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"I made ____ myself!" - the Thrill of Home Cooking Victory

Probably not the best title I could think of, but it's the best I could do with a head cold.

I would say that in terms of home cooking, I am pretty much mid-level, "basic" meals type of cook. A lot of what I do is well within a comfort zone of "tried and true" dishes (Meats with simple sauces, pasta dishes, salads, etc). One of the dishes well outside of my comfort zone was risotto. When you get really good risotto at a restaurant, it's REALLY good- however, I've heard time and time again that it was time-consuming and difficult to recreate at home for a beginner cook.

Well, this week I was able to suck it up and give it a try. I managed to make a parmesean and pea risotto without burning anything/ending up with a gloppy mess of arborio rice and cheese. I know for most CHers this might not seem like a big deal, but I thought it was really good for me to just try making something that I previously thought I couldn't make myself.

Do any other CHers have stories like this? Maybe the first Thanksgiving dinner you made on your own, or recreating a restaurant favorite?

As for me, my next "goal" is homemade pie, without using premade pie crusts - scary! :o)

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  1. For me, that would be Epicurious' Double Chocolate Layer Cake...I had schemed and planned and dreamed of making that cake from the moment I read the reviews for it a few years ago...then, I had the house to myself one afternoon...I was so nervous about it but it came out just amazing and beautiful. Sons that night said "YOU made this??? YOU???" Then, I made it for a church meeting....they all said the same thing..."Val!? You MADE this yourself???" I still love to make that cake!

    8 Replies
    1. re: Val

      Can you pharaphrase of direct me to the recipe??

      1. re: chef chicklet

        Here's the link to it...it makes a huge cake and I always use three 9" pans, not about to order 10" ones...

        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

          1. re: Val

            So I was actually looking for a cake to make for my grandmother's 80th birthday party...and this looks perfect, she loves chocolate cake.

        1. re: Val

          That cake looks and sounds AMAZING! Thanks for the recipe link

          1. re: gyozagirl

            This one is my next challenge, though...Epi's Celebration Cake...you work with transfers, which I've never done. You have to click on the picture to really see the gold transfer...someone made it and brought it in to work and it is just so beautiful--almost too beautiful to eat. I thought she could easily be a pastry chef! I still think that...she made her own ladyfingers one night because she couldn't find any in the grocery store for another cake she brought in..Crikey!!! Here's the Celebration Cake link...

            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

            1. re: Val

              Oh I love chocolate mousse and cake! This is great, thanks Val!

              1. re: Val

                I love this cake. An added benefit is that you cut two cakes in half and only need three of them so you have one half to enjoy yourself! I've added nutella to the mousse and almond extract to the cake for a gianduia twist. Maybe I could sprinkle hazelnut liquor over the chocolate cake, too, next time...

          2. Bread.

            I fear no meal in the kitchen. When you learned how to cook a lot of things on a old-fashioned, cast-iron stove, fired by diesel fuel, adapting to gas take a little bit of thought, but then the wonder of how easay things are hits you.

            But baking, real baking still eludes me, for the most part. However, I have made bread, using a starter yeast that fermented in my kitchen for a while, and everything else froms cratch, and that was an achievement. Maybe someday I'll attempt a pie crust.

            1. Sauces.

              If I can pull off a bernaise or hollandaise without breaking, it's a cause for celebration.

              Usually involving large amounts of bernaise and hollandaise sauce.

              5 Replies
              1. re: monkeyrotica

                me too! And I so love it. Once in awhile I get lucky, but that's about it.

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  Am I wrong in thinking there's a "fix" for broken bearnaise and hollandaise sauces? In Julia? Must look it up.

                  I decided it was stupid to post this without looking it up. Sure enough, on p. 81 of MAOFC, she has a couple of remedies for sauce that curdles or separates. If there's anyone who doesn't have MAOFC, I'll post it.

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    Put an ice cube into breaking yoke infusion sauces.

                2. re: monkeyrotica

                  Mine was the ability to make great mole poblano. It took me 3 tries, but I finally succeeded.

                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                    Me too! I made homemade mac and cheese w/ peas and ham last night and was so nervous the whole time I made the bechamel but it ended up being delish!

                  2. Gravy was my first victory in the kitchen! I tried tons of times before I got it "right" and it was a very exciting moment. I called my boyfriend, my mom, and his mom!

                    1. Not one particular dish but I feel a sense of accomplishment when we're having a large dinner party and I look at all the food I've managed to put together (and having it all hot at the same time with one oven) on a nicely set table. Even better is if I no longer have curlers in my hair and I'm dressed.