I am a very busy 40 year old stay at home mom and wife. I have a bachelor's degree in Marketing and Management (minor in Finance and French). I have had a great career, but guess what? I should have gone to culinary school like I wanted. Now, I just cook up a storm at home and love to cater and give parties (in and out of the home). I cook many hours a day or, at least, read recipes. I never let any resposibilities slide - I just don't sleep much. Baking and cooking is so fun and truly relaxing, especially with music in the background.
My favorite things to cook
Oh, where to start. Breakfasts? I like making scones, sour-dough pancakes, crepes, fresh berry dishes with yogurts, homemade bread to toast with butter and jams - good strong coffee! Lunches? - Many types of sandwiches, soups, and salads. Dinners? Love Italian, Meditteranean, Middle Eastern, Indian, Recipes (USA) from all over, but my favorites are from The Pacific Northwest and Southern. Desserts? The list goes on, but I love fresh apple desserts of any kind, especially pies, tartes, and crisps. Love the chocolate! Appetizers? Anything goes, but I do love the Italian and Spanish meats and cheeses, tapendades, chutneys, olives, breads and crackers and lots of fresh fruit. Oh, and one more fun, interactive dish - Fondue of all kinds.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Becoming one - Christmas dinner with Prime rib roast, Yorkshire Pudding (gravy), brussel sprouts, and a Yule Log for dessert.
Christmas Eve for the last 39 years - Cheese fondue, Oil Fondue with Large shrimp, mushrooms, and steak with all the sauces, and chocolate fondue for dessert.
The "70"s cocktails come out during the cheese fondue.
With our friends: Zinfanel parties (i.e "A Night to be Zinful," and "The 7 Deadly Zins"). We rent a "party bus" and pick up 8 couples around town at each of their houses. We supply appetizers and wine - don't forget the music and disposable cameras. They come to our house for fabulous Italian dishes, from appetzizers to dessert, and taste yummy Zins (though other wines are available for non-fans of Zins). Later in the evening, party favors are given out, and they are all taken home, full, but some still drinking BUT not driving. The couple picked up first is usually dropped of last, do no complaints from them!
My cooking triumphs
I've really been cooking for years, but I finally felt I was getting pretty good when I started cooking for my friend and restaurant owner of an Italian restaurant and a wine/deli shop. He loves everything I cook and I now even make his scones for the deli. He said they were the best he has ever had - he's been a chef for over 45 years.
My cooking tragedies
Cook what I like and almost always make a recipe mine. I love to change a recipe once I've made it the way I first read it.
Since I only have 1 oven (ugh!), I plan temp, timing, and types of pans for everything. I'll get creative with the stove and grill too, if needed. You can almost always change from oven to stove to grill with the right pan, pot, etc. And don't forget cooking ahead and the freeser can be your friend.