Living in Portland is the best! I think Oregon has the best of everything - people, weather and an interest in food that means lots of great restaurants and farmers markets! I work for the State of Oregon and love my job. Besides cooking, I enjoy collecting antiques, beadwork, reading and walking my mini-daschunds, Squirt and Dribble. I also enjoy watching movies with my cat, Gravy, curled up on my lap. I enjoy cooking for friends, and trying out new recipes on them :-) . We also have a lot of potlucks at work, and I like to try new things for them, too!
My favorite things to cook
I especially enjoy making desserts and appetizers, so I like to have friends over.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I haven't done this for a few years (too busy!), but I used to take 3 or 4 days off during the holidays and bake at least 15 kinds of Christmas cookies...my house was filled with thousands of cookies! I also like to make at least 1 or 2 holiday yeast breads for gift-giving.
My cooking triumphs
When I discovered Middle Eastern food back in the early 90's, I thought I'd have my friends over for a mezza with kebabs, all homemade. Hummus (from scratch, using dried chickpeas), baba ganooj, falafel, tabbouli, basmati rice, marinated chicken kebabs and baklava. It all came out perfectly. Another triumph was trying to create a vegetarian lasagna for a friend. Spinach, chanterelle mushrooms and smoked mozzarella did the trick! And when my husband and I came back from Italy, I made an authentic Bolognese sauce and Ribbolita that both came out really well.
My cooking tragedies
When I was a teenager, a friend of mine and I invited 2 boys that we liked over for dinner. We made homemade spaghetti sauce with meatballs, salad and garlic bread. Everything was going well, until we forgot to drain the spaghetti and put the sauce in the water with the pasta! My only other tragedy is on-going; my husband is an extremely picky eater, preferring meat and potatoes, and absolutely loathes onions. I like to experiment with ethnic foods and vegetarian, but I don't get the chance very often anymore. Lately, though, I've really been in the mood to cook, and I've been creating menus and cooking something different every night. Husband wishes I would rotate, but I like trying new things too much!