Sometime last week, I roasted a chicken, whomped up some stuffing with old bread and some celery, mushrooms, and stock that needed to be used up, and served it up with this super-simple apple and fennel salad. I had always been suspicious of fennel, since I don’t like licorice. I loved it in this formulation, as it turned out. Now I’m eyeing roasted fennel and wondering what else there is to be done with it.
The best thing about it was that none of this demanded much thought. I was standing around the produce section at Wegman’s waiting for Mr. Husband to finish rifling through the cilantro, and I happened to be in front of the fennel. It looked fresh and unblemished and I was curious, so I bought some, brought it home and looked up a recipe, and we were done. This is part of what this year of cooking 52 new dishes gave me: more curiosity, less fear of new things in the kitchen. While I still consult recipes, I follow them less slavishly. When I buy an ingredient, it gets used fairly soon because there’s the mildest sort of deadline involved. (As opposed to before, when I would read a post on an interesting dish, buy something like whole cardamom in order to make it, and then let it sit until it was time to throw it out.) I was appreciative of good implements before but am more so now, and a lot more appreciative of good technique. I understand cooking more as a way of learning about the world and loving life, rather than just as a way to feed oneself. I’m glad that Greg suggested this a year ago, and that I bothered to stick to it.
Both of us in the house have enjoyed this project, and Mr. Husband has also made a ton of new things, mostly Asian-inspired, that have gone unblogged. And so for all these reasons, I’ve decided to do a second year of the Recipe Project. Since I’m making a point of less travel and more writing and gardening this summer, I’m hoping that there will be more summer dishes. More grilling and more vegetables, more preserving. I’m definitely freezing more cherries and herbs this year, but I have aspirations for canning. I’ve started following blogs like Tigress in a Pickle and Well Preserved. We’ll see what comes of it.
What I haven’t decided is how to present these posts. I wonder if people find this sort of blogging to be rather tedious, especially since it’s quite far from what this blog used to be about and most of the audience it used to be for. What do you think? Should I keep blogging full recipes? Should I just post photos and, when available, links? Should I just move the whole thing over to Flickr? Should I keep tweeting recipe posts? I’d love to know what you think is needed.