Hi, all! After about a year of checking the recipes on this site each and every day, I FINALLY decided to join up! I started cooking when I got my own place a few years ago, and I've made great progress in the culinary arts since I started using recipes from this site. I work for a large publishing company in NYC, so I'm looking for tasty, relatively quick dinner recipes for during the week, and since baking is really my thing (been doing that since my grandma handed me a wooden spoon at five years old!), I always keep an eye out for scrumptious cookie, cake, and quick bread recipes. Looking forward to finding and sharing great tastes!
My favorite things to cook
I make a mean braised balsamic chicken, and I can't get enough penne with vodka sauce. I also really love using the "best steak marinade in existence" that I found on this site; it never fails to impress. As far as baking goes, I love making large, chewy choco chip cookies, as well as pumpkin muffins in the fall.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I'm a Euro-mutt in terms of ethnic/cultural heritage, but my favorite traditions are from the Slavic side of my family. For Christmas Eve, the family gathers together for endless plates of pierogies (potato, potato and cheese, sauerkraut, and prune), pagach, stuffed flounder, fried cod, and wild mushroom soup. For Easter, my mother and I spend three days preparing food to be blessed in the Easter baskets on Holy Saturday and then eaten for Easter Sunday breakfast. Traditional Slavic baskets include babka, roast ham, Ukrainian egg cheese, dyed eggs, horseradish, poppy seed roll, kielbasa, and hand-made butter crosses.
My cooking triumphs
My friends regularly mention, nay, DEMAND that I make them my oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies. I used a brown-sugar based choco chip cookie dough recipe, which I then encase around double-stuffed oreos. The result? The best sugar high you've ever experienced, though you can only really eat one cookie a day.
I am also famous amongst friends and family for my Italian florentine cookies (I got the recipe from Giada on Food Network). These crispy, nutty, sweet, and extremely delicate cookies sandwich melted dark chocolate, and although you can find them in stores/bakeries, they are ten times better when they are homemade. They are extremely tedious and time-consuming to make--they burn easily and break easily--but, if you have the patience and kitchen space, they are worth the effort...though, you might want to limit yourself to making them only at Christmas, like I do. :-D
My cooking tragedies
I followed a recipe from a Turkish cookbook that my boyf brought back for me from Turkey. The recipe was for a "lamb yogurt casserole," which consisted of lamb browned in a pan and then placed in a casserole dish, covered in a yogurt/egg mix, and then put in the oven to bake until the yogurt top hardened and slightly browned. I'm pretty sure I followed the recipe correctly (despite the not-so-hot English translation instructions), but I just don't think the recipe itself was a good idea. The lamb cubes tasted fine, but the yogurt mix around them was so disgusting--both in taste and appearance--that we could barely eat it. Live and learn--stay away from yogurt/oven combinations!