First Post – The Culinary Challenge Begins!

First time cooking a whole chicken, making some sort of curry, I think.
First time cooking a whole chicken, making some sort of curry, I think.

I always had an excuse for not doing more in the kitchen. At first it was simply the cost. It’s not easy on the wallet to get a kitchen well-established in terms of both hardware and other essentials, like a reasonably complete set of spices. Looking through recipes until I could find something that sounded healthy, delicious, and only required some combination of the ten different spices we currently owned, and nothing else, seemed daunting. “When will I ever need paprika again? Is it worth spending $5 to use once and sit in the cupboard until the end of time?” – that was a serious contemplation I’d had.

Today, however, the situation is quite different. Gone are all the excuses I used to have. No longer is our spice cabinet lacking: it’s messy and disorganized, but not lacking. Thanks to our wedding this past summer (well, the gifts that accompanied it) we are now blessed with a hand blender, a regular blender, a KitchenAid mixer, a Le Creuset braiser, a slow-cooker, and other pseudo-essentials that have greatly opened up the realm of possibilities for my cooking. Many recipes that once seemed impossible to conquer given our kitchen arsenal are now easily completed and enjoyed.

That’s a portion of my answer to the question “Why am I doing this?”, but definitely not the whole story. More important than the “why?” at this point is the “what?”. This blog is about challenging myself and surprising those around me. I love telling my mother about roasting a duck or making perogies from scratch, or hosting friends for a classic Sunday roast, or impressing my buddies with homemade buffalo wings while hosting them for a Seahawks game. To make it a true challenge, the plan is as follows:

– Replicate at least 100 different *new* recipes over the course of 2015

– Make 20+ recipes that I’ve already had success with and enjoy

– Document these cooking/baking endeavours with links to recipes, poorly-lit pictures, and commentary on what went well, what didn’t, my errors, omissions and additions, and anything else one does on a cooking blog

– Make Jamie Oliver proud

I don’t know how I’ll accomplish that last goal, but as this blog’s name is a play on “From Julie to Julia”, and I own multiple Jamie Oliver cookbooks, it’s inevitable that I will be highlighting a number of his recipes this year. I won’t be focusing only on his recipes alone, but he will feature prominently. Anyways, I just hope that should he ever hear of or stumble upon my blog, he will regard it in a more favourable light than Julia Child did with “From Julie to Julia”.

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