I live in Elgin, Illinois in an old 1924 vintage Historic home plaqued by the Elgin Heritage Commission that has original charm like beautiful oak hardwood floors throughout (original), oak woodwork, beautiful hinge windows that open the house up to the outside like a book, huge enclosed front porch, claw-footed tub to spend hours soaking with a good book and a glass of Shiraz...and a big enough dining room to hold my gorgeous barnwood harvest table my dad made. Holds 10 and I love cooking for all of them.
My favorite things to cook
Italian food to me is a fine art like an aged wine, and I want to learn more about traditional Italian fare. I also love to cook simple down-home American classics (especially Southern recipes), I love baking, Mexican food...really I love it all!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Doing everything from scratch. We were never a box-meal type of family (except those exhausting nights where we'd make Tuna Noodle Casserole with Kraft Macaroni & Cheese), and although my husband may think I'm just being difficult, really I'm just doing it right. Any real meal is worth making from scratch.
My cooking triumphs
I'm a very decent cook, and can tackle any recipe thrown at me (the most difficult CAN take me to a second try, but ultimately, I'll get it), but for some reason, my whole life I could never make gravy. I decided I'd try out my new Pampered Chef roaster by roasting an herb-rubbed chicken and pair it with, of course, mashed potatoes and gravy. This made my husband nervous because my gravy was always either just flour water or way too chunky or just full of fat. So somehow I whipped up a delicious helping of chicken gravy, and it came to fruition somewhat like magic! My husband was quite pleased with me.
My cooking tragedies
Roasted Garlic Aioli. Excited to create a delicious meal for a couple of friends, I whipped up a batch of roasted garlic aioli to serve with some delicious steak fries (that turned out wonderfully, cooked on the grill). I was horribly excited about this sauce as I smelled the entire house up with the head of garlic in the oven, but when I turned it up in the blender and poured it into a ramekin, my nose turned up immediately. Upon tasting I realized I either did something horribly wrong, or that's just what an aioli is supposed to taste like and I really don't like it. Regardless, I sadly dumped the blender's contents into the sink and washed it away, never to hear from it again. I was just grateful no one was around to witness it!