I have always been passionate about cooking since I was a small child and sternly kept away from the hot stove and all the sharp knives (for my safety, of course). So the kitchen became a repository of forbidden pleasures.
My favorite things to cook
We are having a record cold winter in Chicago so I have been getting into hearty soups. Also adore crusty homemade breads, pies and biscuits, salads and all kinds of veggie concoctions.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I was raised in an Eastern European Jewish home and since I've gone vegetarian not too many of my childhood dishes---such as kugel, pot roast, meat kreplach and knishes---have been part of my life. But any cuisine is highly veg-adaptable---you have to work at it. Kasha varnishkas (buckwheat and bowtie noodles) is still a fave.
My cooking triumphs
No one has ever beat my Chocolate Babka--and that includes aunts who have been making it for decades. I am proud of my original Poppy Seed Bread and a particular hobby is salad dressing.
My cooking tragedies
I got smart with a pecan pie recipe and tried roasting the pecans first. I did not know this would keep them from rising to the top of the pie when baked--they sank like a stone and never showed their little heads!