opensaysamy Profile - (10936528)

cook's profile


Home Town:
Living In: Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Member Since: Jan. 2008
Cooking Level: Intermediate
Cooking Interests: Baking, Stir Frying, Italian, Southern, Healthy, Vegetarian, Dessert, Quick & Easy
Hobbies: Hiking/Camping, Walking, Reading Books, Music
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About this Cook
I'm one of those laid back cooks who doesn't sweat small mistakes. This is because, generally speaking, I choose recipes that won't end up inedible if I screw up a little. I'm not entirely a vegetarian, but I never cook meat. Except for meatloaf (and we all know that ground beef's status as "meat" in the conventional sense of the word is sort of iffy). I love bread, but I've never tried to make it at home; the whole process of kneading the dough and letting it rise and punching it... just seems scarily complex and time consuming to me right now. So making edible bread is a goal of mine for the fall... I also have never tried to make candy. I understand that candy is really easy to ruin... you can't stir it too much or too little, your mixture has to reach a precise temperature, you can't make it on too warm a day or too humid a day... Jupiter has to be aligned with Venus and the moon just entering its third quarter, etc. That said, I would like to try to make toffee this holiday
My favorite things to cook
Desserts, casseroles, pasta based Italian dishes, easy vegetarian fare.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I come from a long line of Southerners, and have officially taken over cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my family (except the turkey because I don't do meat. Mom just brings a turkey breast from Honeybaked Hams or something). I always make my great-grandmother's really awesome sweet potato casserole (no marshmallows- the topping we use is far superior!) and her cornbread dressing, along with all the other generic fixings, like mashed potatoes. I try a different dessert every year.. and usually make some for Christmas too. I want to make candy that I can give as a gift this year.
My cooking triumphs
I feel good every time I try a new recipe and it ends up edible. I also like to cook dishes that have been in my family for generations; I like the feeling of carrying the proverbial torch.
My cooking tragedies
I've never gotten a cheesecake "just right." The first few I made were overcooked and wound up cracked and dry. My most recent attempt came out not quite firm enough. Or sweet enough, for that matter. But I've really been studying up, so hopefully this year will be the year of the perfect cheesecake.
Recipe Reviews 4 reviews
Burgundy Pork Tenderloin
Awesome. This is one of those dishes that you taste and think, "I can't believe *I* really made this!" The grocery store didn't have pre-packaged pork tenderloin this week, so I just grabbed a 1.7 lb pork loin, and it turned out tender and delicious. I am not a wine aficionado by any means, so I was sort of lost looking for a "Burgandy" wine at my (huge) local liquor store. The clerk I talked to said that when recipes call for a "burgandy" wine, it's alright to use any medium bodied red wine. He recommended a $10 Chilean pinot noir, and it worked just fine. Two things did go sort of awry with this recipe: 1) it took a little over an hour to cook (this could have been because of my cut of meat), and 2) the "gravy" was extremely watery even after a ton of stirring. Next time I will reduce it further on the stove top. I may also try just using flour/ cornstarch and a little salt/pepper instead of the gravy mix next time as this gravy was just slightly too salty for my taste.

2 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Nov. 30, 2010
Egg Salad Sandwiches
If you like your dill weed egg-textured, then this is the recipe for you! I like dill, but thought it was overpowering in this dish. I guess it's just a matter of personal preference, but I like a tangier, crunchier egg salad than the one this recipe produces. After tasting the salad as prepared almost per the recipe (used fresh onion instead of the flakes and half the mayo- which was PLENTY), I added some vinegar and later some lemon juice. That helped a little, but nothing could really "fix" the dill weed overload. My husband didn't really care for it either. We ate it, but I won't be making it again.

3 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Nov. 1, 2010
Pumpkin Cheese Bread II
Delicious! I love the combination of tastes and textures. I didn't use the orange zest (subbed 1/4 t vanilla extract as another reviewer suggested), but I might have to try that next time. I sprinkled the top of the loaves with pecan chips, too. I do have to say that it was sort of a pain to make. It was hard to gauge how much batter to put in the bottom of each loaf pan.... I ended up putting way too much in the bottom of one pan and the cream cheese layer wound up closer to the top and didn't stay as moist as my other loaf, which had a much thinner bottom layer. As another reviewer stated, the pumpkin batter came out thick and it was tricky to spread the top layer on. And there was a LOT of clean up afterward. But overall, totally worth the frustration and the mess. : )

1 user found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Nov. 1, 2010

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