I am a mid-life career changer who has enjoyed cooking (and eating) good food all her life. My Mom went to work when I was in the 5th grade and most days when I got home from school, she'd have left instructions for me to get dinner started. Cooking never felt like a "chore" back then and it certainly rarely feels like one now.
During my 20 plus year career in IT, I traveled all over the US for work. And for fun, I traveled internationally. I have a fairly broad knowledge of food, but when cooking, I tend to stick to comfort foods and pretty much anything Italian. I have a big collection of Asian or eastern foods in my arsenal and I absolutely love their flavors.
I used to run my own personal chef business full-time. Now, I only do special events, but I'm in the kitchen experimenting often. Cooking's more fun when it's not a full-time job.
My favorite things to cook
Comfort foods, soups, chilies, baked goods, candies at christmas, anything Italian, pizzas, homemade dressing for big salads when good veggies are at their peak, potstickers. Anything I can bake that's bad for you like doughnuts, coconut cakes with whipped cream frosting or fresh artisan breads slathered with butter.
When I cook for clients, I am forced to move out of my comfort zone and I love trying new things. I especially love coming up with streamlined ways to make seemingly complicated food easy and accessible for everyone.
My new neighbor is a jam maker and I've really gotten into savory jams and jellies made from the fruits and veggies we grow at home. Our citrus trees offer us plenty of options and it has been fun experimenting.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Mom's Potato Doughnuts - she's frying them as she was going into labor with my younger brother and then wasn't home to monitor how many I was eating over the next several days.
I rarely stray from the Thanksgiving basics I grew up with. I do switch up the veggie dishes each year, but the basics remain pretty constant. My own tradition (not one I grew up with) is making Turkey Wild Rice soup from the leftovers. No better way to extend the taste of the holiday for me.
Making Chili on a cold winter weekend, in honor of my Dad who made a batch nearly every weekend in winter as I was growing up. I don't use his recipe (too much Chili Powder and Dark Kidney Beans for my taste), but I do think of him when I make it.
My partner's family are big into Danish Pastry making for various holidays. He does the laminating and all the turns and hands the completed dough over to me for filling and baking. It's a team effort!
My cooking triumphs
Mastering Gnocchi - so light and puffy, they are like clouds.
A killer Vodka Sauce - never ever have I tasted one better. It took me a lot of tries to get it right.
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes - from the book of the same name. Fresh bread...anytime. I always keep a few batches (Wheat, White, Semolina) in the fridge. Heat up the oven, shape the loaves, bake...yum.
Homemade Caramels at Christmas time. I make both Vanilla and Chocolate Caramels and they are to die for. I give the Vanilla ones away as fast as possible, as I cannot stop myself from eating them.
My cooking tragedies
So many to list, such little space to write in.