I have always been interested in creating great-tasting foods for the ones I love, but I really have to thank the show Top Chef for helping me decide that I could actually do this stuff! They take so much initiative on that show and can make amazing food with a split second's notice! It made me realize that I can alter recipes to suit my tastes and that salt isn't always the solution! Good Eats made me realize I don't have to be a perfectionist in the kitchen, so I thank that show, as well! Stress in the kitchen puts stress on the table, and I used to dread cooking because it always took me so long to make everything perfect. Now, it's okay to use some frozen veggies here and not stir everything perfectly there. I can spend more time worrying about more important things, like remembering drinks and napkins!
I like to cook with my five-year-old daughter, too! When she is invested in the meals through helping to create them, she is more likely to want to actually eat new foods.
My favorite things to cook
Stir fry with Singapore spices on top, sour cream drop cookies with cream cheese frosting, pomegranate jelly from our backyard tree, cobbler, gumbo, creamy risotto dishes, seafood on the grill, and veggies!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Every Christmas, my in-laws rent a house in Flagstaff, and we all converge. We come from four different cities after not seeing each other for months, and it immediately feels like we've never been apart. We constantly gather in the kitchen and create yummy cookies, pies, meals! Christmas Eve is the meal my husband's family makes, and Christmas is the meal all of us spouses come together to bring our best to the table. Now, we have a tamale tradition, and I couldn't be happier that my children are a part of this! It's what the holidays are all about: finding each other, being happy together, and contributing as much goodness to the world as possible.
My cooking triumphs
Last Christmas, my brother-in-law, my husband, and I stayed up almost the entire night making authentic tamales from my grandmother's recipe. I had to go to many stores to find all the ingredients. I even had to fight for a few of them (but I fight in a nice way!)! It was all worth it, though, because they were some of the best I've ever had! My in-laws ate 'em up like they were cookies!
My cooking tragedies
A chef at a resort gave me this recipe that called for the chicken breasts to be baked in a regular baking dish. I baked them in a very thick bowl, so they were still raw when my in-laws came over for dinner an hour later. I had to sloppily dish it out and throw it in pieces in the microwave until it was cooked, then I promptly began to shrink to their niceties and compliments that were merely given to be polite! It was awful! I jumped right back on that horse, though, and made it successfully with a silly, old brownie pan!