I'm a high school English teacher in the town where I attended college. My favorite things to do are cook - obviously - travel, read, watch classic films, play tennis, and entertain friends at my home.
I've recently tried to pick up on vegetable gardening, with varying amounts of success. Next summer
I'm just sticking with herbs and peppers, which I use most often as fresh ingredients when cooking.
I'm also a fan of testing out new restaurants and lounges, and occassionally find one that I return to regularly. Most people would be apt to assume that Wichita, Kansas is a culinary wasteland. On the contrary, there's more than a handful of locations worth returning to, and I often find me and my friends chilling out at the Sumo sushi bar or sipping libations at The Anchor or The Vagabond. Oh yeah, and Reba's Restaurant and Bar is my staple hangout. Amazing mid to upscale dining for such a small town like Newton.
My favorite things to cook
Authentic Mexican food has become a recent favorite. My favorite cut of meat to play around with in Mexican cooking is the Boston Butt Roast. I'm also a fan of taking traditional mid-western family style dishes and giving them a little pizazz. Oftentimes what I end up making most regularly are tapas-style dishes and a variety of spreads for small parties at my home. For beverages, I used to bartend at a reputable restaurant here in Newton, and it's always fun playing the role of bartender when entertaining.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I come from a predominately Swedish family, and have recently picked up on recipes like Swedish meatballs (the real ones) from a recipe that has been handed down in my family for generations. In my family, Swedish dinners were mostly reserved for the holidays. Having grown up on a farm I remember eating lots of meat and potatoes fare, with plenty of casseroles based on cream of mushroom soup. Not gourmet by any means, but comforting and delicious nonetheless!
My cooking triumphs
Anything with the Boston butt roast ends up bringing hordes of people to my house. My friends' favorite concoction of mine uses slow-roasted carnitas, traditional green rice, cilantro, and queso oaxaca all tightly wrapped in a large burrito shell, which is browned in a skillet for a minute on each side. I also make some killer chili cheese dogs with bacon-wrapped dogs and bourbon molasses shittake chili.
My cooking tragedies
My biggest cooking tragedy was pretty much my first year of grilling, before figuring out how to effectively use indirect heat. Lots of chickens were lost in the battle with high direct heat. Black on the outside, pink in the center, and a digestion disaster waiting to happen. The upside is learning from the mistakes. Grilling is easy now, just time-comsuming in a laid back mojito-drinking summer day kind of way.