One of the reasons I don't think of myself as a good cook is that there's so much basic stuff I don't know how to do. Here are a few things I'd like to accomplish by the end of 2011:
1. Understand my options for thickening a liquid and be able to use at least some of them without resort to a recipe. In particular, I'd like to be able to make/use a roux on the fly and be able to do a white sauce without doing more than referring to a note card for a ratio. I have Christmas Day planned for Project White Sauce.
2. Prepare more of my own food during the summer months. Kansas City isn't exactly the Amazon, but it does get hot here, and the hot weather sucks me dry of any culinary ambition. So things go generally to heck. I need to develop a plan.
3. Learn to clarify a bouillon by using a "raft" of vegetables, meat, and egg. OK, I'm lying: I have no need for beautifully clear bouillon. But I saw this done on TV the other day and it's a cute trick. :)
4. Learn the uses for more of the seasonings in my spice drawer. A lot of that stuff I can't even mentally 'taste'.
This seems doable to me!