Supreme de Villetts a la Milanese was the first meal I ever cooked for friends. It's basically a lightly breaded lemon chicken and has clarified butter. Julia's instructions were so easy to follow I didn't realize I had tackled something gourmet on my first try! I was only 18 at the time and had pulled my Mother's Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol I off the shelf to try my hand at cooking something. They loved it!
My best tip for new cooks, and for cooks who want to start being able to make up their own recipes, is when choosing something to make, find three recipes for the same dish. Compare the recipes to see what they have in common - those are the basic ingredients. The things that vary - measurements and ingredients, are the things you can play around with to get the results you want and make it your own!
My favorite things to cook
Something delicious with the best presentation I can give it.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Christmas Holly Cookies,Lemon Bars,pies,cakes,Lindser Cookies, Sunshine Chicken, my Grandmother's popcorn balls.
My Mother tried new ingredients and techniques and I have adapted these, my son is now cooking and adapting my adaptions. So, the cooking tradtion has been passed on.
My Mom only made one bad thing the whole time I was growing up. She had seen a recipe for Salmon Mousse and wanted to use one of her copper molds. It was awful. The only time that the whole family got something else to eat, and we threw it out.
My cooking triumphs
I'm pretty good at cloning recipes. My latest was Starbucks Peppermint Cake Pops.
I had a recipe and picture for Carribbean Vegetables published in March 2003, Cooking Light inspired by a scuba diving trip to the Grand Cayman Islands. When I was a kid, my Mom and I made the castle cake from the kid's Betty Crocker cookbook for a school project; and it was a real hit. It had sugar cones covered in icing and rolled in sparkly decorating sugar for the towers, after dinner mint ramparts, and a chocolate Hershey bar draw-bridge etc... I've been baking specialty cakes ever since. A heart cake with red hots for Mother's Day, A football field with chocolate cake and green and white icing for the field studed with players and drill teamers,for a drill team banquet. I went on to take the three Wilton cake decorating classes. And want to try making low-fat chocolates next.
My cooking tragedies
The first Thanksgiving I ever cooked, I was away from home in school in hair school in L.A. I tried to make mashed potatoes in the blender, because my kitchen was extremely limited. I got all my furniture etcc from second hand stores for about 50 bucks. I only had 2 pots. They came out more like wallpaper paste. I've since learned how to make good ones. It's still a good joke to this day to me.