I grew up in Texas and still live in Austin where my culinary influences range from cheap taco stand fare to exotic sushi to perfectly fried chicken and biscuts. A perfect evening consists of lots of friends, lots of food and good music.
My favorite things to cook
Soups rank supreme in my recipe file mostly because of their forgiving nature and house-filling aromas. Sauces also top the list...basically anything I can let sit on the stove for the better part of the day continually tasting and adding to.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mother's table is hand's down the finest place I've ever eaten. Our family traditions don't run very deep and I am rarely able to replicate her dishes but her Shrimp and Cheese Grits, Sweet Potato Pancakes and BBQ Chicken will always remain lofty goals. That being said, I am in the process of perfecting my comfort foods and establishing new traditions for our family!
My cooking triumphs
I was a vegetarian for years and still find that my pots of black beans, tortilla soup and vegan lasagnas are my most popular dishes. On a more adventurous note, for New Year's eve dinner last year, I paired two soups in one bowl (Curry Spinach Soup & Roasted Squash Apple) which elicited rave reviews. This NYE I tackled baklava and it was divine!
My cooking tragedies
Baked goods continuously allude me. My breads are tough, burnt or chewy...my cookies never spectacular. I've had cakes split down the middle and brownies thrown in the trash. Exact measurements have never been my thing. :)