I've been helping my mom cook since I was big enough to stand on a stool at the stove. I love cooking, and I mostly cook for my two sons and my husband. We have lots of family close by, and we usually get together once a week for a home-cooked meal. I have a lot of work gatherings where we like to pig out, and my coworkers often ask me the day before what I will be bringing because they love my cooking.
My favorite things to cook
I love to grill. My husband and I really enjoy seafood, but since we live so far inland, I try to stick with no-fail salmon and shrimp recipes. For my work gatherings, I like to make party dishes and dips. The only time of year I bake is Christmas and Thanksgiving, like cookies, fudge and pies.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mom makes the best baked chicken. It is a very simple recipe that lasts for days of leftovers, or for soup, or chicken stock. I used to try to duplicate it, but it never turned out excatly the same, so I gave up! My grandma also passed down some really great Christmas recipes including caramels and candied pecans. I also have some great Italian roots that have produced wonderful homemade salad dressings.
My cooking triumphs
I am really proud of the fact that my husband tells me I have never made anything that he didn't like - and he's a picky eater! My favorite thing to cook is maple-glazed bbq ribs. I got the original recipe here and tweaked it a little bit so it's exactly how I like it. I also had a great success when I made a cheese ball for dipping and brought it to a work gathering. I had compiled a bunch of recipes and sort of made my own version. It was such a hit, I never got to have any of it at the party.
My cooking tragedies
I made a turtle caramel cheesecake for Thanksgiving one year. It was a recipe a friend had given me, so I knew it was wonderful, but mine didn't turn out so well. The recipe was very complicated and somehow the caramel turned out so chewy, it was almost inedible. I think many people that ate it made trips to the dentist the next day!! I try to stick with the basics, now.