Former California girl now living in gorgeous West Ireland, the land where I SHOULD have been born...began work on a cattle farm and am loving every minute of it. Cooking became my form of therapy years ago and since I love to eat, this is the perfect hobby. Have been learning the old, traditional ways of Irish cooking from two ladies here in County Clare, Ireland and my eyes have been opened! Had "pig trotters" a few weeks ago for dinner (aka pigs feet). Lamb shank stew is my new favorite dish. Ate lamb in the U.S. and in Greece and never liked it until I reached 'ol Eire. Been busy in the kitchen this month baking mince pies, Christmas cake, and Christmas pudding (or rather, I've been WATCHING Suzanne bake...or running down to the orchard for apples to peel for the famous and classic "countrywoman's apple tart"). I don't get to do alot of cooking since I've been living here, but I console myself that I'm learning loads of things to one day implement in my own kitchen.
My favorite things to cook
I do tend towards traditional dishes with modern twists...or sometimes without modern twists. Have been experimenting with some smoked sea salt I got at Marks&Spencer recently and it does give a nice depth to soups and sauces. I love making different types of risotto experimenting with herbs and veggies, interchanging and balancing flavors with it is fun. My favorite comfort food is a sort of "pot-roast chicken" recipe I got out of the LA Times a few years ago. Add another knob of butter, splash of white wine, and a dash of cream and you're in heaven. I experimented for a few years with a "Tomato Bisque" recipe I got from a restaurant in Boise called "Le Poulet Rouge" that called for espresso, everyone loved it except for me...sigh, I need to get working on that again. Learned the proper way to cook pasta dishes while living with some Italians and now enjoy the simpler pasta dishes.
My cooking triumphs
Having lived most of my life in California, the BBQ was in use for much of the year. I'd do alot of cooking on it and loved doing tri-tip and veggies, or chicken, or steak or whatever. One of the guys I knew (who was a whiz on the grill himself) said that he loved when I cooked on the grill and always enjoyed the food. Way cool. He even liked the squid I grilled when no one else would touch it!
My cooking tragedies
Consider myself to be a horrible baker but am trying to watch and learn here in Eire with Suzanne who's a whiz with pastry and such. Threw a little dinner party for a few couples about ten years ago and did Cornish Game Hen with a berry glaze. When we sat down to eat, they were raw inside!!! I'll never forget the look of horror on my friend's face...her boyfriend valiantly tried to remedy the situation with the microwave but the damage was done.