What dishes are considered classic cuisine? What are some different exercises and sports to try?
December 30, 2008 11:06 AM   Subscribe

I need help selecting classic cuisine dishes to perfect and new exercises and activities to try as part of my New Year's Resolution!

So it's New Year's resolution time again. In addition to the requisite resolutions (workout more, get my paperwork organized, clean the basement, call my grandma more), I've decided I'd like to tackle one basic "classic cuisine" dish a month and to counteract the caloric intake, try a new physical activity every month.

I've had a hard time searching for classic dishes for my list so far. I was inspired by a Top Chef episode where each chef had to make classic dish or put a new spin on it, but the only two dishes I can remember are lasagne and veal picatta.

As far as physical activity, I already do yoga, run and take a brutal cycling class twice a week. I live in Michigan, so take the climate into consideration in your suggestions.

Can't wait to see what you all come up with!
posted by ReneeOg to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Jambalaya, one of the great New Orleans dishes, is a good all-around dish -- you can dress it up or dress it down, adapt the meat you put into it, and it presents endless opportunities for tinkering and customization (the recipe calls for "sausage" -- what kind of sausage? Does brand A or brand B work better?...etc.) And since jambalaya is an offshoot of the Spanish dish paella, which is itself a cousin of Middle Eastern pilaf, it'd be a springboard for two more classic dishes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:14 AM on December 30, 2008

There was a post in the blue a few days ago about Jacques P├ępin's cooking series Fast Food My Way... it's incredible.

Then you could buy Wii Fit and never have to leave the house!
posted by pwally at 11:24 AM on December 30, 2008

You can judge a good cook by his or her soup and roasted whole chicken. Perfect those.
posted by nitsuj at 11:31 AM on December 30, 2008

I would highly recommend working your way through Julia Child's Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking.
posted by gudrun at 11:40 AM on December 30, 2008

I think you should try cassoulet. Start by making your own duck confit.
posted by cabingirl at 11:41 AM on December 30, 2008

Are you planning to try one classic dish, one time each month? Or are you going to spend the month making and remaking the classic to really become good at it?

If you're planning to experiment throughout the month, I would highly recommend homemade pizza as one of your options. Getting the crust how you like it can take some experimenting, and if you're feeling really ambitious you could try to perfect your sauce, too.

Pie would also be a good thing to practice, as a from-scratch crust can be difficult for beginners.
posted by vytae at 12:10 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

You could try snowshoeing as a winter exercise to try. You can probably rent snowshoes pretty inexpensively.
posted by All.star at 12:18 PM on December 30, 2008

Notice how many, if not most, recipes call for chicken broth, "preferably home made?"

Practice making pot au feu chicken, with little or no added water, to produce "liquid gold," a really top notch concentrated chicken broth. Enjoy the chicken, freeze some of the broth, and once you've got that down, move on to the next round.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:47 PM on December 30, 2008

Tomato sauce. Beef stock and chicken stock. Roast chicken. Chicken soup. Chili. Corn bread. Bread (this can take months alone). Pot roast, and other braised dishes like spare ribs, pulled pork. Beef burgundy.

Although not all these dishes might be called classic, eGullet holds these cook offs where everyone cooks one dish. They range form Korean bibimbap to cassoulet to pizza. Here's a google search for some of the threads: http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=cook+off&x=0&y=0&domains=egullet.org&sitesearch=egullet.org
posted by rq at 1:50 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Coq au Vin
posted by pmbuko at 3:57 PM on December 30, 2008

Around the world in 80 dishes

This blog is posting video instructions of how to make 80 iconic dishes from cuisines around the world.
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 7:46 PM on December 30, 2008

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