I am a Pediatric Oncology Nurse. My spouse is a Pediartic Nurse Practitioner. We own 5+ acres out in the middle of the corn and bean fields on the Central Indiana Prairie...back a long lane in a grove of majestic sugar maples. We have a small herd of Angus cattle, a large garden, 40 laying hens, four kinds of fruit trees, Concord grapes, red raspberries, blackberries and rhubarb. Honey bees are coming next Spring. We grow most of our own food and supply many friends and neighbors with our produce. Oh! And I make maple syrup.
We have a 2 year old grandson and have just been informed of a second in on the way.
With our full time jobs...we have have plenty to keep ourselves occupied.
My favorite things to cook
My friends and relatives would say that pies, cookies and candy are my specialties. I enjoy grilling very much. I love to bake yeast bread items but have not had the time to develop this area as much as I would like. But it is so rewarding and gratifying to be able to cook with such high quality ingredients. There is simply nothing better than having aged Angus beef, fresh turkeys, free-range eggs, peaches right off the tree, new potaoes, and tomatoes and broccoli....and on and on. And is there anything better than a fresh summer red raspberry pie! We are spoiled and blessed.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I grew up in a Mennonite family...on the farm in Northern Indiana...right on the beautiful Little Elkhart River. Though I had three sisters and a lot of chores to do I was always very interested in helping mom in the kitchen. Mom used recipes for basic guidelines but always felt free to ad lib...and that is how I cook. I grew up a "meat and potatoes" person and they remain my commfort staples. My wife and I continue the tradition of producing much of our own produce and we value maintaining a high level of quality on all fronts.
Making Christmas candy is at the top of our houshold's "traditions" list...it is certainly at the top of our familys' "demands" list. Chocolate covered cherries, caramel, turtles and peanut brittle are the basic items we make.
My cooking triumphs
It is kinda true, per my dear wife, that I get to do the "glory cooking". The pies, deserts and candies that I love to make get a lot of compliments. I do not do contesting officially. However, it is a real treat to baffle (and dazzle) my city-slicker co-workers with all sorts of concoctions. "But how do you get it to taste like that"? Well, like Papa Johns says, "Better ingredients, better pizza".
I have to mention maple syrup. It is a wonderful ingredient to have on hand. And, among other things, my wife makes the most wonderful maple syrup vinegarette dressing!
My cooking tragedies
No particular tragedies but sometimes, even after all these years, pies crusts just don't turn our right.
Oh! I take that back. I have destroyed some very good pots while boiling down maple syrup (: