I'm a classical musician by education (oboe and harp) and an executive assistant to pay the bills. I love not only to cook and bake, but to experiment! My five-year-old daughter is my favorite taste tester because I know she'll ALWAYS give an honest opinion :-)
My favorite things to cook
I absolutely love to bake! Breads, cookies, cakes and muffins are my specialties. I also bake fresh whole wheat bread for our sandwiches for the week on Sunday. I like to make my own scratch bbq sauce to drown some nice ribs in. I've been learning the joys of crock pot cooking and my husband is pleased with the results.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mother, grandmother always do a massive cookie bake for the holidays. It always inspired me to see tins full of cookies everywhere and I always wanted to do that when I was grown...and I do! In fact, there are almost always cookies at my house. My dad fancies himself a barbecue guru (he's not), and that sparked my interest in grilling and coming up with new sauces and marinades.
My cooking triumphs
Every New Year's Day I do a toothpick dinner for my husband and I. It is always a HUGE success. The menu varies from year to year but there's always a wide variety of finger foods to choose from. This past year (2008) was by far my best yet: marinaded scallops wrapped in bacon, artichoke salsa, sweet and spicy wings, jalapeno poppers, petite filet speared with baby bella caps, fresh fruits and veggies with dipping sauces, 10 different kinds of cookies and brownies and whiskey chocolate cake for dessert! Pumpkin anything is my DH's favorite kind of dessert so I whipped up a pumpkin tunnel cake (cheesecake tunnel) for him. Love it. I love peanut butter but flat-out refuse to use a mix for anything, and this year I FINALLY came up with a peanut butter cake from scratch that is moist, peanutty and most excellent.
My cooking tragedies
I cannot seem to come up with a great banana rum cake. From SCRATCH.Update (March 2009) Not a tragedy any more - This is now a triumph!
Latest tragedy - polenta. It spit at me and burned my forehead pretty badly. Novice mistake - I let my daughter distract me!