I'm multi-ethnicity (Mexican,German,Polish, Russin, Jewish), which really informs my cooking style(s). I've been cooking forever! As a kid I was always bashing around the kitchen while the parents were cooking so they put me to work at a young age. Starting when we were young, my brother and I were responsible for preparing one of the family meals during the week--of course, we had help! It was a great way to become kitchen-literate early on!
I am a partial vegetarian (i eat some meat fish but not very often) and have friends and family who are vegetarian so i'm always on the lookout for great, new vegetarian dishes!
My favorite things to cook
I love to bake cookies and bars, especially for distribution at holiday time! I also really enjoy finding new vegetarian dishes...I have an Artichoke-Spinach, White-Sauce Lasagna that I've perfected; I love to make it because it's vegetarian and always gets rave reviews! For general health reasons I avoid using salt in my cooking whenever possible; therefore I've developed a love of spice! I love using spices in new creative ways in all areas of cooking. I've had a few spice disasters but mostly the use of spice instead of salt is a move I'm really glad I've made! I'm currently really in to finding fun ways to make salad! I love the traditional lettuce-type salads but I'm finding there are almost endless possibilities where vegetables are concerned!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Because my family is multi-ethnic we have a lot of different foods that we consider special family foods. Some of my favorites include homemade tacos, chili, pierogi, Polish-style saurkraut, Polish cabbage rolls, Nalashniki (a Polish crepe) and of course, potato latkes and matzo ball soup! Because my mom always liked having berries growing in her garden we've also spent a lot of time making wonderful jams in blow-out "jam sessions"! We then used the homemade jam in the Nalashniki!
My cooking triumphs
My first cooking triumph: When I was in third grade we invited my teacher over for dinner and I took a hand in helping prepare the meal! I was obsessed with parfaits at the time (no idea why) so my mom and I had to go out and find parfait glasses so I could make a special parfait for dessert. The dinner was a success! My first dinner party! Since then, dessert has always been the part of the meal that I most enjoy dreaming up and planning.
My cooking tragedies
The first cake I tried to bake (I was pretty young...8 or 9) was one of those microwave cakes that came with it's own pan and frosting right in the box (do they still make those?). All I can say is the end result could have been used in repairing a brick wall.