pan similar to the mini-bundt one but with Christmas shaped moulds. I used those two pans and whipped up a Martha recipe (from her Christmas cookbook) with some calls for over 2 cups of applesauce which I SAW in the fridge only to realize upon reaching for it that it was infact chicken broth. Rats. Anyway, improvising, I pureed a banana and some strawberries and dumped them in in lieu of the applesauce. It still tastes pretty good.
Here are my pans: Bundt on the top and the Christmas moulds on the bottom.

I sort of over-filled the christmas moulds so the bottoms of them ballooned a bit. I had to do some trimming - which explains that pile of chocolate cake bits in the bottom right hand corner.
SO - New Years is all about resolutions. Mostly resolutions that we really do intend to keep, maintain for roughly 2 weeks, and then lapse back into reality. This year I'm not kidding myself. BUT I am challenging myself.
Here are my 3 resolutions:
  1. Eat better - cut down on pop, less sugar, less junk, more fruits, veggies, and lean protein.
  2. Get super fit by July 1st - I'm talking buns of steel, a stomach so flat a level would show that bubble dead center, etc, etc.
  3. Learn to like fish and/or other seafood and eat it once every 2 weeks minimum - I really don't like seafood but it's so good for you so I'm hoping that I can learn to love it. My plan here is to try cooking it a new way everytime until I find a method that makes it taste good. Or until my tastebuds finally admit defeat and surrender.

In an attempt to kick start resolution #3, I bought cod (Jamie Oliver told me is was a meatier fish therefore not slimy and fishy), and roasted it in white wine, olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. It wasn't terrible but I didn't finish. And I had a teeny piece. That's okay though, I've got a full 365 to become fond of les fruits de mer.
I also made lemon basmati rice and a braised raddichio sidedish to accompy it slash give me something to actually eat.

The recipe for the raddichio is in the January issue of Martha Stewart but I would make some changes. I found it too vinegar-y and too strong a taste. I'd for sure reduce some of the liquids or add more chicken broth.

For the Braised Cabbage:
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add 1-3 tbsp of olive oil to a large saucepan and sautee a diced onion until the edges of the onion begin to brown. Add 1 tbsp of brown sugar and stir.
  • Add in 1/2 cup of apple cider, 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar (not having this I used red wine vinegar), 1 cup of chicken broth, a cinnamon stick, and 1 bay leaf.
  • Cut the cabbage into eights and place into the saucepan.
  • Place a lid on the saucepan and put into the oven and braise for about 40 minutes.
  • Remove the cabbage using a slotted spoon, then simmer the remaining liquid for about 10 minutes until reduced, then use as a sauce.

    Well party people, I will keep you updated on my journey to greatness (ha-ha) for the next 6 months!

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