I've always loved helping my mother in the kitchen since I was a child, but I didn't really start cooking in my own right until I moved into my first apartment in college. I wasn't even sure if I'd really enjoy cooking at first since I never had to cook while I lived in the university dorms, which had buffet dining halls.
I began trying new recipes and suddenly my inner-cook emerged. I began experimenting in my cooking and trying new seasonings like fresh herbs I brought home from the farmer's market. The Food Network became my favorite channel and I'm a Bon Apetit Magazine enthusiast.
I am recently married and my wonderful husband is my inspiration for discovering new recipes, flavors and techniques. When we were dating he asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I half-jokingly replied "A spice rack." I did get it for Christmas, among other gifts, and it has been my best friend ever since, especially when it comes to seasoning my pasta and pizza sauces.
My favorite things to cook
I love to cook Chinese stir fries with fresh vegetables, thinly sliced meat, and seafood. My not-so-secret favorite ingredient of all time is oyster sauce, which you can find in the Asian section of the supermarket or at Chinese markets.
I also like baking pasta dishes, making homemade tortilla chips for yummy nachos, and trying new recipes or variations on my regulars.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I like cooking with my mother and mother-in-law. My mom has given me a solid and expert foundation for my cooking career. My mom-in-law shares new recipes with me passed down from her mother, who was an excellent cook. Being together with the family and chatting while we prepare a meal is a very special tradition.
My cooking triumphs
My mother's recipe for beef and broccoli is my most requested dish, hands down. It is my husband's absolute favorite. When I see him enjoying his meal so thoroughly and hear his compliments, I am the most triumphantly happy wife.
My cooking tragedies
I had grilled some beautifully marbled steaks before and they were delicious, so I wanted to try out a different cut. Instead of going to the butcher as I had the first time, I went to the supermarket to peruse the packaged meat section. I found a London broil, which the confusing packaging called steak. It was only later when I went home and tried to figure out what to do with the cut that I discovered that it wasn't the kind of steak I was looking for. London broil is a flank or round steak, which is tough and needs to be tenderized. I called up my mother-in-law, who gave me a good recipe for cooking it in the oven. The only problem was that I over salted the dish! I learned two lessons that day: 1) How to choose a steak, 2) salt and taste as you go along. You can always add more flavor, but its hard to remove excess seasoning. To fix a mistake, add a potato because it will soak up the excess salt or counteract a slightly over-salted dish with some sugar or honey.