I live and work in rainy Portland, Oregon. Come to think of it, I cook here, too ;-)
My favorite things to cook
Anything with potatoes. I swear, they have to be one of the most versatile vegetables out there (even if they are more of a starch). And, they tend to be fairly forgiving when I screw something up or when I feel like improvising. I also really like making big, elaborate salads and anything with melted cheese.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I have good holiday deserts handed down from both sides of my family. Ritz Cracker Pie is one--it's different from that mock-apple pie stuff people make. It's more like a chewy pecan pie, and comes from my dad's mom who was from West Virginia and called them "pee-cans." And Horseshoe Cookies are another. They've got this gooey walnut and brown sugar sauce inside them, but are only mildly sweet. This recipe came from my mom's side and is pretty old. And it requires the biggest bowl I've ever seen!
My cooking triumphs
My O'Brien potatoes are pretty good--I've figured out the perfect combination of spices and oils and everyone asks me how I make them! I'm also pretty proud of my Pasta Jambalaya--my dad is always asking me to make him batches to freeze and anybody who's around while I'm cooking it always steals a bite or two!
My cooking tragedies
Baking, because it's so strict and I'm always subsituting things that I shouldn't. I made these reeeeally terrible cookies one time that were runny and burnt all at the same time, because I didn't have everything I needed to make boiled cookies and so just started throwing in things. Not a good idea.