2008 was really a great year for me in the kitchen. Obviously quitting my paying job and stepping into a kitchen full-time was a momentous occasion. Beyond that, I started paying more attention to details, whereas previously I spent my time playing with flavors, textures, temps, and the like. I still play almost daily, but a tighter production schedule has made that secondary to putting out quality finished products. The increase in my output has also, however, highlighted my shortcomings. Typically this meant me wanting to do something that I wasn't prepared or able to do. So, with that in mind, here are my culinary goals for 2009:
1. Piping skills
I can't tell you how many times I've poured glazes and thrown on tempered chocolate shards, only because my piping skills are lacking. I'm not looking for a Wilton look here, but there are times when you need a border or flair that only piping can create.
2. Sugar work
On my recent entrement I was playing with sugar and started seeing those beautiful stripes and the glissen of the pulled sugar. The ribbons naturally snapped since I was pulling on my cool countertop, but I knew from reading how to do more with the sugar. I'm not ready to buy a sugar box, nor make one, but my guess is that you'll find me on the floor in front of my warm oven sometime soon seeing what I can create. Isomalt will be in my near future orders.
3. Edge work on cakes
There's a good tutorial on eGullet on how to achieve a perfect edge on a cake. I've attempted it a few times, but never have created a Perfect edge. That will happen this year so I can stop relying on the Exotic Orange cake technique for my "perfection."
4. More entrements
I enjoy making them...so I will!
5. Cooking meats
While last on my list, this should be tops. Anyone who has read my blog for a while knows that I do primarily sweets and pastries. Now that I'm running my kitchen, I should learn how to cook a piece of meat. I haven't decided how I want to pursue this yet, but I'll work on it.
Basil Leaf – Albuquerque, New Mexico
2 days ago