I wish I could say that this post included a fabulous towering cake, a perfectly puffed pastry, or at least a stack of gooey cookies. I suspect that at least one of those treats will make an appearance in the future, but right now the balancing act I'm working on isn't nearly as tasty -- or as simple.
I'm talking about balancing time and money. As a relative newcomer to the home cuisine domain, I'm understandably enthusiastic about my hobby and newfound love of all things kitchen. But with that enthusiasm comes a sudden need (read: desire) for new cookbooks, new gadgets, and of course new ingredients. I frequently salivate over exotic dishes and novel techniques, but more often than not these involve food & gear I simply don't have... and certainly can't afford to buy.
This leaves me a little sad, on occasion, as I feel that certain dishes are off-limits to home cooks on a budget just because they include one or two "special" ingredients or ultra-specific gadgets. I'm sure that, with careful management, I'll be able to buy a treat or two. I certainly don't skimp on quality when it really counts (chocolate, anyone?). But someday it would be nice to try the grass-fed fillet, the truffle oil, or the $38-dollar-an-ounce cheese... even if only for one special meal.
As far as budgeting my time goes, lately I've had enough spare moments to make some of the more time-consuming dishes (I'm looking at you, pot pie). But in the very near future that time will be drastically reduced, and I predict that my energy levels won't be far behind. I hope to push through it, get myself motivated, and set some time aside just for me and my kitchen. But if I don't, and I find myself serving salads with a side of mac n' cheese, well... try not to be too hard on me. I will continue to look for new things to make, even if they don't get made right away. And hey, you never know -- maybe I'll end up cooking long into the night, bringing the fruits of my labor to work in the morning! Hollandaise, anyone?