Jen Profile - (1866282)

cook's profile


Home Town:
Living In: Bellevue, Nebraska, USA
Member Since: Aug. 2000
Cooking Level: Expert
Cooking Interests: Baking, Frying, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Healthy, Dessert
Hobbies: Sewing, Reading Books, Music
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About this Cook
My name is Jen and I LOVE to cook! I wasn't really allowed to growing up, so I kinda went nuts during my first marriage. I started with spaghetti, meatloaf and other standards and kept trying harder and harder things. Nowadays, I've gained the wisdom that a complicated recipe usually means a trashed kitchen. I spend more time reading, writing, surfing the net, hanging out with my wonderful fiance or my equally wonderful 9 year old girl... who both love my cooking. I like quick and easy recipes or slow cooker recipes - but every once in awhile I spend a whole day in the kitchen again.
My favorite things to cook
If I'm exhausted, I want to pop it in the oven and forget about it. So, I love make and freeze stuff or chicken fries in a bag!!! I do like to make a good batch of chili. I'm in LOVE with Alton Brown's meatloaf. Most of the time I stick to staples like Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup or Spaghetti. Everyone BEGS me to make homemade pizza. I love to bake more than anything. I guess overall I just like trying new things.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I grew up with a single Dad for half of my life. He raised my brother and I on beenie weenies, microwave burritos and hamburger helper - so there's not much for family cooking traditions. He did teach me how to make chili though... and Spam Surprise (Sounds gross... but it's not). We also always had 5 cup salad for every Thanksgiving.
My cooking triumphs
I have made some pretty amazing stuff. I've made homemade bread from scratch and Snickerdoodles that stayed chewy for days after they came out of the oven. I've made a cashew chicken stir-fry that was out of this world and I know how to make lumpia. I guess my greatest triumph is creating a fantastic turtle cheesecake that my fiance still fantasizes about.
My cooking tragedies
I recieved a manual pasta maker for Christmas 9 years ago. I was still in my "make everything from scratch" phase, so I spent over 7 hours one day making homemade cheese tortellini and had enough to barely fill 3 bowls. My brother and ex wolfed their bowls down in less than 5 minutes and asked me if there was any more and I seriously wanted to cry. And my worst baking experience was trying to make croissants. The secret to the flakiness in a croissant is layers of butter rolled into the dough. You have to roll the dough really flat to make it work and I guess I didn't roll mine flat enough because while the rolls were baking, I started to smell smoke. I ran to the oven and discovered over a pound of butter oozing out of my rolls, dribbling off the baking sheet and smoking away on the oven floor. The smoke alarm went off and it was a complete disaster. And finally, the greatest tragedy of all is that I am half asian and to this day cannot make a decent batch of fried rice.
Recipe Reviews 3 reviews
All-Day Apple Butter
This is a good apple butter recipe. I've made it many times now. My fiance adores it with his peanut butter in sandwiches. I've made it several times using dehydrated apples that I've reconstituted in boiling water or juice. The cook time for this is significantly lower and the end product is much, much thicker. I put the reconstituted apples in the crock pot and add about a cup of apple juice. I add more throughout the day if it seems dry. When it's deep brown, I know it's done. I run it through a blender and it's like velvet. When making it with fresh apples, I only add 1/2 cup of sugar, to help release the juice. Then, after an hour or so, I drain all the juice out. I reserve this in case I need to thicken it later. I start out with half of the sugar recommended in the recipe, then add more throughout the day as I taste it. Without the extra liquid, the apple butter cooks ALOT faster and can be done in 8 to 10 hours in my slow cooker. Also, I like my apple butter thick and I've found that this is the best way to achieve this. Astonishingly enough, I think I prefer the apple butter I make using dehydrated apples. Good recipe, though. Will use it again many more times.

1 user found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Oct. 11, 2010
French Onion Dip From Scratch
I thought that there was too much mayo. This recipe is a replica of a recipe from another website, but with altered portions of sour cream, garlic and mayo. I have tried again with the 1/2 tsp garlic powder from this recipe and mix of 1 1/2 cups sour cream, 3/4 cup of mayo from original recipe. Also added a splash of Worcestershire Sauce instead of the 1/2 tsp of Kosher Salt. Very tasty.

0 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Jul. 29, 2009
Caramel Frosting V
This recipe starts out like a traditional recipe for caramel candy. I took that into consideration when I began cooking the cream and brown sugar. Definately use a big pot! When the baking soda is added I almost had a catastrophe on my hands. A saucepan is not going to cut it. This stuff foams up like crazy. After a few hours, I came back and began whipping it with my electric mixer. Like other reviews it wasn't getting fluffy. I only refrigerated it for 20 minutes, but Holy Cow! It was pretty much caramel candy by that point. I have a cheap-o 10 dollar electric mixer and there was no way I was going to try to whip that up. I stuck it on top of some boiling water and softened it up some, but my electric mixer still refused to move and was screaming at me. This was the best I was able to get it. Which is okay because I was just making the cake for at home anyway. This frosting was so thick I tore the top off of my cake - but the difference between this kind of caramel frosting and a quick caramel frosting made with powdered sugar is out of this world! This is the real deal. Absolutely amazing. If I had a nice industrial Kitchenaid to whip this up to fluffiness it would be phenomenal... but I don't and that certainly isn't the recipes fault. So I will wait for the day I can get a decent mixer and say that this is the best frosting I have tasted in FOREVER and it ranks right up there with the holy grail of frostings - Whipped Ganache

3 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Feb. 9, 2009
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