Wednesday, March 30, 2011

10 things I want to create this year.

I am moving to another continent soon. Permanently. And therefore it is the perfect opportunity to tackle some items on my list of: Things I want to make but have so far avoided for reasons.

10 Things I want to create this year:

1. Make jam: smooth apricot jam and prickly pear from the garden. In the summer we have an abundance of four kinds of fruits: Concord grapes, prickly pears, apricots and figs. I want to roast figs, juice the grapes and preserve the apricots and prickly pears. There is something about having your own canned goods at home. You know what went in it. 

2. Salted Caramels. Chewy and Sweet with a little sprinkle of Fleur de Sel on top or Espresso mixed with in. Candy has scared me, I want to overcome this fear.

3. I want to make a Sunday Roast from beef. Something big for lots and lots of people. And serve yorkshire pudding with it, something my husband holds fond memories for (and which I didn't even know until a couple of weeks ago. Here is a hint.)

4. Nut butters. I didn't grow up with Peanut butter. It just wasn't available and when it was, I wasn't crazy about it. That changed some years ago when a friend had me try almond butter. I tried mixed nut butter shortly after. And I have found a way to make my own. Because I will be in a country that doesn't have (yet) organic or health food store popping up like mushrooms. 

5. The lack of organic products available also means that the go to bouillon in Jordan is either homemade chicken stock (my freezer is well stocked) or cubes by Maggi - not a fan. I was thrilled when I first read that Heidi made Bouillon at home. Her recipe will also justify the purchase of a food processor. I take what I can get.

6. In order to stay in the narrative of making things from scratch I also - have to - bring up Homemade Nutella by the awesome David Lebovitz. His recipes are fantastic and easy and his stories about Paris make me want to go to the city tomorrow. I wish.

7. Although I have made stock from chicken in the past, I have never done the same with beef. So there is goes on the list as well. Beef stock is especially interesting because the German recipes I have in my books all call for bones. Beef bones. I have never seen bones sold in Jordan and I am not sure if that has religious reasons - are bones not halal?!

8. My book of choice at the moment: My life in France by Julia Child. French Cuisine fascinates me. Cooking with meat has scared me (which is why there are so many items on the list including meat) and therefore will be tackled. My dish of choice: Coq au vin by Julia Child.

9. Don't laugh at me but in preparation to moving to Jordan I have bought a cookbook about Arabic cooking. Don't laugh because I am married to a Jordanian with a Jordanian mother who is (like all men believe in Jordan) The. Best. Cook. Ever. Because of this she doesn't follow recipes when she prepares traditional foods. Which makes it ever more difficult to learn from her in order to recreate something my husband loves. The cookbook therefore is my guide and I am determined to recreate the regional dishes - maybe even share them here...
(Her Baba Ghanoush, by the way, is The. Best. I. Have. Ever. Had. And don't even get me started on the Tabbuleh!)

10. Bomboloni. Up until a week ago I had never heard the term. I love the way it rolls from the tongue - Bomboloni. Sounds good, doesn't it? A bomboloni tackles two fears: Yeast (we have had only good experiences so far, but still) and deep frying. Here is a great post about them. I love the name so much, it might be the reason that pushes me over.

I hope to share lots of these things and - who knows - the discoveries that come with them here.


  1. Do you live in Amman or Berlin? My father is Jordanian.

  2. All of these are completely do-able. You just need practice, and be fearless about what you create, even if the results aren't what you expected. I've learned from failure so many times. (You should see the breads I don't post!)

    Jam and caramel are easy once you get the hang of them, especially if you overcook- you'll know what it looks like and won't do it again- which is what has happened to me a few times.

    And the Arabic cookbook is a great idea. It will lay the foundation for your cooking so that when you learn from your husband's mother, you will know exactly what she is talking about. Much of what I know about Mexican cuisine comes from cookbooks, and I really should have my grandmother teach me how she cooks.

    Good luck! We all look forward to reading about your progress.

  3. Your father is Jordanian?! You need to tell me one day about you - I thought, from what I read, that you grew up in Greece.
    I live in Berlin till the end of April. Then it will be Amman.

    I know that these things are all do-able! I just need to start tackling them and I couldn't because, partly, my things are either stored in boxes, not to my parents tastes or I just really want to make them in Jordan. Thanks for your encouragement!

  4. Annika, If you'ld like some guidance for most of the above (though I don't believe in formal recipes) check out The Lost Art of Real Cooking. By me and Rosanna Nafziger. Yours. And feel free to ask me anything, love to hear how it all goes.

    Ken Albala