I'm a consultant living in Austin. I work long hours and have sort of burned out on the whole cooking scene. As a kid, I always wanted to try and make exotic or especially difficult dishes. But now that cooking is a necessity and not just a way to pass a boring Sunday afternoon, I have to say, I've yet to be inspired, or guilted, into cooking much of anything - let alone something exotic or extravagant.
My favorite things to cook
More like my favorite things to eat! I love gnocchi and risotto, any homemade pasta except ravioli (which for some reason never retains the cheese or onion or pepper flavor, but only the taste of the meat). I don't really like vegetables but I'm always trying to find different ways to sneak them in or dress them up. And I LOVE desserts. Not traditional cakes or cupcakes, I'm not really big on that. But rhubarb or blackberry crisp, peach cobbler, and many things chocolate. As you can see, I have an oversized sweet tooth. It's really more of a full set than just one tooth. Let's not kid ourselves.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My grandma is one of the most wonderful cooks I know. She makes everything except gingerbread and angel food cake from scratch. If I could learn to whip up a pan of cinnamon roles in the time it takes her to do the same thing, I would consider myself a master chef :)
My cooking triumphs
These are few and far between. My boyfriend insists that I'm a good cook, but I think that's just so I don't break down and cry after every meal. For me, there's always something wrong. This isn't just in cooking, I guess. I'm a perfectionist. So the meals where I've felt really great? I'm thinking of two - both from allrecipes in fact. One were these molten chocolate mini cakes I made for dinner at a friend's house. I didn't use the raspberries or powdered sugar like I was supposed to because I didn't have those ingredients on hand. But they still turned out deliciously! Second was a mushroom risotto. This was especially difficult - it took me probably an hour to cut all the mushrooms to use for it. All in all it was probably a three hour affair BEFORE dishes. Ugh. Dishes. What a way to ruin a good meal.
My cooking tragedies
The first time I diverged from the traditional chocolate chip cookie was for a chocolate mint macaroon. I talked my sister (I was about 12) into letting me make these beautiful chocolate cookies with a mint creme center for her to take to her class. I don't know what I did (honestly), but the end result looked nothing like the light and fluffy cookies in the picture. My concoction flattened to about an eighth of an inch thick, were gummy and dense. On top of that, I must have used a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon to measure the mint extract. It was a disaster. No one in my family was brave enough to try them. So my sister brought them to school and ONE PERSON dared to try my cookies. His friend asked him, "So...how is it?" His response: "To tell you the truth, they taste like toothpaste." And that sort of ended my adventurous cookie streak before it really began.