Free Range On Food: Cooking With Summer Produce, Corny Ice Cream Sandwiches, Coffee At Whole Foods And More.

Every New Year, I make a food resolution to try something new for the year (food, technique, habit, etc). This year's was grind my own spices. For the half-way through the year update, it took me longer to purge through my pre-ground spices but I'm just about to the point of grinding the spices that I can, and also making my own spice blends. Plus, to buy whole spices, I've been hitting the ethnic markets more, which dovetailed with another food resolution, to go to an ethnic market once a month (the smaller the better), and buy one ingredient/item I've never used before and use it throughout that month. That's been fun too, even though some went well, and others, not so much (turns out I really don't like fermented bean curd). The real intent behind the resolutions was to make them permanent changes. Over the years, some have stuck better than others. One year was making my own stock which has become a standard for me, I make a batch of stock once a month and freeze it in 2 cup portions, and also ice cube trays for small amounts. I tried 'make your own bread' one year but for some reason that one didn't stick. I also tried make my own cheese, started with fresh mozzarella, but never got past the mozz. The WashPo food section has always been an inspiration. Thanks to Carrie, one year I did a new cocktail every month - mostly because many recipes required unique ingredients which I didn't have on hand, like elderberry syrup for example, so I would make a batch for a month, and then move on to the next fun cocktail. And thanks to Jim, one year I got a Weber smoker for my new year's resolution and have enjoyed smoking all sorts of things, including veggies to make smoked salsa. Wanted to see if others out there did anything similar (or have ideas, already thinking what should be next year's...)

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Free Range on Food: Cooking with summer produce, corny ice cream sandwiches, coffee at Whole Foods and more.
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