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After the Cook the Issue Challenge

Pielove's picture

liamsaunt, ICD, kitchengoddess, et al.--

Have you given any thought to what you're going to do after Feb 1st?  I want to bake some bread and make some cheese.  


liamsaunt's picture

after Cook the Issue... (post #70866, reply #1 of 27)

Well, my husband has asked me to please go back to making some of his favorite dishes from the pre-Cook the Issue period!  Haha.

I'm going to miss Cook the Issue.  It appeals to a lot of things I like--completing lists, taking pictures of food.  I had already been doing that for quite some time anyway...I post a "what was cooking this month" photo album every month on my facebook page.  I liked how the challenge made me consider making recipes I would normally have skipped over.  Of course the results were very mixed!   Once the challenge is finished, I am planning on rating everything I cooked.  It will be interesting to see how many of the recipes are keepers in my mind, and how many I will never make again!

I'm hoping to explore bread baking in greater detail in 2011.  Not sweet breads or tea breads, but crusty loaves, sourdough, maybe even baguette.  Of course I have to get my oven fixed first! (Tuesday)

I'm also planning to explore cooking authentic Thai food once the weather warms a bit.  I have David Thompson's book and have been reading it a lot, coming up with sources for ingredients and identifying potential recipes to try.  In the cold winter months I think I am going to be doing a lot of cooking from Around my French Table.  I've been waiting to buy it because I know I would just want to cook out of it rather than the Cook the Issue recipes, but once the challenge is over, I am going French!


Pielove's picture

Bread... (post #70866, reply #4 of 27)

Hey liamsaunt,

Too funny,  I have been getting some pushback from my family too-- when are we getting the old favorites back?  Tonight we are having pasta puttanesca to placate them.  It will be really wierd not to have the focus of listmaking, pick a new recipe every night.

 I like your idea of rating the recipes-- maybe a Top 10.  I've got to make that artichoke frittata again and my daughter has been clamoring for fried chicken.  Do post your top-rated list!

I'm thinking sourdough too-- I just got Peter Reinhardt's Artisan Bread Every Day and am very excited.  I have heard great things about the French book too.  I am going Vietnamese!


ICDOCEAN1's picture

Post Challenge (post #70866, reply #9 of 27)

I'm open to anything and bread baking is a must.  I'm all over the map in cooking, but I do love my Italian Sunday dinners and I have a list of cookbooks that I want to get, 12 in all including, Thai Street Food, Around my French Table, Tartine Bread, Ethan Stowell's New Italian Kitchen, Jamie's America, My Calabria...oh the list goes on and I want to cook from my most recent gifts, The Silver Spoon Pasta Cookbook, and an Italian Summer.

Can't wait to see what FC has in store...

Pielove's picture

Bread... (post #70866, reply #10 of 27)

I just started the seed culture for a sourdough starter!  I'm following Peter Reinhardt's method, so it starts with flour and pineapple juice.  As a tribute to SallyBR, who blogs at, I am naming the starter.  For now, he is called "Bob the Bubbler".

I can't wait to get into the bread thing-- as if I need more carbs in my life, haha!


ICDOCEAN1's picture

Sourdough etc. (post #70866, reply #12 of 27)

I bake a lot of bread and have for years, so a I am hanging back on a bread baking challenge of any kind, but go for it as there is nothing like the comfort of fresh baked bread at home.  From my grandmothers on down, we swear that the more you bake bread the better it gets...sure, but undoubtedly because the "east" surrounds baking room after years of baking.  You know, I laughed at first, but when I make any kind of dough here, it is perfect, out of town at my daughter's house, iffy, but now that I have baked bread and pizza up the wazoo, my dough is right on for her climate.

Sally has had a wonderful time baking bread as I have read.  I have made numerous BBA recipes and adore each one...I have bread baking on the menu this weekend and usually make at least 3 loaves and I never have a hard time making it vanish between hubby and friends.

Good luck with your sourdough and I think that I will make some kind of pasta this weekend, maybe something colorful...

RDA's picture

What's next? (post #70866, reply #2 of 27)

We're working on something we think this crew will love. Fun, warming, relatively easy in scope—and delicious, of course. The next challenge is in the works!

- Robyn

Pielove's picture

Easy???!!? (post #70866, reply #3 of 27)

Hey Robyn!

  Ooh, you have piqued my interest!  Easy, though-- scoff, scoff! (heehee).


ICDOCEAN1's picture

Geezers need to prepare any hints? (post #70866, reply #11 of 27)

Thanks for the heads up Robyn...Hints are welcome.

RDA's picture

Better than a hint (post #70866, reply #24 of 27)


I can finally give you a hint, well actually, it's better than a hint. . .Mark Your Calendar for. . . .Soup Week!

We're still working out some of the details right now, but it's going to be one fun and tasty week. I'm so very glad you got into the habit of photographing your recipes! Any soup pics will come in handy when we launch the Soup Week Challenge.

ICDOCEAN1's picture

Soup Week (post #70866, reply #25 of 27)

Which week? 

RDA's picture

Feb. 25 through Mar. 4 (post #70866, reply #26 of 27)

Soup Week officially begins Feb. 25 through March 4.


Pielove's picture

Soup week! (post #70866, reply #27 of 27)

That sounds great-- and your post reminds me that I need to make that vegetable soup again soon!


kitchengoddess's picture

Variety (post #70866, reply #5 of 27)

I have been going through some of my other magazines and looking through some of the other recipes that I had tagged as "to try one day".  I have been cutting out the recipes I think I would actually make and putting them in a binder.  I think I might start tackling that.

I have not invested as much time into the challenge but honestly I am so glad you guys encouraged me because I have had a great deal of fun!

Robyn- can't wait to see what you guys are doing next!

Pielove's picture

challenge (post #70866, reply #6 of 27)

Hey kitchengoddess,  I'm glad you're participating in the Challenge too-- it is great to see what you've been cooking!


GretchenTHE FIRST's picture

Can't help but think back to (post #70866, reply #7 of 27)

Can't help but think back to the good ole days of CT when WE devised a challenge--cook a cookbook. Not the whole thing--just cook recipes from a specified/chosen book and post the results. It was fun, AND we discovered a lot of things about cookbooks--particularly, for me, how the photos of the finished dish matched up, OR if you followed the directions EXACTLY (and that was a requirement--no adlibbing), what "happened"--in my case, IF I had, it would be 'way overcooked.  Anyway, we did ti for a year--maybe a year before "cook the issue", which would certainly up the hits on the home page, cynic that I am AND said it at the time.

Pielove's picture

Challenge... (post #70866, reply #8 of 27)

Gretchen, I do remember that project-- what a cool idea.  And as for your cynicism, please don't ever change.  


P.S. I did have a lot of fun with this challenge-- any increase in web traffic, all the better!  I know my mom has been checking my crazy project-- she keeps asking when I'm going to make the creamed spinach.

Pielove's picture

Cook the Freezer/ Cook the Pantry (post #70866, reply #13 of 27)

I figured out my next project-- cooking up the oddments of ingredients I have accumulated over the Cook the Issue challenge.  I have fruit pulp from the cherimoya granita, plus a whole bunch of other wierd stuff that I haven't even inventoried yet.  Agave syrup!  Pumpkin seeds!  Time for some pantry turnover!  

Anyone else have a trove of odd ingredients?  


liamsaunt's picture

me too! (post #70866, reply #16 of 27)

I have so much stuff that I am going to have to use up!    Amaranth flour!  That's going to be a tough one to come up with uses for.  Lots of grains: millet, farro, barley, quinoa, dried white and black beans. I also have half a bottle of agave syrup (hmm..time to recheck which recipes I still have to make from that article).  Then there is the freezer: Half a meatloaf in the deep freezer, along with two quarts of turkey soup, a freezer pack of vegetable curry, a pack of braised short ribs, a bag of turkey mole, the beef stock that I made for the wellington I never completed, and six more pints of frozen milled tomatoes.  I am sure I will eat all these things eventually, but still..

The other thing I was thinking about the other day is what gadgets I bought to use in this competition.  A tomato miller and an apple corer make the list of things that won't be used on a regular basis.  On the other hand, I bought myself some new sheet pans and silpats and those have proved to be an excellent investment, I use them all the time!

Pielove's picture

grains... (post #70866, reply #17 of 27)

I am skipping the grains article in 109 just to avoid buying a whole bunch of odd grains that I will then have to use up.  I think I managed to get by without too much capital investment-- but my husband would say that is because I already have too much stuff!  That tomato miller won't get used much, but it will be handy for that once-a-year tomato fest.


ICDOCEAN1's picture

Not many oddments (post #70866, reply #19 of 27)

I think that when I scaled the recipes except for the days that we wanted leftovers, I didn't end up with too many "oddments" at all and what I have in the way of stocks, I always have on hand anyway.  Meatloaf is always in the freezer so that is not a big deal around here and I am ready for two more meatloaf dinners from the FC recipes and two of my own.  DH says, never can have too much meatloaf.

There were a lot of seasonal fruits and vegetables, so it was no problem using those.  Quinoa, all sorts of rice and now a bag of farro is what I have left, but they are staples around here. 

I really don't think I bought a gadget, but did borrow a pastry bag that I never used for the ricotta cream, used a zip bag and an injector for that cream puff project. 

The best part of the challenge has been using fresh ingredients that I would normally pass up, baby artichokes, kumquats to name a couple, just being aware of them will prompt me to make something when I find them again. 

Since I make dinner every night I will go back to many recipes that I really liked adding in a side or main from my vast collection of family, cookbooks and MasterCook saved, then add more new ones.  Never a dull moment around here.

So now, what the heck is normal for you guys?  I am going to do more bread baking, pasta making for starters and then maybe bake a thing or two along the way, not my favorite sport.

Let's keep in touch ladies, it has been a pleasure and I still have recipes from the current issue planned out for the next week or so...

kitchengoddess's picture

Me neither (post #70866, reply #21 of 27)

I agree, I don't have much of anything left.  I didn't purchase anything new for the challenge and I only made what I wanted to eat right away...all I have extra is the left over fresh ham in the freezer.  I am still struggling with do I want to make the spoon bread or not?

Pielove's picture

spoon bread (post #70866, reply #22 of 27)

kitchengoddess, that spoon bread is quite tasty, especially with a splash of hot sauce!


Pielove's picture

ingredients... (post #70866, reply #23 of 27)

So today I made granola with some of the agave syrup, dates from the fruitcake, and pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin-orzo-scallop recipe.  Granola and soup, the two catch-all recipes!  I still have a ton of agave syrup-- foolishly, I bought the Costco 2-pack.  

I still want to make a few things (such as the kimchi pancakes) and my daughter wants to make the croquembouche-- we'll see how much I get around to in the next 2 weeks!


ICDOCEAN1's picture

Ciabatta (post #70866, reply #14 of 27)

I am making ciabatta today and  I sent a link to you for a good video.  So far so good, but the challenge will getting it to the parchment paper.   I didn't want to get into any intense bread baking today so I am hoping this recipe turns out half way decent.  I'll let you know how the loaves turn out. 

Pielove's picture

ciabatta.. (post #70866, reply #15 of 27)

ICD, thanks for the video!   We are making baguettes from Reinhard's "Lean Bread" today.  I look forward to hearing about your bread!


ICDOCEAN1's picture

Ciabatta (post #70866, reply #18 of 27)

Well it came out better than I expected since I haven't made bread in quite some time, hamburger rolls, sure.  It would be nice to compare notes and posting photos here at FC doesn't seem to be an issue, CTC has limited space unless you want to pay.  What do you think for this after the challenge project?

For the moment I am keeping pictures and notes in MasterCook folder... 2 loaves ciabatta/one loaf gone!

DSC_8278_Ciabatta.jpg107.54 KB
DSC_8267_Ciabatta and Lotsa flour
DSC_8267_Ciabatta and Lotsa flour92.72 KB
kitchengoddess's picture

Very nice! (post #70866, reply #20 of 27)

Wow, that looks great.  I don't have much luck with bread.  Maybe I'll go back to battling it out with yeast.