I grew up in Wisconsin, but I have lived in Minnesota for the past 19 years. My father owned a bakery when I was young and we lived in an apartment up above--I usually smelled like a donut when I went to school! I started cooking at an early age when my parents were busy working downstairs and I was left to fend for myself. My first creations were hamburgers on white bread with mayonnaise and Easy Bake Oven desserts. Now I'm a short order cook for my family---pastas, soups, omelets...sometimes all at once.
My favorite things to cook
I love to bake---cookies, cakes, pies, etc. I also belong to a dinner club that meets once a month. After several years it is getting harder to come up with new ideas so I rely on this website quite a bit.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My family emigrated here from Holland right before I was born. My sister, brother, and I grew up with Dutch pancakes, honey cake, rice pudding, meatballs, red cabbage, worstebroodjes (a sausage shaped meat baked in a bun), and windmill cookies (speculaas). Since my parents aren't around anymore, I have had to improvise on the recipes and I have done pretty well. I recently found a speculaas recipe on Martha Stewart's cookie bulletin board that taste very similar to my father's cookies.
My cooking triumphs
I've succeeded in replicating some of my father's Dutch recipes. I am especially proud of my worstebroodjes (see above). My sister requests a batch for her birthday every year. My signature dessert is the Chocolate Angel Pie, which never fails me. It always turns out beautifully, looks impressive and tastes great. No one knows just how easy it is to make.
My cooking tragedies
A while ago I was making a potato casserole when the lid to the pepper jar came off in mid-shake. Since I didn't want to waste the whole thing I tried to salvage it by calling it a "cajun" blackened potato casserole. My poor husband managed two helpings before I took pity and threw it all away.