2020 Kitchen Resolutions: Summer Check-In
June 30, 2020
It’s truly summer here in upstate New York. All the blooming, flowering plants have turned a lush green, the fruit farms are all open for you-pick berries, and we’ve even had a few days where it’s too hot to sit out on the porch with a cocktail until after the sun goes down. But how are things going inside my kitchen? Let’s do a summer check-in for my kitchen resolutions!
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I first announced my goals at the beginning of January, and updated on the status for my spring check-in in March. If you want the whole story, check back on those posts. But here are how things are now for each of my four goals for 2020.
Cut Down On Waste: Food And Disposables
Social distancing norms have made it more difficult to cut down on plastic bags. Even though I have a really nice set of reusable produce bags (here’s a similar set), most places prefer to use plastic because it’s safer for everyone. We are still using reusable grocery bags, so overall our impact is down, just not as much as I’d like.
However, when it comes to food waste, I think we are doing a much better job. I now keep a running list of produce items that we have, when we got them, and how much is left. This helps me not only to remember what’s available, but also what needs to be used quickly.
Moving forward: We noticed that when we have fresh produce from the farm share, and we are getting meal kits (Have you tried Green Chef? It has great options for a variety of diets, including vegetarian) we need to be better about trying to use our veggies in the meals they send.
We have two huge heads of bok choy, and could have used them in both a ramen recipe and lettuce cups this past week, but we just forgot. I want to improve how we are using everything.
Try Making Something Totally New Each Season
I think this is the easiest goal for me. Most of the time, I don’t even have to think about trying something new. I am always experimenting in the kitchen, so it’s easy to accidentally stumble upon achieving this resolution.
These past few months, I have spent a ton of time baking and cooking. It’s basically my main hobby now that we are spending so much time at home. A few fun things I’ve tried include experimenting with cookie cups, making a cocktail with fancy flavored ice, and frying up some corn fritters.
However, for this goal, I’m going to count my cream puffs! These came out so great even the first time I made them. And I decided to fill them with an almond and coconut whipped cream. I also learned that they need to be eaten or frozen very quickly after making.
Moving forward: I’m excited for the rest of the summer season to work on this resolution. I’ll be cooking with unfamiliar fruits and vegetables, and of course trying to accomplish new recipes using new techniques. It should be a lot of fun!
We’re halfway through the year! Did you have any cooking related resolutions? How are they going?
Keep Eating Local, Even In The Off Season
Supporting local businesses became easier over the past few months than it was in March. We’ve been lucky enough to live in a place that’s been very careful, so we are starting to see restaurants and breweries opening in phases.
We made good use of curbside pick-up and takeout, supporting some of our favorite places: a local craft sandwich joint, our neighborhood Mexican restaurant, and a brewery that we know the owners of.
We’ve also gotten ourselves into the farm season around here, which means it’s very easy to eat even more local. Our farm share started last week, and we get our second box today. We’ve also been frequenting our favorite berry farm.
Moving forward: Between getting our farm share box each week and picking our own berries, and then eventually cherries and apples, this goal is the easiest to work on in the upcoming few months. I’m not worried about it at all.
Take Advantage Of Hosting Opportunities
I’ll admit, I was pretty sad about the state of this goal as of March, but I think we’ve done a really good job of improving considering the circumstances. We are lucky to have a back deck that has afternoon shade, so it’s a great place to sit and chat.
We’ve invited over many of our friends, in small groups, so we are able to properly social distance. We can sit outside and drink beer or cocktails, or even have a whiskey tasting! It’s nice to feel like a hostess again.
We also made a big decision when it comes to our home: we’re adding on a closed-in porch! This will create a perfect space for indoor/outdoor entertaining. And I grabbed a few gateleg tables from IKEA that can fold up to take up less space, or be opened to seat four people each.
Moving forward: I am hoping that the situation continues to improve here, and that soon we’ll be able to fully host a larger gathering outside or even a small group inside our home. I miss cooking and baking for a crowd, and that’s the part we haven’t quite felt comfortable with yet. I’m confident we’ll get there, though.