I graduated from Culinary Arts College in 2004 and went on to work as a head baker under an amazing professional pastry chef. Baking is my passion and expertise, with a special emphasis on desserts, breads, deli type salads and soups. I just graduated with my degree in Accounting and my husband and I moved to Maryland. I now have the new challenge of learning how to cook very quickly after getting home from work ~ but my husband and I get to sit down to dinner together every night now, which I love. I spend much less time cooking than I used to but I always spend some of my lunch hour reading new recipes or looking at the Allrecipes pictures and the way I "reward" myself or reduce stress is baking.
My favorite things to cook
I absolutely love desserts. Trying out new recipes is really fun for me, especially for birthdays. My expertise is cheesecake, but my favorite to eat are pies! After my husband and I joined Weight Watchers, it has really transitioned how I cook. However, I really enjoy the challenge of making recipes healthier so that we feel really good after everything we eat. My staples include variations of rice and chicken, especially Thai, and I try to never repeat dinner recipes.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving are very set in stone for the menu. My favorite is my Grandma's ham and raisen sauce on Easter.
My cooking triumphs
I catered a formal 6 course dinner for 20 people for my mom. That was probably my biggest accomplishment, as I had to time everything and garnish to dress up the meal. We had a cocktail hour of fine cheeses, breads, and wines. First course was a salad (dried cherries, feta, candied pecans, pears, and mixed greans) then butternut squash soup, followed by a pallate cleanser of lemon sorbet. The main course was peppered roast pork with a white wine mustard sauce, green beans, and a cranberry pecan rice pilaf. Dessert was a pumpkin pecan cheesecake with a warm caramel sauce and vanilla whipped cream. It went fabulously and was a blast!
My cooking tragedies
The first time I cooked for my husband's family, I had them all over to my parent's house. This totaled around 20 people so I decided to cook chili and cinnamon rolls, since that was one of my specialties at school. I forgot to cook the beans before I dumped them in the chili and dinner was postponed almost 3 hours! All the kids were crying and hungry and I was so embarrassed! We finally just served it and it is now fondly referred to as the "Crunchy Chili" dinner.