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I come from a long line of wonderful cooks and doing my best to hold up that tradition. My great-grandparents owned a coffee shop; my Nana was also a great cook and started the tradition of baking around the holidays, both cookies and fruitcakes. After she died, now a decade ago, our family decided to continue in her honor. The picture above is my mother's (Chef Hot Pans) dining room table just before we packed up our Christmas cookie trays. More that 20 kinds of cookies, many of which are from 'Zaar recipes.
I myself am an amateur cook with a penchant for ethnic foods and spice. Currently reforming my menu in favor of healthy dishes lower in fat with lots of grains and vegetables. My favorite cuisines are Mexican, Southwestern and North African.
Some of my favorite public cookbooks include:
Anything with peppers -- hot or sweet, fresh or dried. But please, no canned chiles. :-)