My 2012 Culinary Bucket List


04 Jan My 2012 Culinary Bucket List

Canadian Winter

It’s January. Has been for a few days. I know I’m a bit late with this but, oh well, here goes anyway…

Every year I swear to myself I will post more often. I will get better at my photos. I’ll be a better blogger. These vague goals slip through my fingers like typos on a smartphone. Last year I promised, “I’m not going to let Life derail me again.” Hmmmm. That one’s still on the table.

Instead of chastising myself for the missteps, I’ve decided to look back at some of the things I’ve learned since starting this blog. The things that brought me a sense of accomplishment. The things I have carried forward into my culinary life on a regular basis. Baby step by baby step, I’ve reclaimed the kitchen. I now simmer my own chicken stock, whip up salad dressings from what’s hanging out in the fridge, churn unbelievably rich ice cream, and make a scratch version of rum cake that should be served with a breathalyzer. I’ve conquered my fear of pastry to the point where I am riffing on galettes like I knew what I was doing. Even better? I’m no longer ashamed to serve my chocolate truffles to guests in good lighting, and boast to anyone who will listen about the the red and white wine jellies in my pantry — made with my very own apple pectin. Hell, I’ve even served homemade eggnog at Christmas AND turned it into ice cream. Ho ho ho.

What’s on for 2012?  Besides a wing and a prayer, I’ve set my sights on a few items. As you can see, my list is not very long or all that exotic. No item here is based on a dare or uses one-upmanship as the key ingredient. There will be no roast suckling pig, no homemade sausage or artisanal cheese. I will not be dabbling in molecular gastronomy or flambéing anything — at least not intentionally. This is just a list of things I want to make in the next year. Some are here because I can’t find a decent ready-made version. I want to tackle a few to save money (says the woman who spent $112 so she could make cinnamon ice cream). And others are listed for the best reason of all — Just Because.

Charmian’s Bucket List

(In no particular order, to be completed by December 31, 2012. Author reserves the right to revise on a whim.)

  • Palmiers (aka elephant ears, French hearts, butterflies, palm leaves, butterflies…)
  • Clotted cream
  • Pasta
  • Graham crackers
  • Granary bread  Many-Seed Bread
  • Sourdough bread
  • Preserved lemons (and then do something Moroccan with them)
  • Popovers (They’re in the upcoming book, The Messy Baker!)
  • Hot and Sour Soup
  • Tacos shells
  • Onion Bhaji
  • Vegetable Pakoras
  • Profiteroles (added Jan 4 thanks to Lisa MacColl)  (These too are  in my upcoming book, The Messy Baker!)
  • Turtle Ice Cream (added Jan 4 thanks to Robin)
  • Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms (added May 29, thanks to Family Garden Project)

I’m sure I’ll think of other things once I hit “post”, but for now this carb-heavy list should keep me out of mischief.

Got a food-based wish list of dishes you’d like to try? What’s on yours?

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No Comments
  • Lisa MacColl
    Posted at 11:09h, 04 January Reply

    I’ve made pasta once. It was infinitely superior to the cardboard from a bag. (Note to self: dinner for tonight just solved.)
    I’d like to try to make profiteroles this year. I want to perfect my mom’s butter tart recipe since the tart pans have (literally) been passed to me. Mine tasted okay but were butt ugly.
    Buttermilk ranch dressing and other homemade creamy dressings are on my list for this year too.
    Happy new year Charmian!

  • cheryl
    Posted at 12:19h, 04 January Reply

    Taco shells, you say? Intriguing.

    I’d like to get more intuitive about cooking meat. I don’t actually eat that much of it, but when I do, I’m very recipe-focused. I’d like to be able to wing it a bit more (no pun intended).

    As for preserved lemons, my lemon tree and I anxiously await your guidance.

    Happy new year, Charmian!

  • Charmian Christie
    Posted at 12:30h, 04 January Reply

    Yup, taco shells. Living large up here in the North.

    Winging it with meat? Good one. I’ll see if I can come up with some improv ideas for you. Stay tunes (and remain patient!)

    I’m trying very hard to not be jealous of your lemon tree. Preserved lemons have just moved up on the list since it’s freaking cold here and I need something sunny to think about.

    Happy New Year to you! I’m sure it will be fabulous — especially with your book due out next month. I can’t wait to see it.

  • A Canadian Foodie
    Posted at 12:43h, 04 January Reply

    I love your list – and it is very doable! I look forward to reading about it.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:04h, 04 January Reply

      And I look forward to seeing how the recipes pan out. Thanks for following along.

  • Andrea the Kitchen Witch
    Posted at 13:46h, 04 January Reply

    Preserved lemons have been on my hit list, as well. However I have no real clue what to do with them once they’re made, hence why they’re still on the back burner. :) This year I hope to make sausage (bulk, not links, well maybe links…).

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 21:22h, 04 January Reply

      Preserved lemons are used in Moroccan cuisine quite a bit. I’m sure there are other uses, but that’s my main aim. I’ll give other uses when I get around to making them.

      Sausage patties are actually a good idea. I had envisioned links. I’ll make the lemons, you make the sausages and we’ll strike two items off the lists!

  • Robin Smart
    Posted at 17:17h, 04 January Reply

    John can do sourdough bread better than any other. Please keep us in mind for tasting when you get to that item on the list. Way to go with choices you really care about, but I think your list need “Turtle ice cream”.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 21:24h, 04 January Reply

      I’ll keep you in mind for sourdough tasting. It could be a while since I’m not sure about the starter. Fridge space is dear.

      I’ve added your Turtle Ice Cream to my list. I’ll see if I can make something for John’s birthday. No promises, but it’s a great excuse to do some serious turtle research. Let’s see, chocolate, caramel, pecans…

      • Robin Smart
        Posted at 17:05h, 05 January Reply

        Do the ice cream but not for Mr. Alergic To Nuts birthday please. He wouldn’t see the humour in it.

        • Charmian Christie
          Posted at 14:16h, 12 January Reply

          Oh, forgot about that. We’ll save the Turtle Ice Cream for YOUR birthday, then.

  • Jill Silverman Hough
    Posted at 21:45h, 05 January Reply

    I love the idea of an annual culinary bucket list. I’ve always meant to tackle gougeres. Maybe this should be the year.

    Happy new year, Charmian. :)

  • Judith Rutty Godfrey
    Posted at 15:08h, 17 January Reply

    I adore your culinary bucket list! Don’t make preserved lemons as I can buy them so inexpensively but they are delicious chopped up for tuna salad, chicken salad, regular salad, etc. Crackers, that’s my choice. The type that go so well with a glass of wine and a bit of cheese WITHOUT all the salt and sugar in processed ones. I’ll keep you posted.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 08:02h, 18 January Reply

      Nice to know some more uses for preserved lemons. It’s hard to find them here, and when I do they are outrageously expensive. I’m now anxious to get my lemons preserving. Thanks for the culinary tips!

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