GAILLLC Profile - (1296936)

cook's profile


Home Town: Eastern Half Of, Washington, USA
Living In:
Member Since: Aug. 2002
Cooking Level: Expert
Cooking Interests: Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Stir Frying, Healthy, Dessert, Quick & Easy, Gourmet
Hobbies: Sewing, Gardening, Reading Books, Music
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About this Cook
Mom of 3 teens, Air Force wife (hubby now retired) for over 20 years.
My favorite things to cook
Baking is my main cooking love, especially gourmet desserts. I have a repertoire of fancy chocolate desserts listing over 30 items, as well as the basics of fruit pies, flavorful cakes which I decorate in fun and unique ways, cookies and bars, etc. I also like to cook for family or friend gatherings, with a focus on tasty vegetable dishes and healthy-prep protein dishes, along with a few really yummy but bad-for-you items! My family is willing to try new food items and recipes all the time, and every one of us cooks, so we have a good time.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays always mean a big meal just like when I was a kid. The menu has little variation year to year, so we have a finely orchestrated routine and that keeps the stress level low -- hurray! A Christmas tradition is decorating cut-out white cookies. I have given cookie decorating parties for my kids and their friends and it is always fun even now that the kids are older. I always get in there and make quite a few myself when they are done. A summer cooking tradition is making dinner of grilled chicken breast or fish, fresh melon, and a green salad or pasta salad with lots of fresh veggies in it, accompanied by a good grain bread from a bakery. We all cut and chop things while we visit and set the outside table, hubby is at the grill, and we get well fed and cooled off.
My cooking triumphs
I have made some outstanding-looking decorated cakes for others' events, which I look back on and count as a triumph. I used to make a roasting pan of bread pudding for an office I worked in and we'd all have it for breakfast. Mostly, my triumphs consist of the fancy chocolate desserts I have mastered over the years and the chocolate parties at which they've been served. It is always a triumph when an everyday dinner, which I don't put a lot of focus on, turns out to please the family more than ordinary. Oh, and I know how to make sushi!
My cooking tragedies
Ugh -- once I baked and sliced a large ham for an office party honoring a new bride, and right as I was walking up to the door I dropped it, platter and all, on the sidewalk. There was broken glass everywhere and not one bite of ham was worth the risk. That was a tragedy! I also baked a chocolate cake for a joint birthday party for my hubby and good friend but forgot to put the baking soda in it so it didn't rise. My oldest daughter was 2 years old, and when I saw the cake and said "Ohhhhhhhhh...." (censoring myself because she was right there...) she added "Damn damn damn" LOL! Luckily, it was a quick recipe and I had more of the ingredients so I just made it over. After beginning my baking efforts almost 40 years ago, there are so many more little tragedies, but they have been great learning experiences.
Recipe Reviews 6 reviews
Butternut Squash Enchiladas
This was fun! As a leaping-off point for ingredients I needed to use, it was perfect. Flour tortillas, done casserole style. Had to use a sugar pumpkin; roasted it in the oven. Extra onion, garlic, and added 2 chilis in adobo as others suggested. Had spinach but decided to use the kale I had instead -- love the way kale keeps its body. And unfortunately only had green enchilada sauce in the pantry, but it went with the pumpkin SO well! Hope you all try it and make it your own!

3 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Nov. 30, 2011
Fresh Apricot-Honey Sponge Cake (Russian Style)
Fresh apricot tang and fluffy sweetness; I did reduce the sugars and it is just on the edge of needing more. My apricots were fully ripe, and to reduce the liquid (trying to preventing complained-about sogginess) I oven roasted them in a buttered 13x9 pan for 20 min at 425ยบ. YUM. I used the full amount of sugar in the egg whites and my cake has a definite chiffon cake texture, although a little gummy. When making a chiffon cake, the leavening action comes from fully developed stiff-beaten egg whites, and you cannot reduce the sugar in this step or they can't do their thing properly. I will try this again with the full sweeteners to see if I can get the cake itself to be successful. I suspect most of our commercially grown apricots are much larger and sweeter than the recipe was originally written for.

1 user found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Aug. 27, 2011
Absolutely Fabulous Greek/House Dressing
We loved this dressing for our Greek salad. Scaled to a quantity of 5, it is just right for one bag of Fresh Express salad greens (Triple Hearts or Hearts of Romaine). Add tomato wedges, cucumber slices, red onion rings, Kalamata olives and 3-4 oz crumbled feta. Perfect! You can substitute 1 small clove garlic, minced, for the garlic powder.

3 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Jan. 18, 2007

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