Monday, February 2, 2015

Ruminations on a Le Creuset challenge completed

Remember that time at New Years 2010 that I resolved to cook 52 recipes in my brand new Le Creuset in one year?  I do, fondly.  That me was about 5 years younger, still in grad school, living in the loveliest pseudo-commune in our dumpy castle on a hill with the loveliest roommates, who were more than happy to try my recipes at the weekly potluck we hosted for our friends on Thursday nights.  That me was (not surprisingly) 10 pounds heavier, could barely carry my Le Creuset, and had curiously less “white-blonde” highlights in her short, short hair.  In the span of a few weeks, it started become clear that I may have been a little overzealous with my goal making.  As you well know by know, my pot makes Strega Nona volumes of food, and when I finished grad school, got a for real career new job, and moved to a smaller apartment in short order, I realized I had to rework the time frame.  I figured as long as I did it and finished by some point, I’d still get the benefits of learning to cook many things in one pot.  And boy howdy, did I ever, and I certainly got more than I bargained for.  I’ve made things sweet, things savory, things that turned out way better than expected, things that didn’t even a few make the cut to get on here, and some things that I hope to make and make and make again.
Only slightly off, this is from New Years eve 2009,
aka 11 months before the challenge was hatched under my Christmas tree.
Five years is a long time, and I like to think I’ve grown quite a bit, in part because of this challenge.  I’m older.  Obviously.  I have a job I love as a library director, a major career goal I’m so proud and lucky to have achieved by 30.  Except...I’m still a terrible photographer, but hey, I can admit it!  This blog is about the phood, not the photograpy, right?  I’m a lot healthier in 2015 than I was in 2010, something I like to think you can see developing in the recipes over the history of this project (ie. cheese is no longer my base ingredient…).  I’m stronger, probably because I actually work out regularly (curious how that works), but also because I’ve lifted and moved and cleaned and lifted my Le Creuset so very often over the years.  

I’m stronger in other ways too; my confidence has grown considerably since I started this project (I mean, I was crazy enough to try making a souffle in one of these iron maidens…).  Obviously, that goes hand in hand with, but I’m less reliant on the advice, recipes, and direction of others, both in life and as a chef.  I’m daring in ways and about things I was frightened by (remember that time I went to Egypt like ten minutes after a revolution?), and consequently have been influenced to cook things I never thought to try, both in and out of my giant blue pot.  I've broken bread with so many wonderful people over the course of the challenge, and I'm so grateful for the time I've spent with anyone who dared to eat my food, who shared a recipe with me, or who taught me some valuable culinary lesson! Most important though?  Even when I did not succeed, even when I failed, I learned.  There are so many recipes I still want to try but just have run out of challenge time (like wings, beer can chicken but with soda, pot pie, sausage and grapes, goulash, some kind of soup with dumpings, Thanksgiving in a pot, etc.).  I’m so very glad I did this, and so thankful Santa my Mom gave me the best gift ever back in 2009. (Thanks Mom, even though you won't read this!).

Director to Director: the key hand off in August, 2014

Well, there it is.  I knew these pots were heavy.  I just didn’t realize how heavy they’d be, in the best possible way.  Thanks for a great five years of food and friendship, Le Creuset, and for a good 50 more!  

I'll end this post with a picture (and the top ten list). In December had a once in a (my) lifetime opportunity to participate in a gallery show (at work, don't get too excited) on crafts. Yes. Let that sink in. As you know, I have zero to negative one million artistic abilities, outside of occasionally throwing some food in my giant pot and hoping for the best. But participate I did, thanks to the encouragement of a very open minded artist/superstar art teacher, and my lovely coworkers. I think the photographic evidence of my Le Creuset on display in an art gallery with some of my terrible food photographs as the background is a great way to end this challenge!

My top 10 favorite recipes in from the Le Creuset challenge:

2.Tie! Dijon Pulled Chicken and Stracotto with Porcini (curiously..or not, both have wine)
1.Chocolate Chorizo Chili (aka. the best recipe ever for chili, ever, with bias factored in)

Happy food adventures to you all! 


Bean said...

I just finally got around to reading this post - congrats on officially completing the challenge, and thanks for letting me be a taste-tester on many occasions! It is fun to look back at how far we've come with our culinary abilities. 5 years ago, the only thing I'd make in a Le Creuset was macaroni and cheese!

PaperblogPrincess said...

Thanks, amiga! Good to see burners on the Asphalt Kitchen are back on!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...