I believe when I cook for someone, it is my gift to them! I do not think any recipe is important to follow exactly...adding ones own touch to dishes, is what mixes things up, and puts your own spin on them...like a signature, no two alike! I am mostly self-taught, with a dash of culinary arts school...and lucky enough to have been exposed to international cuisine, thru travel; living on several continents; and blessed with a southern mother, who could cook like Paula Dean! My mother taught me the most important ingredient in all recipes is LOVE...
My favorite things to cook
I adore preparing international dishes, such as: Spanish; Italian(northern and southern Italy); French: Chinese; Japanese; S. American; Mexican; and of course American. I also like experimenting with duplicating dishes that we have eaten in our favorite restaurants. An important change I have made over the last several years is to modify my skills with healthier; organic/natural; lower fat; lower sodium; ingredients when at all possible.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Holiday morning/brunch, is quiche; or eggs Benedict...mimosas, or bloody marys. I usually prepare a brisket that is a crowd pleas-er every time, for a large gathering. I have a chicken breast; tarragon; walnut; feta cheese; romaine salad w/champagne dressing which everyone asks me to make over and over again. I think it's fun to make a great meal when it looks like "there's nothing to eat"! Breakfast for dinner just tastes better.
My cooking triumphs
I won my first cooking contest when I was 10yrs. old. I have been addicted to cooking ever since...I can literally read cookbooks for hours; and I love picking other cooks brains for recipes, and hints to enhance my skills. After dining at a friends home, my 10yr. old daughter said," That wasn't as good as your cooking mom, but...you are like this major gourmet"! Huge compliment for a mama who just LOVES cooking!
My cooking tragedies
CRUST!!!!!!!!! I buy pre-made, a no-brain-er...
I remembered a funny, I used to be super wealthy and the personal chef was off...I was YOUNG...and not the sharpest chef in the kitchen...long story longer it was a holiday dinner...candlelight,we had prepared the traditional turkey(perfect)...I get it my head to make the gravy, and add wine...red, everyone raved, I was all grins,(patting myself on the back)! Invited all back for early leftovers the next day... we take the PURPLE gravy out of the fridge...and everyone goes yuck...I said, "This is the same gravy you all raved about last night"...note to all, stark light of day is very unforgiving...EVERYTHING looks better under candlelight!!!