Last night, for the first time in let’s just say a year or two, I cleaned and organized my spice drawer. It had become a little embarrassing. The bottom of the drawer was oddly yellow, renegade turmeric being my primary suspect, and there were enough garlic skins to stuff a throw pillow.
I found and chucked at least 30 packets of Ramen noodle seasoning. (Hey, even the reputable Cook’s Illustrated supports the use of Ramen noodles sans flavor packets. “Crazy Noodles” at our house is a chow mein medium for leftover grilled meat.) I threw away spices that have been in my collection for at least a decade, and organized them by baking and savory applications, whole spices and ground. I feel so much better.
In the spirit of organization, I would like to share my thoughts on what I aspire to share on this site. My concept and site name, kitchentangents, is the natural result of a girl (hi there) who just can’t narrow her topic. Let’s just say I like room to grow, wide-open spaces, elastic waistbands.
About a year ago I started a cookbook for kids that encourages picky eaters to explore whole fruits and vegetables. I considered basing my site on my experimental cooking for that project, but the concept (for the website anyway) was just a little too narrow. Especially since I always found myself on other cooking tangents. Hence the name! The beauty of kitchentangents is that I can talk about, well, anything. I mean, what fun doesn’t start in the kitchen or involve food?
The idiosyncrasy that drives my constant cooking explorations and foodie-ism is my colossal need for variety. I’ll think I have found the perfect office breakfast solution (that makes use of only a microwave or toaster oven), and I will get tired of it within a few days. Even though it is something I like!
I have put my cookbook on ice temporarily, but I still like the idea of doing a blog to share all of my discoveries. I plan on posting every weekend. Please comment if any of these themes is of particular interest to you!
Culinary Travels – Food discoveries outside my kitchen grid
Techniques – Exploring new techniques. Possible themes- 1) Finding new ways to make quick weeknight meals using whole ingredients, not pre-packaged; 2) Techniques I find intriguing in my reading or Food Networking
Cuisines (regional and international: – My favorites as of late: Southern (mostly because of all the winter greens that are coming in my CSA box), Indian (curries to go with my homemade naan), and Mediterranean (lamb kebob, couscous, fresh flat bread, oh my)
Ingredients – Anything from harissa to coconut milk to figuring out what to do with leftover chipotle peppers, buttermilk, ricotta, etc.
Produce – Did I mention I’m obsessed with fruits and vegetables? I’m always looking for new ways to make produce more the focus of our meals, although it’s difficult when my husband and children are happy carnivores.
I get biweekly inspiration in our CSA box. I go to the Farmer’s market every week while it’s in season, and supplement with the playground area (produce section) of the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op and Whole Foods. I’m also curious about raw foods and vegetarianism.
Menu planning – My husband and I both work full time, but are committed to making every meal from scratch using as little pre-packaged food as possible (the only exception being boxed organic Mac and Cheese from Trader Joe’s, and the aforementioned Ramen noodles). I would like to share all the tricks we have up our sleeves to pull this off without making cooking another full time job.
I have also considered dedicating an entire website to cooking solutions for the workplace (that makes use of only a microwave or toaster oven). I’m sure the occasional posts of my latest breakfast or snack idea will be sufficient.
Parties, and Holidays, and Holiday Parties – Ilove planning parties, and yes John, they have to have a theme. Themes make menu planning fun and challenging.
As for holidays, I like to explore cultural traditions as well as create new ones with my family.
Picky Eaters Anonymous – Trials, tribulations, tips, and explorations
Cookbook/Foodie Book Reviews – I have an entire bookshelf dedicated to my cookbook collection, and have read many food-related books, some of which I would recommend not reading while eating, like Anthony Bourdon’s Kitchen Confidential.
New Recipes – I write them, I find them, now I can share them.
Interviews with chefs/home chefs – This sounds like fun.
There you have it. Now we’re ready to rock ‘n roll.