My name is Karen and I have been married to Kevin for 27 years. We have one daughter who is 23 and lives in Philly. I didn't learn to cook until after I got married, at the age of 21. I always wanted to cook, but my mother wouldn't let me in the kitchen very much. That's what happened to the Barefoot Contessa too, so I'm in good company. I also love to explore new restaurants and I love eating out. I would like to have Guy Fieri's job.
My favorite things to cook
Baking, baking, baking! Cookies! Pancakes (I love to see them rise up when you flip them over). I like to experiment with mixes that are already out there and see what I can come up with. I especially like McCormick products and their website is a gold mine. I like to see how many meals I can make with just a few ingredients, and with things I already have in the house. And I don't like to buy special things to make a meal -- things that I may only buy once, then it sits on the shelf for another year.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Homemade waffles on Sunday morning. Other than that, it's kind of funny, but at our house, we don't have a lot of cooking traditions -- because I'm always experimenting, so we're always changing things around! For instance, I used to always make a Buche de Noel for Christmas. Then, one day I made this chocolate almond cake with a whipped cream frosting, and the gang decided they wanted that instead of a Buche de Noel. Then one year I started a new tradition for Christmas Eve -- a Monte Cristo loaf. Darned if we weren't invited elsewhere for Christmas Eve dinner the next year! So I made it again the following year -- we were invited out again, and I volunteered to make it. It was so loved that it became a tradition again -- only we eat it at someone else's house!
My cooking triumphs
Breakfast Casserole. Cincinnati Chili. Chicken Spaghetti with Mushrooms. Orange Angel Food Cake. The aforementioned Monte Cristo Loaf. Cakes of all kinds -- whether it's doctoring up a mix or making it from scratch. Ricotta cookies. Mint Brownies (a must have every Christmas). Raspberry Snowballs. Lemon Spritz cookies with raspberry filling.
My cooking tragedies
Spaghetti sauce left on the stove for too long -- turned into charcoal. Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats -- don't even ask me what I left out, but I've never attempted them again. And S'mores Brownies -- I put them under the broiler for less than a minute for the marshmallows to brown; when I opened the door, they were in flames! I took the flaming pan out of the oven and we were all cracking up -- it was like a cartoon! Flames doused, nobody hurt -- but an unforgettable experience nevertheless!