With three generations of Italian women as my cooking mentors, I grew up surrounded by shouts of "mangia" and heaping plates of ambrosial foods. My father tells a funny story of his first meal at my mother's home, marinated vegetables, meat and cheese antipasto, then pasta with homemade meatballs, he ate until he was about to burst. And then my grandmother brought out the roast!
We were always eating...and eating well.
My mother and grandmothers enjoyed having me in the kitchen with them and I loved being surrounded by all the marvelous aromas. While my grandmothers strictly cooked Italian, my mother experimented with many different cuisines and recipes, always with her young assistant.
I am now passing on my enthusiasm for cooking and good food to my daughter...who loves to be mommy's helper, but isn't necessarily ready to branch out beyond eating pasta with butter right now.
My favorite things to cook
Recipes that incorporate many fresh ingredients (light, fresh and fast), seafood, vegetarian, ethnic fare, baking--I'll try just about anything! I enjoy recipes from Cooking Light and Eating Well magazines.
When reading my reviews, it may be helpful to know that I am a fan of the savory and don't have much of a sweet tooth, although I enjoy baking very much, especially with seasonal fruits.
My favorite family cooking traditions
The "Sunday Sauce"...a big bubbling pot of Italian gravy with meatballs, sausage and pork braciole simmering inside.
I grew up in a Catholic Italian household but now practice Judaism, so I am busy learning the customs and food traditions surrounding the Jewish holidays. Thus far my favorite is potato pancakes with applesauce for Hannukah!
My cooking triumphs
The chocolate-orange Passover torte I brought to my future husband's seder, the first time I met his extended family. They all thought it was from a bakery, the chocolate-honey glaze was so smooth and shiny you could see your reflection! They were all blown away and I made quite an impression. (Thanks to Alice Medrich’s "Cocolat".)
Also, my first cooked-for-company meal was an ambitious chicken and mushroom crepe recipe at age 11.
My cooking tragedies
Footnote to 11 year-old triumph above. I still have the burn scar on my hand from when I reached into the oven without proper mitts. Immediately taught me the value of good kitchen equipment!