Serena Profile - (18842322)

cook's profile


Home Town:
Living In: San Diego, California, USA
Member Since: Sep. 2004
Cooking Level: Expert
Cooking Interests: Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Dessert, Kids, Quick & Easy, Gourmet
Hobbies: Sewing, Gardening, Walking, Photography, Reading Books, Charity Work
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About this Cook
I'm a blend of religion, culture, and nationalities: I'm an American Muslim with Mexican and European heritage. Food is not just nourishment but a way to bring my family and friends together and share fond memories and funny stories while enjoying a great meal.
My favorite things to cook
My specialty - Authentic Mexican food: Tamales, Chile Rellenos, Enchiladas, Tacos/Taquitos, Chilaquiles, Albondigas, salsa, guacamole - yummmm! I take pleasure in experimenting with other cultural foods such as Indian, Chinese, and even Moroccan (my husband's specialty). Baking has always been a pleasure since I was young... I have a BIG sweet tooth!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Ramadan is the month in which Muslims are required to fast from food and drink (as well as other worldly pleasures) from sunrise to sunset. During this month we spend a lot of time preparing delicious appetizers, soups, salads, various dishes and desserts to break our fast each evening. As Muslims we look forward to this time each year and we are sad when the month is over!
My cooking triumphs
Making tamales for the first time by myself!!! It's not difficult to make tamales; it is however time consuming!
My cooking tragedies
My husband tried teaching me how to make a popular Moroccan dish of lamb with peas and artichoke. When I attempted to make it myself it didn't come out the way he made it and when I offered it to my mom, let's just say, it wasn't exactly edible. Now I'm proud to say I can make it just as good as my hubby!
Recipe Reviews 87 reviews
Pumpkin Pie Bread
I must agree with a previous poster - 1 cup of oil is far too much! I used 1/4 cup oil and 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce. I also used 2 cups of white sugar and 1 cup of brown sugar instead. I will venture into cutting back the sugar too and see how the recipe fairs with less sugar. All in all - this may not be the healthiest bread but it came out DELICIOUS! Batter made 24 muffins (paper liners filled to the top) - baked for 25 minutes (be sure to rotate the pans every 10 minutes).

2 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Oct. 27, 2010
Paella I
I admit, I did make some minor changes to the recipe. However, my rating for the recipe is based on the fact if you follow the directions you end up with a risotto consistency and NOT paella. The recipes calls for too much liquid. Despite knowing the recipe called for too much liquid, I went ahead and followed the directions and was greatly disappointed. For "rice" it's best to use 1 part rice and 1.5 parts liquid. When using arborio rice if you use more liquid you get risotto. 12 oz. of rice is 1.75 cups of rice - so the maximum amount of liquid you should use is a generous 2.5 cups. I omitted the white wine for religious reasons - but used 3 1/2 cups of liquid and ended up with risotto. Despite my best attempts to boil the extra liquid off it didn't work. With all that said I would highly recommend cutting back on the liquid by at least 1 cup - and adding more, if needed, as you stir occasionally. I also used soy chorizo (aka soyrizo) instead of pork chorizo. I recommend using 1/4 tsp saffron and 1/4 tsp of smoked paprika (or Spanish paprika). This will increase the flavor greatly and is more traditional. I would start with 1 tsp of salt and add more if needed (depends on how salty your broth is), use 1/4 tsp of black pepper. I used 1 cup of peas and I tripled the amount of shrimp. Overall it was tasty but disappointing. Next time I'll make it with less liquid and will most likely be pleased.

24 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Oct. 26, 2010
Butter Chickpea Curry
Very flavorful. I opted to use a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes and pureed them in the food processor with 1 serrano chile instead of the tomato soup to keep the dish inline with Indian cuisine. I used the exact amount of spices and I completely forgot that my curry powder is exceptionally spicy so next time I will reduce the curry powder to 1 tsp instead of 2. I also nixed the heavy cream in order to keep the dish lower in calories and fat and opted to spoon plain yogurt on top of the dish when serving to cut back the heat of the dish a little. My 5, 4, and 2 year old loved it as well as my husband and I. I will definitely be making this dish again!

1 user found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Aug. 11, 2010

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