Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies. I work full time as a technical IT writer, so I don't have a lot of discretionary time to cook. Yet, not a day goes by that I don't check out my favorite website, AllRecipes.com, for something new and exciting. The reviews on this website are a lifesaver sometimes, not to mention very entertaining.
My favorite things to cook
I'm always trying new recipes, but I enjoy making hearty soups from scratch in the winter, along with homemade breads. We use the grill all summer long, so I try lots of new side dishes, especially for all the veggies growing in the garden. Meat, I think, is forever a challenge in terms of achieving the perfect, most tender and delicious outcome. Thus I am always experimenting with the main dish.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Definitely the New England clam boil. Our family, born and raised in Massachusetts, also grew up on French Canadian recipes passed down from our ancestors in Quebec. They include tortiere (meat pie); meat and potato stuffing for the turkey; turnips and carrots cooked and mashed together, to name a few. Our home town, Fall River, has a strong Portuguese influence, and so many of our favorites (Emeril attests to this, since he's from the same city) include Portuguese chourice made into lots of interesting dishes.
My cooking triumphs
Roasts, sauces, gravies, delicious broths for soup, breads, desserts. "Almost" everything I make is from scratch -- that's the ultimate cooking experience for me. Experimenting with different wines with which to flavor food is great fun, and what I now use most is dry sherry -- I saute with it regularly.
My cooking tragedies
I've been cooking for many years, so of course I've had many tragedies. I wouldn't change those experiences for the world, because that's how we learn. That said, nothing frustrates me more than making pie crust. I'm getting better at it, but I've tearfully thrown away more dough. Ugh. Help !