I don't remember not enjoying the experience of cooking. There is something very satisfying about combining ingredients and the aromas that come with the proper blending.
Both my mother and grandmother were fabulous cooks. Through them, I acquired a bit of Southern and Mexican influence in my cooking preferences. Another woman, Anjelina Ureta, in Alcala de Henares, Spain, taught me Mediterranean and Spanish cooking. What a combination of tastes!
Then, along comes my husband, who is a great cook himself. He can grill! And his dry rubs are sublime!
I can't say I have a favorite cooking experience. Everything is my favorite when I am preparing it. I love to bake. Artisan breads are one of my favorite things to get involved in. Cakes are fun too.
I think my best accomplishment in the kitchen has been lamb recipes. There aren't many good ones out there, so I make them up as I go. All of them have that MexicanSpanishMediterranean influence.
My favorite things to cook
My favorite things to cook are hearty stews and chili. Stews can be anything from seafood to beef and chili from white to red.
Another of my favorite dishes is a potato salad that my mom made. It is full of shrimp, cream, dill, and olives. A summertime specialty in our house.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Every New Years Eve, my family and I prepare Ciopinno. We have been doing it for the past 15 years and have tweaked the recipe continously until just this past year. At that meal, my husband and a friend who has been over every year for the past 4, stated that it was the best ever. I don't think I will tweak it anymore. So, on New Years Eve, we all eat like royalty and the next day, we finish off the King's leftovers.
My cooking triumphs
One of my triumphs was learning how to make barbequed shrimp a la Emeril. My husband and I spent a week in New Orleans and gorged on the stuff at least 3 times. When we got back home, I just had to figure out how to make it. I looked in several cookbooks and tried the recipes in them. None of them measured up. It took several attempts and many bowls of shrimp placed before family and friends before I was satisfied with the results. But, we now have a recipe that even the most dyed in the wool cajun food lover would enjoy.
My cooking tragedies
Most of my tragedies come from high altitude cooking. The first time I tried to bake anything here was a birthday cake for my daughter.
I forgot that things rise faster up here in the clouds. So, most of my daughter's cake ended up on the bottom of the oven. Poor kid was crushed when she walked in the door after school and I handed her a fork and pointed at the open oven door. It was a true Kodak moment. (when I realized what had happened I ran to the store and bought a cake, so she didn't have to do without)
Since then I have learned how to compensate for the altitude and not many of my cakes end up as oven lining.