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.