Cookin' More Than Soap! Blog at Allrecipes.com (1/2012)

Cookin' More Than Soap!

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MariaTheSoaper

Living In
Seattle, Washington, USA

Member Since
Nov. 2005

Cooking Level
Intermediate

Cooking Interests
Baking, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Southern, Mediterranean, Healthy, Dessert, Kids, Quick & Easy

Hobbies
Knitting, Sewing, Gardening, Hiking/Camping, Camping, Walking, Fishing, Reading Books, Music, Painting/Drawing, Wine Tasting, Charity Work

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About Me
My cooking reflects my travels to Europe, Mexico and my birth place in Seoul South Korea. I enjoy learning new cuisines and trying those out with the local ingredients I have at home here in Washington. I will say Spain has a special place in my heart and I call it "home" at least once a year. I've taken cooking classes at a local "culinary school" in Seattle and plan to enroll at the Kitchen Academy in 2009 for more professional training as my ultimate goal is to open a cafe on the Costa del Sol in Spain in the next 5 yrs. I really want my son to experience the world and live in another country to gain better perspective of the world and how we all fit in it.. outside of the USA.. I feel sometimes we as Americans are too closed off from the rest of the world.
My favorite things to cook
I enjoy experimenting with new flavors and trying out the latest food trends, but Spanish, Mexican and Korean cuisines are at the top of my list. Italian is great, because the old addage "simple is best" applies and its what I believe in when I cook. You don't need to add a whole lot to make a great meal, you'd be amazed at what just a few flavors can do to anything you make. I also love to bake, as this really requires the detail and precision cooking doesn't most of the time. Its more controlled and sometimes I like that.
My favorite family cooking traditions
In the summertime, I make paella (using an authentic paella pan from Madrid) on Sundays with sangria for my family and friends. Sometimes I'll even make tortillas de patatas, just like how my Spanish friend Vanessa showed me years ago with fresh crusty baguette bread and Spanish style chorizo I found at a lil butcher shop at Pike Place Market. By doing this, I feel less "homesick for Spain"..
My cooking triumphs
I will say my biggest "cooking triumph" was the first time I tried to make a violet flower shaped 3D multiple tier mother's day cake I saw in a Martha Stewart's "Special Occasions" cookbook. It was a 3 day process using meringue layers, sweet simple cake and lots of decorative icing. First you had to make 3 meringue layers shaped like a violet flower, then on the 2nd day you baked the cake layers and on the 3rd day, you put it all together with layers of raspberry preserves then decorated it with pale lavender colored icing and sugared violets.. The first attempt came out a bit lumpy and off kilter, but I made another shortly after and it was beautiful! I'd never used so many eggs in my life before to make any 1 food item, just the meringue layers alone was 18 eggs! A great learning experience for sure and definitely helped me step out of my "comfort zone" on trying new things.
My cooking tragedies
I remember the first time I tried to make paella from memory after my first trip back from Spain when I was 17.. it was a disaster and I must say my parents were great sports for eating it without getting sick! I tried to make it in an electric wok .. hahaha.. holy cow what a mess.. but it wasn't half bad, at least I thought.. this was also the same meal I tried to make tortilla de patatas.. that turned out to be a greasy mess, but I never stopped trying to make either.. luckily I went back to Spain a few more times and have learned so much and will keep learning!
 
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