I love collecting cook books and recipes to try. As a child I was never allowed in my mother's kitchen, but once on my own I made up for lost time. I taught myself to cook and have observed and learned from really good cooks, including some professional chefs, through the years. I also love to recreate dishes at home that I enjoy at restaurants.
My favorite things to cook
I love to cook a variety of cuisines and have several favorites. If I had to choose I would say Eastern European cooking is my favorite. I grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland where there was a wealth of Eastern European immigrants and restaurants. Their cuisine is comfort food to me. Italian cuisine would be my second pick.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Since I was not allowed in the kitchen growing up I have only a few Christmas cookie recipes, handed down later in life, that have become family traditions. I have started my own family traditions gleaned from other families through the years, such as pork roast with spaetzle and gravy for Christmas dinner or Hoppin' John for New Years Day. When my daughters were still at home we would also make huge batches of potato gnocchi, perogie or potstickers together and freeze them for later use.
My cooking triumphs
Finding and making the perfect Chicken Paprikash and spaetzle recipes, my childhood favorite! Making homemade pork tamales, potato & cheese perogie, and my husband's favorites, Burgoo and refried beans. I also make a great meatloaf which took years to perfect.
My cooking tragedies
When I first started cooking at age 17 for my father and myself, I tried to make a dish that included sauteed chopped onions. I did not keep a close eye on the onions and they started to burn. I figured I could throw them in anyway and the other ingredients would mask the burnt onions, Wrong! Thank goodness for frozen TV dinners, which we kept well stocked, as they saved us from many of my early learning cooking experiences!