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What is your favorite dish to cook, and why?

I was recently asked this question on an application for a volunteer cooking position for a club. I was stumped.

I, personally, don't think I have a favorite dish -- I just like to cook. I like the challenge of making a new dish, like chinese pork dumpling from scratch, figuring out the dough and the filling and the right way to steam them, but I also like the comfort of making an old favorite, like spicy pork and red bean chili, or bolognese sauce, that require lots of chopping and simmering and tasting and seasoning to get just right.

I like the whole process of planning a menu, like a taco party in the summer, to making the salsas from scratch, getting the marinade right on the beef, thinking up a vegetarian selection for those that won't eat the carne asada, and making sure all the right condiments are there on the side, like frijoles de la olla, fluffy tortillas warmed on the grill, chopped cilantro and onion, cojita cheese and mexican crema.

I think the above might end up being my answer to the question, but was wondering what you all had to say about the matter?

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  1. pasta tossed in olive oil, garlic, salt, and roughly cracked black pepper (may include numerous variations/ingredients including capers, sliced skirt steak + lavender salt, good olives, grape tomatoes, and/or other things).

    it is so simple, easy to cook, and delicious. most importantly, my wife claims this is one of ways i managed to win her over.

    i think there is a name for this dish but i do not have a huge culinary vocabulary...

    1 Reply
    1. re: eatinghabit

      I make something similar I call "Sommer Pasta," so called because I often throw in "sommer this" and "sommer that."

      Usually made with penne, it always has onion, garlic, green pepper and mushrooms. Grape tomatoes if on hand.Veg can also include broccoli, green or yellow squash, peas, or whatever is on hand that sounds good. Protein can be just about anything, oftentimes leftovers (shrimp, chicken and pork the favorites), Toasted pine nuts on occasion. Sometimes pesto, other times EVOO, or even home made Italian salad dressing.

      This is a DW favorite.

    2. At this moment today I have two dishes that come to mind.
      1) Chicken/Strawberry Salad. Easy peasy and gets RAVE reviews.

      2) Friday night brisket. Because I just made one two weeks ago, and it was a) my first brisket and b) outstanding. Again, got rave reviews.

      This list will change as soon as I make something else that a) I like and b) is a big hit.

      I like cooking for other people.

      1. Stacked Hatch red chile enchiladas w/ a fried egg on top w/ a side of refried beans and a salad. Why? I love to eat it. This might be my ultimate comfort food.

        1. I'm completely with you on this, DanaB! I really enjoy a challenge and love attempting new dishes. And I love, more than anything, to feed the people I care about, including vegans, celiacs, kosher-keepers, anti-vegetable types, anti-vegetable vegetarian diabetics (really!), etc....

          1. Pasta dishes of various sorts.

            My grandmother's pasta sauce recipe (OK, she was from Transylvania, but got the recipe from a Sicilian neighbour.)

            Tuna fish sauce for pasta (really just a combo of canned tune spiced up with garlic and olive oil) and combined with commercial sauce - from a recipe I picked up in a Boston supermarket.

            Spaghetti casserole (boiled pasta mixed with canned tomato sauce, layered in a casserole with process cheese, and baked,)

            1. I love cooking breakfast for myself. I brew a big mug of coffee and cook my single serving of old-fashioned or steel-cut oats with whatever mix-ins strike my fancy that morning. Past iterations have included almond or peanut butter, cut up fruit, a sunny side up egg, cottage cheese, nutmeg, cracked pepper . . . It's such a relaxing ritual to make myself a hot meal and savor it each morning before the day gets crazy.

              1 Reply
              1. re: operagirl

                i like this response very much, operagirl. i like that you take time to do things right just for yourself!

              2. At this very moment?

                Apple Pie.

                Why?

                Because I love playing with dough, and there is nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked apple pie cooling on the countertop.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  You got that right. In connection w/ the chowhound weight thread, I have given up most baking. Bummer.

                2. Mixed Seafood Paella with Andouille, Tomatoes & Artichoke Hearts

                  Cinnamon Apple Dutch Baby

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: KiltedCook

                    Crawfish and Andouille Sausage Jambalaya. It is always my stand by to feed a large crowd, and always gets wonderful reviews.

                  2. My favorite food to cook is whatever I'm in the mood to eat. The why should be obvious.

                    1. Pot Roast on a cold winter's day....because everyone LOVES it.