Today's primary cooking projects are a Tuscan Bean Soup and Anise Cookies. These two quite different dishes have one important feature (not to say "ingredient") in common: time. To make bean soup, you have to start the beans soaking the night before. And then, because I still have the turkey carcass in the freezer from Thanksgiving and the time to devote to doing it, I'm making the stock for the soup from scratch. (By the way, I am not dogmatic about this the way some cooks and cookbooks are. I think there are some really good packaged stocks out there, and I don't mind using them when I don't have homemade stock around.)
The anise cookies, a Christmas tradition in Sue's family, are very old-fashioned. They are leavened by ammonium carbonate (smelling salts!), which takes a lot of time to work. So you mix up the dough from superfine sugar, eggs, flour, and the ammonium carbonate. You roll out the cookies with a fancy rolling pin that leaves designs on the dough and cut the decorated dough into squares. Then you place the cookies on a baking sheet that is sprinkled with anise seeds. THEN they have to stand for at least 8 hours. It's better if they rest overnight.
Both require the cook to plan ahead, and this is not particularly how I ordinarily like to cook. I prefer, really, to grab a pan and get going. But this is the week for long-range plans, perhaps in preparation for the New Year's resolutions. (I have a rib roast dry-aging in the fridge per Alton Brown. I will cook it Saturday. THAT'S planning.)
I will try to document all the dishes for the blog. Please be patient. I'm new at this.