naples34102 Profile - (18863788)


Home Town: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Living In: Mequon, Wisconsin, USA
Member Since: Aug. 2004
Cooking Level: Expert
Cooking Interests: Baking, Italian, Nouvelle, Dessert, Quick & Easy, Gourmet
Hobbies: Gardening, Reading Books, Music, Wine Tasting
Recipe Box 1 recipe
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Our Pacific Northwest "Suitcase Dinner"
Wild Mushroom Sauce
Roast Potatoes
Butter-Roasted Cauliflower
Back in Seattle again!
The beauty of the Pacific Northwest
Peaches are in season!
Lemon Cake From Scratch
About this Cook
After raising two children and putting them through college, they are now on their own and my husband and I are empty nesters. Not better, not worse, just different! My husband's job has always required a lot of travel, but now I accompany him on all his trips. It seems we travel more often than we're home, sometimes several trips a month! I have seen and experienced some amazing things and while I do get homesick, I'm blessed for the opportunities to see so much of our country. And, since a great deal of my husband's work is in Naples, Florida, we have a second home there and enjoy our little getaway. When we're home, we've established a new ritual of dining, just the two of us...beautiful music, lots of glowing candles and a martini(Chocolate for me, Traditional for him) while we work together in the kitchen to make creative and elaborate dinners.
My favorite things to cook
While the kids were growing up, cooking meals was more a daily function than a satisfying experience. Once my "work" was done, I always found great satisfaction in baking. Now I've stepped beyond the "kid friendly" meals, and have really enjoyed trying more creative dishes for meals. Baking, however, is still my greatest joy. I still make the family favorites when requested, but I love experimenting, trying new recipes, putting twists on some of them, and try to master higher-skilled techniques not so familiar to me. No distractions anymore, so I now have the luxury of having the time and opportunity to work on more complicated recipes!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Having started cooking at age five, and at my age, there are many memories of family cooking traditions, and I still use them on holidays when we're all together. By far my favorite is our Christmas Eve dinner tradition. I am a second-generation Italian-American who continues to follow traditions set forth by my mom, grandma, and probably by the women before them too. We have a traditional, meatless, Italian Christmas Eve Dinner which has always included spaghetti with sauce made from tuna and anchovies (trust me, you don't taste the tuna or anchovies!), baccala (salt cod), and Shrimp Scampi. It wasn't always the kids' favorite, but they've come around! And I know they'd think something wasn't right with Christmas if it was any other meal!
My cooking triumphs
Consistently preparing beurre blanc and other emulsions perfectly and understanding why!
My cooking tragedies
I've only had one cooking tragedy, but it was a doozie! When my son was about 10, I was in college and preparing my Senior Thesis. I had been studying long hours, getting very little sleep, and still trying to keep up with my domestic responsiblities as well as taking care of the kids and getting them to all their activities. On his birthday I sent him to school with brownies for his class birthday treat. Easy...I made them so often I could do it blindfolded. I'll never forget when he got off the bus after school that day, carrying the empty pan and with his head hung down. Clearly something was wrong! He told me I had forgotten to put the sugar in the brownies, and I can only imagine how embarrassed he was as his classmates sunk their teeth into them! I couldn't have cared less about my cooking failure, but only that I was responsible for my son having a not-so-nice birthday at school.
Recipe Reviews 3255 reviews
Pasta Salad Dressing
My oh my, I sure didn’t have a good eye on this one today, despite the fact I’ve been cooking since the dinosaurs roamed the earth and should recognize a recipe I’m not going to like when I see one. I usually do, but not this time. Where to begin? First, as I mixed this up it took on a horrible color. Given the ingredients, red wine vinegar, a yellow-greenish olive oil, and a brownish-yellowish Dijon mustard, I should have known the dressing would look, well, sort of brownish. Very unappealing, and I wondered how it would make the pasta salad look overall. We eat first with our eyes, after all. I should at least taste it first. When I did, that clinched it for me. WAY too tangy, WAY too bold, at least for my taste buds. I gave up at that point, not even wanting to imagine the damage the addition of three types of dried herbs would do to an already bold, overly acrid/tangy dressing. Perhaps others may still want to give this a try despite this poor review. Some things could just simply be subjective, a matter of personal preference or one’s own palate. This just didn’t work for me.

2 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Jul. 17, 2015
Lemon Cake From Scratch
I was very pleased with this cake initially. It rose nicely and released from the pan easily. It baked to a beautiful golden color and when cut, revealed a moist and tender crumb. On the basis of these characteristics I was prepared to write a 5-star review - until I tasted it. I have just one criticism, but in my view it's a biggie. The cake just isn't sweet enough. A powdered sugar glaze helped, but it didn't make up for the insufficient amount of sugar, which affected not only the sweetness factor of course, but the flavor factor as well. The cake could use at least another 1/2 cup of sugar, and even another full cup wouldn't be too much.

5 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Jul. 15, 2015
Crispy Chipotle Roasted Smashed Potatoes
No chipotle for Hubs' sensitive innards so a good seasoning blend filled in nicely, and I found duck fat a tasty alternative to the corn oil. Watch cooking time carefully, as it will vary according to the size of the potato. Mine were cooked in 10 minutes, and then required only 20 minutes or so in the oven. Rather than smashing the potatoes with a spatula, I used a potato masher.

5 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Jul. 14, 2015
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