SWEET!!! <--- click
Eat, be and see. By teegee
I am just a happy Ohio girl right now! Though I have to say, I always get asked where I am from and people are surprised I am a native. “Unique” is a good word. Currently I just study A LOT and work an extremely unprofessional job (waitress). I am finishing my Masters in Biology with a Micro focus and hopefully going on to even MORE school soon. What I am excited for right now: berry picking season, my first CSA (!), summer festivals, attempting an heirloom garden, making rain barrels, trying to get into more school, applying to volunteer in South America soon and getting a REAL job. On that note if anyone has any contacts in the biology or health fields… hook a sister up!
How long have you been a Daring Baker/Daring Cook and what’s your favorite thing about being in the group(s) so far?
I have been in DB since May 2008. I originally joined because I am primarily a cook, not a baker. I needed someone or something to force me to bake! I do a mean cheesecake, crème brulee, panna cotta and cookies… but that was it. I know techniques and I am a wickedly fast learner so all I needed was the idea. I like that it inspires me to make things I would never have made before. I am not a big cake person, but when you get a cake challenge you can be so creative with it that by the time its done you love it. You want to protect it. You want to take it to the mall for a photo shoot and pass out wallets. Then you want to call all your friends, family, neighbors… and maybe the guy you see every time you go to the store… and celebrate its taste explosion/ blood sugar hike with all of them. For me: cake= blah, DB cake challenge + lots of thought = hey, I like THIS cake!
It make things exciting is what I am trying to say.
What’s your favorite kitchen gadget? How about your favorite kitchen appliance?
Am I allowed to say a fork? Because I love eating and a fork helps me a lot! Okay really though, my knife. I know I should say some chopper or slicer or mixer or something-that-braids-my-hair-whilst-simultaneously-making-sugar-flowers-so-my-hands-are-free-for-chopping… but I really love my knife. I use her a lot (she’s a girl). I am always chopping something, and I cook far more than I bake, so she sort of feels like a hand extension most of the time. Also, my wooden spoon! It cooks, it bakes, it flips, it stirs, it’s rustic and old and has a long handle. It’s wonderful.
Are you known for making a certain dish or dessert? If so, what is it?
Well, I am known for a lot of food! For savory foods I think the most well-practiced things I make are spaghetti sauce, roasts, enchiladas and curry. That sounds so homey, and I really don’t cook like that a lot but I do come back to those eventually. I usually am trying a new dish, like all the time! I make Thai, Mexican, Japanese and Indian food very often. I just see what’s on sale and but it at the store. I never use recipes (only to get ideas). Cooking isn’t math, its art. Once you get a feel for flavors and balance you will be able to make anything! That reminds me of Thanksgiving last year. I have made [the whole] Thanksgiving dinner for my family (10-12 people at dinner) since I was 21. My family once asked for a “menu” with ingredients listed so they will have reference points should they request a dish. I haven’t used a single recipe for Thanksgiving so they know if they want it again I need to remember how I made it! My dad says “Mmmm, this is good Tara… go write it down!” For my dinners at home, I usually just toss things together with a theme and then I have a yummy meal. As a result of the way I cook, things don’t get repeated too much. My roomie would say I make a mean grilled cheese sammie, because she can’t/ doesn’t like to cook and that all she ever wants!
For sweets I make the best cheesecake ever! I am not afraid to brag a little because I really think it’s the best! It is simple and delicious. There is no chocolate or caramel in it (those things aren’t bad, just stay away from my cheesecake) and the main flavor is vanilla, enhanced by good quality ingredients. I also make a great chocolate chip cookie (to the joy of the Bio department at school) and ice cream! I make popsicles and ice cream in the summer a lot. I also make everyone’s Bday cakes/ desserts. Oh yeah, I make a really good Italian Meringue Buttercream too.
Great, I’m going to go eat an IMBC-coated popsicle dipped in curry and coated in chimichurri. Thanks guys.
Is there any recipe and/or technique that we haven’t covered yet that you’d really like to make/learn?
I would like to see some traditional ethnic recipes for the Daring Cooks. I know that’s not easy because the DBers and DCers are from all over the world and may not have access to certain ingredients, but a girl can dream. Savories: Middle Eastern tagines, Jamaican Jerks, Japanese soups (w/ homemade dashi), Mexican Moles (make some tortillas anyone?), Spanish Paellas, etc. For sweets, since I haven’t baked a lot, I have a simpler list: real English steamed puddings, soufflé, 12 layer apple cake, pavlova, baklava, etc. The list is forever long, but those are a few examples of what I just thought about!
Do you have a favorite movie? Book? Genre of music?
Haha, so funny you ask! My favorite genre is sci-fi, maybe a girly movie/book in there sometimes. I LOVE reading. That’s probably my #2 hobby besides cooking.
Here are a few of my fave books: Harry Potter, Wheel of Time, Outlanders, LOTR, A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Incarnations of Immortality, Sabriel, Brave New World, Enders Game and any cool micro book. Books I am looking forward to: Book 12 of Wheel of Time and Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint.
Movies: Love Actually, Harry Potter, Red Road, LOTRs, Star Wars, Reign Over Me, V for Vendetta, 300, Transformers, Event Horizon, Pan's Labyrinth, Death at a Funeral, Shaun of the Dead, Paris je'taime, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Wit, The Tao of Steve, Under the Tuscan Sun, The Pianist, Kill Bill, Vanilla Sky, The Fifth Element, Big Fish, Adaptation, Awakenings… probably forgetting some.
Music: Ill just give you my top five because I have a TON of music! Motion City Soundtrack, Tom Petty, Mika, Jewel, Wallflowers. Julia Nunes is great too. She works with a ukulele and its awesome, happy music.
You’ve just won $5000.00!!! But it comes with some stipulations… you can’t spend it on your kids or your significant other! This is all YOURS. What would you spend it on? (We’re also going to fantasize that you have no bills whatsoever! Woo!! Hehee)
Well, I don’t have a S.O. OR kiddos, so that’s a pretty easy question! The responsible side of me says to save it for my (never ending) schooling. But, if I could do one thing right now I think I would go back to Ecuador. I went to Tiputini Biodiversity Station in December 2008 and it was AMAZING. Its in the middle of the rainforest (2 boat rides and a bus ride away from cities) right on the Tiputini River in Yasuni National Park. I have been to Ireland, England, France, Italy and Mexico, but Ecuador has stolen my heart. People at the station put in a lot of effort to research and conserve the habitat, it is breathtaking. They are trying understand all the effects of oil drilling and learn as much as possible before its too late. It’s really an impossible job that’s requires a lot of dedication but the relentless nature of Rainforest destruction make it an important undertaking. Soooo, yeah… I would take that $5k and milk it for all its worth to stay as long as possible in the Rainforest and help out.
What is the ultimate comfort food to you?
Really, its simple. Anything I cook that is in season. I always want “summery” foods in the summer and “wintery” foods in winter, you know? Cooking itself is more comforting to me than eating. Its relaxing and just… zen.
Which season (Winter, Summer, Spring, Fall) is your favorite... why?
FALL! Followed closely by summer. Fall in the Midwest is beautiful, and that’s when all the festivals begin! Its cozy. Summer too… mostly because summer is very conducive to good food, due to amazing ingredients, and fun activities.
Other than cooking and/or baking... what hobbies do you enjoy?
Travel, science, reading, decorating with cheap stuff so it looks expensive, google-ing everything, hiking, road biking, kayaking, camping, absorbing all the little moments that make life grand and generally always working towards my goals.
You can visit Tara on her blog Eat, be and see. By teegee