I rely heavily on Allrecipes every day to answer that irritating question: "What's for dinner?" When there's a party to prepare for I love going to Allrecipes for inspiration and know that with all the great reviewers, I can't go wrong with so many of the things I try for the first time.
My favorite things to cook
I love cooking simple food that tastes delicious. Unadorned fish, fresh vegetables -- food that is local and in season. I love summertime salads and a great steak on the BBQ!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Living in the northwest, we are blessed with some of the best tasting food in the world. We've got native salmon and halibut, Dungeness crab and oysters of all kinds (as well as Penn Cove muscles, yum!). Local wines are terrific with an Oregon beef steak. In the summer we've got all the fruit from the orchards and berries from local fields. Jam making is a job our whole family is involved in. I grew up digging razor clams and harvesting wild blackberries. But I always hated picking green beans in the family garden!
My cooking triumphs
Finding a pastry recipe that is not only fail-safe, but absolutely delicious every time I make it; whether it's for a pie or a top pastry for chicken pot pie! I use Ina Garten's pie crust/pastry recipe from her Apple Crostada recipe.
My cooking tragedies
One of the marks of a good cook in our family is the ability to turn out a tasty pie crust. The first year I was married, 1978, I ambitiously volunteered to bring the pies to our family's Thanksgiving dinner. I got up at 4:00 a.m. to get a head start on what I knew would be a stressful task. I'd tried every recipe out there and I'd never got a piecrust right...ever. I had to bake two pies and I went through 3 boxes of piecrust mix--enough for 12 piecrusts-- before I had two that were presentable. I never gave up after that, though. Funny how accomplishing some small cooking art can turn into a cook's holy grail!