In 1988, I wrote a cookbook called "The Casual Chef", which consisted of quick, healthy, impressive gourmet recipes. Everyone who saw it said "Wow! I would buy this!" I think there are quite a few people who are afraid of cooking. I wrote the book for them. It gently eased people into the wonderful world of creating culinary masterpieces.
My favorite things to cook
Seafood, fish, anything Italian or French, healthy stuff, garlicky things, baked goods, BREAKFAST, soups (my Turkish Lentil Soup is legendary - I will have to post it here), and I'm quite good at Mexican these days.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My Mom made this concoction called 'Cream Cheese Hamburger Noodle Bake", that was probably terribly unhealthy, but BOY was that thing AMAZING. I vividly remember it to this day. My Dad was the "chef", and Mom was the "cook". But Mom had a few home runs up her sleeve....
My cooking triumphs
I remember the first time I cooked a souffle - I had heard so much bad press about the degree of difficulty, I was afraid it would fall over. It didn't, and it came out great! Here's my hint to souffle makers: add a dash of real lemon juice. That's my secret for egg dishes. It keeps things fresh.
My cooking tragedies
I made Pad Thai one time, faithfully following every step with all the extensive ingredients. It came to the point where you make the peanut sauce. I didn't have peanuts, I only had peanut butter. "What's the difference?" I thought, foolishly. I made my sauce with the peanut butter, and added it to my carefully prepared bowl of egg, fish sauce, garlic, chili pepper, shallot, sugar, tamarind, rice noodles, veg. oil, shrimp, banana flower, tofu, chives, bean sprouts and preserved turnip (I told you it was tough!). Anyway, what I ended up with was PEANUT SNOWBALLS! All the ingredients stuck to the peanut butter and made these horrible snowballs, ruining the artistic integrity of the dish! My roommate Marshall (God love him) said "The heck with it! It tastes amazing!" Thank you, Marshall. Sigh.