I love to plan parties- everything from the invites to the menu (obviously), decorations, games, favors and all. Game nights and movies are fun, too. I also enjoy going to the bookstore to read and browse for hours at a time or get coffee with a friend and chat. Traveling overseas is an amazing way to get to know yourself and experience new cultures. I also love the ocean, the crisp morning air in the autumn, thunderstorms, and feeding the deer in our backyard. I basically look for simple ways to enjoy the beauty of what is around me and bring joy to the people I love by making them good food and making special events and holidays memorable.
My favorite things to cook
My favorite thing to cook is pasta, because there are so many things you can do with it. Mostly I love pesto, homemade sundried tomatoes, feta, parmesean, romano, olives, capers, roasted veggies...slow cooking my homemade spaghetti sauce and making the occasional ziti. My dad has his signature lasagna, so he beats me out with baked pasta dishes.
I also love chocolate dipping all kinds of yummies, like pretzle rods, marshmallows, cubes of pound cake, fruit and cookies. I enjoy combining a few recipes that have similar flavors and textures by picking the best seasonings, wet works, and "setting stuff" to make my own creations.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My family cooking traditions involve recipes that go back four generations. Of course, we have our holiday family favorites, but I'm usually the one bringing an appetizer or new dessert to the table. My mom has done Thanksgiving for about 35 years, so the aromas, sounds, and appearance of special dishes takes me back to my childhood and fills me with tender warmth. I love the nurturing of family cooking.
My cooking triumphs
I once made a four layer mousse cake, for which I had to refrigerate for hours between layers. At first, I was stressed about getting the proper texture with the egg whites, but it turned out great, because I turned down the temperature in the fridge. I also feel triumphant when I conquer the self-defeating hesitation involved in flipping foods, placing dough and things with great precision, and using a candy thermometer.
My cooking tragedies
The biggest cooking tragedy I've had involved using my nana' recipe for icebox cake as a surprise for my dad. I actually re-did it three times in a row, trying to make it work, but I think some of the steps were missing from her directions. The cake didn't rise AT ALL and I new for certain I wouldn't be able to make a jelly roll type dessert with a cake that was flatter than a pancake. I improvised by crumbling the cake and folding the crumbs into the cream filling and making a trifle with some chocolate pudding.