I've been cooking and baking forever and a couple of years ago took on a small-scale catering contract through my church.
Enjoying it as much as I do, I decided to enroll in a private college in town for a diploma in Culinary Arts. Finished in April, 2012 and I am now in the planning stages to become a Personal Chef.
My favorite things to cook
...are those that take a little time and require my husband to help with the prep while we sip a glass of great wine and listen to some music. Especially if the recipe is a favourite that always turns out great. Homemade pizza is one of these things. I make the crust from scratch and get fresh mozzarella from the deli counter. All the toppings are prepped separately and placed in little bowls so everyone can customize their pizza. I sautee or roast all of the veggies to bring out their best flavour. When we're ready to put the pizzas together, hubby and I are feeling wine-happy and the kids are all excited to make their own, mixing and matching their toppings. We pull out a favourite dvd and hit the family room floor for our pizza picnic.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I love baking with my boys. But JEESE, they're messy little bugs! When #1 was little, we made "baker's hats" - cloth napkins with small knots tied in each of the 4 corners. Have you ever seen the Monty Python "brain surgeon" skit? If you have, you know what our baker's hats look like. I even make them for the boys' friends when they make cookies with us. Some great memories and photos happen when you let the kids bake!
My cooking triumphs
Gravy making eluded me for years. It was tasteless. Or it was lumpy. Or it was too thin. Or (insert lousy gravy adjective here). It became a big running family joke at Christmas, with my mom-in-law indulgently smiling and shaking her head at my ineptitude. Well, actually, she teased me mercilessly (she was so cool!). The year she passed, I vowed to finally get gravy right. I researched. I tested. I swore. A lot. Finally, on Christmas Eve, I made a kickin' gravy and impressed everyone. Doris would have been proud. As a result, everyone agreed that I would be the one to inherit her lovely silver gravy boat. I display it proudly on my dining room sideboard.
My cooking tragedies
Nothing like formal schooling to make you feel like you are the worst cook in the entire flipping world!!
I have all kinds of stories I could tell here, believe me.
But sauces, for awhile, were the absolute bane of my existence. And of course, in the first week of Advanced Cooking, I had to learn how to make 40 different sauces from memory. We were given a written test on them and then a practical test. Each of us pulled a piece of paper out of a chef's hat (ha ha very clever, Chef - thanks. sheesh) with the names of 10 sauces - we were given 2 hours to make all 10 sauces - and they had to be perfect. I think I went quite grey that day!