My name is Heather and I currently live in Buffalo. I've been vegetarian for the last 5 years and my favorite two foods involve leafy greens and chocolate. Everything is about balance!
I first started baking bread while working on Old Icelandic saga translations through my undergraduate coursework. The translations would take several hours on end per day and baking bread would force me to get up in hour (or so) intervals, which would allow me to stretch my legs--a break I never would have taken if there wasn't food at stake!
I get my love for baking and cooking from my maternal grandfather. He is the one who first taught me the rudimentary aspects of baking and making soups.
I'm fairly young and one of my favorite things to do is to surprise people (friends and strangers) by preparing food. People assume that college kids don't know how to cook or bake and I love busting stereotypes.
My favorite things to cook
Alex (my long-time boyfriend) has two "10 out of 10" recipes that I've made, which are The French Baguette recipe featured on this website and my grandfather's pizza recipe. When a college kid criticizes all of the time that I spend in the kitchen, he responds with, "yeah, but her pizza is the best that I've ever had." Heck yeah!
I enjoy baking bread (especially during the winter) and making soups.
I like being inventive with my salads and I'm always looking for new vinaigrettes to add an additional dimension.
I also enjoy doing interesting things for a gourmet vegetarian palate.
...Additionally, Alex is a huge cookie fan. Nothing brings a bigger smile on my face when he complains about how I didn't make enough cookies. I also serve up an excellent cappuccino.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My parents are a very "meat and potato" kind of people. It's difficult to go home and find things to eat for all of us. One time I came home for a graduation party and I prepared a huge batch of my "Eggplant Rustica" and it was a huge hit! When I come home and my mother isn't on Atkins (which she's always on and off again), I like waking up early and making her muffins and cinnamon bread for her to take to work.
My mother turns to me for making apple pie (when there's a need for one) and I provide the homemade bread for holiday occasions.
My cooking triumphs
Shiitake Mushroom stuffed ravioli with smoked cheese alfredo,
An array of amazing salads,
Cracked Pepper Blend and Honey Braised Tofu over Walnut Couscous,
Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese with Smoked Gouda. ,
English Muffin Bread (which has actually started a fight between family members over the leftovers, no joke.)
Basil Herbed Foccacia,
My cooking tragedies
...the first time that I ever made cookies, when I was a child, I attempted a chocolate chip cookie that I found in the library. They were like rocks! The dog wouldn't even eat them. From that point forward, everyone in my family was critical of my baking abilities. Now they don't question me anymore.