After a food-filled December, I’m taking a much needed break from eating and cooking. I have, however, been spending time thinking about food and gearing up for some fun parties and food projects in the new year.

Here’s what made the short list for 2005:

Clam Bake – A real one. At the beach. With freshly collected seaweed.

Iron Chef Cook Off – This has been a long-time dream and I’m so mad that my brother beat me to it and held one in NYC, but at least I’ll get to learn from it—apparently, the favored chef lost and was so pissed that it ended some friendships. My dad has agreed to play the role of Chairman Kaga (okay, actually he begged). I want to be the whiney actress judge.

Cheese Making Party – I’ve mentioned this idea to my friends on several occasions and no one seems interested. I’m going to throw a Mozzarella making (and eating) party anyway, just to prove them wrong.

Third Annual Pulled Pork Party – Always delicious. Always fun. Always well attended.

Makin Bacon – I want to build an Alton Brown cold smoker out of cardboard and a hotplate and smoke my own bacon.

Dim Sum Party – I’ve been collecting dim sum recipes for about five years and want to try them out. I plan to make all the fillings and then invite my friends over to help stuff and eat them.

Feed My Farro Nut Obsession – Zach bought a bag of these amazing Lentz Spelt farro ‘nuts’ at a local farmer’s market and now I’m hooked. They have an amazing crunch and nutty flavor; like how I wish soy nuts tasted, but don’t. The problem is that Lentz Spelt is sold out, so I need to figure how to make my own.

Cooking series with Yen-Yen – My grandma is getting on in years and I want to get her recipes down before they’re lost forever. I especially want to know how she makes tai doi and her amazing soups.

Deep Fry Party – I want to borrow my mom’s new deep fat fryer and make all the fried recipes I’ve been saving up. Then I’ll go on a diet.

Learn to Cure Meats – I am absolutely devastated that I didn’t get into Salumi’s Adopt-A-Prosciutto program. So as a [poor] substitute, I’m going to try and find some classes in Seattle where I can learn about the curing process.

Homemade Gravlax – I’m a chicken. I love to eat gravlax from restaurants and stores, but for some reason the idea of making my own gravlax scares the hell out of me. But this year I’m determined to overcome my fear of food poisoning.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Someone just told me where you can get those delicious farro nuts: The Pike Place Market (in Seattle)—enter near the newsstand at DeLaurenti’s, go past the donut shop on the right, and the farro nut place will be on the right; directly across from Pike Place Fish. Woo hoo! I can check that of my list…