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I am a self taught cook (My Mom, bless her soul, has always worked, and being product of the post WWII generation, is a big believer in convenience foods - she heats, she doesn't cook) who started experimenting out of library cookbooks at age 9. My Grandma was in her high 90's by the time she could work with me, but I inherited a lot of her old recipes ("receipts"), and have done a lot of playing around, eventually taking several courses at the San Francisco Culinary Academy. I teach jewelry fabrication and design and am an accredited Property manager for both commercial properties and community associations, which leaves me very little home time, so I do the night-owl thing!
Love Seafood and Japanese cuisine (ummm, Sunomono!), and have lately been experimenting with authentic Paellas - got the double-ring gas rig and the flat special pan and everything. Friends go Crazy, so it's worth the investment, and you can cook outside without standing over a BBQ! It's a great 'garbage can' dish. Love creative baked goods (used to teach cake decorating for Wilton, and if I never smell commercial buttercream frosting again, it'll be too soon). Love low sugar, high fruit preserves, jams, marmalades, and Jellies. Not so big on beef or chicken, love Pork and lamb.
* Bonafide, card-carrying chocoholic.
* Cannot STAND cilantro; compare the experience to biting down on a piece of foil with a filling and turning the mouth into a battery. Why do people like the stuff??