Saturday, January 3, 2015


Happy New Year!
2015... wow. Last year, I wrote about my resolutions for 2014. Perhaps I'm guilty of a selective memory, but I did pretty well! Once again, I did not break 200 at bowling, but I did manage to go to three new countries: Canada - not just once, but three times(!), Belgium, and The Netherlands (Amsterdam).
My biggest failing, as usual, was keeping up with this blog.

Looking back at that old blog post stirs mixed emotions of accomplishment with last year's angst. I spent 2014 "going out", which, fittingly, symbolizes the all-too-common external search for happiness. I went home to Tucson for my little brother's big UofA graduation, I went to Europe, I went snowboarding in Vermont at the end of last winter, started this winter break with a trip to the Smithsonian museums in D.C., and I went on a lot of dates - mostly first-dates that did not pan out, but dates none-the-less. I will spare us both the details.
The point being, while I had lots of fun, it has only been in the last couple months I have really started looking inward and finding happiness that doesn't come from a place of yearning.

With that in mind, I want to make 2015 the year of "staying in". As reclusive as that might sound, I actually want to do more at home and invite others to join in that, and a big part of this plan revolves around the kitchen.
Through some interesting coincidences, I ended 2014 with a sudden interest in de-boning whole chickens. That's right. I did not misspeak:
My first attempt was successful, but not pretty!

I still cannot stop watching this video. From the French accent to the beauty and ease with which the chef cleans out this bird, I wanted to practice it. I have now completed this twice. Once, using my first deboned chicken to make a Filipino Christmas bird, called Rellenong Manok.

Today, I finished a second, stuffed ballotine with my own spinach and mushroom-based creation.
I also took my father's stern advice and used the carcass to make a delicious stock, mixing in the innards with some pasta, thereby also making chicken noodle soup from scratch - another personal first, which was not only easy, but turned out great!

My interest in the kitchen hasn't stopped at food either. I managed, barely, to complete another 2014 resolution by brewing my first 5-gallon batch of beer on New Year's Eve. Literally finishing in time to run to the bar for countdown to 2015, but a great and memorable way to end the year!

My  favorite kind of hops
The Mash (in my huge pot)
Fermenting away.
SO! What are my resolutions this year? More house/dinner parties, less bars. Go to yoga twice a week (eventually). Become a morning person (also eventually). Keep brewing, blogging, and bow-tie-wearing. Read more books, write more, and act in something on some level (I have creative friends who make videos, so hopefully they will help me with this).
Adding large quantities of maple syrup to my Chocolate Maple Porter beer!